When was the last time you treated yourself and your family to a luxurious, all-inclusive vacation that you most definitely deserve? It was only a few years ago when I was introduced to (and fell in love with) taking my family on all-inclusive vacations. Growing up, we always had a beach, camping or amusement park vacation mostly within the U.S. We were also that family that rented a condo instead of a hotel, so we could shop and cook in an attempt to cut down on our expenses.
As an adult, taking my family on vacation to an all-inclusive resort wasn't really on my radar because it was out of the norm and because I wasn’t sure I saw the value in the cost. It wasn’t until we traveled to Playa del Carmen in 2018 for my sister in-law's wedding with the whole family that I realized what my family was missing out on: Culture, entertainment, luxury, all-inclusive convenience and value.
It was what a “vacation” actually looked like in my dreams: No cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.
Being a publisher with Macaron KID, I was recently blessed with an incredible opportunity to vacation at Meliá Caribe Beach Resort in the Dominican Republic with 30 of my fellow publishers. While we were hosted at this resort, I take my travel reviews very seriously and strive to provide you with honest feedback and valuable details you might not find otherwise, so you can use it when determining where you might want to find your family fun on your next vacation.
Macaroni KID Publishers from Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, and Georgia on the beach in
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for 2021 Boondoggle
We traveled July-August of 2021, so I have noted any pertinent COVID precautions I could think of throughout this article so one could see the mitigation measures they are currently taking.
COVID Precautions: Meliã Caribe wants to keep your family safe while traveling; and has implemented some policies to take that extra step.
- Masks are required (and enforced) at all indoor spaces and even outdoor spaces that might not accommodate social distancing (such as the lobby and the train).
- Disposable masks are readily available for your convenience if you don't have one on you while walking through the resort.
- Sanitizer stations are located frequently throughout the resort.
- PCR and Antigen COVID testing will be done on site prior to your departure. You need to bring your passport with you when you go get your test. It is a brief nasal swab, and you get your results immediately.
So get your passports ready as I walk you through my magical trip to the Dominican Republic and give you 9 reasons why Meliá Caribe Beach is perfect for your next family vacation.
1) It's the Perfect Tropical Location
View from the main lobby looking towards the resort rooms
Meliá Caribe Beach is located in the tropical Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and just steps away from Bavaro Beach. Gorgeous white sand and blue-green oceans? Yes please! Only 15 minutes away from Punta Cana International Airport, this destination spot won’t require much travel for you outside your plane ride. This resort is broken up into 4 sections, The LEVEL, Melia Caribe Beach, Melia’s Punta Cana Beach and The LEVEL Adults Only. It is one of the largest properties I’ve ever been to. Each section of the resort is nestled within luscious gardens and has a very private feel. To help gauge this review from my perspective, I was in room 4922 (bulding 49, second level, pool side).
|Travelers Tip - save a copy of the map to your phone, so you can easily reference it while at the resort.|
No need to worry about the resort being too big though, as there are multiple trains that circle the resort all day to transport guests.
Covered train stations are located conveniently throughout the resort.
2) Rooms and Suites for Every Occasion
At Meliá Caribe Beach, room sizes are incredibly spacious, and it's unlikely you would find a room type on the resort you would be disappointed in; whether with your entire family or for a romantic getaway. You can find a full description of the rooms Meliã Caribe offers HERE along with some 360 degree tours, but here are some things you won’t find on the site (along with some insider info that might help you in choosing the perfect room).
- Every room is equipped with 2 plush robes and a set of slippers for guests to enjoy during their stay.
- The in-room jacuzzi tubs are ginormous and amazing. Because of Melia's dedication to sustainability, you won't find a surplus of bubbles in your room, but you can request some from your butler or purchase some soothing bath salts from the YHI Spa. If the bubble bath is for the kids, you might want to slip some Johnson & Johnson in your suitcase and save the good stuff for yourself ;)Luxury Whirlpool Bath Tub in The Level Suite
- Closets are cedar lined and supplied with plenty of wooden hangers for your garments. In addition, closets boast cedar shelves for folded clothes. There was no shortage of space for my belongings.
- While furniture types with drawers vary in each room (desks, sofa couches, night stands), I don’t think any room has an actual dresser (which seems odd to Americans). I personally LOVE this because I pack with packing cubes, and they keep my closet nice and organized by sliding right on the shelves. Check out the video below to see how I use packing cubes to get my entire family packing in one suitcase!
- All rooms are equipped with flat screen, cable TVs, but they are not SMART TVs to be streamed to.
- Plugs are standard US outlets, you will not find USB chargers.
- Bathrooms are stocked with Meliá Yhi Spa brand hygiene basics - shampoo, conditioner, body wash, towels and hair dryer. While washcloths don’t seem to be a standard inclusion here, they are available, so be sure to ask.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway or even a girls weekend, consider a Premium Room Beach Side. Here you will find a large room with a king-size bed and in room whirlpool bath tub. Walk through a sliding glass door to enjoy your own private terrace and Bali bed, perfect for sneaking in some extra cuddle time.
Premium Room Beach Side looking out to private terrace
|Premium Room Beach Side View from private terrace|
For families, The Family Room (Beach Side and Pool Side) will be more than sufficient. Think of studio living with a king-size bed next to a twin trundle bed. This room is great for families with up to 4 children or small children who would want to be close to their parents when sleeping. If you have a child that still naps, or children that stick to their bedtime while on vacation (I was totally this mom until my daughter was 8), this room does not offer any privacy in that regard. There is a small porch where parents could go but other than that, the entire room is open to each sleeping area unless you are investing in the double/adjoining suite.
Larger families or parents with older kids looking for privacy, adjoining Family Room suites are absolutely the way to go.
If you’re looking to minimize your traffic all over the resort, I’d suggest booking one closest to the Meliá Caribe main pool. That location puts your right next to Splash Island Water Park, the Kids Club and Merkado (the buffet) so you are never more than a few steps from the family fun. If you’d like to still have access to The Level services, you can upgrade to the service amenities from any room.
COVID Precautions: All rooms undergo an extensive cleaning prior to guest arrival. I really appreciate that the remote controls and phones are sanitized and placed in a sealed bag for each new guest. Because of COVID, housekeeping is unable to enter your room without your permission. If you would like your room cleaned daily, you will need to make a special request for that.
3) Abundance of Family Fun
This is a family resort through and through and appeals to all age groups! At Meliá Caribe Beach, you aren't limited to the incredible beach and 6 pools for your daily dose of family fun.
The obvious attraction to point out is the Kids Zone, KIDSDOM and Aquatic Park, Splash Island (which we will cover more in depth below). Kids from 8 months and older are welcome in Splash Kingdom where they can enjoy the pools, slides and water activities. If your kids are in between ages 5 and 14, you can drop them off at the Kids Zone and Splash Island where they will make new friends, participate in themed programs organized by age and eat at the mini buffet.
The Theatre in the main lobby is where the majority of family-friendly shows take place - Mini Disco, Neon Paint Workshop, Magic Workshop, Family Circus, Silent Movies, and more. Chairs and seating arrangements of different sizes, texture and color fill the Theater space for your comfort. At Melia Caribe, all activities are included and the focus starts with the kids. Moving beyond the Theater, family activities are scheduled throughout the day poolside and on the beach.
Crafts and activities are all included with your stay
|Afternoon poolside craft|
Arrange for a guided bike tour through the
|Have a picnic on the lawn under the beloved |
Meliá Caribe Beach is home to 6 spectacular pools, some of which feature swim up bars, drink tables and tanning ledges. The Meliá Caribe main pool throws a family-friendly pool party every week. We had so much fun dancing in the water as the Hype Team performed along the pool ledge while others threw in pool noodles, balloons and party floats for everyone to enjoy. One thing to note about the main Meliá Caribe Pool and The Level Pool is that the water depth overall was relatively deep (about 56") throughout. There are shallow wading pools on the outskirts for smaller children, but it was observed more than once by the women I traveled with how deep they were.
|Mermaids swimming in the Meliã Caribe pool for the pool party. |
Meliã Caribe Hype Team dancing in
full costume for the pool party.
|Enjoying the pool floats and noodles that were thrown into the pool for everyone. |
Traveler's Tip: Save space and omit the beach towel when packing. Towels are provided at all pools and on the beach for guests at Meliá Caribe Beach.
At the center of the resort, you will find an outdoor ropes course that will challenge athletes of all abilities. You can also participate in complimentary non-motorized sports on the beach. If you still can't manage to find your family fun within the resort, consider an excursion of snorkeling or having a dance party while sailing the ocean waters with Bebe Catamaran.
|Stopped at a Sand Bar|
For those like my husband, playing in the water all day long can wear you down. Want to cool down and indulge in your sweet tooth? Sign your family up for the Chocolate Making Experience right on the resort to learn about the native cacoa plant and make your own chocolate bars. Or, book a tee time at Cocotal Golf Course.
|Macaroni KID Publishers attending the Chocolate Experience at Meliã Caribe|
4) The KIDSDOM and Splash Island
Entrance to KIDSDOM and Splash Island. Photo Credit: Outdoors Photo Family
Here are some things you need to know about Meliá Caribe Beach KIDSDOM before it is too late…
- The KIDSDOM is open for children from 8 months to 14 years old, but only kids ages 5-14 can be signed in while the adults go elsewhere.
- KIDSDOM houses a swimming pool, playground, football and volleyball area, billiard boards, ping pong tables and a video game room.
- KIDSDOM often hosts its own schedule in addition to the resort schedule, as they are solely focused on the kids. I highly suggest you check in with the staff at KIDSDOM to see what activities they will be offering during your stay.
- KIDSDOM is the perfect opportunity for your children to make memories with other children at the resort. I love the diversity that the kids are exposed to here. Language and culture will differ between the kids at KIDSDOM, but it’s always magical to watch how they figure out a way to communicate with each other.
|Macaroni KID Publishers enjoying a tasty treat in KIDSDOM|
Schedule yourself a spa appointment or take a walk through the resort gardens after you sign your kids in at KIDSDOM. It’s similar to a day camp where they will be exposed to so much culture and fun while developing new friendships. The first time I saw this concept of a “Kids Club,” I wasn’t sure how I felt about it and to be honest, I didn’t realize exactly all it entailed. We were on a family vacation and I wanted to spend it with my family. But the more I learned and saw, the more curious I became. I finally caved in to sign my kids in for an hour, and it was a vacation changer for all. Do it.
Oh, and did I mention it’s part of your all-inclusive package? That’s right. When was the last time you took advantage of free babysitting?
5) Adult Entertainment
|Casino Palma Real hosts table games that are sanitized between each player|
In addition to hosting kid and family friendly shows and activities, the Theatre is the spot where you can find karaoke, magic shows, silent movies, parties and discos. The heart of the hotel, the Adult’s Lobby, transforms into a different theme nightly at 10pm, where you will find the hype team. Join in on the festivities by learning dance moves on stage, enjoying a drink from the lobby bar, or just observing the entertainment from one of the Bali beds on the perimeter of the lobby.
Casino Palma Real provides table games from 9 AM to 3 AM and has digital slot machines available to play from 12 PM to 3 AM. They also have a sports bar within the casino and a dance floor.
Enjoy the YHI Spa experience with relaxing massages and treatments in a unique setting.
COVID Precautions: Casino Palma Real is currently set up to safely distance resort guests at the slot machines and uses dividers at the table games. Individual spaces are sanitized between each player. Because of the inability to maintain a social distance during the shows in the lobby, masks are required.
6) Delicious Food
|Dinner on the beach at Meliã Caribe Beach Resort|
What’s better than not having to cook while on vacation? How about not having to pack all the kids in the car, get everyone to agree on one place, and then sitting through a long, painful dinner as you are waiting for your food? When you vacation at Meliá Caribe Beach, you can choose to eat from one of their 5 à la carte restaurants, or 3 buffets or snack bar on the beach. The Level Guests unlock access to an exclusive buffet and restaurant, Riviera. As a mom, I’m choosing the buffet all day and at Meliã Caribe, I preferred the breakfast buffet at Merkado and the lunch buffet at Tartufo over The Level exclusive buffet.
Seleccion de Makis and Niguiri from Muôi
Fresh Fruit Breakfast
|Surf 'n Turf at it's finest|
Traveler's Tip: Walk through the buffet first before you grab your plate. Many times there will be pre-made foods laid out first for convenience, but then a "create your own" station for those willing to wait for a custom made dish. You don't want to fill up your plate with buttered noodles, only to see you could have created your own masterpiece a few steps away.
COVID Measures: Every restaurant and buffet is equipped with a COVID corner where you will find sanitizer and disposable masks. If the COVID corner is located in a buffet, you will also be given a set of disposable gloves to mitigate cross contamination of touching serving utensils.
7) Drinks for Days
Melon Fruit Punch
Forget the pools and the beach, my kids will tell you the highlight of their vacations is usually the array of sugary "special drinks" we let them consume. Meliá Caribe Beach employs a mixologist who curates delicious beverages (both alcoholic and non) for everyone to enjoy. If you're lucky, you might find a landscaper who will cut you open a fresh coconut to drink out of!
Meliá Caribe Beach Specialty Non-Alcoholic Drinks:
- Harmony - Lemon, Mint, Vanilla and Sugar.
- Miami Vice - Piña Colada & Strawberry Daiquiri
- Mojito - Mint Leaves, Sour Mix, Club Soda
- Strawberry Mojito
Meliá Caribe Beach Specialty Alcoholic Drinks:
- Dominican Riviera- Brugal Añejo, Mamajuana, Mint Leaves, Sour Mix, Orange Juice
- Riviera Maya - Light Rum, Coconut Rum, Mint Liqueur, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice
- Red Ocean Riviera - Vodka, Peach Liqueur, Lemon Juice, Cranberry Juice
- Green Frozen Mojito - Light Rum, Mint Leaves, Sour Mix
- Pineapple Mojito - Light Rum, Mint Leaves, Pineapple, Sour Mix, Club Soda
- Beach Bummer - Light Rum, Chinola Juice, Sour Mix
Traveler's Tip: ask to see a drink menu to explore more specialty drinks I might have forgotten about! Also, if you like specialty coffee, there is an espresso/cappuccino machine located at the Merkado bar.
8) The Convenience of Being Truly All-Inclusive
It goes without saying that the luxury of having all these amenities right on the resort is a convenience that is hard to put a price tag on. When Meliá Caribe Beach says all-inclusive, they mean all-inclusive. Meals, drinks, entertainment, hygiene basics, you name it. All you need to do is pack your bathing suit, cover up and flip-flops and book your plane ticket! Oh, don't forget the sunscreen unless you want to pay a hefty price for it on the resort!
9) The LEVEL
Handwritten note and bottle of Mamajuana waiting in The Level suite upon arrival
Want to elevate your vacation experience? Meliá Caribe Beach can definitely help you level up. The LEVEL is Melia’s upgraded package. When you book The Level, you are putting yourself in a position to receive an upgraded room type as well as additional services and amenities during your stay.
- The Level guests enjoy a private check in and check out experience in the air-conditioned Level lounge. When we arrived there were drinks and snacks waiting for us.
- The Level guests have access to a private, less crowded beach with upgraded loungers, shaded areas and outdoor bar and grill.
- The Level guests are assigned a personal butler who will work with you to make all your dinner reservations and provide private transportation via a golf cart.
To Level or not to Level?
Is The Level worth the upgraded price? If you are really looking to spoil yourself or have someone you are traveling with who needs more personal assistance, you might want to consider The Level. Keep in mind that there are The Level rooms which include The Level service, but you can also book a standard room and upgrade to The Level service and amenities.
Having the comfort of sitting down for an air conditioned check in after a very long day of travel was a really nice perk. The convenience of having an assistant available to you for your every need is something us mother’s only DREAM of. Our butler was incredibly attentive and helpful during our stay, providing private transportation in a timely manner, fulfilling room requests and making dinner reservations.
The Level exclusive buffet for lunch was underwhelming, but for what it was lacking, it absolutely made up for at dinner. The exclusive beach privilege was a big deal, having chairs spaced further apart and not having to scour the beach for available chairs. Being there without children, I liked the convenience of The Level rooms in proximity to the lounge and entertainment area, but if I were there with kids, I would prefer to be on the other side of the resort. I don't think you need The Level service to love and enjoy your stay at Meliá Caribe Beach, but The Level definitely comes with its perks to makes you feel like a real VIP!
Emily Papa is a Macaroni KID Publisher.