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“I loved my holiday” 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
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“I loved my holiday”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

We were here for 14 nights from the 10th June 2013. (We left the week the 'uproar' started :-) )

I keep meaning to write a review, and I feel like after reading in the newspaper about this hotel, I feel something has been overlooked.

The staff, are amazing - they work (bloody!) hard. The animation team worked long hours, always greeted you and remembered who you are. You really felt like you were welcome. The bar staff were great - especially Diaz! (more so near the stage than by the snack bar, but that probably just is my preference and a lady pushed in before me one day so I got a bit annoyed..lol.)

The cleaners, they work all hours of the day, for not a lot. The ladies in the loo worked long hours. I really appreciated their efforts - a smile and a 'how are you' go a long way. The groundskeepers, they worked every day to keep the areas looking clean and tidy. A tip or cheeky cup of cola also lifts spirits!

When we arrived on the coach we were told about the locals coming in and to book excursions. Yes, not ideal for some people - but for us we did it for the first weekend (Ocean World which was fantastic!) as we had read reviews but thought surely it can't be that bad..

My boyfriend and myself found the food fantastic. Maybe it changes week by week, maybe you don't get the same chefs but I loved pretty much all of it! The sea perch and sea bream I looked for every night I enjoyed it so much. Those moaning about selection and variety - I can't see how it's possible. I had a different meal every night I was there... I don't really know how they could improve variety when you think how many are staying here..., obviously apart from the weekend scenario that's just crazy haha!

If you have loads of cocktails - you will get a dodgey tum! It's got coconut milk etc in it! The food is all very rich and sugary, that was my only problem - but I feel I may have got it from the pool towards the end me and my other half didn't trust the snack bar too much.

The last two nights (weekend) we ate in the a la cartes, wasn't great, wasn't bad - to be honest I liked the buffet choice more. It was a good move to eat here though as we avoided the massive influx of locals on the last weekend!

The rooms were spacious, optics included and soft drinks in the fridge.

Arrival was smooth. Welcome meeting is always helpful. I had already bought one excursion before we came directly via Outback Safari. I did this because the Thomson price was more and I don't know how much Thomson take out of Outbacks price if that makes sense?

The last weekend was bad - and I imagine the amount of people coming in is going higher and higher by the sounds of things. There are a few of things that made me really cross. Locals pulling on the toilet doors, if you look at the bolts they are all damaged, bent. This is because one, two pushes isn't enough. Nor is banging and pulling at the door it seems!! A family one day came and crowed us, sat under a metre away from me whilst I was enjoying the sun waiting for our sunloungers!! Yeah wait but don't sit on me whilst waiting.

Different country, different culture I do get it, but I think when someone is paying a lot of their well earned money to stay in your beautiful country perhaps think twice before digging forks in their backs to make the queue go faster....

There are more points but I hate to leave a bitter review on something that was otherwise a beautiful holiday.

Overall I would say do come here, we were only disappointed on the last weekend. I think this was because there were so more locals than the weekend before. By the sounds of things it looks like even more at the moment. I would go perhaps earlier in the year, Beginning of May end of June. We really enjoyed it, as a our first holiday as adults. I have always turned my nose up to all inclusive, but I would do it again purely for ease - especially in a country I do not know too much about.

I would just say it is not too walkable to anywhere, you would have to take a taxi, or bus which was a bit of a limitation for us, as we like to walk to places and wanted to explore more of the country. Please send me a message if you want to know any more info. If you are going here this Summer, please try not to worry.

Relax, take it easy. A positive outlook is helpful! Seeing how the poorer Dominicans live, really put my life into perspective. Yes we paid a lot of money, and yes we will be writing to First Choice/ Thomson... but you are going into a completely different culture.

:-) x

Room Tip: We had a room further into the gardens, away from the pool noise and away from Caribbean Street.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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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 (444)
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English first
Marlow, United Kingdom
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

Just read the article in the Daily Mail 10th July.

I have been just been emailed this whilst sat having a coffee at this very hotel at the start of my holiday and can honestly say the company wont move me to another hotel, they wont offer me a refund, wont escalate my complaints.

I feel the place is too rowdy, Im not on an 18-30's holiday, Im supposed to be on a family trip.
So far, the drinks are of poor quality, service is appaling people are rude, its not 5 star its more like 2 star. Disgusting price a real con.

I have taken my girlfriend and two boys here and it is too crowded and dated and generally really disapointed. I saved all year for this trip and after reading this article feel Thompsons should move everyone. I have seen Boys urinating in the pool.... Need I go on....

Not suitable for young families, food quality is poor and what about the health hazzards? I want to pay to move hotels for the last part of my trip and feel sorry for anyone that has already booked and may not be afford to rebook to another hotel once you are here.

Thomson in my experience are a dreadful company, Thompsons managing director is more worried about his shareholders than giving customers a lovely hotel experience.

Do not choose this hotel, look elsewhere, the article reads as no surprise to me.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013 via mobile

This was our 1st trip to the Caribbean & one that we were all looking forward to. Whilst we had read Trip Advisor prior to departure, like many other people we did not really expect the influx of weekend guests to have such an impact on our stay. We arrived on the 23rd Jun 13 for a 2 week holiday & the warning signs were also there as this was mentioned on our way to the hotel from the airport & also at our welcome meeting on the Monday, where we were advised to take trips at the weekend. We don't all want to take trips though.Our first few days passed by without any incident & the location & hotel were everything we had expected. However, this changed on our first Friday in the resort when guest after guest after guest started to arrive. Whilst we had spent our time on the beach, a decision which I'm glad we made, the pool soon became off limits not only because of the vast number of people using this but children were seen urinating into the pool & faeces also had to be removed. The hotel & local rep were advised but the pool was not in our eyes adequately cleaned after these incidents. Our main cause for concern was the snack bar & restaurant. Due the high number of additional guests, queues became the norm & what should have been an enjoyable part of our holiday became a nightmare. Food was all over the floor, quickly ran out & the quality of this worsened as the days went on, clearly as a result of having to mass cater. During our last week my husband only had soup for 2 nights due to the lack of available food & the length of the queues, not what your would expect from a hotel with a 4/5 star rating. The noise in the dining room was also deafening at times. The one highlight was the bar staff. They were excellent. My advise, change your plans if you are due to stay here.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

My husband and I were really looking forward to a wonderful holiday in a 4* hotel what we actually got was hell. The first week we got there we were not to worried as it seemed to be not so bad but come the week-end it seemed like the whole of Puerto Plata had descended upon the Hotel we could not use the pool as it was so full of local people who with no regard for any one else virtually took over the pool, the restaurant sun beds screaming and shouting across the pool area to each other sometimes they would be right behind your sun bed as I have said ,there was no regard for any other user, then we noticed that prostitutes were working the bars as wel.l
On the Monday of the second week we got up to find the pool drained and being worked on when we asked what was the matter we were told that because it was low season there was to be maintenance carried out on questioning the rep we were fobbed off with "it will only be two days and there is two other pools you can use great if your fit enough to walk that distance which I was not so I had no option but to go to the beach where you were sand blasted till you could take no more and retired to your room
The pool was closed till the Friday of that week and opened just in time for the mad locals rush again I don't think I have ever wanted to go home as much as I did from that holiday what a waste of money we got no where with the complaints but we did fill three pages which was supposed to go to Thompsons. I would strongly urge anyone that is looking at the Rue Merenue to give it a wide berth I,have just read in the paper to-day(star) guests there held a sit in till some got moved to better Hotel,well good for them wish we had done,because we just feel we got done good and proper.

Room Tip: garden rooms are quiet but don't go there.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013 via mobile

Me and my partner went for 1 week in may. Weather was perfect, not too hot and only had 1 rainy day but came home with cracking tans! Check in was good, given a fruit punch on arrival and our cases were took to our room within 30mins. Rooms were immaculate! Bit dated but a common thing with the Caribbean, as long as it was clean we had no issue. The maid left us towel sculptures most days which were lovely and as we left we left her a small tip. Grounds were beautiful and so well maintained by the gardeners that work so hard which didn't go unnoticed! Beach was clean, sea was clean and warm and no sign of these rocks people are talking about. There was a bit of sea weed around but then again it's a beach, what do you expect! Sand was lovely and soft. Little shops (sheds) at one end of the beach which we avoided because Everytime we went near we got collered by the locals. Food was good, slightly repetitive but always to high a standard and fresh. At dinner time the waiters have plenty of time for you and are always topping up your water. Smoothies at breakfast were just yum! Banana was best! Drinks were good expec the daily special cocktail slush thing that changed everyday! Highly addictive! We made use of the free 1 hour water sports a day which included peddle boats, snorkelling, canoeing etc. great fun when the sea is a bit rough! We did a few excursions, went to ocean world which was good but got a bit boring after we did the dolphin encounter because only limited amount of stuff to do as park is fairly small. Outback safari was good, more sightseeing than doing though! Amazing value for money I'd say!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

I have just returned from the Riu Merengue Hotel from a 5 star holiday with my husband and 3 children. We were welcomed at the airport by a very friendly hotel receptionist and our Thomsons rep. After a great bus trip to the hotel which let us see some of Dominican life as we passed through Puerto Plata we were greeted with fruit cocktails as we checked in and the porters took our bags to our rooms for us.
When we arrived at our rooms we were very pleased with how clean and spacious they were. The rooms are cleaned daily by the maids who leave personal touches such as beautiful towel designs or flower in the net curtains.
The grounds are continuously being maintained by gardeners who pick up ever leaf and piece of fruit that falls from the trees – I have never seen flower beds being kept so tidy! One of the gardeners even bought me a coconut while I was on the beach that he had cut the top of and put a straw in it for me so that I could drink from it.
The staff in the restaurants are excellent; you will never run out of water or have a dirty dish left in front of you. Even when it is busier they just work harder so that you still receive the same high level of treatment. The food is excellent and they put on different themed nights throughout the week so there is plenty variation. Also, although it is stipulated in the brochure that you can only eat in the Al a carte restaurant once in your holiday but they are quite happy to let you eat there as much as you like for all inclusive....as they kept saying "It is your holiday, you must be happy" :-)
The hotel is continuously being cleaned by maids who are busy keeping the toilets immaculate and the floors polished and surfaces wiped down. The men who keep the grounds clean are continually emptying bins and wiping them out. I did not see any litter in the resort for the whole of the 2 weeks.
Bar staff, entertainers and all of the employees who are out and about round the hotel are all extremely happy, helpful and always ready to high five you.
Our holiday was everything we expected and more, mainly due to the friendly, warm and welcoming staff. We are already planning to return next year!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
London ,United Kingdom
1 review
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Myself & my mum have just returned from a two week holiday at the Riu Merengue. We arrived the 24th June the first couple of days were great, peaceful and all staff were friendly. Until Thursday were residents started to arrive. We was informed by our thomson rep that they do come for a long weekends but this wasn't the case. On some occasions we were queuing from 30-40 minutes just to get some food. On one of the weekends we were informed that 2000 residents were going to be arriving so was advised to book excursions, this shouldn't be the case as we spent a lot of money on an all inclusive holiday. On numerous occasions the pool area was used as a toilet for both. It was closed of a couple hours early and was never drained, we then decided not to use the pool as it was unhygienic. There was an a la carte restaurant which could get very busy on weekends. On one occasion it was shut due to a wedding on a weekend which we was not informed about until that morning. I advised anyone that would like to go to the Dominican in the summer months to not go to this hotel as it is the kids school holidays and there is a lot of noise around the pool area. On some evenings we were unable to get seats for the entertainment.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Best Value Hotel in Puerto Plata
#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*
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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