If you are like me, the first impression you have about a place or people tends to colour every subsequent experiences or interactions you will have with these people or places. This applies to hotels as well. Last year, we travelled to the Bahamas for the first time and fell in love with its beautiful beaches and the very friendly Bahamians. At the time, we stayed in another resort which I will not name here but our experience was great overall. With this experience in mind, we decided to spend 10 days of our 14 day-summer vacation in the Bahamas at the Melia Nassau Beach. We took our young daugther with us, who was quite excited about the trip, which she loved and enjoyed a lot.
A few words about me and my husband: we travelled around the world: Europe, Africa, Australia, America, all over Canada, and visited over half of the Carribean. We are not picky people, are pretty understanding and know that things will not be like home when you travel to a different country - that is the very reason why we travel - to see and experience different things, culture, and meet new people. However, like anyone else, we do have minimal expectations, especially when we pay a good chunk of $$ for our vacation.
Now my review of our experience at the Melia:
The Excellent: Waiting staff at the different restaurants. They are very friendly, pleasant, and want you to enjoy your meal and time at the restaurant. Kendrick, at Aqua, has to be particularly commended for his great attitude, his very pleasant manners, and for his obvious love of his job. Everyone was great with our daughter. The Beach: lovely beach, white sand and quiet - note to some travellers: please put your trash in the garbage bins and behave as though it was your backyard. Walking on a beer cap or on glass is no fun for anyone.
The Very good: Housekeeping staff. They are friendly and do a very good job at keeping the room clean. Our housekeeper was Shelly, who was nice and kept our room very clean for our whole stay. The food: All three opened restaurants (one was being renovated) had a great variety of food and we were never disapointed by it.
The Good: The pools. They are big, have nice waterfalls, and are surrounded by really nice flowers and vegetation. The pool near the West wing is particularly great for young children as it is shallow all over. The overall look of the room: It was nicely decorated, was big enough for our family and had a nice outdoor space where we could relax and eat. Important note: we were on the ground floor. This is not the case for the upper floors, which have a tiny, if not useless outdoor space. Our friends had an upper floor room, this is how we know.
a) Overall appearance of the hotel. The building needs significant renovations, so do the pools. The pool cleanliness. While I understand that people go into the pools with lots of sunscreen on them, it was the first time I experienced a resort that was struggling that much with keeping the pool water clean. Only once did I see someone cleaning the pool during the day. Some improvements needed here.
b) The check-in process: is very long and tideous (over 30 minutes which seem like hours with a tired toddler), and to top it off, our room was not ready when we arrived at the hotel. Yes, check in time is 3pm. But, when you travel with a young child, and pay an extra 18$ a day to get a room in the Kids and co area, well, one would think that the least they can do is to make sure that rooms are available for families arriving earlier than 3 pm. We had left home at 3:30am and arrived in Nassau at noon. Our daughter was tired and getting irritable, so it would have been nice to be able to get our room and relax. That was not the case, unfortunately. Check-in process is your first experience with the hotel - it has to be smooth and efficient. It was nothing but that.
...and the Ugly: The Extras. There is a 40$ charge per day, not included in the price we had paid. While we were warned about it, I am failing to understand why. The extra charge to get a refrigerator in our room - 100$. Why in the world can't a fridge just be included in each room, like in all other resorts, is beyond me, particularly when you are in the Kids and co level. That being said, we made the right decision to ask for one as we saved significantly by going grocery shopping and eating all of our breakfasts and several lunches in our room. The 18$ extra per day to be in the Kids and co level. Not worth it, unless you are willing to leave your children with the kids entertaining service. We were not, and I thought that there would be snacks available for kids, as per the website, but everytime I went, the mini fridge was empty and could have used a little clean up. I went twice, then did not bother again. Disapointing. However, the patio that comes with a room on the ground floor is great. Not sure it is worth an extra of 18$ a day. As well, if we had wanted to get a king size bed and a roll away bed for our daugther, it would have been an extra 25$ per day. This one we refused and took the "free" double beds room.
The room, upon arrival. Had no towels and we had to request them. They did deliver them, an hour after we requested them. The carpet was soaked near the air conditioning. We asked to get another room, as I was wondering about the smell and potential molds. We were told that they would be looking into it. After two follow up phone calls and having my husband stay in the room until 6:30pm in order not to miss their call, we gave up. No one ever followed up on our request, not even to get back to us and say that they could not accomodate our request for xyz reason but would do abc to help with the situation. This would have been acceptable to me. At least I could have seen an attempt at satisfying my needs and concerns. None of this happened. I have to say thought that they did send someone to repair the air conditioning, which was leaking on the carpet. We dried it ourselves with a hair dryer.
Bath towels: throughout the course of our stay, it was either they were not replaced and we had to request them, only to get them once we would all have taken a shower without towels, or that, when we figured we would keep them but have some of them replaced every two days, these were never replaced, particularly the hand towels and wash cloths. We were even told once that no towels were available. It was 4pm.
The check out process: again, long and tideous (20 minutes). Our bill was not complete, and there were weird charges and credits on it that even the person at the check out counter did not understand. Well, that is not reassuring and no one wants to get overcharged, especially not when you are staying at the "extras paradise". Needless to say that this did not help with our overall experience of the hotel.
One thing I wish I would have known before booking: that the hotel will be undergoing significant renovations to fit with the standards of the new Baha Mar resort, scheduled to open next year. Some renos have already begun in some areas which were closed during our stay.
Final word: if you are planning a trip for next year, wait until the Baha Mar Resort is opened and then book the Melia - the Melia will be part of this huge complex of hotels and will have to be significantly renovated to meet the Baha Mar standards, which will likely make it a nice hotel once that is done. If you are planning a trip for the coming months, I would recommend to refrain from going to the Melia and choose a different place if possible. However, I want to reiterate that my impression of the Bahamas is unchanged - it is a great country, with beautiful beaches, the sea is warm and calm, and Bahamians are very friendly. It is a perfect island for families as well. Where you stay and spend most of your travel budget does matter, however.
This is the first time that I make such a recommendation about a hotel - however, my first impression of the hotel did colour my entire stay at the Melia and so did it colour my review of it. I feel sorry for the staff who are working hard at pleasing the guests - but right now, they are not being given the means to do their job as well as they are certainly capable of.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Meliá Nassau Beach is situated on a 1,000-foot stretch of white sand long the Atlantic Ocean on Nassau’s spectacular Cable Beach. Enjoy stunning views, comfortable accommodations, luxury amenities and globally inspired cuisine featuring a distinctive Bahamian flare. Meliá Nassau Beach is a perfect playground for kids of all ages offering an array of activities, on and off land, including golf, sailing and snorkeling in the calm, turquoise waters of the island. *Operating as an inclusive resort until December 2014. All inclusive after December 2014LOCATIONMeliá Nassau Beach is conveniently located just minutes from Nassau Paradise Island International Airport and a short walk from Cable Beach Golf Club. In addition, the resort is situated near many of Nassau’s major attractions, local restaurants, cafes and shops. ACCOMMODATIONSMeliá Nassau Beach features 694 guestrooms, including 32 suites: Classic Island View, Deluxe Pool View, Premium Ocean View, The Level, Romance Suite, Royal Suite, Grand Suite and the Presidential Suite ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort And Casino
- Sheraton Nassau Beach Hotel Nassau
- Sheraton Cable Beach Resort
- Nassau Sheraton
- Radisson Cable Beach Resort
- Melia Nassau Beach Resort Bahamas