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Dining Reviews: Cuba
Melia Rio de Oro 06/17/02
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
Here is the completed review.

My husband and I (along with another couple) just got back from Melia Rio de Oro. We spent at week at this resort (June 9-16th, 2002). We are all 29-30 years old. Overall we had an amazing time. I will try to provide some more information on specific areas below.

The flights:

We traveled on Sky Service both ways. Surprisingly both flights were on time (or early) and just over 2/3 full. So the plane trips were relatively comfortable. We were pretty leery about traveling with them from all the horror stories that I have read about but all-in-all it was the best charter flight I have been on lately. The bus service from the airport was comfortable in air-conditioned coaches.

Check-In/Check Out

Both were very quick and efficient. Of course there were only the four of us staying at the resort with Signature Vacations so there weren’t any line-ups. Also the resort was only about 1/3 full when we checked in so there were lots of rooms available. We were able to get our room even though we arrived before noon (official check-in time is 3:00pm). There were a couple of other Canadians but the resort was mostly filled with European’s. All the guests seemed very polite. Of note is that the VISA machine was not working when we checked out so we were lucky that we had enough American $ left to cover the few charges that we incurred.

The Room

We reserved a superior junior suite with an outdoor shower. The rooms were very spacious and clean with a nice porch out back, which was perfect for relaxing before dinner. The grounds’ keeping was spectacular with beautiful flowers and plants everywhere. The maid service was great. With the exception of one day, our rooms were always cleaned and the fridge restocked by lunch (or shortly thereafter). The outdoor shower was great; we never even used the indoor one! The only comment I have was that we had a few ant-like bugs crawl under the shower door into the main bathroom. It didn’t bother us too much because it was only a couple at a time and my husband and I would just remove them with a wet tissue. We never saw any other bugs than in this area in the room at all I don’t know if this was a problem in other rooms or if our shower door didn’t fit quite as tight as it should have. We just chalked it up to being in the tropics. We had a problem with our air conditioning but within 2-3 hours of being notified the hotel staff fixed the problem.

Beach/Pool

Both were spectacular. Because the resort was relatively empty there seemed to be lots of shade available at both, especially at the beginning of the week. We ate at lunch at both restaurants depending on the where we were at the time and both were good. We must have snorkeled almost every day from the resort beaches (including the three smaller ones) and saw all sort of fishes and corals. We brought our own snorkeling gear but there seems to be lots available to borrow. However our friends had problems with leaky masks. I think that we lucked out with the weather considering we went in the middle of their rainy season. We only had one evening of rain and one morning of light showers. The rest of the week was sunny, partly cloudy and hot! I had a great massage lying over the ocean. The only thing that was annoying was that the masseuse continually had to answer the phone to book appointments during my massage! I thought that they could have set this up better with the front desk making reservations. However a full hour was only $18US and very relaxing with the sun, wind and crashing waves below. There were activities available all day long, organized by the resort staff but we pretty much did our own thing. We went for walks to the nature reserve (bring bug spray) and explored Guadavalarca (sp?). Not that that took very long, it was pretty small but we picked up a couple of souvenirs at the market.

Food:

We tried all the a la carte restaurants. I really enjoyed the Italian and El Patio but didn’t like the Creole one as much. We were a little disappointed that there was no lobster available at the resort the week we were there. We both really love seafood and were looking forward to the promise of the brochure that said, “lobster every night”. We thought hat it might be out of season but this wasn’t the case as we were able to have lobster at a lunch on a day trip! The buffet was varied and I really enjoyed the seafood and meat as well as the fruit and deserts. They seemed to want to overcook the meat, compared to the way we like it but it was nice to be able to have filet mignon or grilled shrimp and salmon every night. Lunch was good; we ate at either the pool buffet or the beach grill depending on where we were spending our day.

Day Trips

We only went on one-day trip, as our main focus of the holiday was relaxing at the beach or pool. We spent a day sailing and snorkeling on a catamaran. This was definitely the highlight of our trip! The day was amazing and we went to some great snorkeling spots. The crew was very friendly and energetic. The boat is very comfortable and holds 14 people plus 3 crew. I would highly recommend it to everyone; just remember to bring lots of sunscreen!

Bugs

The mosquitoes were pretty bad the first several days we were there. I had brought bug spray but we still got quite a few bites, especially at dinner in the open-air restaurants (all but one restaurant was open-air). We did notice them spraying towards the end of the week but the resort is located next to small lake (mangrove swamp?) so mosquitoes are probably fairly common especially in the rainy season. We were actually driven out of the Creole restaurant before desert because we couldn’t bear to sit there and be eaten any longer! Other guests sitting next to us had the same reaction. They sprayed the next night and they weren’t as bad after that.

Night Life

The shows were mediocre but we were pretty tired by the evening and didn’t actually stay up for an entire show. After dinner we usually had drinks by the lobby bar and played pool for an hour before bed. It did not seem to be the resort for singles wanting a “party-all-night” atmosphere. But we knew that when we booked it and were looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday.

Overall

This vacation was exactly what we were looking for. We wanted a wonderful beach vacation were we could relax, swim and eat in beautiful surroundings with friendly people. This is exactly what we got.

Johnna

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