We stayed at the Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana Nov. 6 - 12 in 2012. We travelled with our 3 year old daughter and 9 month old son. This was our first trip to Punta Cana but we have been to other all-inclusive resorts in Mexico - this was our first time with the kids. The hotel grounds and facilities were beautiful and very well kept, staff was very friendly and the beach was great. The hotel is very family friendly but included all the things my husband and I like to do on these trips - sit on the beach and drink margaritas! Each day from about 10-12:30 we would drop off our little ones at the Baby Rock Club which was awesome - Perla, Jennifer and their colleagues were super with the children. My 3 year old loved the play ground and making crafts. Our baby usually napped at that time in the air conditioned nursery or played with one of the staff. Mommy and Daddy got some quiet beach time - I actually read a book on this trip! The food was pretty good for an all-inclusive and there were lots of choices to suit all of us - my 9 month old found lots of finger foods to munch on and my 3 year old lived on pasta and pizza. All of us loved swimming in the gigantic pools or playing on the beach (the water was very warm and very gentle for little ones). There were always plenty of other kids to entertain them. I was really, really worried about travelling with a baby to Punta Cana but the entire trip was fabulous. Here are some thoughts:
-Plenty of bottled water available throughout the resort and in the rooms. I use formula so I had to wash bottles in the bathroom but the tap water was super, super hot. You could also boil water in the coffee maker to sterilize. Each room also has a fridge.
-I packed tons of baby food just in case but only used it in the room...there was plenty in the buffets and restaurants to feed my son - lots of fruit, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, beans and rice, peas, steamed carrots, pasta, etc.
-Bring or buy kid snacks for the rooms and beach since there isn't much to take away from the buffets. I packed granola bars, crackers as back-up.
-You can buy diapers and baby food in the hotel shop but be prepared to pay double. It serves as a good back-up in case you run out.
-You can buy inflatables and beach toys for the kids or bring your own. The pools are big and my daughter loved floating up to the swim up bar and ordering kids drinks.
-It’s a HUGE resort so be prepared to walk. With little kids, its critical to request a room close to the pool and beach areas because of all the schlepping. Breakfast and lunch choices are nearby but all the dinner options will require a golf cart ride to the front of the property (which were pretty easy to hail down). The shows are also far away but our kids could never stay up late enough to enjoy them!
-We opted not to do Royal Service – it’s far away from all the kids activities and pools. Might be worth it if you are only adults as the drinks are pretty watered down!
-No bathtub so plan for showers for kids. Also, the rooms are all tile floors so not very friendly for crawlers!