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“had the time of our lives” 4 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 #11 of 42 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Niagara Falls, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“had the time of our lives”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

we stayed here for a week on our second honeymoon and really enjoyed ourselves, it was our first all inclusive vacation, i wish we had taken one sooner. the staff was amazing, we were treated very well, it was clean, beautiful and we enjoyed spending time at the sister resorts also. the only complaint i had really was that the beach was okay, there were no white sand shores. however the food was great the selection good, the coffee and fresh fruit were amazing. we enjoyed the cheesy games and fun times on the beach and the campy shows at night, i felt the animation crew went out of their way to entertain and make things fun. i would recommend RIU without hesitation. we did bring 100 american single dollar bills and tipped the bar tender, waitresses, maids and even tipped 5 dollars for a room upgrade, this gave us extremely good service since most did not tip. everything was included even cigars which i thought was odd, my only regret was that the kids weren't with us, next time we will bring them! Oh and there were a lot of naked and half naked people on the beaches and even around the pools, oddly enough it didn't really bother me...the Europeans are so comfortable with their bodies, it was disarming. the other thing is that the beds were not very comfortable and the pillows were very flat.

Room Tip: get a top level room close to the pool or beach, the higher rooms have vaulted ceilings.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (473)
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Wales
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

Just back from a fortnight at this hotel.Didn't start too well as the door to the room had a broken lock, reported this to reception, who wanted us to wait for it to be repaired.
Had to get Antonio the Thomson Rep. to arrange another room for us.
After this initial setback it was all good for the rest of the two weeks.
This hotel is the middle one of three hotels in the same complex The Riu Mambo was closed temporary due to lack of clients, but we had the full use of their pools and bars.
The animation team was quite good and the evening entertainment reasonable with a show most nights.
The room was very clean with a bar which was restocked every two days. The beach is approx a mile long with excellent swimming and water sports.
The food was very good with quite a few choices for every meal.
The waiters were happy and helpful
The weather was great, just a couple of quick showers during the two weeks
We spent most of our time on the beach , more than enough sunbeds and great for swimming.
It was a wonderful relaxing holiday, and we intend to return in the not too distant future.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012 via mobile

I would highly recommend this resort for couples and families. It's not the place if you are looking for lively night life although there is a 24hr bar at the next hotel on the complex ( literally 3mins walk) the atmosphere is pretty relaxed.

We stayed here for 2weeks in Oct 2012 as we were attending a wedding at the resort.

Check in
Firstly I've never had such an easy arrival at a hotel. The transfer from puerta Plata airport took around 20-25 mins and check in mere moments they just handed us our room keys and a form to fill in with our details and return to reception at our convenience. We were shown to our room and the Bell boys brought our baggage up a little while later. After a long flight this easy check in was very welcome.

Room
The room itself was spotless. Not the most modern decor but it had everything you need, tv, hairdryer, shower/bath and also a mini bar stocked with Pepsi water soda water and beer. This was refilled every other day and if you tip the guys who fill it they will give you a little extra. I personally just left 100 pesos in the fridge on refill day but a friend of mine actually stopped them as they were passing his room on a day when they weren't due to fill his mini bar and they were more than happy to fill it for him. The room also has aircon however this can be pretty noisy at night time.

Staff
I can't praise the staff highly enough. Whatever you need or want they will bend over backwards to help. The regular tip I gave was 100 pesos (just under 2 pounds)

Facilities
There are three hotels together each with there own pool and restaurant you can use any regardless of which hotel you are in but you must have your main meal in your own hotel's restaurant unless you book in advance. The pools are all clean and not massively crowded we never had problems getting loungers whatever time we got there. I personally recommend the pool at the barchata it has a swim up bar and ample loungers.

Entertainment
The entertainment is not exactly big budget but it was enjoyable. The animation team gave 100% and were really nice people, they didn't get pushy if you didn't fancy joining in with the activities.

I really enjoyed this holiday and hope to return one day. I recommend that at least one morning during your stay you wake up early and get down to the view point at the bachata
end of the beach for sunrise ( approx 6-6.30am) take your camera you won't regret it.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

I visited the Riu Merengue for two weeks from 6th to 20th October with my boyfriend. It was our first time visiting the Dominican Republic and we loved it.

We arrived at the hotel and had a very quick check in. A member of staff helped us find our room as we were a bit confused by the map. We were in the blocks nearest the beach and we had a partial sea view from our balcony. The room was very large and clean. We enjoyed the mini bar that was filled up every two days. A couple of times we requested extra water etc from the mini bar staff that were driving around the grounds and they were always very willing to give us more.

We thought the hotel was absolutely brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. We spent most of our time around the Mambo pool as it was a lot quieter. There was always quite a lot of entertainment going on around the Merengue pool but we prefer to sit and relax around the pool so the Mambo was perfect for this. We visited the Bachata pool now and again. This was definitely the prettiest pool and we enjoyed the swim up bar but it was usually quite busy and noisy.

We thought the staff were fantastic and definitely made the holiday. We spent a lot of time at the La Plaza bar in the evenings and got on very well with the bar men. We enjoyed the cocktails. They were quite slushy like but that was very nice in the heat. I didn't particularly like the wine but there was plenty other things to drink. My boyfriend thought the beer was quite earthy but was fine.

We enjoyed the food especially the Mexican themed evening. There was always plenty to eat and we found the meat was always very well cooked. We visited the steak restaurant twice and the Italian restaurant once. My boyfriend had a very nice sea food pasta at the Italian and we found the restaurants a nice change from the buffet. We visited the snack bar now and again but mostly went to the buffet for lunch because there was a lot more choice. I especially enjoyed the rum and raisin ice cream. We visited the La Playa restaurant in Maimon after being recommended it by staff at the hotel. The food was absolutely amazing and great value (my boyfriend had three large langoustines for just $12!) and we would recommend it, although the taxi there was quite expensive for the short distance.

The beach was nice but the sand was quite course. We took water shoes and these were definitely needed in the water. We borrowed the snorkelling equipment but the sea was quite rough so we did not stay out for too long. We also took a pedalo and a canoe out. We were going to have a windsurfing lesson, however, the sea was very rough during our time there and was not suitable for this.

We spent a couple of evenings watching the sun set at the view point at the Bachata which was lovely. We only visited Caribbean street once to do a bit of souvenir shopping. The shop owners are a bit annoying, trying to get you to visit their shop, but we have experienced a lot worse in other countries.

The entertainment was ok and we thought the shows involving audience interaction were very amusing and the Africa show was definitely worth a watch.

We did the Puerto Plata tour with Thomas Cook. We enjoyed this and we seemed to get to see a lot of different places. We also did dune buggies and got very muddy – you have to drive through a huge muddy puddle at the end! It was great fun, although an instructed told us to change buggies towards the end (we are assuming ours had a problem) and the second buggy was a lot harder to control. We also did the zip and ride which consisted of a 40 minute horse ride and zip lining. This was great fun (albeit a little painful!). We also took a taxi to the mountain and went on the cable car. The views were lovely and the gardens were gorgeous. We did see a snake though which scared me somewhat but it is definitely worth a visit.

The best thing we did all holiday was Ocean World which we had already booked directly with them before we went on holiday. We did the royal dolphin swim, shark and sting ray encounter and sea lion encounter. I was very surprised how much we enjoyed the shark and string ray swim, it exceeded our expectations and we ended up getting half an hour with the sting rays and half an hour with the sharks. The sea lion encounter was also a lot of fun. The royal dolphin swim was the best experience of our lives. The dolphins were absolutely amazing and we will never forget it. We bought the photos and DVDs for $100 which is expensive, however, I had emailed Ocean World beforehand to find out how much the photos were, so I was aware of this cost. Although the photos/ DVD is expensive they are brilliant quality and 180 photos were taken of us so it is lovely souvenir. We took a taxi to Ocean World instead of getting the bus because the bus back to Riu Merengue left at 4, because we did all three activities we were quite tight for time and it does take quite a while to sort out the photos.

Overall the holiday was fantastic, the hotel was brilliant and we would definitely recommend it. The weather was lovely. It rained quite a a few evenings during our second week but it did not bother us at all and it was very hot during the day. We would love to visit the Dominican Republic again.

Room Tip: We were in room 1105 and it had an amazing view.
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  • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

Our first time to the Dominican Republic and we stayed at the Merengue from the 7th - 21st October.

Check in was extremely swift. We were given a fruit drink on arrival, picked up our envelope containing room key, safe key and towel cards. We went directly to our room and ten minutes later our luggage had arrived. We were in room 1175 which was upstairs in a block of eight (4 up, 4 down). It took us approximately 5 minutes to walk to reception and a minute to walk to the beach.

The style of the room is dated with bamboo type furniture and floral curtains. However, there was plenty wardrobe and drawer space which definitely compensated for the decor. Television reception and channels could certainly be improved. A very, very limited amount of english speaking channels and the reception was really rather poor. Having said that, it was only really for watching late at night, so this didn't cause us a problem. Our room had 2 double beds and a single for our son and we all slept extremely well whilst there. The beds are on the firm side, but from a personal preference that suited us, but you can't please everybody! Water was hot whenever we wanted it and the air conditioning and fan woked perfectly. The fridge was stocked ever couple of days and we had no problems with getting any extra drinks that we requested. We never used the mini bar optics, we prefer international brand spirits and the ones supplied were a bit of the harsh side.

The Merengue is in the middle of the 3 Riu's and well located. Walk to the right and you get the the Mambo and to the left is the Bachatta. We used all three places depending on what we were looking for. The Mambo is closed and the quietest of all three, but you can still use the pool, pool bar and the beach bar although you can't get any food there. The Merengue is the most "active" of them all with the entertainment staff constanty encouraging peolpe to try various different game. The Batchatta has the nicest pool area along with a swim up bar, but we preferred the Mambo and the peace and quiet.

All the staff go out of their way to accommodate any request and they work damn hard for their money so tips do go a long way with them and are defintely appreciated.

Food: We have possibly the pickiest eating 7 year old in the world and he had no trouble getting himself something to eat whenever he wanted it. Yes, it can get repetitive after two weeks, but then I don't normally make the family four different choices each night so I think it's fair to say we only had ourselves to blame. The hot meat on the carvery each night was gorgeous. Breakfast was great. There were jugs of fruit smoothie made up just as you came in the door and there was an excellent choice each day. You could have omelette of your choice made for you, freshly made pancakes, pastries, fruit and on and on it goes. All restaurants and public ares were spotlessly clean with anti-bacterial handwash being offered at the door as you went in. Amazingly I did see some people refuse the handwash which I find bizarre, but that's up to them. The steakhouse and the Italian get booked in the main restaurant at breakfast time, just see the man at the lectern just inside the main door and he will help you. You book on the day that you want to eat. The steakhouse was disappointing, however we went to the Italian a couple of times and enjoyed our meals there.

The pools in all areas are spotless and you can't walk anywere without seeing staff working hard at maintaining the hotel.

If you walk up to the viewpoint at the Bachata you can get some fabulous pictures. Go to the right at the top of the hill for the viewpoint or go to the left and walk down onto a lovely sandy beach on the left. This is not part of the complex so no loungers or bars, but a great place for a swim and snorkel, much calmer waters than at the front of the hotels. Many people have commented on the "rocks" on the beach. I never found any. There is a fair amount of shingle, but nothing big and nothing that caused any of our party any injury at all.

Locals: The thing that had scared me the most was the thought that 2 weekends of our holiday had the potential to be ruined. I don't think I can make this plainer. We had no issues, none at all. I barely noticed any difference in the volume of guests and if there were any extra then they certainly didn't live up to their previous tripadvisor reputations.

Trips: We took a taxi up to Maimon and into a fabulous little seafood restaurant. The name escapes me, but something like La Playa. Six of us eating and (including 2 lobster), drinks and other meals we were just a shade over $100 - very good value. We went to Ocean world, I enjoyed it, but my husband thought it was a giant rip off and was not impressed. Up the mountain on the cable car was great. There's an old prison up at the top and a botanical garden that was excellent to walk around. The views are just outstanding and for the sake of $10 you really should go up. Husband and son went on the buggy trip. Getting covered in mud was not my idea of a great trip, so I left them to it. They were out for about five hours and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a day at Cabarete beach where we spent the day eating, drinking and playing in the sand and did the same at Sosua. I preferred Sosua. It has a 1km stretch of beach and all the way along in a line are shacks/stalls where you could buy your souviners as well as some fantastic food and lovely cold drinks.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone of any age. Don't go thinking that it's a boutique hotel because it's not. But it does what it should and we thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks there.

One last thing. The weather was tremendous, blue skies and wall to wall sunshine every day - perfect!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goole, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

We went here in January 2011, hotel was nice and i like the set out, all the little apartments, i prefer this to a huge tower block.

Everywhere is clean as always at Riu hotels, the pool area is great and the beach is really nice, private to so no hasslers!! loved the kayaks and water sports ( awesome)

Entertainemtnwas great also, my girlfriend won Ms Mambo - not sure if thats good or bad when you see what they have to do! we still have the bottle of rum she won though! :)

The food was good, my mum got ill but we did drink a lot, when you got a rum and coke, it literally was rum, with a dash of coke, which was great on a night.

Would definately go back in the future, want to go elsewhere first though, we actually walked around the other 2 sister hotels and thought this was the nicest, and cheapest, best beach, restaraunt and pool.

One bad point, dont go on sea fishing trip :p

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

we had the best relaxing time at this hotel. I highly recommened it! excellent service, food, amazing beach and very nice people. We stayed there during the 2nd week of october ..couldn`t even dream for a better weather!!! The tours we took were Paradise Island and Puerto Plata tour. If you will take it be carefull were you buy your souvenirs. Do not rush, cause we payed more money buying rum and jewellerys from cigare factory. It will be much less when you get to the rum factory(almost half of the price)!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 9
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
Amenities:
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
#6 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#10 On the Beach 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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