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Quick Q Re: The Gran Melia Golf Resort in PR

Old Jan 6th, 2011, 09:43 AM
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Quick Q Re: The Gran Melia Golf Resort in PR

Hi All - Trying to take a quick 3-day hop within the next couple of weeks out of snowy, cold NYC and found a really good deal on this hotel in PR (and also insanely low airfare). Had a look at Trip Advisor and the reviews seem pretty much ok though it does seem to be quite far from the airport so we've rented a car. Any thoughts/comments on the property?
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 11:51 AM
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Hi, we are planning to stay there in March pre-cruise, can you tell me where you found a good deal? From everything I have read, it is worth it to upgrade to Royal Service when you get there. Most complaints seem centered around how far it is from everything and how expensive the food is but since you have rented a car you will be able to go to nearby restaurants. Please post a trip report when you return!
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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Will do. What, exactly, is the Royal Service? The sole purpose of this trip is simply to have a very brief de-stress from work so I don't know if I really care about spending extra money on these types of upgrades. We found a great deal right on their website as well as Orbitz - the Orbitz deal was slightly better so we jumped on that. We going in 3 weeks.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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That should be we "are" going in...
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 08:32 AM
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Anyone else??
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 09:25 AM
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Sorry, I missed your email question for a few days -- most reviews say that the royal service upgrade is worth it -- includes breakfast, separate check-in/out, a free happy hour, access to the adults-only pool with the Bali beds, and jr suite oceanfront accomodations with a jacuzzi tub on the balcony of your room. Even if you purchased your room on Orbitz I believe they will offer you the upgrade at an additional cost when you check in.
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Old Jan 18th, 2011, 10:23 AM
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Thanks very much for your reply Allison!
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Old Jan 18th, 2011, 11:59 AM
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michellenyc,

We stayed at The Wyndham Rio del Mar last year, which isn't too far from The Gran Melia, and one night, on a return trip from a restaurant called RITCHIE's, we shared a van with guests who were staying there. I hate to report this, but none of them had good things to say. They complained that the beach was very small and narrow, and that the golf facilities were not- pun intended, I guess- up to par. Just so you know, we weren't that thrilled with The Wyndham, either. Both of these resorts overcharge for mediocre food and drink, and are fairly isolated. We had a car and wound up going to the shacks at Loquillo (spelling??) many nights, which was great, but if I were planning this trip again, I'd head straight for San Juan.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 03:37 AM
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Frankly, I have never seen two properties get so many mixed reviews as the Wyndham Rio Mar and Gran Melia! I have been watching them for months for a three day pre-cruise stay in March and one review will be glowing, the next will absolutely trash the place. Although most complaints do seem to center around how far the resorts are from everything and how expensive the good is. I'm not thrilled with the choice of either place, but don't want to stay at the El Conquistador and take a boat to the beach, so for golf I'm stuck with these two choices. Renting a car seems to solve many of the issues and the Royal Service rooms at the Gran Melia just seemed much more special (hot tub on the balcony, etc.) than the rooms at the Wyndham which seemed blah! Let me know how you liked the Gran Melia and I hope you have a good experience. P.S. The golf course should be much improved as they are having a big tournament there in March.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 09:52 AM
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allisonjames,

We were in oceanfront rooms at The Wyndham, and you're right. They were blah. But from what I've heard, the beach at the Wyndham Rio Del Mar is way better( and believe me, I've seen much better in other islands) than the narrow strip at the Gran Melia, so if that's important to you, you might want to rethink it.

Try to get out at least a few of the nights and eat at the shacks at Loquillo. We especially liked LA PARILLA, although be prepared to wait. I don't think they take reservations! Many of these tiny restaurants are also open for lunch.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 11:34 AM
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Thanks to you both. Honestly, if we wanted St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton, we would have booked that. This was simply an impulse trip to get away from the snow and cold at a really (seriously)incredibly cheap price (hopefully I won't be invoking "you get what you pay for" often, if ever... fingers crossed). Seems like Royal Service upgrade might be in order. And agree with Allison -- I've never really seen such mixed reviews for a hotel! Was reading about the little kioskos in Luquillo and they sound fantastic - laid back and easy-going is what this trip is all about.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 11:36 AM
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P.S. We've rented a car and are planning on a drive to Old STJ as well as Fajardo. Any thoughts on Fajardo?
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 01:24 PM
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Thanks, Weadles, I know the beach is not great, from there we are going on a cruise so will experience much better beaches then, so I am not too concerned. What I don't want is to be stuck at a place overrun with kids (we're leaving our teenagers at home) that's why the Royal Service aspect of Gran Melia appeals as it includes access to the adults only pool. And for the price of the Wyndham oceanfront rooms we can have the GM oceanfront jr suites/royal service with breakfast and complimentary happy hour and bali beds at the adult pool so that seems like the way to go. And yes, we'll definitely eat off property, any other restaurant suggestions than the ones at Luquillo? Thanks.
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 04:04 AM
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I know there are plenty of other places, but we only tried RITCHIE'S. The seafood was very good, the view was excellent, but it is a fairly expensive restaurant. They used to provide roundtrip transfers between Gran Melia/Rio Del Mar and back, but I don't know if that's still true. Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 01:21 PM
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Thanks, I don't mind the expense if the food and view are good! Just don't want to pay a lot for a bad meal (as reports regarding Gran Melia dining seem to indicate). We'll try it!
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 05:17 PM
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The food at the kiosks in Luquillo was generally better than anything we ate at RITCHIE'S. It was really the view that got us there twice. That, and the owner, Ritchie himself, who was dancing one night at the bar!
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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Just back from this hotel... ugh -- what a mess. Here is my review from TripAdvisor: "I must say that we found a very inexpensive price for this hotel at the last minute but, unfortunately, as was the case here, you really get what you pay for. This property has so much potential as it really is quite nice. "Beach" is terrible though. From the excruciatingly slow check-in process to the loud DJ and plastic cups at the interior bar, things really start to fall apart. It certainly didn't help that the room had an overwhelming mold/musty smell. No matter how long you left the balcony door open, the smell would not dissipate. One of the most pathetic and down-market requirements is that you wear a plastic bracelet denoting your guest status. Are you serious? This practice must be done away with. We only ate on-site one night which was at the Pasion restaurant and the food was quite good. Every other night (we were only there three nights) food was had elsewhere. Location is not good -- you really need to drive to find decent eateries (there's nothing on Route 3) unless you want to hit the kiosks in Luquillo repeatedly which I can see can get quite old quite soon. Again, we didn't pay much for this place nor would I. I very strongly recommend seeking accomodation elsewhere until they can get their act together here. The only upside I can report is the nice weather -- good to get away from snow and freezing cold and enjoy 85 degree warmth."

Allison -- Cancel and re-book elsewhere if you can. We couldn't wait to leave.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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micihelleNYC,

Sorry to hear about your experience, but I'm not very surprised. At least you were away from this horrible weather!!
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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a plastic bracelet? oh the horror.

So the negatives are:

Beach is "terrible." It would be helpful to know why you think it was terrible. Big waves but you like gentle currents? Brown sand but you like white? Too rocky?

"Excruciatingly" slow check in process - how long did it take you to check in?

Loud DJ - okay, that would be a negative for some, a positive for others

Plastic cups at the bar - I wouldn't like that either

Mold/musty smell - this is the tropics. it is quite difficult to get rid of the smell completely.

Location is not good. The fact that it is an isolated resort shouldn't come as a surprise if any research was done.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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Thanks Weadles. I honestly could not understand the intensity of the moldy smell in the room! When we asked to be moved, they told us they were booked solid so... sorry, no other rooms available. We also tried to do the upgrade at check-in and were told that they would not be able to accomodate us. Oh well. Plus, it seems that their target market is to massive tour groups which created chaos at check-out. We spent the day on the other side of the island in the area of Isabela and it was beautiful. Next time, we're heading out there and staying in that location.
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