Sorry, this is going to be a long review.
Our family of five (no small children) visited Melia in August, and we really enjoyed it. The beach is gorgeous; the resort's restaurants, lobbies and other common areas are beautiful; the weather was spectacular; the food was considerably better than you will typically encounter with all-inclusives; and the rooms were large, clean, well-appointed and comfortable. We heard some other travelers who had troubles with their rooms (the place was fairly packed when we were there) but we had no problems. For a relatively inexpensive vacation, we got more than expected and we would not hesitate to return.
In comparison to American chains, I would equate this Melia in terms of luxury and service, albeit with Caribbean style, to the better Marriotts or Sheratons – upper middle class, with some upper class aspirations. It might seem very luxurious to some people; nice enough for most people; but not at the Ritz Carlton or Intercontinental level. Melia had two higher end properties next door, including the Paradisus Palma Real (which is what accommodations may look like in Heaven).
Melia is a massive place with thousands of people, and most of them were having a good time – so take the negative reviews with a grain of salt: complainers post on-line more often. We found that the staff addressed any issue we had immediately, and the resort provides such a better level of service if you take the slightest bit of initiative on your own – like scheduling sit down dinners at the restaurants - which was so easy to do. The formal restaurants provided great food and service, and were a welcome reprieve from the more hectic big buffets. The American restaurant was so-so, but all the others were very good, relaxing and distinctive. We highly recommend the local dishes in the Dominican restaurant.
More on the food since that is such a big part of all-inclusives. Everyone in our family found numerous “must haves” at every buffet and restaurant – certainly more than we could reasonably consume in a week. Our growing teenage son loved all the seasoned and barbequed meats, and probably devoured his weight in beef and poultry. The rest of us were trying (trying!) to focus more on quality rather than quantity. My wife and I enjoyed the local Dominican dishes, especially the seafood and fresh Caribbean fruits; while our daughters discovered the best pastries and desserts. And we tried many high calorie drinks that we wouldn’t touch unless on vacation. There was an abundance and so much of it was fantastic. I guess there wasn’t very good wine or higher end liquors, and while I usually enjoy both, that’s not what I was focusing on during the family vacation. The bartenders could make very good and creative drinks if you talked to them during a quieter moment. For example, while I never saw a bottle of Patron, and I had a few cheap beach-bar margaritas, I also had a couple of very well made margaritas at the lobby and restaurant bars when I explained what I wanted.
Also, we constantly touched base with our concierge, David Uribe (or King David as he was sometimes, and rightfully, called), who was more than eager to take care of little details for us the moment we asked. Having David constantly available to answer questions or place a call really made the biggest difference. Why others did not utilize the free concierge service is beyond me: the service is free and the concierges were all eager to assist. David helped make our vacation great. He also never made us feel like a tip was expected.
On that point, tipping is not required anywhere, and we never felt that tipping was expected or that waiters or bartenders treated anyone differently based on whether they tipped or not. They were very appreciative of tips, but treated everyone well regardless. In fact, I felt like I had to chase waiters down at the formal restaurants to give them tips because they didn’t linger waiting for one. Overall, every staff member we encountered was pleasant and helpful. Just ask, and they try to help.
Alexis Castillo at the front desk was fantastic. He took the time to get us the best possible connecting rooms close to the beach and pool. We had to re-locate once since the better rooms we wanted weren’t available when we arrived, but after we explained that we didn’t mind the minor inconvenience of moving, he set us up well.
The pools and beach areas were well maintained. The resort was fairly full although I wouldn’t say that it felt over-crowded. There was a bit of jockeying for lounge chairs in the best locations, but always more than enough chairs. The pool throng could get loud especially towards the end of an afternoon of drinking – but it was all in good fun. The Paradisus next door offered a classier setting and a smaller (and generally wealthier) crowd, but we also felt that it might feel less lively and fun – like spending a week with your most “proper” relatives.
Although we actually liked the Melia’s larger scale because we were never bored, that may be one possible downside to this resort for some people. This is a sprawling complex, much bigger than some others. So if mobility is an issue for you due to old age, weight, joint issues or you have very young children, maybe you’d better off in a more compact resort. The main sleeping areas are in buildings located either (a) closer to the lobbies and dining areas, or (b) closer to the pools/beach. It’s one or the other. At some point in the day, perhaps a couple, you’ll need to head to the other part of the resort. While there are shuttles, they often take a while to arrive and then the rides are long and winding. We ended up walking, which we didn’t mind doing - especially when we were consuming twice (or more) of our normal daily intake in food and alcohol.
The only other nit I would mention has to do with the service vehicles and scooters used by the staff. They run up and down the main pathways within the resort all day, less so in the evenings. You need to watch out for them; they are loud; and their exhaust is worse than American vehicles. We couldn’t understand why Melia doesn’t route most of that service traffic on pathways around the outside of the buildings – which we’ve seen at other resorts. This is the type of small issue that could be fixed easily and which distinguishes this resort from the highest end properties.
Still, we enjoyed Melia enough that we wouldn’t hesitate to return and we’ll probably visit other Melia resorts now that we understand the different levels of service available. We didn’t spend a too much on this vacation, and we felt that we received a lot for our money. Melia has higher end properties too, and we’ll likely try some of them as well.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Caribe
- Punta Cana Melia Caribe Tropical
- Sol Melia Punta Cana
- Melia Caribe Punta Cana
- Melia Punta Cana
- Melia Caribe Tropical Punta Cana
- Melia Tropical
- Melia Tropical Punta Cana
- Melia Hotel Punta Cana
- Reservation Options:
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