I stayed here for 3 nights in April 2012 with my husband. Just some background - we stayed at the Gran Melia for my husband's annual incentive trip, so the entire stay was free of charge. We have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and have stayed at many different resorts, typically RIUs. This was our second time to Puerto Rico - the first time staying at the El Conquistador.
Check-in/Rooms: The hotel set-up a group check-in in the ballroom for the 800+ people who would be arriving as part of the incentive trip. It was a breeze, we received our room key and a bellman was immediately available to escort us to our room with our luggage. Our room was 1508. We opened the door to find two double beds. We were not told this when we received our room key and they knew we were traveling as husband/wife. We called the front desk. We first received voicemail and then was transferred and hung-up on. After the third attempt, someone told us they would call with a king room was available. After waiting about 30 minutes, we walked down to the group check-in area and was told that there were no king beds left in the entire resort. Sorry but there was nothing they could do.
The room was on the second floor. It did not smell musty or moldy at all. The room had no view - we looked down on the sidewalk and the maintenance hut/ice machine. The furniture was old and showing signs of wear (scratches, stains, etc.) but I was happy that the linens were 100% crisp, clean and relatively soft. The beds were very comfortable. However, the room felt dirty. The crown molding along the floor in the bathroom had about an inch or more of dust/dirt - the shower curtain had mold spots on it - there was a piece of trash that stayed near the couch our entire stay. It felt surface cleaned, but never deep cleaned.
Food: The staff at the pool bar/grill is very unhappy for some reason. We noticed this our entire stay. They looked miserable and never smiled or engaged/interacted with the guests. We tried to strike up a conversation, only to be ignored. The grill is way too small to accommodate all of the pool guests so they were running around like crazy. Our drinks took about 10 minutes and our waiter forgot our order and then gave us attitude when we asked (after about 30 minutes) if our order was close to being ready.
In the mornings, a breakfast buffet was set up for the group. The food was ice cold, the eggs were made from powder, etc. The only thing descent were the made-to-order omelets but some of the folks making the omelets looked like they had never made an omelet in their life... it was the running joke about what kind of "scramble" you might receive that morning. Sometimes burnt - sometimes the eggs were runny - etc.
During the evenings, we had planned company dinners. One night, the food was fabulous - lobster tail and seafood! The night of the company's award banquet, the food was inedible. A tiny steak, which was ice cold, and asparagus that was raw. Service was still an issue at the banquet - we were supposed to have wine with dinner, but getting a waiter to bring it to you was impossible - do had to get up and go to the bar during the presentation. Also, the lights in the banquet facility went off about 5 times during the event - not sure why, but was not weather related. Folks also complained that the bathrooms were not clean and overflowing.
Grounds: I loved the lobby area, especially at night. There are candles everywhere, incense burning and it was very pretty and romantic. I think the lobby and the lobby bathrooms are the best thing about the entire resort! The pool is ok - nothing great compared to other resorts we've stayed. The beach is pretty awful. We tried to sit down at the beach and were covered with swarms of nats and flies.
Throughout the resort, there was a lot of trash laying around from where guests had drinks, etc. and no one came by to pick it up. We saw a lot of outdoor lawn maintenance going on, but never saw anyone cleaning the common areas.
Also, hope you like "house" music. In the lobby and around the pool, there is a DJ blaring music from about noon on. I didn't mind this at the pool, but in the lobby area, it was hard to relax in the beautiful cabanas because of the constant pounding of the music.
Casino: There is none. They closed it two months ago and we were told that it was robbed.
Conclusion: We had extended our trip by one night after the "work" portion of the trip and was planning on paying out of pocket for the full resort rate (which is crazy high). We cancelled our reservation for the night, hopped in a cab and stayed at the El Conquistador for the same price. At least there, you get nice decor, beautiful views and a real beach with activities. We were so happy to be leaving the resort.
I feel bad writing this review, as there were many nice employees at the Gran Melia who truly wanted us to have a good time. However, they were in the minority.
We were told by a local that the hotel is in severe financial distress and had laid off a large number of employees a few months back. Many fear the property is going to close all together. As well, we also found out that 3 employees were fired during our stay for stealing guest's electronics out of their room.
I would not return to this resort and would not recommend it based on my experience. Feel free to email me with questions.
- 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