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“Could be beautiful but...” 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 #13 of 45 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Could be beautiful but...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I will try to be as honest as possible with this review. I have just returned home from a 2 week stay at the Merengue. By the usual Dominican Republic standards it was a cheap holiday but it was well with the money. I haven't got a bad word to say about the hotel or the staff! Yes the rooms are a little dated but the beds are comfy and the air conditioning works, that's pretty much all you need isn't it? (The mini bar could be stocked up more often, every other day isn't enough) The rooms are spotless as are the grounds and the staff work hard to keep them this way. The pool area is nice and clean and there are plenty of beds(apart from weekends which I will come to) the pool itself can get a little dirty, the cleaner works hard to keep it as clean as possible but it needs a proper filter system to get rid of dead flies etc. the beach is great, plenty of beds and plenty of shade under the trees which is needed as the weather was boiling hot. The food is good but can get a little repetitive although the steak house/ Italian restaurants are nice and it's nice to be waited on for a change. The animation team are fantastic, full of energy and lots of fun without pressuring you into things. Now onto the dreaded locals!... I have seen many reviews saying all sorts about the locals who flood the hotel at weekends. This is true, the hotel becomes completely different at weekend, much less relaxed and very busy, BUT!...I didn't find them rude at all, They are having fun! Those people who sit around moaning about the locals need to get on with their own holiday. At weekend we either went to the beach or went to the Bachata/Mambo pools and ate in the restaurants. Nobody forces you to spend all your time at the merengue. The only slight problem I had with the locals is that they treat the place as a haunt (apparently it only costs 15 dollars per room for them) I understand that the hotel needs this custom but my holiday is a once a year special time for me and my family and the fact that they take advantage of the place takes some of the specialness away from my holiday. I especially felt sorry for the staff at weekends as they are completely ran off their feet and can't keep up. For this reason only I wouldn't return to the merengue. It isn't the locals fault, nor is it the fault of the staff. The blame lies with the management who need to be more prepared at weekends. All in all I had a great holiday and it is well worth the money, it just wasn't as special as it should have been (at weekends) and this is a shame because it is such a lovely place and I feel the hotel will lose a lot of overseas custom if they don't come up with a solution to the weekend rush.

Stayed October 2015
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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
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Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I had just come back from a two week stay at the Riu Merengue and enjoyed every minute of it. When we got to the hotel it was around 10pm, our flight had been delayed for 6 hours!! so all we wanted to do was just get to our room quick and that is exsactly what i happened, we literally got off the coach, our bags were unloaded and they were handing us drinks and before we knew it we had our little envelope in our hands and were given directions to our room! i didnt for a second think it would have been that quick. Our cases were delievered within 10 minutes. First impression of the room was good, it looked very clean, the fan and aircon worked perfectly and was already on when we opened the door, there were little cracks and dents in things like tiles and in corners of the walls and our bath hand rail was paritally coming off and the bathroom window was cracked but they seem to board these windows up with something so you cant see through them. First 5 minutes of being there i went to the loo turned the light on and saw a small bug run across the floor and disappeared around the toilet, at first i just thought it was like a little beetle it wasnt very big at all but as the days went on we soon figured out that theese little beetles were infact cockroaches and we only seem to find bigger ones each day. We were killing around 5 little roaches a day we killed around 4 medium sized one and we had a huge HUGE HUGE one on the wall that saw the bottom of a flip flop.. after we killed the huge one we thought okay maybe we should tell them the room has a problem so we did and i think from there on they sprayed the room with some bug spray and i didnt see anymore although one travelled in my partners snorkel that we took to paradise island with us and ran across the sun lounger bed which was disgusting and quite embarrassing. Just be aware that its a tropical island and cockraoches to them are like our common house old spiders.
Althought the maids came in everyday i did notice that te sheets were not changed for maybe about a week, and some sheets had marks on them thats how i knew they hadnt been changed and my pillow had a bit of mascara on it and lipstick. Didnt bother we a whole lot, but come the middle of the holiday i had started to peel and my skin was just flaking off (gross i know) so it would have been nice to have fresh sheets.
The buffet food is lovely i tried most things and there were only a few dishes that i didnt like but there is so much choice there is something for everyone! the only thing we found was that because there was so much every night we would end up with everthing on the plate from pizza to three different kinds of pastas, to curries and chips all on one plate which in the end made the food seem very repetitive so try and only limit yourself to maybe two different meals a night. The quality of the food was 10/10 they never run out and the restaurant staff are lovely they come and fill your glasses up with water alllllll the time and they bring you a drink of your own choice, they were lovely.
They seem to have someone for every job you can think off, they have two different kind of maids one in blue and another in black and white, they had men on t he beach scrapping up all the washed up bits on the beach, they have people to fill up water and your mini fridge they have people to carry your suitcases to and from the lobby. So there is always a memeber of staff around you can go and talk to if you have a problem, can not fault the staff. The hotel complex itself is really nicely kept, very tidy and clean. The pool is an okay size it would have been better to maybe have two as it got so busy even without the locals there it always had people around it so we never went in the pool we always went to the beach becauase its so much more relaxed and calm even at peek time 11am-2pm it was still silence and not that busy, all the kids were at the pool, which we much prefered.
Now on to the locals..... they honestly were not as bad as most of the reviews you read on here! me and my partner were so worried about them ruining our time there but they really didnt! they keep to themselves. The only things i will say are when they arrive they are like an army.... theres so many of them and come lunch and dinner time you could really tell just how many of them come... it was packed, there were no tables left we were lining up for 20-30 at one food station which was ridiculous, they were pushing in too grabbing a plate and getting someone they knew to fill their plate up too!!! They are quite rude and so are their children too. i dont know if its their cultural background but they really dont seem to have manners. We never spoke to them, like i said they keep themselves to themselves. At nighttime too the entertainment seating area was packed by 8-9 so you couldnt sit anywhere. but apart from all that we didnt let them ruin the holiday we learned little tricks like booking the italian and steak house nights for the weekend so we didnt have to go through the mayhem.
The night time entertainement was average some nights better than others and it was something different to do rather than just stay in the room, There are two bars close by to the seating areas so its easy to get your drinks too. The drinks were alright... the slushy type drinks were a hit and miss some days.. sometimes they werent even slushy which was a bit disappointing, but other times they were perfect! If your not an alcoholy person but still want to drink i would dry a rum and coke that was lovely, and the strawberry daiquiris are nice too.
Another thing the was a hit and miss was the wifi, this drived us crazy!! and im sure the lobby staff got sick of it too with everyone coming up to them asking them to fix it. Fair enough you dont go on holiday to be tapping away at your phone but we needed to talk to our families and wanted to upload pictures and things, we were only on it for about 30 an hour a day and you get 90 minutes free wifi ONLY in the lobby, when its working. and its slow sometimes too so i wouldnt bother buying unlimited wifi when it doesnt really work that great.
The good thing about the hotel was it was only a 5 minute drive from Ocean world.. and all i can say was this made the holiday 1000 times better, if you get the opportunity then do it!
Overall the hotel was lovely cant complain too much we had a lovely time and the weather was nice! i would reccommend this hotel!

  • Stayed September 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We just got back from the Merengue and yes we did enjoy ourselves this place could be so much better.......!! The rooms were good everything worked ok air con not great but did the job just..beds were good maids done the job....drinks were filled after we gave the bloke a tip he used to stop and ask what we needed !!!! Have to mention Glenys ( bottom bar ) and BB other bar both were fabulous made a real effort and we would like to say big thank you to them both.....Bad side now.....we knew the locals arrive at the weekends first few days were ok yes there are LOADS of kids which we didnt expect but on the sunday all the resturants were so busy we couldnt find a table or anything to eat.....was not happy the whole standard of the hotel dropped...i do feel for the staff the locals are rather rude. But we didnt feel need to visit the sister hotel !!! As i said it was all ok not great but not too bad, but i wouldnt go back there......

  • Stayed October 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Before coming to the Riu Merengue we was slightly worried by past reviews being somewhat inconsistent and a lot of bad reviews.
But we was amazed when we arrived. This was the cheapest holiday available in the Dominican republic and for value for money it would be 11/10!!
It's very close to the airport (around 20 minutes drive)
Upon arrival our cases were taken by the staff and we was given our room keys and we're in our room in no more than 5 minutes from arrival.
The room looked great, initially looked perfectly clean and tidy and air-conditioning and fan was already going and the room was lovely and cool.
The food is buffet style and only very slightly differs from night to night so it 'can' become repetitive if your a person who tends to pile all the variations of food on your plate at once! - The food itself tasted good, it wasn't restaurant quality but around the same quality you'd get at a local chinese buffet.
Rooms are cleaned every day and staff are always very helpful and are never far away.
The only issue we had with cleanliness was a few cockroaches in our room which at first grossed us out but overall it didn't bother us to much, we kept our room lights on when we went out so the roaches would not come in. But the other elements of the hotel make up for this easily.
The pool was clean (although we always used the beach rather than the pool)
The beach is not a natural beach but its still lovely to be on with great views of the mountainous coast of the resort.
Everywhere you look there is a dinning area or bar so you never go hungry or thirsty. There is snacks all day long and the set meal times last for around 3 hour periods so you have much time to eat when you like.
The only annoyance we ever had during our entire 2 weeks here was the 'locals'
Although they're really not as bad as other reviews say, however at weekends they really do come by the truckload and do seem to come across slightly rude but it's probably only because of the language and cultural differences that i had this impression of them. During the weekdays is lovely and calm though. The locals hung out around the pool so the beach is still peaceful to be on.
The weather was great, was slightly cloudy in our second week, but only rained once and that was during the night.

My closing overall opinion would be -
Be aware of locals at weekends.
If your capable of doing that, you're going to have a luxury, amazing and wonderful holiday like we did. Amazing value for money, you get more than what you pay for, not by a huge amount, but its defiantly worth more than we paid as a holiday as a whole.

  • Stayed October 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Just back from a two week stay, I don't really know why the hotel is not attracting visitors like it used to do it was very quiet while we were there apart from the weekends when the locals over run the hotel. We didn't have an issue with them staying unlike some of the reviewers we just stayed went to the beach or went to the Bachata or Mambo ( former name ) The evening meal was the only complaint I had when they were there as we couldn't get a seat , not much food left and what was left didn't look very appetizing by the time they had man handled it all. The resort is still kept looking lovely gardens well maintained , rooms cleaned daily fresh towels and sheets. Entertainment team work hard and are fun. For the price we paid I have no complaints the weather was great and it was a good two weeks in the Caribbean. Would I go back probably not the riu chain need to spend a bit of money updating the rooms and trying to bring back more overseas guests.
Trips can be booked on the beach with Mel-tours at cheaper prices than the tour operators. We also went out for a meal to Los Tres Cocos which was lovely don't be afraid to venture out there is lots to see outside of the complex go and have fun

  • Stayed September 2015, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Arrived at hotel was booked in and in our room in 20 mins bags arrived about 20 mins after. Room lovely air con and fan kept it cool. Huge bed but really hard and I mean hard. Only one English speaking to channel that worked 10 out the 14 days with no sound. The staff work really hard and are a friendly bunch even the gardeners stop and say hello. The cocktails are great a must try with or without the rum. The bar staff are hilarious Francisco Gonzallas sexy boy Simon toty ang gang make you smile no matter what. The food was good something for everyone my partner asked why there was no bacon we were told it was Sunday no bacon. As we sat down to eat breakfast the young man who we asked turned up with a plate of bacon whom the chef had cooked for us. Nothing is too much trouble. The personal touches in your room make it special the animals made out towels with fresh flowers on them are a nice touch. The whole area was constantly being cleaned. Wifi in reception was hit and miss but if you ask at reception they will connect it for you. The locals arrive at the weekends which can be off putting they are quite rude to visitors and some staff but there again over seas visitors were heard being quite rude to the staff. Would I go back most definitely. The beach is cleaned up regularly through the day and we were always offered cusions for the sun beds with a table for your drinks. The bar staff come down to the beach and will fetch you a drink if you want one. For most of the time its peaceful and very relaxing. Oh and the entertainment at night is great had me in fits but the dancers are good and can be seen most afternoon rehearsing in that heat.

Room Tip: We stayed in the gardens lovely and quiet
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  • Stayed September 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Level Contributor
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

In first place I found blood stinks on my bed! How disgusting is this? Then the AC never works, after been working all night it still on 26c so I can't even sleep. The bathroom is nasty and the food is horrible. I went to lunch and I saw a couple coming back without eating! They was right! Only meat today was a disgusting fish and parks bones with fat.

Stayed October 2015, traveled on business
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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 ( 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
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#12 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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