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kdqe44 Oct 12th, 2007 06:26 AM

Narrowed it down to Puerto Rico with kids...
Thanks to all who helped with my last post requesting ideas where to take our two young kids in January. I think the reality of needing a direct flight weighed heavily with my thoughts of visiting somewhere remote.

So, I think we will go to PR. Any thoughts on where to stay? A pool and nice beach (pool/beach bar would be nice, too) are definites. We will be renting a car to explore the rainforest and caves, etc.

Has anyone stayed at the Gran Meliá? Any other thoughts? I'd like to keep the per night lodging under $400. Thanks!

doug_stallings Oct 12th, 2007 06:46 AM

I'd choose the Wyndham Rio Mar or El Conquistador over the Gran Melia if you can get a rate under $400 (unlikely for January). The Gran Melia is a newer resort, however. Also be aware that one of the big resorts charges for parking unless you rent a car from their on-site car-rental agency (I think it's El Conquistador). I find that particularly annoying for a big resort.

lovethecape Oct 12th, 2007 09:20 AM

I'm always getting E-Mails for reasonably priced rooms at El Conquistador and The Rio Mar. I checked and they have the Rio Mar up for bid. I have never bid but others on this board have and have been pleased. Read carefully and note that the cost starts at $107 (high season surcharge and taxes) per night but the current bid for a room is about $35 per night.

I think you should be able to find a nice resort for under $400 per night.

lovethecape Oct 12th, 2007 09:27 AM

Here is a 7 night package for the Wyndham Rio Mar:

kdqe44 Oct 12th, 2007 09:45 AM

lovethecape; thanks for the sky auction suggestion. I've used them before but I'm curious if the resort fee will be added on to this as well? I would think it would be noted. I also wonder if the $60 per extra person applies to children. This would start me at $227 prior to the bid. This is still a good deal. I tried calling skyauction with no luck (I've had horrible customer service w/them in the past). I also called the resort and they would need the certificate # to tell me what is included. I can't get the # until I win the auction. I think its still worth the chance...

lovethecape Oct 12th, 2007 02:11 PM

kfge44 - The Rio Mar seems to be on the auction on a regular basis so you might want to watch and see what this bid goes for. Good catch on the $120 extra for 2 extra persons. I think this would apply to the children - but I'm not sure. I assume you plan to call the resort directly first to get their rate and check on-line. I have heard that you can sometimes get a better rate at resorts if you call directly. The 7 day package seemed to come in under $400 and included breakfast which tends to be a buffet at resorts and pricey.

The drive to Rio Mar is pretty straight forward if you drive from the airport. We saw the sign on the way to El Conquistador. I hear traffic can be crazy and was when we tried to drive out of Old San Juan during rush hour but if there is little traffic, the drive to the resort should be under 45 minutes. It's not a particularly pretty drive with KFC's and strip malls along the highway. I think there is a Walmart if you forget something.

Since you like to explore and are looking for something off the beaten path, you might try a day trip to Culebra or Vieques. The beaches are supposed to be beautiful and there is a ferry from Farjado that is not far from the Rio Mar. I wish we made the time to do so.

If you want to research resorts or hotel, you can check if you have not already done so. I used the forum on tripadvisor to plan our trips with our children (then ages 12 and 8) several years ago.

Finally, if you do stay at the Wyndham, join their Wyndham by request program. You might get a free room upgrade or a welcome basket upon arrival. That was the deal 2 years ago. Also, ask reservation if there is a special rate for Wyndham by request members.

Hope this helps. Have fun planning your trip.

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