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“A must do experience” 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
bristol
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A must do experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

from the start very good, booking in was the fastest & simplest that we've ever had.The food was varied & excellent anyone who says that it was cold or lacking variety must have gotten stuck on the salad counter! Each evenings entrtainment was of a very high standard we have gone AI including cruises for 12 years and this was the best animation team that we've seen. All the staff were happy and smiled all the time even singing as they worked. Lots of staff working to keep the gardens & hotel clean.My wifes only critisism is that on occaision the white wine could have been more chilled

Room Tip: The Dominican night (every other thurs.) and the Paradise Island trips are well worth doing.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 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 (475)
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Londonderry, New Hampshire
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

I never thought I would write a review like this for what used to be my favorite place. We have been to Riu Merengue about 12 times. There are certain things we came to expect. For example, we knew that the air conditioning is not the best, that they let the locals in on weekends (we are talking about a tremendous amount of people and who will cut in front of you in the buffet lines), that there are a lot of smokers, etc. We adjusted to that and were okay with it. We actually bring a high speed fan with us to help cool us off in the room. This time however, the air conditioner was barely working. We woke up at about 3AM every morning in a sweat. When we walked outside, the hallway and outdoors was cooler than it was in our room. We complained many times to reception, but they were useless. These are some of the responses we heard from reception: "This is a hotel wide problem and the air conditioning should be fixed in a few hours", "we will send a technician out to look at the problem", "the technician said your air conditioner is working fine". We spoke to the hotel manager, and the night manager. The room was over 80F most of the time. We found a cockroach in our room (for the first time ever). We called and they told us that they had fumigated which must have driven the cockroach into our room. We did notice that over at the Bachata, one night after the show, as we were leaving, we say 6 cockroaches running INTO the crowd as well as there were two in the pool the next morning.
Finally, the children are running wild before (and sometimes during) the nightly show. While I fault the parents mainly for this, Riu seemed to ignore this behavior until there were many complaints. To their credit, the animation team began really stressing that the children need to stay with their parents during the show. As a side note, we were there at the same time as TOMARA and we witnessed the parents screaming at Hayden as well. It was truly a sad thing to see.

I would be remiss if I didn't credit the hard workers. There are many people who work there who are great and very hard workers. The people who work in the dining area were always pleasant and hard working. As another reviewer mentioned, the person who hands out the antibacterial gel at the door was being tasked with other duties as well and was not always there. Also, on theme nights, I noticed that they have cut back on those as well. They used to have a station set up where the tables are. For example they used to set up a taco station with all different meats and toppings, but now they just put them at an unattended bar in the regular buffet line.

I must recognize one person in particular however. Belios worked at different stations in the dining area, he always had a smile on his face, and always greeted us with a tremendous energy and genuine warmth. Muchas Gracias por todo, Belios!

The bar staff was always amazing and made sure everything was great. They really appreciate folks trying to speak Spanish. The maid staff was also tremendous. They kept our rooms clean and leave towel sculptures that are expertly done.
Unfortunately, this looks like it will be our last trip to Riu which makes me very sad.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkcaldy, United Kingdom
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

both me and my family went to riu merengue in mid may for two weeks the holiday was good the staff were very help-full and friendly food was good although sometimes a bit to cold we all had tummy cramps and diarrhea at different times during the two weeks and it lasted for only 24 hrs people say in there letters when the locals come in at the weekend they just takeover the place boy are they right it is mayhem and for that reason i would not recommend or return to riu merengue

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013 via mobile

Just got back from two weeks there and have to say the hotel was brilliant. Room was clean and modern and food was excellent, with a wide range of choices and available all the time. Entertainment team were good but some parts did get a bit reparative and tedious after two weeks. A safe place to stay and the use of the other hotels facilities is really good. Only downside is that at weekends locals turn up and take over the pool area and create large queues at meal times. Would recommend as a whole though.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Ipswich,England
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

Riu Merengue - Our Experience
Just arrived home after two weeks at the Riu Merengue and thought I would share our honest, and I believe factual, experience of this resort.

Anyway, the holiday, warts and all and without going into every single detail or in any particular order ...... We travelled with Thompson

First impressions were good, we had a room about 200 yds from reception that was a good size, clean and with everything you need for the time you spend there. (The room was cleaned every day and we tipped the cleaner $5 a week). The resort is well maintained and there are cleaners everywhere during the day, we though this was reassuring at first but, as I will cover later, may be for a reason.....

The pool is quite small but we are beach people anyway and, whilst a bit stony near the waters edge, this provides a lovely relaxing area with plenty of shade and more than enough sunbeds. There was always a breeze off the sea, this could get a bit more than a breeze in the afternoons but moving a bit further back inland was always an option. Most days there was waiter service on the beach but it was only a short walk to the pool bar. The drinks were the usual local brands which you would expect, the coffee was ok and there was bottled water in the room at all times.

The first three days and nights were fine, a little noise at night but not a problem. Night four, about 2.00 am there were a very rowdy group of 7-8 youngsters in the room with the entrance door opposite ours. They were making a hell of a din, this went on for about 45 minutes and we were getting very annoyed, I banged on the door and asked them to be quiet (quickly returning to our room!). No change, then, about 5 mins later they all spilled outside and started fighting on the walkway outside our apartment, all a bit scary but over in a minute or so. I reported this to Thompsons the next morning and, later the same day, the 'guests' in that room either left or were moved, a good response and we had no further problems for the rest of the holiday.

We ate breakfast and lunch at the Bachata next door but only because it was closer to our apartment .We were a bit surprised to see hand gel dispensed when going into the restaurants at both the Merengue and the sister hotel the Bachata and also outside all the toilets. There were a few birds in the restaurants but to us this is normal for the Caribbean, we have seen far more elsewhere and they were not a visible problem.

Maybe day 5 provided some answers as my wife developed severe stomach cramps, vomiting etc. etc. A visit to the chemist for the normal remedies did not sort her out and, after 4 days with no sign of improvement, I took her to the on site doctors surgery where she was treated with intravenous medication and a course of tablets for what the doctor described as 'acute gastroenteritis'. Thankfully this sorted her out (another 2 days and the doc would have had her in hospital) but spoilt the rest of the holiday as you become paranoid about what you eat in case this was the cause. The doctor rang our insurance company for us and that was all straightforward enough to sort out. We spoke to a number of guests who had experienced varying degrees of the same symptoms so, without being able to prove anything concrete, there may be a problem that the hotel are doing there best to eradicate, who knows. I have to say that the Thompson reps were very helpful and supportive throughout , especially Antonio, nice guy.

The food was ok, we did find it a bit repetitive and the food that was in dishes sometimes lukewarm but this not unusual on what is after all a 'value for money ' holiday. The exception to this was the night we booked the Italian A La Carte. The first night my wife felt like eating for 7 days. It was help yourself starter, same choice as normal restaurant. With high expectations we both ordered the beef fillet, when it arrived it looked like a normal english roast dinner, nothing Italian about it at all, but the beef was truly awful, despite being correctly cooked (medium), it was like cutting into a rubber sole, in our opinion totally inedible. Despite being offered an alternative dish we left and ate in the main restaurant, never to return. We had similar feedback from other guests regarding the beef.

The weekends are mentioned in a lot of the reviews, I think Thompson should make their customers aware that there is a large influx of locals at weekends and this changes the whole ambiance of the resort, especially the pool area. They take over the pool area and are very noisy and have no respect for other guests. This did not bother us unduly but clearly the guests who do like to stay around the pool felt pushed out. It is also advisable to eat early weekend evenings as the devour the food with alarming speed. The hotel was not really busy for both weeks we were there but we were advised that avoiding the Dominican Bank Holidays is a must as it is carnage!!!...I understand there may be financial necessities to maximise occupancy but please bear this in mind when booking.

As my wife was unwell we did not go on any excursions but spoke to couples who did and they said they enjoyed them. Be prepared to haggle if you venture into Caribbean Street as the traders there will 'have you over' if you are not careful. I forgot to pack swimming shorts and, whilst the pair I liked were smart and well made the initial asking price of $145 was a touch more than I had planned to spend!!. (I got them for what I thought was a fairly reasonable $20 after digging my heels in on my maximum spend, they do have to make a living after all).

One thing that really should be addressed is the free wi-fi situation. The connection speed on the free plan, in both hotels, is abysmal. We both have elderly parents that we like to Skype daily and even voice calls were difficult to connect. The Bachata has a chargeable premium internet option, which I assume is much faster, the Merengue does not. You can only connect once a day, in the lobby area, for a maximum of 90 mins. Not good enough these days and I would have been prepared to pay for a better service.

We had fantastic weather throughout the whole two weeks with only a little rain on the first two mornings, after all that's the main reason we go to these islands. Would we go back?...I certainly believe that, overall, the holiday was very good value for money and would consider it again, my wife may take a bit more persuading................

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

I visited the Riu Merengue April 7th to 14th 2013. I went with my boyfriend (both 28) and we had a great time. The hotel is soooooooo clean and well kept. The gardeners and maid's are working non stop and keep everything in tip top shape. You can use any of the 3 riu hotels (Bachata and Village are the other two)

Hotel Room: You have a drinks dispenser in your room that they refill every 2 days with Vodka, Rum and Gin. The rooms are cleaned daily. We stayed at the back of the Merengue near the car park, lovely balcony and a 2 minute walk (if even) to the pool and bars. So it was perfect for me. The plugs in the walls are deep sockets so you may need to purchase an adaptor ($2 @ reception) as one the prongs on some of my appliances were a little big.

Shopping: There a few little touristy type shops available to buy cigarettes ($6) or chips (approx $5). I was wary to go into Puerto Plata by taxi as I kept hearing that you're only taken to the taxi driver's friends store's and you pay the same prices as you would in the resort and can get most of the stuff cheaper in the airport. A guy at the reception area offered to bring us to town for $40 return and tip him whatever we felt appropriate but we declined.

Food: The food was so good here. I can be kind of picky, more so with meat but there was something to suit everybody. I wouldn't waste time going to the a la carte. I'm glad we didn't as I heard it was only ok. The buffet has such a great selection from pizza, pastas, meats, veggies. There was a chinese night and a mexican night. You can have breakfast or lunch at the Bachata or the Village but you have to have dinner at your own hotel.

Drinks: Drinks were good, measures weren't huge so ask for bigger measures if you want. I didn't bother but if I went back I would for sure. Don't waste money going to the nightclub, it's so dark it's kind of creepy and $7 for 2 beers. It's off to the back entrance of the buffet in the Merengue. We thought the drinks were done at midnight but the bar by the casino in the Bachata serves until 6am (we only found this out 5 days in).

I have to give this place a 5. I would definitely come back and I most definitely recommend it. You can't go wrong with this hotel. I was super impressed and so was my bf. :)

  • Stayed April 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.
Kincardine, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

My friend and I went to this property in March and really enjoyed ourselves. Our room was in the 'Gardens' which, I suppose, is the least fancy of the sections that comprise Riu. Our room was clean and adequate but not fancy. The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was great by comparison to the resorts I have been to. If you are looking for night time entertainment then I would have to say that this resort would score a 3/5 for me. There are options since there are actually three resorts in one!
My friend and I did e day trip snorkelling and it was really, really beautiful.
I would easily recommend this place. We paid just over 1,000.00 taxes in and felt we did well.

Room Tip: Rooms near to the pool are kind of nice, I think
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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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