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.
- 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