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“Amazing holiday” 5 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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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #9 of 43 hotels in Puerto Plata
Caistor, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Amazing holiday”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013 via mobile

Just come back from a 2 week holiday with children and wanted to say what a lovely time we have had. The hotel was very welcoming, the rooms very clean and kept clean all the time we were there, the food varied and to a very high standard, the staff very friendly and polite and all the events laid on were excellent.

It is in a beautiful setting and although one of the pools was very busy we could also use a second pool which was very quiet. We used the beach a lot and it was kept immaculately clean (gardeners swept the beach of seaweed every morning). It was always easy to get water sports equipment. The entertainment team were brilliant and there was always lots of different things going on to suit all ages and abilities.

The food was really good in that there was a huge variety, looked very fresh and it didn't matter what time you went into the dining room there was always plenty there. The snack bars were also of a high standard. The dominican staff were wonderful and so friendly and polite and so hard working. We all really enjoyed our stay and will definitely stay at another Riu hotel.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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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 (435)
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English first
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at this hotel first 2 weeks April. Check in was fast and were taken to room. There were a few things not working in the room so reported them and they got sorted. Rooms are not very spacious, very out dated but very clean, and to be honest cleanliness is all you need!! We didn't use the pools as they were too rowdy for us so we found lovely spots on the beach, always plenty of beds. The restaurant was good, lots of choice of food, salad bars, pizza, a different roast meat everyday, rice, pasta, potatoes etc.. Always something you liked. Plenty of water offered to you at dinner time aswell as the drinks on offer like beer, coke etc.... Staff always very polite to us and after a few days of tipping we had our own table reserved everyday covered with flowers :-). The whole hotel there were always someone cleaning, it was spotless ( and I'm fussy) we did a couple of trips through Thomson which were expensive but hey you are on holiday And saved all year for it!! Went to ocean world and swam with the dolphins, my 14 year old was amazed!!!!! Also did outback safari and paradise island, both excellent days out!!!!! All in all an excellent holiday, go you will enjoy. Oh just a quick one, the locals did come at weekends but there again it's there country, we didn't find them a problem just a little rowdy so opt for the beach and you won't have a problem!!! :-)

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013 via mobile

Arrived on the 29th July full of dread due to bad reviews in national press yes the locals do arrive at the weekend but they were pleasant and polite and they also do deserve a holiday. You do have alternatives if you don't want to stay around the busier pool we spent most of our days chillaxin on the beach down the merengue village end and afternoons by the merengue village pool there were never more than 14 other people on the beach and this pool was never busy always beds and parasols. Food was excellent and we only queued when we waited for food to be cooked eg omelettes Staff were amazing good fun and smiling Wall to wall sunshine and yes the rooms are a little tired but you do only sleep in them. Perfect value for money holiday would definitely go again.

Lucy xx

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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leiden
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

After 10 years we were again back in the hotel Riu Merengue and it looks like the time has stood still overthere.
The outdated rooms still have the same curtains, drawings, shower-curtain which is bonding to your body, furniture and bathroom equipment. Our hairdryer could not be fixed and a separate one only blew cold air. Also the other amenities at the hotel have little or no changes. The hotel is visited by local people mainly during the weekends and this causes long lines at lunch and dinner. Although the local people are very friendly, they are not aware of the dining etiquette. They take appitzer and main courses on one crowded plate with sometimes French cheese on top. By the all-inclusive service concept people take often too much food, which is spilled on the floor and left behind on the tables, and is attracking flies and birds in the dining areas. Also people are eating in the overcrowded swimming pools during these busy weekends. The friendly and helpful staff is hardly or unable to clean up everything in good time at that moment.
However, there is enough food available, the quality is good and the choice in size.
The shows in the hotel are very professional, but the other entertainment by the animation team is very noisy and sometimes childish. The music in the Pacha nightclub is deafening and one is not to understand each other without yelling. At night it can be very noisy as the (sometimes drunk) discotheque visitors return to their rooms.
This Riu-hotel should go renovate and modernize and is certainly not 5 star worthy compared to the other Riu hotels in Europe and the Caribbean with the same rating!

Room Tip: Take a room on the first floor, to avoid incoming insects. Take a room far from the restaurants to...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 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.
RiuHotelsandResorts, Social and Community Relations Manager at ClubHotel Riu Merengue, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Dear guest,

Many thanks for sharing your experience with us. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As a service minded hotel chain, We were concerned to note that we failed to live up to your expectations and that it caused your holiday to be less enjoyable.

We are deeply disappointed to find that our team did not turn around this situation to your complete satisfaction during your stay. Please be assured that we have shared your comments with the respective heads of departments involved and actions would be taken to address all your concerns.

We hope you will choose to visit us again, and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of Guest Service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Our first impressions were good. Nice resort, clean and tidy. All staff very friendly. Food was good, always being replenished. Shows were OK. Unfortunately weekends were very crowded when the locals arrived. The pools at the Merengue and the sister hotel were manic so we went off to the beach. The restaurants were crowded with long queues so we booked in at the steak restaurant. At least your main course was served to you so no queueing. All in all I loved the place, just a shame about the weekends. If this was mentioned in the brochures we would not have gone to this resort.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

I have just returned from a weeks stay at the Riu Merengue (5th - 12th August) and my best friend and I had a great time.

Like many I read the reviews before going, I saw the article in the paper and while I was concerned the devil as they say is in the detail. Quite frankly some (not all) of the bad reviews are at best ignorant and at worst downright racist. Legal action has been started by some guests and I presume they think these reviews will assist their claim.

As for the poo in the pool story....it's literally a "poop don't stink" story anyone.....because as far as I can tell poo is poo whoever it comes out of and Brit could just as easily have been responsible.

Maybe things were terrible "that" weekend, maybe the hotel was ill prepared for such a large number of visitors but if that was the case be reassured that it has been sorted.

So that dealt with here is my honest, fact based review on my stay at the Mernegue.

RESORT

There are three parts to the resort. The Riu Merengue, which is in the middle of the Riu Bachata and the Riu Mambo. All three are hotels in their own right, with restaurants and pools but you have acess to their respective facilities. They all open on to a wonderful bay and beach area.

From what I could tell the Mambo area is not functioning fully as a hotel at the moment (main restaurant etc) but it is where the international only pool and snak bar is.

ROOMS (Merengue)

The rooms are clean and comfortable but the decor is dated. All rooms have a ceiling fan, air con and TV (there are a few channels in english but you'll have to search). There is a fridge stocked with beer, water, pepsi, tonic and soda water and a set of optics with 4 different spirits. You will have either a balcony or a patio.

POOLS

The Merengue pool is the entertainment pool. Plenty for kids to do but it does get busy. The Mambo pool is the area designated for international guests only. International, not just Brits! The Bachata has a pool. There are plenty of sunbeds. There is absolutely no need to reserve beds with towels!

BEACH

The sandy beach is lovely. There are plenty of sunbeds but no umbrellas. If you need shade there are plenty of trees. The Bachata beach area appeared quite small. The Merengue beach area has a larger sandy area. The Mambo beach area, which is the other side of pedelos, has a bar on the sand. You can take out a pedalo or kayak as part of your AI deal. There is always a breeze on the beach. The breeze can pick up so be prepared to feel sand on your skin! I saw somebody mention sea urchins, there are none off the beach at the Merengue. Not sure what they'd hook themselves on to to be honest! The current is strong and the waves can be big. There are no lifeguards.

RESTAURANT

During the day there is a main buffet restaurant and a snack bar. At night the snack bar turns into the Al a Carte Italian and Steakhouse. The buffet restaurant has several food stations serving anything from chips to domincan specialities. You will always find something to eat. Do a lap of the food stations to see what you want first. Your waiter will keep your water topped up and bring you other drinks. Breakfast is wonderful, the smoothies and juices are a must and Oscar will poach your eggs to perfection! The Italian and Steakhouse are a good attempt at an Al a carte but did not really offer much. Worth booking if you are concerened about the buffet being too busy at the weekend.

BARS

You are never far from a bar! Great selection of drinks from spirits to cocktails. You can't fault it.

STAFF

Every single member of staff I met from the groundsman to waiters, bar staff to cleaners were wonderful. A smile and a hello goes a long way. Kids will be in their element, the Dominicans are very family orientated and children are a top priority. Many staff members are multi lingual which I was in awe of, especially when I was mixing up my Buenos Dias with my Buenos noches! Someone mentioned English being the language even though we are supposedly in the "majority" - quite frankly if you want English spoken fluently stay home. There are many nationalities staying in this resort, the brits are not in the "majority" by any measure.

ENTERTAINMENT

The Animation team work really hard. During the day it's the dance, volleyball, pool games etc. At night it's usually a band and a show. I was a bit perplexed with some of the "comedy" sketches, perhaps they got lost in translation but it was just as much fun trying to make sense of it! There were dance shows and local entertainers brought in. Plenty to watch. If you're a night owl there's a casino and nightclub. Again the kids will love it. Especially if they love to dance!

TRIPS

We went on Paradise island and the Ocean World Royal Swim.

Paradise Island was brilliant, we took the speedboat trip out there (so much fun!) It's beautiful but busy, so not a romantic day tip for lovebirds. Snorkels and flippers are free to take a look at the fishes or just grab a rum and coke and stand in the water watching the world go by.

The Royal swim was an hour interaction with dolphins and worth every single penny. There was an offer of free shark and stingray experience when you buy a Royal Swim which was also brilliant. However it was a full on day with all those interactions, so i would say take up the offer if it's a free bonus but prioritise the Royal Swim if not. I can't recommend the Royal Swim enough but my top tip is if you can do the experience at separate times the do. It will enable your friend to film and take pictures of you and vice versa. I recommend this as the "professional" pictures they take are not very good and you'll do better (not to mention it' saves money!)

LOCALS

I'm including this section because of all the bad reviews. I've seen The locals referred to as "locusts" - that is downright offensive and ignorant.
The locals hit the beach resorts at the weekend, yes it makes it busy but not terribly so. Plenty of food, plenty of sunbeds and I found everyone I met to be lovely and a lot of fun. No "queue" jumping! It's not too different to people descending on Brighton, Blackpool etc for weekends and I've seen far worse behaviour from Brits on weekend breaks and day trips than anything described by disgruntled tourists on here.

SUMMARY

I appreciate that there may have been a period when it was overwhelming and the resort may have been overbooked and understaffed however that is not the case now. If you are going to the Riu Merengue you will have a lovely time as long as you smile and dance and enjoy yourself and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing!

That about covers it. Any questions just ask and I'll do my best to answer. I'll leave you with a few tips!

TOP TIPS

Entry and departure tax. $10 to get in $20 to get out. You can pay the entry tax on arrival, no need to pre buy, you will queue but not for long. There is a exchange both if you forget! On your departure from Dominican Republic they will give you a departure gate for your plane and a departure gate where you must pay your tax. You will not be allowed to get on the plane unless your boarding card has been stamped that you've paid your tax. So many people didn't listen at check in and were sent off to pay up!

Take dollars and make sure you have low notes (one dollar bills) for tipping people like the bell boy who lugs your luggage to your room or your guides if you go on a trip. You can take Dominican Pesos but dollars are more flexible after the holiday.

You don't have to tip but these guys work hard and a little goes a long way. Your waiter in the main restaurant will ofcourse look after you regardless during your stay but a tip will be really welcome. We are not a tipping nation but when in Rome!

Ladies your reg hair dryer will not work. The voltage is too low out there. Invest in a dual voltage dryer (mine is a Babyliss travel £14.99) and you will be able to tame your tresses. There is a plug socket in the bathroom - goes against every safety thing we know but if you've been to America you know it's standard! Just don't drop it in the sink!

Take earplugs (wax not sponge ones!) You've got a fridge, air con and a fan in your room. One or all three, as in our rooms case, will make noise! Even of you don't use them on holiday you'll want them on the nigh flight back home when a baby is struggling to settle two rows behind you! Take an eye mask and reg pillow for the flight too.

I did not take malaria tablets, my friend did. It's up to you. I did not get bitten or have any issues with mosquitoes. A plug in bug killer for your room is a good precaution for the night time.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

We arrived home last Monday from two weeks here. We had a wonderful two weeks and really had a great time!
Good points,
The food was great (never once ran out, they are always making more!) we tipped our waiter and got drinks without asking and our table reserved.
Staff were very friendly, welcoming and polite and helpful.
Our rooms were fine, not luxurious but cleaned every day, maid service was fab. They made things out of towels every day! And decorated our room with balloons and flowers when it was my sons 5th birthday as we had told the reception, they did this without us knowing and was a lovely touch. They also gave him a gift.
The exclusive pool for the Thompson guests was lovely, and we had breakfast and lunch by there most days.
Beautiful setting, nice beach and weather was amazing!
The local trips were brilliant, would highly recommend paradise island.
Wifi is free for 90mins a day in the lobby only, you can get another 90mins if you go over to the bachata.

Bad points
The locals, arrive at the weekend and most are fine, but some aren't! But we was in their country, and they have a very different life to us. I did complain about a couple of things but only to give feedback to the rep.the hotel has clearly overbooked when it comes to the locals but it didn't spoil our holiday one bit as there are three pools. And lots of space to go elsewhere.
The entertainment wasnt great, and very repetitive. Some nights were good, but generally poor!
But we got chatting to other people and glad a great time every night with them so it didn't matter!

On the whole we did not want to come home, really liked I t there and would recommend it.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 8
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:
#3 Best Value Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#7 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#8 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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