Historical Traveller Reviews of Puerto Plata Village Hotel
s a dream
from A TripAdvisor Member
I don't know to speak in English so much, so I only want to say that Thanks to the funny equip of this Hotel, specially to Steve Hurckel from a pair of Spain. I would like you wrote me in Spanish. Thanks.
Nice holiday but warning for those travelling with children
We recently returned from the Occidental Gran Flamenco, Puerto Plata and overall had a decent time. Nice stretch of beach, good service, acceptable food and wonderful weather were all contributors. However, I had one MAJOR concern that I would like to share with as many people as possible. They wanted to fumigate our room while we were there (...and not only that, the note they put under the door said "no special precautions are necessary") When I spoke with the Customer Service rep she gave me some line about them using non-toxic chemicals (there are no non-toxic pesticides!!!) Considering that pesticides are linked with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, lung, breast and prostate cancer, Parkinson's disease and immune system suppression I was understandably concerned. But especially so because we were travelling with our 8-month old baby! (Data strongly suggest that exposure to pesticides at levels believed to be safe for adults could result in permanent loss of brain function when occurring during prenatal and early childhood periods of brain development. Specifically, pesticides are associated with behavioural and developmental problems in children and childhood brain cancer and leukemia.)Problem is, I imagine that all of the hotels use these toxic chemicals. I have no idea what a good solution might be other than to put pressure on the hotels to find other ways of killing whatever it is they are attempting to kill. (They said they were spraying for mosquitoes due to the fact that the hotel was near the water!?!?...obviously not true as mosquitoes don't breed in salt water. I suspect they were targetting cockroaches but didn't want to admit it.)
Heaven On Earth
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I and our three children (16, 14, 12) have just returned from a 2 week vacation at the Gran Flamenco Hotel (March 13 - 27/03). It was the best time ever. The people are so friendly and the resort is just beautiful. We stayed in Building 11 - close to the pool and beach - I would choose it again. The rooms are large and kept clean. There are many restaurants to choose from. Breakfast was great - try the omelettes - you pick your ingredients and it's made right in front of you. Also the best croissants ever. Lunch had a few choices - buffet, pool bar restaurant (burgers, hotdogs, etc.) or beach restaurant (same thing). Supper was buffet (always a different theme and lots of good food to choose from), Grill Restaurant (great tenderloin, avoid the ribs), Italian (great lasagna, tenderloin), Mexican (ok, not great), Pizza (good), and also a restaurant where you paid extra (we didn't try that one). At the buffet there was a pasta chef who made your pasta to order - our kids ate there every day! The bars serve lots of drinks but we liked the banana mamas and pina coladas the best!!! The pool area was really nice - get there early in the morning and book your chairs with your towels. We spent more time at the pool than the beach because the beach just wasn't that nice. We did alot of walking along the beach though which was great - wave jumping, collecting little shells, etc. When you get to the beach area turn left and walk for 20 minutes and you'll get to the "orange market" which is a bunch of orange huts where they sell souvenir items. Great fun to barter and we got some great souvenirs. Also right across the street from the hotel is a large plaza where you can buy almost anything you'd need (in case you forgot it at home or run out while there). The FUN CLUB is the best!!! Those employees work so hard and make sure you have a great time. Throughout the day are activities like bowling, darts, pool games, contests, etc. So much fun!! The fun club guys is great. Santa (the girl in charge) is so good with the kids and keeps them busy and having fun. Evening shows were really good - lots of dancing, singing, fun games where the tourists are involved. We took several tours but our favorite was the Dolphin Swim at Ocean World. Very expensive but so cool! We interacted alot with the dolphins and then went for a "ride" with them (they pulled us along the water with their fins). Overall this was such an awesome trip. I would recommend this resort to everyone.
One of my best vacations yet!!!
from A TripAdvisor Member
I just spent 5 fabulous days at the Ocidental Grand Flamenco in Puerto Plata, DR. My boyfriend and I had such an enjoyable time that we extended our trip an extra day. Everything about the resort is TERRIFIC. The rooms are very spacious, and very well kept/cleaned. The amenities are great...I loved the pools and the accesibility to the beach. We sailed, jetskiied, windsurfed...all in our backyard. There are 4 restaurants...plus the buffet. We liked the buffet the best overall. SO much good food to choose from. The grounds are so well maintained. You truly feel as though you are in a tropical oasis. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Particularly the bartenders. The drinks were great.Throughout the day, the 'FUN CLUB' provided a variety of entertainment. One night they did a Broadway review, which we thought was really good. They also sponsored a number of activities such as water & beach aerobics, dance lessons, karaoke, etc. I highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a great vacation in DR. I would definitely stay here again. OH...the only negative is that while they do have laundry service, they don't have any irons...so be sure to pack one!!
Wonderfully relaxing at the Gran Flamenco!
from A TripAdvisor Member
We stayed at the Occidental Gran Flamenco from 3/13/03 to 3/17/03 and it was not long enough!!! We were upgraded to the Royal Club section of the hotel and I feel that this really made the vacation as great as it was. The service was excellent in all the sections. The food was good. It was different tasting than American food but neither my husband or myself got sick or anything. The Mexican and the Grill restaurants were the best. You must try a Bananna Mama!!! I am not much of a drinker but these go down real smooth!!!! The rooms were very nice. We had a two room suite with a living room and a bedroom. There is also a lovely balcony where we had a beautiful view of the main pool and a mountain. Our "little side of the world" as I like to call it was just lovely. We had our own bartender for that section and he would come down to you at the pool and serve you drinks if you wanted. We also ate our breakfast and some lunches at the Royal Club section. It is just so much more intimate than the main hotel. I would definitely come back to this hotel again but I would also stay at the Royal Club section. It is certainly worth the little bit of extra money.
from A TripAdvisor Member
I just got home yesterday from flamenco beach and it was awesome. The food wasn't the best in the world but everything else was fantastic. Staff was always cleaning and doing maintenance, people were very helpful if you had a problem, it was a beautiful atmosphere and i wish i could go back, i defenitly will someday. Dominican's are very nice people and they see to it that you sit back relax and have a good time.
We stayed at the Grand Flamenco 3/4/03 thru 3/9/03. This was our second visit to the Dom. Republic but the first visit to Puerto Plata. I chose this resort based on several reviews and the fact that it recieved 4 stars from expedia. In summary, I wish I would have chosen the Paradise hotel just a few doors down or even better gone back to Punta Cana. When we checked into the hotel, we had to option to upgrade to the San Miguel Club for $100 more per night. Looking at the different accomodations there, we decided that there wasn't that much difference to justify the upgrade. That may have been a mistake but at the time an additional $500 seemed like a lot. First of all, our room was in building #10 which is right next to the stage/activity area. It was really very loud all day. Even in our room with the door closed we heard the entire aerobic class, dominican dance lessons, and all of the other shows and entertainment that continued ALL DAY long. I think all ended around 11:30pm but after such a loud day I couldn't stand the noise any longer! If you go and have the choice, building 12 is closer to the beach and farthest from the stage area. It would have been a much more peaceful refuge from all the activity. The food was really a problem. Immediately after checking in, we went to the table to make dinner reservations for our stay. We really wanted to book the reservation resteraunts and stay away from the main buffet as much as possible. Unfortunately, we were only able to get reservations at the resteraunts 2 of the nights we were there. Those nights the food and atmosphere was excellent - we ate at the steak and the mexican resteraunts and both were very good. Both resteraunts were nearly empty when we were eating there which really frustrated me because it was so hard to get a reservation you would assume that the resteraunts would be very crowded. Instead, maybe 3 or 4 tables were occupied the whole night. It was really hard eating at the cattle call main buffet resteraunt knowing full well that there were plenty of seats available in the nice reservation resteraunts but we just weren't able to get more than 2 nights there. I guess when I think of all-inclusive I feel that we should have fair access to ALL the resort has to offer (with the exception of any type of upgrade that we would pay for).Also on the first day, we went to reserve a time for the horse back riding. This activity is free with the all-inclusive plan. Guess what........All of the reservations for horseback riding were taken for the rest of the week so we didn't get to do that either. Again, I have a problem here with their idea of all-inclusive!Another disappointment was the pool. From the pictures, I dreamed of lounging at that pool bar with a nice Pina Colada. Well, they serve NO alcohol at that main pool bar. If you will be happy with sodas and lemonade that shouldn't be an issue but I was very dissappointed that I couldn't get the drinks I wanted at that pool bar. Also, from the picture you don't see how narrow the patio around the pool is. People are packed in there like sardines with one lounge chair pushed right up next to someone else because there isn't ample room to spread out around that pool.The beach really was a huge disappointment. This resort is located on a small bay and the water right in front of the resort isn't that beautiful blue that you see everywhere else in the DR. If you walk up the beach a few resorts then it is pretty but right in front of this resort around this small bay the water just isn't pretty. Also, the resort doesn't do an adequate job of raking the seaweed. At other resorts you would see workers raking all day long to keep the seaweed away. At this resort they let it pile up. Fortunately, the seaweed isn't the slimy stuff that you are envisioning. Their seaweed is more like small pieces of wood (think small pieces of mulch) that collect on the beach. On a positive note, all of the employees at the Grand Flamenco were wonderful. I never saw anything but a smiling, happy face and they truely did there best to make you happy. I wanted to everyone of them because they were all so friendly and helpful!We walked up and down the beach and decided that the nicest hotel in this area was the Paradise hotel. The beach was beautiful, it had a beautiful dining area right on the beach and the casino looked fun. I wish we would have picked that hotel even though expedia had it rated only with 3 stars and the Gran Flamenco was rated 4. How that happened, I can't even imagine!!If you are looking seriously at the DR I would go back to Punta Cana and stay at the Melia Caribe TRopical again in a heart beat and skip Puerto Plata all together. The Melia is so much nicer - just a different league of resort! Please feel free to e-mail me about this resort. I love talking about vacation!!Stephanie
Best value for your money!!!
from A TripAdvisor Member
We just came back from Occidental Gran Flamenco for a 6 day vacation (2/24-3/1). Before we went, we did a lot of reading on line about this resort, which we found extremely helpful and informative. It made us more calm and at ease. So we decided to make a detailed report about this resort, so it can help others. In Dominica Republic you get the best value for your money!!Travel: We booked with Liberty Travel and they got us a great deal in the Royal Club (also called Club Angle Miguel) despite a late booking. But there was a mess up of our flight reservation with the airline the night before we left - they could not find our reservation at all. You can imagine what a hassle and stress it was. But Liberty Travel cleared everything up right way, they were wonderful. (My suggestion: Call early to confirm your tickets so that you will have a peace of mind.)Transportation from and to the airport: It was very easy once we walked out the airport. The Liberty Travel sign was right there with very friendly stuffs who guided us to our air-conditioned bus. We were the first one to be dropped off. Check in: It was very quick We were very impressed with the Club: a private courtyard with a tiny pool in the center and a bar behind it. We asked to be put in a room that is back to the entertainment stage (which is unbearably loud at night till 11:30), so it was a little better. The Club Room: It was a one bedroom suite, very big, with a living room that has a dinning area. Between the living room and the bedroom there is a door and it was nice for us. 2 balconies with chairs, 2 TV and 2 showers in the bathroom. The room could use a little update, but we didnt mind cause its space. I have to say stay at the club has made our trip super nice. Food: We were utterly impressed! It is the first time for us for an all inclusive hotel. We were amazed how convenient it is to get a drink and a bite to eat. You can even have your thermo ready to be filled with drinks to be brought to the beach. Breakfast: in the club there is a breakfast provided and it was quiet. It offered almost everything the main dinning hall offered including if you want to order an omelet, only you dont have fight with the crowd. Lunch: You could eat at 4 places, it all depends where you are. The main buffet opens from 1-3pm, and it has more varieties. At the pool side and beach side restaurants, they serve so called fast food such as hot dog, hamburgers, spaghetti, pork or beef ribs, French fries, ice creams. The other side is always the bar with anything you want to drink. To me for lunch it is quite okay, if you just need something to eat in convenient when you are just out of the water and the sun. Dinner: We think the buffet is wonderful. I have read many complains about the same menu every night, but I thought it was varied every night. When we were there, there were Italian, Germen, local (DR), Mexican nights. Except the Mexican, we enjoyed the buffet very much. Our tip: Take small amount of everything and taste them, then you can decide which dish you like better. The Italian Restaurant: Not worth the wait and reservation. Youd be better off at the buffet. The pasta were soggy, just like cafeteria food. The Grill Restaurant: excellent! Especially the seafood platter. Drinks: the wines were very watered down, almost has no taste. But the Rum drinks are very strong. Money and Tips: We left $2 for the maid every morning, but still find job were done sloppily. But we did not find anything missing. You dont have to leave a tip every time you get a drink. The exchange rate fluctuates every day around 24- 22pesos per a dollar. The best rate we got was at the airport- $1 per 24 pesos. Services at the hotel: They try hard with the activities through out the day with entertainments. We didnt care too much about being entertained, but were very bothered by loud speaker noises all day, especially at night. It didnt stop until 11:30pm. Very annoying!! There is a massage hut right at the entrance at the beach. For $25, you get a great one hour massage, I left a $5 tip for them. I highly recommended, very relaxing. The internet service at the club was very convenient. But if you dont stay at the club, you can use it at the shopping mall (which is only 2 min walking outside of the compound). The Mall: to our surprise, we realized how conveniently the mall was located, right outside of the dinning area. Everything was much cheaper then if you purchase at the hotel. There is a Western Union in the mall that offers the best exchange rate. Also they have a telephone and fax service. We sent a 3 page fax to the States and it cost us $1. Rates to call the States 18 pesos for 1st minute and 8.5 to follow. There is another telephone service at the other side, 11 pesos per minute. Excursion: the prices are very difference depends where you book your trip. We did Jeep Safari ($29 per person vs. $75 at the hotel- they are the same trip ) with the Mar Y Sol Tour, which we found in the mall. If you book their trip, you could also use their free internet. All the guides spoke 4-5 languages ( Spanish, English, German, French and Italian), they switch back and force, quite amazing. Main part of the Jeep Safari trip in the morning was an adventure, going up to the water fall in the mountain. No one warned us how strenuous the trip would be. Be prepared if you go, you need to know how to swim, wear only beach shoes or sandals, you will be pulled up the stream, slide down the stream and dive down from a rock, you might also get very cold. So dont go if you have a health condition. The guide who take you swim up the water fall are not from the Tour, you should give them a good tip, they work hard to pull you up the stream. After that we were taken for a lunch, good thing is that we didnt get sick. Beach: the one at the Flamenco was the worst to my opinion. There were boats docked right in front of you and the speed boats were going fast very close to the shore, it looked terribly dangerous to me. The last couple of days, I went to the left side and use the beach on the Gran Ventana property. It was great, the coral was about 10 feet away from the shore and you could see many beautiful colored fish. I loved it; I could stay there for another week because of it! The Only Complains: The speakers from the entertainment stage were too loud and it didn't shut up until 11:30pm every night. We don't mind other people enjoying them, but we really didn't go there to be entertained. We wished there could be quiet place and quiet moments. Overall: People in DR are extremely friendly and honest. We love the people here! The Club Angle Miguel had definitely contributed to our fantastic vacation, even though, the rooms might need some update which we didnt mind at all. The resorts there are very international, you will see all nationalities, that was nice. The best thing was you really dont have to spend too much money here, but having a blast. I highly recommend this resort. Dont be too picky, go there and have a great time!!!
Bring your own pillow!
My boyfriend and I are in our 30's. We went for a week (too long) in February 2003, a long weekend would have been a better choice. Other than eat dinner and seeing their shows, there wasn't much else to do, so cable television was very nice. They have a disco there by the beach which was pretty empty most of the time probably because you have to pay for your drinks there. The hotel's cleanliness and service were excellent. The pool and beach areas were really nice. The breakfast was okay, lunch and dinner very good although my stomach didn't agree. Forget the frozen drinks, terrible! The hotel's restaurants lack atmosphere, very bland in style and too many checkered tablecloths. The room was always clean, but the bed and pillows were uncomfortable. Best advice on that note: BRING YOUR OWN PILLOW! I tossed and turned and my boyfriend got a stiff neck. Overall, you get what you pay for and more at this hotel. It is a good deal, but I still wouldn't recommend a whole week.
from A TripAdvisor Member
Had the best time. The people are lovely, friendly and work hard at what they do. The food was excellent, the resort clean and in good condition. Can't understand people who nit pick about little things. For heavens sake it is the Dominican Republic, and they are improving things all the time. Never saw any staff sitting around doing nothing, they were always repairing and painting. I work in a Hotel, and they are such big places that everything cannot be in a 100% state of repair all the time. It is a on going process, and you have to do a bit at a time.
Would recommend the hotel to anyone. It was lively, fun, friendly, with superb beaches, and views, loads of different foods to try, and lovely fresh fruit. The weather was superb for the 14 nights we were there. The rooms were very large, with big bathrooms, and cleaned every day. Little things here and there were a bit shabby, but it is to be expected. I am sure they are updating the rooms all the time. A hotel will always spend money last on its rooms, it's the bars, restaurants and facilities that bring in the revenue. So cut them some slack.