Stayed at this hotel in March/April 2008. We tried to do a little research before we went, and thought we had - but now realise that we should have read between the lines a little more.
The location is very nice, with lovely sandy beaches and green hills behind making for nice views. We found the hotel to be very clean and the staff ever so helpful. The rooms are a little basic, but for the cost you cannot expect more. The rooms are in villas, which hold eight rooms, and are located in nicely kept gardens. The block we were in was in a peaceful spot, away from the road/hotel. We could not fault the rooms, or the service at all.
The beach wasn't too busy, as a lot of people, especially those with families tended to stay around the pool. The pool area seemed to have the same CD on repeat for 2 weeks, and the pool had to be closed 3 times whilst we were there as someone did a number 2 in it!! Nice!
I never really believed that people get up at the crack of dawn to put their towels out, but they did!! We couldn't be bothered to get into all of that, but it was very frustrating when there were towels out in all the spots under trees etc,, and the owners didn't show up till much later in the day. There we also lots of fag butts in the sand, and I saw a woman flick her fag into the sea, right near a young child who was swimming. I smoke myself, and would never leave a fag but in the sand - there are plenty of bins etc around. Some people are either lazy, or don't know any better.
I had read a few negative reviews about the state of the sea. Although it is not crystal clear, it is not that bad. It can be a little rough, but nothing anybody who can swim would have trouble with. There are some sharp rocks, and little black sharp things which I got stung by, again, didn't really cause a problem. Talking of stinging things, if you react to mosquito bites, take plenty of Jungle Formula or the like, and make sure it has the high deet concentrate. I forgot to spray it on one evening, and had 40 very very big, sore and itchy spots - also looked dreadful! There were a few people with infected bites which looked very sore.
The food - I also read some negative reviews on the food, but we thought it was fine. There is a decent salad bar, and a lot of variety. The beach bar serves lunch, but we preferred to go to the main restaurant. The beach bar turns into a restaurant in the evening, but you have to book. They serve steak or Italian - no great shakes, but then it is not an Italian, or a proper steak house - both were ok, and it was much more peaceful than the main restaurant.
I did get ill for a few days, and I was very sick. I'm not too sure whether it was the food - I think it was more likely the fact that so few people washed their hands after coming out from the loo!! It was quite revolting! They have the alcho gel, but this will not clean hands properly! I was really careful, but still picked up the dreaded bug.
Entertainment - When we read the reviews, this is what we should have picked up on; The terms 'enthusiastic', 'good effort', 'interesting' should have been a hint. The animation team DO put in the effort, and it WAS interesting, but the team are not professionals in the arts of entertainment. They have a weekly rota for the shows, so if you are there for 2 weeks, you will see it twice. The 'acts' also rotate round the hotels (3 hotels in the resort). We gave up on the cringey evenings, and read some books! We ventured to the 'nightclub' Pacha a few times which was ok, and quite a laugh. One experienced 'Caribbean traveller' said that the entertainment was the poorest quality he had experienced on the islands, and we should not think that the other resorts are like it. Someone else said they made pontins entertainment look fab. It's all ok, but if entertainment is high on your list of priorities, may not be for you.
All in all, it was an ok holiday, but we would not return, as the type of resort it is, is not our cup of tea. I am not the kind of person to be negative, or moan, and I appreciate that many who read this, having been there, will strongly disagree with my comments, but not everyone likes the same kind of thing. Put it this way - before we went, we had seen a few episodes of Benidorm, and it wasn't that dissimilar! Classy it is not! But hey, for the low cost, you do get some nice sun and relaxation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The ClubHotel Riu Merengue (All Inclusive 24h) is located in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and is surrounded by impressive views of the mountains and a lush, natural environment. This is the perfect setting for unforgettable holidays. The ClubHotel offers all facilities you could need for relaxing holidays away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You’ll find a fresh water swimming pool, a solarium terrace, a gym and the Renova Spa wellness centre with a range of different treatments and massages as well as a sauna. In the Dominican Republic you can find a wide range of international cuisine, but if you want to make the most of your time in this marvellous destination by sampling Dominican cuisine, delicious in both taste and colour, you can enjoy a wide variety of flavours and aromas, as Dominican dishes mainly consist of fruit and vegetables. In the buffet restaurant or themed restaurant you’ll find an endless range of dishes and recipes prepared by our chefs every day. The hotel shares its facilities with the hotel complexes of the ClubHotel Riu Bachata. You’ll enjoy access to the entertainment programme and activities thanks to the acclaimed All Inclusive system. Whether you’re travelling as a family, couple or with friends, you’ll find a wide variety of activities to keep you entertained all day long.. There are areas for enjoying tennis, table tennis, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, bodyboarding, snorkelling, golf, volleyball, swimming and much more. Your children can also enjoy crafts, activities and dancing together with other kids in the RiuLand programme. ... 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