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“Beautiful resort, be be prepared to be hassled” 3 of 5 stars
Review of ClubHotel Riu Merengue

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Bahia de Maimon, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #13 of 44 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort, be be prepared to be hassled”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

My first impression upon arrival was how beautiful the scenery was. The ocean water was clear and clean, the beach was great, the open bar had lots of variety, and the shows were excellent at night. Although i found it was very annoying to harassed on a daily basis by people who wanted you to buy their stuff. there is a street with shops on the resort, the second you even try and walk past it you have people native to DR following you being very pushy about you having to visit their store. What i found completely inappropriate was a man (who also owned a shop on that small road on the resort) came onto the beach and started taking pictures of my wife, and then asking her to come back to his store to purchase them. She didnt even want him taking pictures of her! Her and i both repeatedly said, no thanks and he kept saying "come on, just a few pictures, ill give you a good deal" and began taking pictures! It was completely ridiculous. And to add insult to injury during our stay there was one day where they allowed local merchants to come into the main entrance of the resort to set up a booth and sell things, and we were harassed even more. We couldnt even walk by without someone trying to force us to buy their jewellery, literally trying to out it on my wife as she was trying to speedwalk by. I understand that by selling their products its helping the DR economy and everything, but im paying 2000 dollars for my wife and i to go on this trip, and there should be regulations far more strict than the current ones on how these people are allowed to sell their products. We ended up spending our whole vacation avoiding these merchants, which was a real bummer because if they werent so pushy i would have gone into the stores on my own accord and bought some souviniers.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,197 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Salford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

my wife and I are iin our 60,s...we have travelled the world and have always stayed 5 star,so this is an honest opinion.
We have just returned from 2 weeks at Merengue, having disregarded negative moaners on some reviews,we kept an open mind.
This is not a 5 star resort but it is a very good 4 star,
I don't think as some say in need of upgrade and dated,,I have stayed in 5 star in Singapore,Dubai,Thailand,Kuala LumparUSA,SthAfrica, etc where there is modern furniture but had to leave half my clothes in the case ,the rooms in Merengue have drawers and wardrobe space to spare.
The beds were comfortable and big.Maid service brilliant,also fridge kept topped up,towels changed daily..over the top clean.

Yes was repetative the 2nd week,who cares..the quality was good and plenty of it,breakfast brilliant,and dinner carveries,,beef,ham,salmon,pork and turkey the best ever.If you want to eat gourmet,then stop moaning and pay 3 times the price for your accomadation.

From cleaners,gardeners,bar,waiters,entertainers,porters and reception...everyone had a smile and Holah for you..brilliant.

Spotless clean...quiet pool or noisy pool..take your pick. Grounds and gardens kept immaculate.
Great Beach...sun loungers to spare at pools and Beach..even the Germans didn't bother with the 4 am towels on loungers..no need.

A lot has been said of the weekenders (locals),,,they are a bit loud but you can find quiet areas in resort..other reports are rubbish..maybe some people had bad experiences but I found them O.K.
We go on ho;iday to enjoy ourselves,why not them.. I saw some obnoxious,drunken Brits...is it allowable for them because they are not locals.

Went on 4 trips..Santa Dominica (long day but worth it),Jungle Safari (great day,fantastic guide),
Ocean World saved for last day..superb and Peurto Plata City Tour,,CRAP waste of money,they take you to 2 factory outlets,a couple of sites (get off bus,take photo,get back on) and the biggest joke,a Supermarket for 45 minutes,,WHY do I want a supermarket on an all inclusive holiday?

IIn conclusion,would I reccomend..definately. Form your own opinions and ignore negative reports (I think some people go on holiday to look for negatives).It is as said a good 4 star,take it as it is and you will have a great time,we did and I like the best on my holiday.

Room Tip: All rooms are in reasonable distance from facilities,,we had 1453 on ground floor..quiet,about 5 min...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Venlo, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

We went to the RIU Merengue from 14 till 21th of octobre.

My compliments to the staff for the quick check inn. We arrived with about 30 others but where in our shorts and in the pool within 20 minutes. Flexible and very welcoming after a 12 hour trip from Amsterdam.

The hotel is located in a very pretty environment where you are surrounded by nature, there is a viewing point to one side where you get wonderful panoramic views of the hills , beach and the ocean. Having said that the ocean and beach are not nearly as pretty as you would get in for instance Punta Cana or Mexico.

The rooms are well equipped and big enough, although the AC struggled and was just about up for the job.

The breakfast left nothing to wish for and was good. The dinner was pretty good for dominican standards but could be a lot better and more versatile.

The entertainment team tried hard and was OK. but there was one guy with rasta hair who acted ridiculously,screaming all day just to gett noticed.We found him annoying and plain rude

We read a lott of reviews before we left talking about the "invasion of the locals" during weekends and are pleasantly surprised to say we not only had a relaxing week.. but also a relaxing and quite weekend at the Riu Merengue.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

My Wife and I travelled to the Merengue on the 3rd of October till the 17th of October. When we arrived we were greeted at the airport by our Thomson and firstchoice Rep Antonio. He told us pretty much everything we needed to know about the Hotel. When we arrived at the Hotel we were greeted with a fruit cocktail which was lovely after a 9 hour flight.

When you arrive you leave your bags in reception and you are escorted to your room. Our room was 1617 which is located between the beach and reception. Within 5 minutes our bags had arrived so we tipped the porter $5 and that was it. The air conditioning was not great but it was not as bad as soon reviews have suggested. The room are a little dated but again not as bed as some reviews have suggested. the only thing that we can really fault the room on was the fact that they don't have a kettle in the rooms. The room was VERY clean and we were very happy.

The bars: The Merengue has 3 bars 2 of which are near the beach and the other is located next to the stage area. All the bar staff are friendly and all ways seem very happy.

The Amimation team: OMG they were fantastic. They are always happy, dancing, dressing up in outragous comtumes and very funny. Every half hour from 10am there is always something to do that is organazised by the amimation team from games to merengue lessons and Spanish lessons. At night the there is usually a show of some discription on the stage starting from 2030 Hrs which starts with the Kids mini disco then there is a live music act for an hour. Then the show begins. I have to admit that the shows where not that great. the one show we did watch was CATS which we did enjoy ( Which I was not expecting to enjoy because everytime I have been to the DR before it had always been done) But we did enjoy this. The Amination team work very hard and are very talented people.

The facilities: In the hotel you have 3 bars as I have already told you, 2 resturants one of which doubles as the 2 al a carte resturaunts. (the Italian and the Steakhouse) We really only enjoyed the Steakhouse because the there was a better choice of food. the same resturant is also the place where lunch is served. The other resturant is where you have breakfast and your evening meal. The food in this resturant is by far the best. We never had a problem choosing anything to eat. There was always something different at dinner time but at breakfast you always have the same choices which is OK. Cerals, pasterys fried breakfasts and my favourite American Pancakes with maple syrip.

Reception: We went to reception 3 times while we were there. One was to ask about a kettle but the other 2 times was to make a phone call home. The reception team were very helpful and would try to sort out your problem as best they could. Also while in reception you could also use the free WiFi there. To be honest it was not the best and if there were a lot of people using it at the same time you could not get a connection. I found that the best times to use this was about 7am before breakfast and around midday. Sometimes I could get a connection at night before dinner. I also believe that you can have WiFi in your room but it is charged to the room. We did not do this.

There are 2 shops in the hotel itself. You can buy gifts in both but in one you can buy general stuff from medical supplies eg painkillers suntan and aftersun lotions and also things like crisps and sweets and tabacco. But the prices are set by the hotel in both of these shops and can be a little expensive.

The RIU Merengue is in the middle of 2 other RIU hotels as you look at the beach you have the RIU mambo to the right which is under going refurbishment. Here you can use the pool which is quite and has a bar next to the pool. This is ideal for the weekends when locals come to stay. But on the whole we did not have a problem with them as we have had at other Dominican Republic hotels.
And also if your looking at the beach to the right you have the RIU Bachata. The grounds themselves here look amazing. A lot better than the Merengue or the Mambo but it is busy. We really only used the hotel here for a drink at one of the bars as we went exploring the other hotels. You can use all the facilities here except at dinner time when you must use your own hotel. The Bachata also has 1 gift shop but not a lot else.

The Caribean street: We hated this place. As you walk up the street all the vendors are sitting outside their respective shops so they can see you coming. As you walk up the street they are approaching you asking to come and look in their shop offering all sorts of stuff and saying that they are cheaper than the shop next door. They all sell the same sorts of stuff from gifts, sandle's, beach shoes, clothes and paintings. All of these you can buy in the shops at the Merengue and a lot cheaper. You can haggel with these people but they make it very difficult to walk away from them if your not happy. Every other Thursday night the hotels arrange what the call the Caribean night. This is held on the Caribean street. My advise would be STAY CLEAR. After being stung by one of the vendors there on our second day at the hotel we wrongly thought that because this was being organised by the hotels the vendors would be different and behave a lot better. Oh how wrong we were! My wife had a heart attack 4 years ago and has not had any problems since then with her heart. On this particular Caribean night we thought we would take a better look up the street to see what is on offer and hopfully not be bothered too much. We did actually make it up the entire street and we did buy some jewlery for my wife on one of the first stalls and the that vendor was very pleasent. But on one of the last stalls on the right handside there were 2 guys selling paintings (which we were not really interested in buying) but the they came over to us and persuaded us to have a look at them. After a long haggling session and us saying NO NO NO NO NO, my wife got very worked up and nearly passed out as they had positioned themselves around us with us literally stick in a corner. If it wasn't for the cigar shop owner oppisite I think she would have acually passed out. He got my wife a chair and invited us into his shop that was air conditioned and gave her a cup of water. Even while she was recovering in the shop the stall owner came in still trying to sell us these paintings. After the cigar shop owner told him in Spanish to get out he was still pacing up and down outside the shop till we came out. We eventually came out and he aproached us again and said because he had already taken the painting off the frame that he could not sell it he still tried to sell this painting to us for 5000 pesos. So I said to him No again he came down again to 4500 so I said I would buy it for 1000 pesos as my wife was not well TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. We bought it for 1000 pesos. My advice for anyone who going to the Dominican Republic is to get to grips with the currency. While there they will show you on a calculator how uch they want for the item in question. Take the calculator off them and divide their price by 57 and you should have the price in British pounds. I think for our American friends if you do the same with 39 you have the price in USD.

In the 2 weeks we spent at the hotel that was our only probem. We did a lot of excursions while we where in the Dominican Republic and only really spent 6 full days in the hotel. Overall we really enjoyed ourselves and we would go back. But as a few little tips from my Wife and I would be. Learn a little basic Spanish get to grips with the currency and STAY CLEAR OF Calle de Caribe.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

Me and my husband traveled to the Merengue Oct 13-18 2012. I would like to give a precise & honest review: Upon arriving at Merengue on the Saturday we were greeted immediately with standard drinks which is a great way to start a vacation. We had to wait to be checked in to a room close to the beach in between the Riu Bachata buffet restaurant & the Gift shops it was room 1043. It was a all right view but the room was outdated and needed a major reno from the bathroom to the bed and sheets on the bed. The comfort level for resting was 2 out of 5. The washrooms needed to be more spacious definitely for two ppl and also the TV was so small and channels were mainly in Spanish. We are Canadians we need more English Channels for the times when we are relaxing in our rooms that why it is important to have a decent room to go back to after relaxing throughout the day on the beach or having a few drinks. The beach had a lot hard rocks in most of the areas and on the beach itself had a lot of beach chairs for everyone so it wasn't ever hard to find one. The only draw back was that there wasn't a server or bar on the beach but it was kept fairly clean. The Buffet restaurants had repetitive options but they are options in which mostly everyone should find something to eat during there stay. The A la Carte restaurants options we're Italian & Steak House, the location wasn't the best because they should have had it as a stand alone restaurant rather than forming it from a Snack Shack to a upscale dinning option in the evening didn't set the mood well especially when your all dressed up!! The food at the Steak house was definitely better than the Italian restaurant. The drinks flowed whenever you wanted and how you liked it. The animation team was OK I guess they tried there best but me and my husband thought the variety of shows could've been pulled together much better. The pools were standard!! One big recommendation would be to go on the Paradise Island excursion that trip was amazing we definitely enjoyed it the beach was amazing snorkeling seeing the fish and having a few drinks then enjoying a standard lunch (burgers,fries,hotdogs, mac & cheese salad) etc... Overall we enjoyed our stay at the Riu Merengue because my and my husband have each other and that's usually all we need for a great time and we know how to make the most out of a holiday but wouldn't go back because we prefer upscale properties and thought the Riu Merengue was on the list but it was a Miss!! Everyone should make a informative decision though not by mines or someone else opinion.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

This is the third time at this hotel and it is still as good as the first time. After a 35 minute bus ride the check in is quick and easy and luggage at your room before you are. Hotel staff in the lobby are very accommodating and there is a computer for guest use there for no charge. The Sunwing Rep is always around the hotel if you have any problems.

We got the area we requested for our room and it was clean and tidy and fridge was always well stocked with pop and water, even liquor in the room as well. Great balcony for sitting out on and always hot water for showers. The gardens are well kept and tidy. We had no problem with the locals at the weekend we just went to the quiet pool at the Mambo( which is one of the three hotels on the complex) It is closed at the moment but you can still use the pool, bar and beach bar.

The food was still as good as when we were there in April and the egg man in a morning is really nice and friendly and does the eggs well. Due to the economy they have had to cut staff and so they are not as quick at emptying tables as they were, because they cover more of the dining room. They work really hard and try to keep up with everything. It is not their fault people aren't going away on holiday. The entertainment crew are unbelievable and always chatting with the guests. They work very lohg hours and still look happy. I don't think we would be happy working as long for the pay they get. Cheeky Monkey is amazing as well as Bamboo. The shows are very good and the street party on Caribbean Street is really good fun. They are always looking for ways to keep you entertained.

As far as the bar staff go, we can't say enough about them. They are amazing and still remembered our drinks from last trip. The spanish coffee is great and was our drink around 4pm. We met so many people who go here every year, some have been coming for 7 or 8 years from Britain and Canada. I would recommend this hotel to anyone and infact 6 of our friends have been because of our reviews. The Bachata hotel is good for lunch as you can sit out on the veranda and have your lunch. We will definitely be back again and for the price we paid we couldn't stay in Canada for a couple of nights in Toronto.

There was no need to save loungers on the beach or around the pool as there were ample supplies everywhere. The weather was marvellous this time and so we spent a lot of time around the pool and even had the entertainment crew come round with a drinks trolley and icecream in the afternoon. Look forward to our next trip there.

Room Tip: If you want to be near the lobby request area 1551 or 1684
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2012

i am only going to keep this short. I came back from here on the 14th october 2012, i was worried about the locals before i went but when i got there they was no trouble at all, yes they was a bit loud at times but who isn't when they're on holiday? it was just me and my mum who went. the animation team was brilliant, always making you laugh, always coming over to have a chat. I don't know where these other people have stayed to say that their room wasn't cleaned or the air con weren't working or the shower was horrible but ours was fantastic. people don't give the maids enough credit. they were amazing. the bar staff where great, i'd walk up to the bar and they already knew what i wanted, where else are you going to get that? i wouldn't know what the reception staff was like as we never had a problem to report. This was my first time in the dominican republic and first time at a RIU hotel, we have already booked to go back next year and we havent even been home a week. i would highly recommend this to anyone!

Room Tip: we was in room 1336.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Merengue

Address: Bahia de Maimon, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Merengue 3.5*
Number of rooms: 1007
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on the beach in Maimon Bay * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Located in the Riu Resort, near ClubHotels Riu Bachata and Riu Mambo * Main building and 1-story bungalow complex * Surrounded by 15,000 m2 / 18,000 sq. yards of tropical gardens * 9 km / 5.5 miles from Puerto Plata * 150 m / 495 ft. from Caribbean Street * 25 km / 15.5 miles from Puerto Plata Intl. Airport * 300 m / 990 ft. from a bus stop * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clubhotel Riu Merengue Hotel
Club Hotel Riu Merengue
Clubhotel Riu Merengue Puerto Plata
Riu Merengue Dominican Republic
Riu Merengue Puerto Plata
Rui Merengue

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