Jhon and I stayed in the Meliá Caribe Beach resort in Punta Cana two weeks ago. This trip was special to us since it was the first time Jhon’s mother stayed in an all-inclusive but did the size of this hotel work for it or against it?
Right next door to the Caribe Beach, you’ll find the Meliá Punta Cana Beach, an adults-only resort geared towards wellness. Both resorts used to be one, called Melia Caribe Tropical, before transforming into two distinct properties.
Guests of both Caribe Beach and Punta Cana Beach, ages 18 and older, can come and go between the two properties, but we couldn’t go to the adults-only side since we were traveling with kids. All the pictures in this article are only of the Meliá Caribe Beach.
We arrived at the hotel at 11 AM, and after having some trouble finding parking, we headed to the front desk for check-in. While the person assisting us was very helpful and diligent, the check-in process took longer than usual, even though we had pre-checked in through the Meliá app.
They gave us a pretty tasty welcome drink which took our minds off the fact that check-in took so long.
We went to the Olivos lobby bar for more cocktails to keep the ball rolling. Here I did my Piña Colada taste test, which got an A+. The rest of the drinks were also tasty, which was a good start for our stay.
Based on our experience of staying in more than 16 Punta Cana resorts, we knew it best to make our restaurant reservation as soon as possible, so we headed down to guest service near the beach.
All restaurants at Meliá Caribe Beach require reservations. We had decided on the Mexican restaurant based on its menu, but there was no availability.
The woman in guest service was very proactive and placed us on standby; she told us to return at 2 PM to see if she could get us in.
While we waited for the rest of our family to join us for lunch, Jhon ordered a mimosa at Tartufo Bar, which was delicious. So far, the drinks game of the Caribe Beach was on point.
We had lunch at Tartufo, the smaller of two buffet restaurants open for lunch. Tartufo is by the beach, and the view from here is stunning. At night, Tartufo becomes Tartufo Trattoria, the Italian restaurant.
There was good food variety even though it was a small buffet, and the taste was also good. We all noticed that the seat-to-table height ratio was off in the booths. Either the table was too tall, or the seat was too low; we felt like little kids eating at the grownup’s table, which wasn’t comfortable.
To rest after lunch, we headed to the beach. The beach was gorgeous; perfect weather, beautiful water, and plenty of lounge chairs and huts for shade. Even though there was no seaweed, the hotel has seaweed barriers all along their beach segment in preparation for seaweed season.
In the early morning, you could see tractor tracks in the sand, indicating they are keeping on top of seaweed cleanup.
An inflatable obstacle course on the beach looked like a lot of fun, but an extra fee applies to enjoy this attraction. The cost is $12 for 30 minutes and $20 for 1 hour.
Exploring the Resort
When we arrive at a new resort, we like to explore early on to get a sense of where everything is, and that is just what we did next.
This was when we realized that the Meliá Caribe Beach is big. It is big perpendicular to the beach, which can be the wrong kind of big.
Going from the lobby building to the pool and beach requires a lot of walking, and there being nothing other than room buildings between these places makes this walk very uninteresting.
A couple of trains can take you around the resort, but they need more carts to carry more people. During our stay, we only rode the train once because they took so long to pass by the stations, and when they did, they were always full.
This resort is not as big as the Lopesan or the Barceló Bavaro Palace, but walking around was more uncomfortable than at these more extensive hotels.
The spa looked and smelled amazing. The YHI spa, which according to Meliá, has been designed to offer you a complete wellness experience where the balance of body and mind is a priority, was the most complete spa we’ve seen in Punta Cana.
Right next to the spa is the gym. We didn’t use it during our stay but noticed it’s well-equipped for cardio and less for workouts with weights.
We returned to guest service and good news! We got a reservation for the Mexican restaurant, albeit at 9 PM.
Our first Hiccup
At 4 PM, we went to the lobby to get our room. Three out of four rooms were ready, but our sister’s was not. One hour after the official check-in time, there was no excuse for her room not being ready. Our sister is feisty, and after complaining, they gave her another room, which should have been the first course of action by the hotel.
Our room was just a short distance from the lobby, but some were by the water park, which is quite far away. We waited for the train but, after a while, decided to walk.
This again laid bare the deficiency of the train system and how difficult it was to move around due to the size and distribution of the hotel.
Our room was in building 37, and we recommend you try getting a room in the section closer to the beach to avoid having to walk so much during your stay.
When we got to our room, there was a portable bed right outside, which was unsightly. It stayed there for our whole stay.
We booked a Deluxe Room and paid $179 + 3,900 Meliá Reward points for the two of us for one night. The room was big, with ample living space, it was spotless, but it felt dated and somewhat worn down.
The bedroom area had a comfortable king-sized bed with a dresser/workstation that enclosed the minibar.
The minibar consisted of four mini cans of Coors Light beer, five water bottles, and four soda bottles which we found to be adequate for the price.
On top of the dresser, you’ll find a coffee station and a TV. The TV was old-fashioned and too small. The remote didn’t work; we called the front desk for a replacement, but they never came. The picture quality could have been better.
Next to the TV is a bench for your luggage.
The seating area had a two seats sofabed which, for some reason, was open. We believe there was some confusion because we booked two rooms under our name for four people. The sofa didn’t look very clean.
The closet had many hangers, two bathrobes and slippers, an iron with an ironing board, an umbrella, and a quite dated safe. To work the safe, you needed your room key; we didn’t trust it, so it was a good thing we packed our portable safe to keep our valuables safe.
The bathroom is separated from the rest of the room by a door for ultimate privacy. It has a single vanity, a toilet, a bidet, and an oversized shower with a full door and a rain shower head; Complete toiletries and plenty of towels. The bathroom area also looked dated.
A Nice Touch
They left us a bottle of wine and a handwritten welcome note because we are gold-level members at Melía, which was a nice touch.
Our room also had a small balcony with a two-seat exterior sofa and a coffee table. This was the view of the gardens from room 3718 in building 37.
The Main Pool
After leaving our luggage in the room, we headed to the big pool near the beach.
I ordered another piña colada and Jhon a passion fruit margarita at the pool bar, none of which were good. Usually, pool bars have lower-quality drinks than full-fledged bars in Punta Cana resorts.
This is the main pool of the Caribe Beach; it was big and busy. Some in our group headed to the beach food truck for hamburgers, they were ok, but one of us found a long hair inside a burger. The same happened at the water park snack bar.
Even though our dinner reservation was at nine, we decided to eat something at the buffet earlier that night. The only buffet restaurant open for dinner is Merkado. It is the largest buffet with a better variety of food and cuisines.
After having something to eat at the buffet, we headed to La Hacienda, the Mexican restaurant. While we waited for our table, we had a drink at Shaker Bar, right outside La Hacienda.
A DJ was playing good music which, together with the pink lights, created a lively atmosphere.
La Hacienda is one of six specialty restaurants at Meliá Caribe Beach. Bazaar is the American Grill; Alma the Spanish restaurant; Capri the Mediterranean restaurant; Tartufo Trattoria the Italian; and Hokkaido is the Teppanyaki restaurant.
Hokkaido is the only one on this list not included in the hotel fare. It costs $59 per person to dine here.
La Hacienda is a cute restaurant. It is very well-decorated, and the staff is very friendly. There is a small buffet where you can grab your appetizers and order your main and dessert from the waitperson.
They took a while to take our order, and since our reservation was so late and we ate at the buffet beforehand, we only had appetizers and some desserts. The churros with ice cream were delicious.
One of the drawbacks of having a late dinner at Punta Cana resorts is that you’ll most likely miss the night show, as was the case for us.
The night show was from 9 to 9:45, and it was over by the time we got to the theater. After the night show, the theater/movie theater becomes the disco.
There was a DJ playing music with disco lights. It looked fun, but at around 10 o’clock, it looked more like family fun instead of a nightclub.
We then went to have a look at the casino. The Melia Caribe Beach has one of the biggest casinos we’ve seen in a Punta Cana hotel, the Palma Real Casino.
Afterward, we called it a night. We had a great night of sleep. The bed was firm but comfortable; the AC worked great, and the blackout curtains blocked the light perfectly.
The Next Morning
The following morning, while we waited for the rest of our group to join us for breakfast, we wandered around the resort.
Near the waterpark, we stumbled upon the Bootcamp, a military-style obstacle course that could’ve been in better condition.
Outside the Tartufo restaurant is a small square pool. The lounge chairs in this area were fancier than those at the main pool. From here, you could see the beach glistening with the morning sunlight.
We decided to have breakfast at the bigger Merkado buffet. There was a lot of variety and, hands down, the best meal we had during our stay.
In the morning, the Merkado restaurant looked beautiful, making us realize that this section of the Caribe Beach has a totally different feel than the rest of the hotel. It looks and feels like another more modern hotel altogether.
After breakfast, we headed down to the Splash Island waterpark, without a doubt, our favorite amenity in the resort.
The waterpark has two shallow pools for little kids and a deeper pool for older kids and adults. This pool has water slides and waterfalls and is a lot of fun.
The falls were not extreme, but they entertained adults and kids in our group for hours. Jhon’s mother had a blast sliding down the slides and seeing the childlike smile on her face made the whole trip worth it.
This area has a dedicated snack bar, the O’Grille Snack, which makes spending more time enjoying the waterpark easier.
They only serve soft drinks and beer and offer snacks like burgers, hot dogs, nachos, fried chicken, and soft-serve ice cream. This attraction is open from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Now let’s give it an actual rated score.
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Click here to see where we rank the Meliá Caribe Beach in our Punta Cana resort rankings.
Click here to see our YouTube video tour of the Melia Caribe Beach facilities.