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“Perfect!!” 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 #10 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Pontefract, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Perfect!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

Stayed here for two weeks in September with my o/h. What a fantastic hotel and village. We were slightly cautious when we first booked going read some of the reviews we wondered if we had made the right decision, so glad we didn't take the reviews to heart.

This hotel is amazing perfect location, amazing food and the staff are always there to help and the entertainment team do a fabulous job from morning till night.

We regularly ate at all of the restaurants on the complex as you can have morning and afternoon meals at any of the 3 hotels you do have to eat your main meal at your own hotel but with so much choice on the buffet you will not be disappointed.

Yes the morning and snack food is repetitive but only if you eat the same day in and day out, it's easy to mix and match so you don't get bored.

The excursions were pricey and not all that fabulous but to get a good overall feeling of the island and the community the excursion into town and the cable cars is a good way to start.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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3,820 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (455)
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English first
Martintown, Ont
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

The Riu Merengue is a nice resort, staff are great as well as the food and drinks. Don't book in the Villages as our room was musty, the bed terrible (bowed in the middle) and old furniture. We immediately got transferred to the Gardens with no hassle and things were great from there on with the exception of the entertainment....boring. Nice beach...close to bars, restaurants and wash rooms. Would we stay there again...no...but for the same value the Bachatta next door was much nicer and the food better as we ate breakfast there each morning and most lunches. Our flight was delayed 12 hours but the front desk gave us a room to shower and change @ no charge...thanks Maria for being so helpful.

Room Tip: Don't stay in the Village rooms. Ours was terrible and we are not picky. We got moved to the Gar...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Before I begin: Dear fellow TripAdvisors, please indicate whether you stayed at the Village, the Gardens or the Bachata. It turns out that it matters! I’ll come back to this later...

In our case, we stayed at the Village. This is, by far, the most confounding resort destination I’ve ever encountered and reviewed. While I read many, many reviews before settling on this destination (so thanks to fellow TripAdvisors for your comments!), it was impossible not to notice significant disparities in the reviews. I had trouble sorting out a variety of matters before our holiday and understanding the meaning behind some of the comments.

Having been there and returned, I now appreciate some of the complexities that lie behind earlier reviews. So the goals of this posting are to try to fill a few gaps, underscore a few main points from earlier posts and offer to answer any questions by direct message/send you a copy of the colour map of the resort. Before our trip, I was only able to find a map of the Merengue Gardens (and not the Merengue Village where we stayed) so having that particular map was pointless. The full 3-part colour resort map may be available somewhere online, but I was incapable of finding it. Nor did I know, before our arrival, which of the three sections we were going to be staying at--that's an issue with our carrier Sunwing and certainly not the resort.

The resort is large and sprawling, with just over 1000 rooms altogether. There are, as previous reviewers have suggested, three distinct parts of the resort: the Merengue Village, the Merengue Gardens, and the Riu Bachata. If you study the colour resort map, the Merengue Village and Gardens are grouped together (why?) while the Bachata is attached but separate. In terms of quality or star-rating, the Village is the lesser of the three and the Bachata is clearly the higher end facility. [The Bachata may well be a 4.5, and perhaps the Gardens is a 4-star but the Village is certainly not in my opinion.] It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, as well as bananas thrown in for good measure.

Again, dear fellow TripAdvisors, please please please start indicating which section you stayed at, as it would appear to make a very big difference. For example, some reviews have mentioned 3rd floor rooms, but in the Village all the villas are two storey!

The comments below apply only to our experience at the Village and not to the Gardens or the Bachata.

Rooms: The Village rooms, for example, do not have hair dryers, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Kleenex may or may not be present in your room on arrival but you can request it. You can also rent hair dryers and thanks to previous reviews, we took ours with us. Even if you take your own hair dryer with you, you may still need to rent/borrow an adaptor. There is a dispenser with blue liquid in the shower that seems to be shower gel and could pass for shampoo, but most women will probably not want to use this and will prefer to bring their own shampoo and conditioner instead.

But the point is, since when did a 4 star resort not have these basics? It is my understanding that the Gardens and the Bachata rooms are better appointed. If you happen to be reading someone’s review of the Bachata, it either will not or may not apply to the Village and vice versa. Put another way, if someone complains about the state of the rooms or lack of a hair dryer, they are likely talking about the Village.

Views: As far as the Merengue Village goes, there really aren’t “ocean view” rooms. Myself, I don’t care for an ocean view, so I mention this only for those who greatly value this aspect. The closest two villas to the waterfront are set back from the ocean far enough that the view consists mainly of palm trees and beach. That said, these 2 storey villas are REALLY well located and close to everything! They are pretty pastel colours and the grounds are meticulously kept.

Animation: There is not one single animation team for the whole resort; separate teams are devoted to your particular location. The animation team in the Village was AMAZING! Warm, funny and engaging. The overall ambiance in the Village portion is somewhat quieter and more relaxed than the other two parts.

Beds: I can only comment on our room for 2. Two ¾ size beds were positioned together to make a king-size unit, but they were separately made up. This was fine for the two of us on this occasion, as we are not more than 5’9” tall, but it would have been distinctly uncomfortable for someone in the 6’0” range or above. I saw a cute room down the hall that had what appeared to be a double bed and the room across from us seemed to have 2 single beds, so there are clearly different sleeping arrangements. According to our carrier, Sunwing, ours was called a standard room. The mattresses were not comfy like a 4.5 or 5 star and the pillows were sub-par.

Front Desk: In our experience, the staff tried very hard to accommodate requests and resolve problems. When we arrived late at night, the toilet was blocked and they dispatched someone to fix it right away. The following morning we asked for a room change because our room smelled musty (or something?) and the plug in the bathroom was broken. They accommodated that request as well. Several guests seemed to complain of mustiness or aromas in the rooms and it was our impression that the guests’ requests were accommodated as much as possible.

Food: Previous reviews have indicated you can use all the facilities at each resort, but made a distinction in terms of the restaurants. This is true. Staying at the Village, we were allowed to eat at the other two buffets for breakfast and lunch, but were restricted to dinner in the Village. This meant the buffet and the two à la carte restaurants (the Italian Restaurant and the Steak Restaurant). So, I can`t comment on the restaurants at the Gardens or the Bachata. But wait! Plot twist. Toward the end of our stay, they closed the 2 à la cartes in the Village and redirected us to the à la cartes in the Gardens. No idea why.

The buffet in the Village (Los Almendros) was terrific for breakfast and lunch. Two mornings when bacon was not available there, we simply ambled over to the Gardens buffet (La Roca). If you happened to miss the breakfast buffet at Los Almendros, you could get a mini-breakfast at the poolside grill (Mangu) as of 10 am and they had great burgers and other assorted food for lunch. As for dinner, we were disappointed with the 2 à la cartes and were just as happy having dinner at the buffet! Although we never availed ourselves of it, you could also get 24 hour food and drink (incl bar) on the Bachata side.

The dilemma I have here is that I would rate the buffet food as a 4 but the two à la cartes as a 3 or 3.5.

I decided to save my principal comment about the Riu Merengue VILLAGE for the end: in spite of several disappointments over quality and what I consider a misleading star-rating (due to the comprehensive Riu approach), the staff at the Village are helpful and kind, if not unsurpassed. The Animation team is awesome. One feels almost guilty complaining about anything because the staff are so warm and wonderful.

I hope this helps future travellers.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Brampton, Canada
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

I loved the resort. You have access to the three properties. The food is amazing.
Every night its a different theme of food and they changed the colour scheme to represent the countrys theme. Nightly entertainment is by far I had experience.
The staffs were nice and friendly. The beach water is nice and clean.

Room Tip: Choose first or second floor as the units has three floors.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Puerto Plata, my first time went for a week with 3 co workers
Rio Merengue is ok the beds / pillows veryhard, food is great lots of variarity. the animacion tean great, salsa, merengue and bachata by the pool every day.
the night at the resort was great , started with dinner, then we went to the show, then dancing under the starts live music. then the disco, by 1 am a snack.
most of the week was cloudy, the temperature was great, personal nice. lots of places to rest.
if i go back i will book Rio Bachata instead.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

How anyone can complain about this hotel is mad!! Me and my partner stayed from the 27th feb-13th March and had an absolutely amazing time. The staff are the nicest people ever and cannot do enough for you. They are always smiling and say hello when you pass them. Every night there was a huge selection of different foods from salads to pizzas, pasta dishes, fresh fish, Chinese dishes, whole roast hogs and turkeys which were delicious. The rooms were perfect size and always well cleaned, and regarding restocking of the fridges if you run out before they restock your fridge, ask in reception for more drinks they are more than happy to give you more. The beach is fantastic and has lots of beds to lay on in the sun any time of the day. The pool was very clean and the staff checked the ph level every 2 hours and fished out any bugs or leaves. If you are planning on doing any excursions I would definitely recommend you do the Colombus Vip trip to paradise island and the royal dolphin swim in ocean world. They cost a little bit more but are worth every penny. All in all a fabulous holiday and cant wait to return.

Room Tip: Sea view room are amazing but when the waves are crashing it can wake you up in the night. Garden vi...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chateauguay Valley
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We (a couple) spent one week at the Riu Merengue hotel in Puerto Plata. The ratings we found in researching where to go placed this hotel at sixth ranking out of twenty eight hotels in the area. It was rated as four stars overall. It's an older hotel, but it is maintained well. The folks public facing employees are friendly and helpful. The food is acceptable but with the usual short comings of hotels in the Dominican such as badly over-cooked beef. I did have some sort of food related gastro on the last day, which cleaned me out quite well, but I believe that to be an isolated incident and no reflection upon their food handling practices. WIFI was available in the main lobby, once a day for 90 minutes. That proved to be adequate to get little electronic chores done.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#9 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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