The better side of Gran Melia Hotel.

Rio Grande Travel Blog

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Fitness room at Gran Melia. (photo is from the hotel web site).
This morning we walk with trepidation back to Cafe Soliel at Gran Melia -- the scene of last night's food crime. We don't want to go back, but we are so darn hungry!

Happily, we beat the All Inclusives to the buffet (too early for them I assume). We are greeted by such a spectacular arrangement of fresh, wonderful food that I can't believe this the same site that served us cafeteria-grade food last night. Really, it's just amazing. The buffet ends up being the best breakfast experience of the trip. Possibly the best breakfast experience of ANY Caribbean vacation thus far, in fact.

From there I decide to check out the workout room, since I have been a little lax about fitness on this trip (does diving count as exercise?!). It's a very well equipped space, clean and up to date.
Taking a dip at the YHI Spa.
As far as Caribbean fitness rooms go, this one ranks right up there as the best. I spend an hour there, and am surprised by the number of people who come and go. I guess I am not the only one who likes it.

The YHI Spa, which is located at the resort, opens at 10 and I am able to secure a noon appointment for the Celebrations couple massage. It's an unexpected bonus to get the appointment. Whenever I check into a resort with a spa I always seem to be cursed with too little time, and no available slots. This time we are lucky. Steve and I check in and are brought to separate changing rooms, complete with plenty of marble, fountains, and a jacuzzi. Our massages are FANTASTIC, top notch, wonderful. Steve says it's the best he has ever had. Gran Melia is really looking up!

Of course, we had to go and ruin our lucky streak by attempting to eat at the hotel again.
The pool at Gran Melia (photo is from the hotel web site).
We decide to try the Wet Bar and Cafe at the pool area, which has a nice selection of casual food such as sandwiches and salads. Steve orders a burger and I decide to try the vegetable sandwich. And then, it's back to the waiting game. It took over an hour to get our food, but we were entertained as we waited by the other patrons. One woman who so upset about waiting 2 hours for lunch for her young children LAID INTO the manager. Her kids were hungry and she was pissed! The manager in turn yelled at the waitress (who started to cry,) and the woman stormed to her protection, yelling "it's not her fault! There are not enough people working here!!!" So, I wasn't the only one who noticed definite staffing shortage!

I then opt for a pool side cabana accompanied by the obligatory pina colada (delicious). The is no denying that this is a gorgeous resort. It's unfortunate that they face such staffing issues. The staff I do encounter are friendly and helpful, but slightly frantic and covering lots of ground. I hope they can fix this issue, because it is SUCH a promising site.

In the evening we drive to the town of Fajardo, which isn't very pretty (but maybe we were just in the wrong part). We don't really have a plan other than to "find some food." We stumble upon a LOVELY popular spot on Route 987 (I can't remember the name, but it was just down the road from Anchor's Inn. ) The restaurant is bustling and we are lead through a convivial group of locales to our table. Excellent menu! Joy! Then I realize I HAVE FORGOTTEN MY WALLET, and the $40 csh Steve has just won't cut it at this place. Blast it! At this point I am so hungry, Subway will do.

We land at Don Pepe near the resort, for casual Mexican-style food. Wouldn't you know, they lose our order!? It takes over an hour, for food that is just so-so. But they are so embarrassed by the goof, the whole thing is comped. What a nice gesture. We leave feeling that Don Pepe is not a bad guy at all.

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Fitness room at Gran Melia. (photo…
Fitness room at Gran Melia. (phot…
Taking a dip at the YHI Spa.
Taking a dip at the YHI Spa.
The pool at Gran Melia (photo is f…
The pool at Gran Melia (photo is …
Rio Grande
photo by: vances