The Gran Meliá Golf Resort in Puerto Rico was our stop on a week-long vacation for our family of two. This is our experience staying seven days at the Gran Meliá Golf Resort.
I received no compensation for this review.
The Gran Meliá Resort is in Rio Grande, about 30 minutes by car from the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport near San Juan. You can rent a car at the airport, take a taxi or schedule a hotel transport. We rented a car with Alamo car rental company so we could freely travel around the island. Puerto Rico is notorious for unreliable service from Google Maps, and sure enough, I couldn’t bring the resort up on my iPhone. Luckily, Samsung’s work. The drive was easy enough, with only a few “can you believe that guy?” moments brought on by erratic Puerto Rican drivers. (Lol, those are my peeps though!) Once we passed the gate into the resort property, we were amazed at how large—and stunning the grounds were. The rolling green golf course dotted with palm trees, fountains and ponds were a welcome vision.
There is plenty of self-parking available on the property for $15 a day. Valet is only $5 more, but the short walk from the parking lot is hardly worth it. Which, was a shock to us since Trip Advisor didn’t say that in the fine print. The front desk is located in a breezy open-air foyer surrounded by ponds teeming with koi fish. There are plush chairs, beautiful potted plants and even a parrot. It’s a breathtaking entrance.
There was no waiting line. We walked straight in and we taken care of immediately. The attendant was very friendly, after giving us our keys, we were a little lost at what to do next or how to get to our room. After asking around (one of the busboys gestured us over to a guy in a large golf cart loading bags out front), we found out we would be driven in one of the golf carts to our room. Very helpful if you ask me!
At first sight, we were thrilled with the room. All of the rooms are suites at the Gran Meliá. Our room was a “Garden View” with large sliding windows that opened to a grassy area and allowed the cool breeze to flow through the room. The bathroom was spacious with a large tub. “Red Level” rooms come with butler service, breakfast, access to the lounge and complimentary happy hour. “Ocean View” suites have a terrace with personal outdoor whirlpool tub. We had opted out of that selection when booking the trip, we didn’t need all that since we wanted to blend in and be like the locals.
Our room was a little icebox—so much so, we kept the temp turned up most of the day. The furniture (especially the couch and decorative pillows) were really nice. There was a beat-up scale in the bathroom that weighed me in at 140 pounds (about 20 pounds off). I, jokingly think they’re ment to be off a bit so that you don’t feel bad about stepping out in a two piece. jajajajaja!
The room was clean, but not REALLY clean. I found long black hairs in my shower. Our feet also got dirty from walking back and forth on the tiled floors. I think because when they mopped they did it in a rush which sometimes left small puddles on the floor that needed to be towel foot mopped. The sheets were clean and were changed daily. We had ordered mac n cheese one night through room service and when finished put it on the tray to be taken. Well, sufficed to say the mac n cheese sat on the coffee table for 3 days before I finally dumped the contents into the trash and left the dish empty on the table.
The Gran Meliá has two world-class 18-hole championship golf courses and hosts the PGA Tour event on the island. The golf courses are stunning, but that’s not what we came for. What sold us online were the photos of the large pool that wraps around the center of the property and just the beauty of the scenery. It features built-in seats, a swim-up bar, kiddie area, hot tub and volleyball net. There are different levels in the pool, perfect for kids and little ones to play on there were a few families with children there. Optional poolside Bali beds were large and came with drink specials.
Other activities included daily yoga and Pilates classes or dance lessons. Kayak rentals, horseback riding, rain forest hikes, tours, fishing, snorkeling and other activities can be arranged by the hotel. The beach is right near the hotel. The water is very calm, and the beach was mostly deserted. It was gorgeous. Personally, I think it was more expensive to book anything through the resort! We, found out that it was cheaper to get the catamaran and the atv @ their destinations.
There are five restaurants on the property, along with two bars—quite a selection. There is also pizza and fried chicken delivery (along with a regular room service menu). We only ate at the resort once during our trip, at the poolside bar. From looking at the menus, the food choices were standard hotel fare—sushi, steak, pasta, and burgers at a premium. Instead, we braved the local restaurants and markets surrounding the resort to enjoy some of the best food during our trip.
I had a chance to check in the Yhi Spa on the hotel property. It’s a beautiful facility with its own private pool with outdoor massage areas and Bali beds. The adjacent fitness center is open 24 hours and open to all guests.
Besides the check-in process, we did not experience the poor service at the Gran Meliá I read about in other online reviews. Staff was generally helpful and friendly and housekeeping was punctual, if not thorough.
I need to mention their policy of having guests wear wristbands. We were all given a wristband to wear during our stay, which I found very annoying. Requiring guests to wear wristbands seems ridiculous to me. They are also very strict with the towels at the pool, requiring a card exchange for every towel. If the towels were located at the entrance to the pool, this would be easier, but we had to make a trek to get them each time–which is so hard with a toddler and stroller and everything else we need to carry. I found this to be an inconvenience.
Despite the issues during our stay, we would love to visit the Gran Meliá Golf Resort again in the future, preferably in an Ocean View suite where we could spend a little more time on the beach. If we visit again, I would like to take advantage of the Yhi Spa again. There is a lot to explore in the area and the beaches on the property are stunning.