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“Stay at Sol Melia Vacation Club, and read this review!!!!”

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Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Rio Grande
Alexandria, VA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Stay at Sol Melia Vacation Club, and read this review!!!!”
Reviewed May 9, 2010

Here is what you need to know about this resort in order to have a great time in Puerto Rico:

1. You may be thinking "Where the heck is it?!" Before I went, my wife and I couldn't find an actual address for it, or figure out exactly where it was from Google maps. Ignore the Gran Melia website and where Google thinks the resort is, use this map instead (with good directions from SJU airport): http://tinyurl.com/3xesn39. Gran Melia and Sol Melia (the vacation club) are right next to each other. As you are following these directions, you will see a pretty big Gran Melia billboard on the right hand side of the road before the exit to the left. You'll also see a "Super Gigante" supermarket on the right just before the turn, and there is a bakery on the corner that has some great desserts.

2. Before you go, pick up "Puerto Rico day by day," a book from Frommer's. This has an excellent overview of many of the awesome things you can do in Puerto Rico, and some pretty good maps for getting around, especially in Old San Juan.

3. If you're going to stay at this resort, you will need a rental car to get around. DON'T BOTHER GETTING THE RENTAL CAR FROM THE RESORT, instead reserve a car online and pick it up from the airport when you get in. I used Budget rent-a-car, and regretted it. On the one hand, we knew ahead of time that things move more slowly in Puerto Rico, so I was ready to wait in some lines, but on the other hand my wife and I waited for quite a while for the shuttle from the airport (which picks you up just outside from the baggage claim area) to take us to the rental place, and then we waited OVER AN HOUR AND A HALF while one person behind the counter (very slowly) helped all of the people in front of us. Also, they never answer their phones. Get a rental car, but avoid Budget. Other tips for the rental car:
a. Don't assume that your TOM TOM GPS will work here in Puerto Rico. I brought mine and it was useless everywhere except near the coast. I ended up using my iPhone for directions everywhere, which worked pretty well (I had a great signal almost everwhere we went). If you don't have an iPhone, it's worth paying for the GPS addition to your rental car.
b. I consider myself VERY LUCKY to have not gotten into a car accident in Puerto Rico...those people do not drive safely AT ALL. Nearly every vehicle you see has damage from car accidents. I saw one guy driving backwards the wrong way on the freeway at about 40 mph to get back to an off-ramp that he had missed. No one uses blinkers. If you get a rental car and you don't buy the extra insurance so that you are completely free of liability in the event of an accident, you are nuts!
c. Budget rentals (and probably all of the others) come with an easypass sticker in the window so that you can breeze through toll booths. Traffic moves pretty fast through the toll booths, I recommend just bringing a bunch of quarters and dollar bills with you and not even using the easypass (you get charged per day that you use it AND per use...not worth it).
d. When you inspect the car upon pickup, make sure to mark EVERY LITTLE SCRATCH. I didn't have any accidents, but if I did I would have been very glad that I was meticulous during my inspection.
e. If you have USAA insurance, go through the USAA website to rent your car...you get certain perks, like unlimited mileage.

4. Gran Melia vs. Sol Melia - Stay at the Sol Melia Vacation Club, not the Gran Melia Resort. Why? Because at Gran Melia you don't get a kitchenette, and they actually prevent you from bringing outside food into your room, so you are forced to either travel to eat, or pay lots of money for their not-so-good food (so I heard...we didn't actually try it). Also, people who stay at Gran Melia have to have $16/day to park their cars, but Sol Melia people park for free. Also, you get access to some ammenities (VIP room, etc) that Gran Melia people don't. So save a lot of money on this stuff by staying at Sol Melia.

5. People complain about the beach here, that it's too rocky and what-not. In truth, it's not the "white sandy" beach that you see on Caribbean postcards, and you won't swim in the water here, but if you want to hang out on beach chairs as the sun sets in a tropical setting, this is the place. If you get a rental car, it's not much of a drive to the post card beaches.

6. Things you must do while you're here:
a. BIO BAY TOUR. I highly recommend the tour to Mosquito Bay in Vieques...yes it's a bit of a trek, and yes it's a little expensive, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Here is the website for the company we used, which was awesome http://eastwindcats.com/. In one evening you'll take a catamaran to Vieques, a taxi (van) to a restaurant, eat good Puerto Rican food, a VERY BUMPY bus ride to the bio bay, a pontoon to the middle of the bay, you swim in the water (AWESOME, but be aware that it is the ocean..one girl got stung by a jellyfish, no big deal), and then they take you back. They have a military discount of 10%
b. Visit Old San Juan
c. Visit El Junque
d. Take a drive down the eastern side of the island down route 3, stopping at beautiful beaches that you see along the way. Go all the way down to Yabucoa and see some of the Colonial architecture there. Plan on getting lost, because the streets are a little difficult to navigate in Yabucoa. Then, if you are a good driver, purchased the top-notch rental insurance, and are not weak-hearted, drive back north through the rainforest on PR-191...ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Twisted roads, and some of the steepest driveways in existence. Again, people drive crazy, so you'll have to be very careful.

I highly recommend a Puerto Rico Vacation, and I highly recommend Gran Melia (but moreso Sol Melia)

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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15 Thank GabeTravel_2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 7, 2010

My Family and I had a wonderful time at the hotel. We stayes at the Royal Service Ocean Front Junior Suites with whirlpool. It is diffently worth the upgrade, you get private check in and check out. The service was excellent. I would recommend this hotel to anyone that I know.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
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1 Thank frny1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterbury, Connecticut
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 4, 2010

We recently stayed for our honeymoon, our busy itinerary dwindled to nothing, we quickly found that all of the rest and relaxation we desired could be found within the confines of this amazing property. The list of possible actvities and dining opportunities near the resort are endless, but we preferred the amazing service and cordial staff over traveling from the resort. We had an oceanfront suite w/ royal service and our butler certainly made us feel as such. Highly recommend, we are purchasing a Gran Melia vacation package and look froward to frequenting this and other Gran Melia resorts worldwide.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank arroyom28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Ma
Level Contributor
49 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2010

Overall if you don't get easily annoyed you'd do fine here, beautiful landscaping and pool, terrific golf course nearby.
Car rental: the resort charges $71 per person for roundtrip from/to the airport so if you get out of this fairly secluded area at least once it is cost efficient to rent a car. They have Avis rental on-site, however, if you rent from Avis at the airport then they still do not charge you $15 per day for parking. We did not even take tickets, the guys at the security simply noted 'Avis rental' sticker and waved us through.

Check-in: pleasant and efficient but however we did not get continental breakfast included as expected upon booking which looked like a problem of the agency that booked us. My husband had to phone our travel agency twice to straighten it out.
Continental breakfast was decent, plus you have no choice unless you drive somewhere for breakfast.
I thought we would quickly upgrade to full breakfast but somehow we did not need to. Only one waiter offered our son chocolate milk; it was not obvious in the beginning they had it.

We went during school vacation week for Mass. , RI and parts of CT. However, kids club which is really a playground area is currently being remodeled. Mellon games advertised in the flyer repeatedly got canceled and the kids got explained that "mellons were needed for the meals". Nothing to replace the games with, no organized activities for kids whatsoever. The hut gave the volleyball to use at the pool and the kids could play on their own. Staff at the hut is very friendly though.

For adults there were 10:30am stretching/yoga/zumba classes. Every night there was a band to listen to.

At the Italian restaurant the concept of serving families with kids quickly is unknown and that was at the time when they had plenty of empty tables. Waiter had limited English. We had a lot better experience in "Pasion" by Chef Myrta. We had 7 people at the dinner and not one complaint.

I do not claim to know the definition of the five star hotel and little details might be a norm in other places. The room had no bottle opener, however, the hosekeeping did get us one after a phone call. Housekeeping happened at the random hour, however, when we came to the room that was not cleaned and phoned it was always cleaned later.
I was slightly annoyed by the cards they gave us to exchange for the towels at the hut by the pool: upon check-in they said guests are charged $35 for missing cards.
So people need to keep track of the towels and not simply leave them at the pool at the end of the day.
However, unattended towels did get collected late in the day so this must have inconveniencecd some guests.
We came to relax by the pool and thinking of returning towels seemed silly.
I doubt someone would quietly accept $35 charge, however, so not sure it's serious.

Lastly concierge service was quite good to compare to other places we have been, they had printouts of all the trips we intended and were prepared to phone to make reservations.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank lenusik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2010

We have a business convention every two years and this year was at the Gran Melia Golf Resort in Puerto Rico. What a beautiful resort, the views are fantastic, right on the water, footsteps to the beach. The location was perfect, the rooms are very high quality, they look just as the website shows, they are quiet rooms, you get a peaceful rest, the price is right on, and the service is outstanding. I felt like I came to know the people that worked there, they became like friends. I highly recommend this resort to any person traveling to Puerto Rico. I've traveled all around the United States on business and pleasure and this resort is a class act worth seeing!! It's definitely an A++ resort.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jazzy72003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heber City, Utah
2 reviews
Reviewed April 29, 2010

The property was breath taking. the staff members were always accomidating and friendly. This by far is the best resort we have ever stayed at. There was pleanty of activities to do not only at the resort but the resort had the means to get you any place in Puerto Rico you wanted to go. I will defenately stay there again.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MoniciaEchols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Provincetown
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 26, 2010

Gran Melia was beautiful, luxurious and fun. The staff was excellent, especially Richard at the Royal Services pool, Luisa at Royal Services. The bartenders Louis, Freddy mix great drinks. Angel and Jamina Alvarez made moving in and booking transport easy. Everyone was gracious. I would highly recommend this resort if you want to get away and just relax.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank gdq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico

Property: Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico
Address: 200 Coco Beach Blvd. | Highway 955-I, Rio Grande 00745, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Rio Grande
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Rio Grande
#3 Spa Hotel in Rio Grande
#3 Luxury Hotel in Rio Grande
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Rio Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico 4*
Number of rooms: 486
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With an idyllic location on Puerto Rico's northeastern coast in Coco Beach, Rio Grande, Gran Melia Puerto Rico brings the privacy and exclusivity you deserve and allows you the opportunity to escape from the rest of the world. From the moment you step inside this tropical oasis, you will be enveloped by the beauty and grandeur of Gran Melia Puerto Rico. Boasting a world-class YHI spa, the nearby Trump International Golf Club and the best pool on the island with four integrated whirlpools, Gran Melia Puerto Rico is the place to live the true resort experience in Puerto Rico. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico Hotel Rio Grande
Gran Melia Rio Grande
Sol Melia Rio Grande
Paradisus Puerto Rico
Gran Melia Golf Resort Puerto Rico Rio Grande

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