By Susie Reese
Ever wonder what paradise is like? Melia Caribe Tropical can show you. When we first arrived in Punta Cana, the Melia staff greeted us with a friendly smile and a sunset cocktail, complete with cherry on the bottom. Then, we breezed through check-in before boarding “the train,” a tram-like bus, to our white, bungalow-style building amidst the palm trees and tropical breeze. After receiving our luggage and completing a quick change, we headed out to find what Melia Caribe Tropical had in resort for us.
See a complete overview of the resort in this Steller Story by Sarah John Afana!
Sizing Up the Place
HUGE is a drastic understatement when describing Melia Caribe Tropical and not something you can say about most hotels on the famed Bavaro Beach. As one of the first resorts in the Dominican Republic, it has more space than most, so much so that it never “feels” busy. You’re not waiting for a table. You’re never searching for your server. That special drink will be in your hand in less than two minutes after ordering, and despite being at almost full occupancy, according to Florian Connert, director of sales and marketing, you’ll always have a seat on the train.
And there’s definitely a need for a train. While the walking distance from the beach to the main lobby is doable—I did it a few times just for the exercise—I would not recommend it in heels or without a bottle of water. Of course, the beautiful foliage of tropical greens and exotic flowers does make it more enjoyable than a treadmill.
Emphasizes Marketing Manager Melissa Gusman, “I liked the tropical gardens. They are really beautiful and give you sense of being in a tropical jungle.”
The Level(s) at Melia Caribe Tropical
The hotel itself has more than 40 accommodation buildings with different “levels” of luxury. Deluxe Junior Suites are comfortable, though it is the DR. So you might want to check your shower for that pesky little frog. Each Junior Suite has a private terrace or a balcony with views of the hotel gardens, which are well manicured and serene, perfect for that morning cup of tea or that late-night romantic dinner. Deluxe Junior Suite guests have access to 11 restaurants, ranging from international buffets to succulent Dominican cuisine.
If you like a little more luxury in your vacation, then stay at the boutique property The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical. With a private check-in/out, a pillow menu, a private lounge with a continental breakfast, coffee, drinks, and snacks, butler service, the exclusive Gabi Club with a buffet and restaurant, four more exclusive eateries, and preferred views of the swimming pools and beaches, The Level is cut above the rest, and it also has one-bedroom and whirlpool suites, perfect for relaxation and romance.
Related Story: Level Up at Melia Caribe Tropical
Finding the Right Food
Reservations for dinner are highly recommended for the specialty restaurants at Melia Caribe Tropical as they often book up months in advance. So make sure to get your choices in early! As for the Market Place Buffet Restaurant, we chose to eat inside with air-conditioning, though the restaurant also has an outside patio, which is quite popular with European travelers. The fried cheese was one of the most recommended items on the menu and with good reason.
“Hmm, and the fried cheese,” remembers Gusman. “That fried cheese was delicious. I could eat my weight in those…not that I would!”
The buffet had many international choices, ranging from the always-winning ziti with Mariana sauce to local tastes, such as fried plantains.
One of the special amenities of The Level is its expanded restaurant choice with the Gabi Club, a buffet and a la carte eatery. We indulged with breakfast and were pleasantly surprised with an elevated French toast on ciabatta bread that was soft and delectable. Like the Market Palce Buffet, omelets were made-to-order and disappeared quickly.
Points out Gusman, “I loved the ambiance at Gabi Club, especially at night. The restaurant, small beach and pool are lit up wonderfully. It has such a cool atmosphere. Plus it has a pool bar and snack bar right there, so you are never thirsty or hungry.”
Related Story: Melia and Paradisus Resorts Have It All in the DR!
The Famed Beach
UNESCO declared Bavaro Beach a World Heritage Site because of its soft white sands and spectacular clear waters. I’m from Jersey, so my people are known for their pilgrimage-type journey “down the Shore” every year. However, no journey I’ve ever made—in Jersey, Huntington Beach, Riviera Maya, or Cabo—ever lived up to the warm beach and calm ocean of Bavaro Beach.
“The beach was one of the best I’ve been to. There’s even a grill on the beach for Level guests,” says Adam Okimatsu, marketing web coordinator.
Of course, Melia Tropical Caribe’s beach is quiet and private, so you won’t have to worry about getting hit by that volleyball or accosted by some random salesman. With thatched umbrellas and comfortable loungers, you can relax the day away or take a lingering dip in the warm waters. For that much-needed tropical drink, grab your favorite before heading to your seat. The bar’s at the end of the beach, and you’ll want your glass completely full before settling down for the afternoon.
Special Moments in the DR
Our group held a welcome dinner the first night by The Level’s club house. Lured by the tantalizing aroma of roast beef, fish, and vegetables, we feasted on a grandiose barbecue pool and oceanside (yes, it’s possible). The buffet was accompanied by an open bar and tables dressed to the nines with spotless linens and black bows.
Notes Marketing Specialist Sarah John Afana, “The service and attention to detail was unparalleled by the events team at our Beach BBQ & Pool Party for almost 200 guests. From the servers who attentively kept our glasses filled to the entertainment and DJ at the after-party, they made the night a seamless celebration.”
By the end of the night, we felt quite welcome at Melia Caribe Tropical.
Select the Right Resorts with myTime Select
When staying at Melia’s all-inclusive properties in the Caribbean and Latin America (including Melia Caribe Tropical) and booking with GOGO Vacations, you’ll receive special touches, unique recognition and extra amenities, all at no extra cost to you. myTime provides a true VIP experience with a level of service unavailable to other resort guests. With myTime, the special touches start when you check in to your hotel, from a personal greeting upon arrival to a cold towel and beverage at a dedicated check-in desk, and much more.
Just in case that isn’t enough, GOGO Vacations and Melia Resorts international went ahead and kicked it up a notch. Now, with new myTime Select, offers even more exclusive enhanced amenities. Expect all the great benefits of traditional myTime, plus up to $2,000 in resort credit when you stay at a myTime Select property. That’s an extra $2,000 to use on rounds of golf, private romantic dinners and so much more. Not to mention how cool you’ll feel when everyone else at the pool is wondering who the celebrity in the cabana is.
Contact your local agent and ask for a GOGO Vacations’ package to get your exclusive myTime Select inclusions!