Just got back from the Melia Caribe Tropical with our three sons, 2, 5, 8 years old.
The resort is beautiful, the huge palms, manicured gardens everywhere, birds and turtles in ponds. Very nice. Since you have to take a trolley to get around the resort because it's so big, it's nice to have the beautiful lush scenery.
The major exception of the family rooms, which have not be updated in decades. I talked to other families, it was the same in the three family buildings. The decor was majorly outdated. The light fixtures were quite old and rusty. The bath/shower was not well designed and awkward to get in and out of. Water pressure was terrible and changed from too hot to too cold every minute. Family rooms are definitely not 4 star. The family rooms are located near the pool, beach, kids club and beach restaurant, so that was convenient, but the block 1 in particualr, where we were staying, is right at a trolley stop, which was quite loud and couldn't sleep with the windows open. we could even here it with the windows closed. I would advise you to only put families in block 3, and also to let them know that the family rooms are very much outdated.
Also, not sure the 'flinstones' kids club is worth it. other than one flinestones show on friday night, we did not see the characters. And the show was at 9:30 at night, so we had to leave shortly after it started to get the kids to bed. All the shows were too late at night for families and the speaker system too old and much too loud. There were not a lot of free activities to do, and it was hard to get the free stuff, even on the beach. There were supposed to be paddle boats, etc, but hard to find and even harder to find staff to help use them. No free rockclimbing or adventure pack for kids. The best thing about the kids club staff were FANTASTIC!!! The best staff on the whole resort!!! Although the bar staff is very nice also!
Pools are very nice, but not heated, and neither were the whirlpools, so that was too bad.
The restaurants are nice, but for kids meals they offer burnt chicken nuggest or fish sticks, which by the way look identical, and neither looked normal. Alternative was spaghetti and meatballs. They were pretty much the only 3 meals offered at every single restaurant!!! the kids got sick of it after the first night. we ordered off the main menu for them, otherwise they wouldn't have eaten. The food was good, probably typical of a 4 star only - got repeatitive after a couple of days. Would have like to see fresh coconut offered. French, Mexican, Italian restaurants were the best. The desserts weren't great anywhere. Also, some waiters weren't good - it's as though they had too many tables to take care of. It would take a minimum of 2 hours each meal. So trick is to order all your courses as soon as you can and bring ipods to entertain the kids while you wait at least 20 minutes between courses.
Also, there were no waterslides, which I'm pretty sure I requested. it looked like there was a waterslide at the kids' club, but it was just a little jungle gym. When booking, we had a choice between barcelo select 4+or melia. Since the barcelo was at least $600 less, I should have gone there because of the free mini-putt.
We played tennis a few mornings, but the raquest are 5$ each to rent per day. At a 4+, they should be free. The courts that are available at no cost are not great. You have to pay a premium for the good courts, which again seems ridiculous to me given the cost to stay there.
The beach was indeed nice, but lots of seaweed and lots of vendors trying to get us to swim with dolphins, etc. It was pretty annoying as they bothered us at the beach and AT THE POOL! And where you picked up towels. And in the lobbies. It was overkill and we were so annoyed, got so many differing prices, etc, we didn't do any of those activities
Anyway, I just thought you should know so you can tell families so that they go in with their eyes open, rather than get disappointed like we were. I also complained to the AirTransat people that their brochaure says Melia Caribe while the family rooms are on the Melia tropical side -- which was also misleading. Although the AirTransat and Melia staff offered us an upgrade, which was next to restaurants (and bars) and at the other end of the resort from pool and beach so not convenient, we decided to stay in our ugly room. The beds were comfy. The staff that cleaned did a good job on beds, but not much else.
In the end, given this experience, I don't think we will book with AirTransat, Melia, or Tripcentral (which recommended Melia and said it was the best), in the future because we were so disappointed with the family room and activities offered.