OK, just to get it out of the way, everyone has different standards and expectations. One man's palace is another man's shack. I gave this resort a 5-star rating not because it's the most luxurious place we've ever stayed but because it exceeded the expectations we had for it. Just keep in mind that this is Mexico and like many other countries, health standards aren’t quite the same as in the US.
What we were looking for in this vacation was a place where our family could take a break from life and just do nothing for a week. We wanted to get away from house projects, checking email, work, making meals, ... the normal treadmill of life. Melia ended up being perfect for us.
The room itself was a very typical hotel room, the biggest difference being the bunk bed in our Kids & Co. room (there were two full size beds plus the bunk bed). We have a 3- and 5-year-old and they loved it. Their only complaint was that the bed squeaked when they moved around. I stuffed some Kleenex under where the ladder/railing hung off the bed and that stopped the squeaking.
Amenities included a mini fridge stocked with some pop, water, beer, juice, and milk boxes, a safe, air conditioner, and a 32" (I'm guessing) flat panel TV. The TV didn't have a remote but we hardly watched any TV so I didn't bother asking about it. I was a little surprised to see a hotel room without a microwave or coffee pot, but I guess they aren't really necessary at an all-inclusive resort. The other thing I found odd was that we had a family/kids' room and there was no bathtub, just a shower. It ended up being fine and the kids enjoyed playing with their beach toys in it, but it might be more of a problem if you have younger kids. There isn't much to say about the air conditioner. It worked like it should have and kept us very comfortable.
As far as noise levels go, I can see how people would have mixed experiences. We were toward the end of the west wing (room #1123), so the noise from the nightly shows and lobby bar music didn't bother us at all. But it might get loud if your room is closer to the lobby. I'd recommend bringing earplugs or a white noise machine or whatnot just in case.
One thing that baffled us was the number of times people came to our room. We had a minimum of three visits each day. First, they would come and clean the room sometime in the morning. Then they would drop off a couple little bags of cookies in the afternoon or early evening. And then someone would come around every evening asking if we needed any additional towels or blankets. The hilarious thing was that we had four people staying in the room and they started us out with three towels. So every night we would get a 4th towel and every morning the cleaning crew would take away the 4th towel. It was no big deal but their processes would make an operations manager pull their hair out. We also got a note one day saying they needed to fumigate the hotel the following day and we should stay out of our room for 1/2 hr. after they fumigated. However, they never told us what time they were fumigating and they never left us a note saying the fumigation had been completed, so I'm hoping we didn't go in our room when we weren't supposed to.
We were very impressed with the staff at Melia. They were all very friendly, helpful, and quick with the smiles. We had never stayed at an all-inclusive before, so it was weird (in a good way) to have someone walk up to us while we were sitting by the pool and ask if they could get us something to drink, then return with it and we didn't have to spend a dime. The lobby bar was the same way - they encouraged us to try new drinks and were also very friendly.
We didn't encounter any time share representatives as I had heard we might but the people running the dinner reservation desk gave us a spiel about coming to a 90-minute breakfast presentation about the Melia hotel chain and they would give us 40% off everything at the spa plus a few other perks. We weren't interested so they left us alone. The spa prices weren't great to begin with so you'd almost need the 40% off for them to be a good deal.
Nearly everyone we came across spoke English to varying degrees. We like trying to speak foreign languages though so it was fun practicing our Spanish there.
Food is another place where one man's palace is another man's shack. We came to Melia expecting typical mid-level restaurant/buffet fare and that's exactly what we got. Some things were great, some things weren't so good, but most of it fell somewhere in the middle.
It took us a little bit to figure out the restaurants and schedules but once we got into the swing of things it wasn't bad. There are basically 5 places to get food and 3 places to get drinks. Quetzal is a buffet and the only place that serves breakfast. Then they close for lunch and open again for dinner. Some of the food remained constant from day to day (made-to-order omelets, cereal, and fruit in the morning; bread, pasta, and fish in the evening), but a lot of the others changed each day. Vitrales and Azulejos are Italian and Mexican sit-down restaurants that require reservations and are only open for dinner. Their menus were pretty short and we had been finding something we all liked at Quetzal so we didn't bother going to these.
La Palapa is the main place for lunch, with a buffet that typically included pizza, pasta, fish, various/rotating Mexican dishes, salad, etc. For dinner, it changes to be a sit-down seafood restaurant that requires reservations. We wanted to try it for dinner one night but didn't make our reservations soon enough and all the time slots that worked for us were taken. Oh well. For lunch and throughout the afternoon there's also La Palapita. This is a little snack shack near the pool. Every day they had hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, tacos, french fries, chips, and popcorn. It was great for grabbing an afternoon snack when the kids needed refueling.
On the hotel information card there was a reference to "Midnight Snack" and the hours it was available, but no other information. We finally figured out they re-open Azulejos each night with a limited selection of food. It looked like it was mostly left over from other restaurants earlier that day.
As far as the bars go, the pool bar and La Palapa were open during the day and the lobby bar was open for a good chunk of the night. We never tried the bar at La Palapa but the pool and lobby bars were great. My wife and I don't typically have mixed drinks so we initially had a hard time coming up with things to order. But once we found out they had a drink menu we were golden. The Snowball (Bola De Nieve) and Mayan Sacrifice (Sacrificio Maya) were a couple of our favorites. Tequila shots seemed to be pretty popular in the lobby bar but we're not into getting drunk so we stayed on the lighter side.
Melia offered a number of activities we didn't take advantage of. We mostly played in the pool, on the beach, and in the ocean. They also have a nice little playground that our kids took advantage of on several occasions. Melia's kids club looked like it would be good but we were there to spend time as a family so we never used it. We checked on taking out the kayaks but were told the minimum age was 8 so we scrapped that. If we go to PV again in the future we'll probably plan an excursion or two, but I'm glad we didn't on this trip. The pool and beach were all we needed and they were wonderful.
A couple things about the beach and ocean there: I'm not sure if this changes throughout the year, but the waves and undertow were quite strong. We didn't go much deeper than our waists and never let the kids in on their own. I'm not sure how to properly describe it, but there's a big rock/cement/block/thing that breaks the waves really well and creates a nice little spot where several fish tended to congregate. Also, the vendors who walked up and down the beach were a constant sight but they were never pushy or obnoxious. A simple "no gracias" or even just shaking my head "no" usually kept them walking on by. If you want to buy something be prepared to either haggle or over pay. My wife needed a new pair of sunglasses and the beach vendor initially said it would be 370 pesos. I told him I only had 150 pesos with me (which I did) and he agreed on the price. I'm sure I still over paid but it was a heck of a lot better than 370.
Well, that ended up being a much longer review than I was expecting to write. If you made it all the way through, I'm impressed!
Try to get a room that isn't too close to the lobby bar. We were in a Kids & Co. room towar...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.