Here's our main criteria for an ideal 4 or 5 star:
Lots of greenery (lush grounds vs. too much concrete)
A decent amount of palapas
Night life and swim-up bars aren't important because we travel with our 10 y/o and 12 y/o.
We've been to the Melia twice. First trip was great, second was very disappointing due to poor service all week long. Don't think you could beat the Melia, though, for big pools and stunning rounds.
Been to the Riu Taino and liked it but we're not crazy about the assigned buffet dinner seatings.
Went to the Iberostar Punta Cana last year and we'd rank it #1 of the six places we've stayed in the DR.
This year we spent two weeks at the Bahia Principe Punta Cana and it's too big and busy for us -- and too much concrete.
Can anyone suggest some possibilities in Punta Cana for next year?