Hmmm, this place seems vaguely familiar (Gran Melia Hotel).

Rio Grande Travel Blog

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Our Gran Melia room is spacious, but musty.
We have a half day to kill in Martinique (another meal of perfection at L'Embarcadere! If you go, try the hot goat cheese salad) before boarding a nearly empty American flight to Puerto Rico. We are thrilled to be getting on an airplane: no more ferries for us, EVER!

I used Expedia to reserve a car in advance, and when we are at Dollar (a shuttle bus ride away from the airport), I spring for the GPS unit. We immediately discover that our hotel, Gran Melia, is literally not on the map! I get some rough guidance from the front desk, and it ends up taking us about 45 minutes to get there. The Garmin thinks we are in the woods or something, it has no idea where we are.

Gran Melia looks quite spectacular on the website, and it is just as good in person. But... seems so familiar to me. Well, it turns out I spent about 4 days here a couple years ago with my friend Lisa, who was here for business. Doh! It just didn't ring a bell until I walked through the grounds and saw that huge marble gazebo thing. She reminds me via text messaging of all the service issues she faced here, so I am on high alert.

Our room is a nice large suite ($325 per night, booked on Hotwire). It seems very new and nice, but it's REALLY musty smelling. Yuck. Off we go in search of a meal, and end up at the Café Soliel here at the hotel. The cheap look of the place is not exactly in line with the elegance of the property, but we are game to give it a shot. We find that they are heavily booked with their All Inclusive guests, so we wait our turn at Avenue Bar (excellent martinis). We are finally seated just after 9pm.

The meal is quite possibly the worst I have ever been served in a restaurant. I am served Cream of Mushroom soup that is congealed and lumpy. The oil has conveniently separated from the rest of the ingredients, allowing me to syphon it off onto my bread plate. Someone dumped excessive amounts of salt into it, perhaps trying to mask whatever was underneath, but it did not help. It is just awful.

Then I am served an arugula salad as my main course (they were out of my first and second choices from the menu), which is just swimming in dressing. The presentation of everything is just so cafeteria-style. And Steve's filet mignon is sliced thin, dry and terrible -- he calls it salisbury steak. Not good. And the poor dear waitress is just so busy covering the ENTIRE room (the restaurant is completely understaffed), we don't have the heart to send it back or even complain (although Steve did send back his martini -- they put Triple Sec in it!).

Of course, we pass on dessert. Back to the room we go, vowing to find food options outside of the hotel tomorrow.
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Our Gran Melia room is spacious, b…
Our Gran Melia room is spacious, …
Rio Grande
photo by: vances