The Melia Caribe Tropical in the Dominican Republic boasts a fantastic location on an idyllic stretch of beach, breathtaking grounds, and an enormous facility with diverse amenities. But since I’m all about keeping it real when it comes to my reviews, I have to say that the Melia had its flaws too. Here’s the breakdown of what our family found to be the resort’s pros and cons:
- The resort is GORGEOUS! Tropical flowers in abundance. Nice stretch of beach with pink sand. There were even resident peacocks that were bold enough to walk by your table at breakfast.
- The Dominican Republic is an incredible island. And as a bonus, with the native language being Spanish, my kids got to practice what they’ve been learning in school.
- Watersports and beach activities. Grab a kayak, sailboat or stand up paddle board and hit the ocean! Additionally, volleyball, soccer, and parasailing are all available. The beach is definitely to hot spot for the resort. But rest assured that if you need a little siesta after your activities, there are ample lounge chairs, chaises and even day beds available.
- Pool and swim up bar. Despite the gorgeous beach, my kids’ favorite location was the main pool. A highlight of our experience: having a coconut cracked open by a machete-so cool!
- Excursions were some of the best we’ve ever done. You can read my reviews of Dophin Explorer, Catalina Island catamaran tour, and horseback riding at Bavaro Beach. Although these are not part of the resort, they are all coordinated by travel representatives at the resort. So kudos to the Melia for offering these!
- Size. The resort is just too dang big. To get from the beach area to the restaurants, you either had to catch the train which circulated every 20 minutes or hope you could snag a passing by golf cart. Otherwise, you were hoofing it and it took about 15-20 minutes to walk. Not so bad maybe once a day but try doing that several times. Not so much.
- Service. The staff was spotty. Some employees were AMAZING. Others-not so much. Considering our other all-inclusive experiences (ahem, Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa), we expected more.
- Food. The buffets especially were very European geared, so it wasn’t your standard fare. Example: salad bar contained lots of antipasti, cheese, olives, and little lettuce, condiments, or dressings. The restaurants were organized by cuisine style and although diverse offerings (Italian, American, French, Mexican, Thai, and Dominican cuisine), sometimes less is more. Another annoyance is that 2 of the restaurants at this ALL-INCLUSIVE resort were NOT included: Hokkaido, the hibachi grill/sushi, and Steak & Lobster which offered, you guessed it, surf and turf. The biggest miss: Hacienda (Mexican) which seemed promising at first with a wonderful mariachi band, but our server couldn’t have been less attentive and the food substandard.
- Entertainment/kids’ activities. For a resort this size, I would have thought they would have a kids’ club or more activities. Not so much. Except for the one evening show where we caught the performers on stilts, the rest of the shows were just MEH.
- Price. Considering the airline tickets and all-inclusive rate, it wasn’t a bad deal. But for a garden view room that we fortunately got upgraded to the beach, we paid too much. And when you also factor in that excursions were almost essential due to lack of diverse activities for the kids, we spent A LOT for a 5 night vacation.
So while I can so we wholeheartedly had a fantastic trip, our resort was not the highlight, more like a sidelight. Don’t get me wrong, the Melia Caribe Tropical is not too shabby at all, but our family is spoiled and accustomed to a certain standard. So for that reason, we wouldn’t go back. My recommendation: check Trip Advisor and get recommendations from people that have been to the Dominican Republic before deciding on your resort of choice.