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“A good family holiday”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #14 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed December 8, 2013 via mobile

If you like a good family holiday with friendly people and lots of good food included then this is for you.

You get all the food and drink you want in a hotel that is constantly cleaned. The staff pride themselves on their friendliness and cleanliness. They are polite, friendly, family orientated and courteous. If only English people were as nice and happy.

The downside is when the local people come in. They are loud, boisterous and brash which changes the atmosphere. They also get drunk and cause problems. Thankfully they're gone after a couple of days. This did not interfere with us as we stayed away but for some it was a problem if you were staying in a room near them.

As others have mentioned, a couple of the waiters are very flirtatious and I was approached twice when my husband was only a few feet away but it was harmless and I wasn't bothered too much. They are young males after all but I'm no catch or spring chicken!

The only other thing I would change is to have a kettle with tea and coffee in the room but I am English after all!

It's beautiful in DR but remember it is a third world country. Enjoy it for what it is and just be aware like anywhere else you'd go.

Stayed: December 2013
7  Thank Amanda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 5, 2013

My husband and i went to the Merengue from the 27th November to the 5th December. It was truly amazing. I was so worried after having read the reviews about the locals coming at the weekends but we did not have anything to worry about. we went to the beach everyday and didnt stay around the pool so maybe we missed a lot of the mayhem but the locals did not cause us any problems at all. The staff were the friendliest, most polite, most helpful people I have ever come across. Breakfast had a good selection of food, cereals, oatmeal, continental, english, yogurts and fruit, yes perhaps some may say this is repetitive but I don't have that much selection at home. the lunch and dinners were also filled with plenty of selection again yes a little repetitive but you can always find something different to try, the waiting staff were so helpful and polite. There is also the a la carte restaurant which isn't really a la carte but does good food, we asked our rep to book us in here on the 29th as it was my birthday, they came out with a birthday cake and sang happy birthday (a tad embarrassing) but you do need to get up early to book for this which is done at breakfast, there is a little table as yo enter for breakfast and this is where you book. The rooms were so clean, the maids so very friendly, they came in every day and did a good job. There are optics in the rooms which contain gin, vodka, brandy and the oh so wonderful brown rum, these are replenished every two days and if you would like more of certain mixers than others the guys are more than happy to supply. There are plenty of sunbeds on the beach, beach towels are supplied. I have only two complaints about this hotel but neither should put anyone off going, firstly the bellboy who bought our cases was so rude, he bought our cases to our room not long after we got there and made friendly conversation whilst waiting for a tip, I didn't really know what to tip so gave him $1 (as that was what i had read you tip) but he just stood there staring at me so I gave him another $1 and then he stormed out of our room without saying another word, he wouldn't even look at my husband as he stormed past him but hey ho and the second complaint was the entertainment, we thought there would be shows and things but a lot of what went on was audience participation, a night of karaoke and a Michael Jackson show which consisted of a Michael Jackson Look-a-like miming to the tracks, canned screaming etc which was quiet poor, I expected more but again this would not put me off going back here. All in all an amazing place, amazing resort, amazing staff which do the Riu Merengue proud. well worth a visit. Just a note, if you can take with you anything that could be taken to the local orphanage then please do (pencils, exercise books, old children's clothes etc) as there is a lot of poverty in this country.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Hayley K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

We travelled to the Dominican Republic in July 2013 and stayed at the Riu Merengue.
Got excellent reviews from the Thomson office what a lovely quiet hotel this was. Flight was great apart from when we arrived at the airport, thunderstorms! at the time of my booking they did not tell us it was rainy season. On the way to the hotel we were informed by the holiday rep it was the Dominican holiday season and a FEW locals visit the hotel at weekends.
We arrived at the merengue overall impression nice welcome, quick check in and we were given the room I requested so a good start.
The second day of our holiday we had made friends with another family and were sitting around the pool. my daughter who was 15 at the time was playing with her friends in the pool, it was brought to my attention that 2 local guys were photographing them. The girls feeling uncomfortable went to the Riu Bachata next door. The 2 guys followed the girls and apprehended them, asking their names and ages, my daughter and her friend both said they were 15 and 14. the 2 guys said their ages didn't matter and asked the girls to go to their room with them.
The girls ran off and informed us, resulting in us making a complaint to the rep. This was a complete farse, wasn't taken seriously and nothing was documented, she informed a manager in the hotel who then dealt with the matter, asking us if we were able to identify the 2 men.
At this point the 2 guys walked into reception the manager went over to speak to them, she then came back to us, to say they were leaving that day and denied the allegation.
At this point my daughter became very upset and agitated and went over to the guys saying they were both lying in which they laughed in her face. My self and the father of the other family went over to them and were dragged away by security, at this point I asked him to remove his hand from my daughters arm. My daughter had a full blown panic attack, only then did the manager take this seriously and asked them to be removed from the hotel.
It was brought to our attention the guys were over 25 and had apprehended minors which I stated was an offence, where were the police? NO police came. I insisted this was documented by the rep.
Further to this locals started arriving at the weekend, not a few, but THOUSANDS ascended on the hotel causing CHAOS! It was brought to our attention there had been a complaint made the week before we arrived and was in a local newspaper, why were we not informed about this? They turned the 5 star hotel into a hotel shambles.
We were constantly disturbed at night by the high levels of noise and shouting, have no respect whatsoever for people sleeping, they left a mess around the swimming pool (half eaten plates of food and litter) and on a couple of occasions the pool had to be closed as they had urinated in the pool. The pool was not emptied which it should have been but just cleaned around.
We were advised by the holiday rep to use the facilities at the Riu Mambo which was closed, they opened the pool and restaurant/bar area just for international guests, must say it was a lot quieter up at the Riu Mambo but the pool needed constant cleaning as it was full of leaves, bird poo and LIVE CRABS! What I was annoyed about was that we had paid thousands of pounds for this holiday to be promised a 5 star service did we get it? no we didn't. The locals however did get provided with the 5 star treatment and the day time entertainment which was none existent where we were. Furthermore they only pay £25 dollars PER NIGHT doesn't matter how MANY ARE IN A ROOM! and they got better treatment then us. We made numerous complaints and actually stated at one point we wanted to go home cause we were sick and tired of all the problems and stress.
Being a single parent with my teenage daughter gave the locals included staff at the hotel to make lewd comments and suggestions towards us. Me being a women in my 40s was propositioned by a barman in the hotel who was old enough to be my son which was disgusting. We were given the option to move hotels on the 10th day of our holiday! TO LATE! Furthermore we realised my daughter and her friends had been given adult wristbands this meant they could of been served alcohol when the hotel states NO ALCOHOL TO BE SERVED TO UNDER 18S. they were then given children's wristbands when we brought this to their attention.
There was a few good points about this hotel, the staff were very hardworking and polite, the entertainment staff were great providing good shows especially Mini Me & Tequila.
Never again though will we visit this hotel, will stick to Mexico.
Wouldn't advice single mothers to take there daughters to Dominican Republic if so BEWARE FOR THE PERVERTS!!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Debbie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

The Riu Merengue is part of a three hotel complex about an hour west of Puerto Plata in the Bahia de Maimon. If possible, you probably would want your flight to PLP to arrive earlier in the day and it is wise to arrange transfers, as the taxi fare is pricy (approx $50/person). We stayed at the Mambo, which is reopening shortly, but visited rooms in Merengue and Bachata and ate breakfast and lunch…and even a dinner at all three hotels…which Riu allows you to do. Many of Merengue's rooms face the beach, and several have trees growing right through the building and in one case we visited, right through the living room (see photos). The pools are nice, but the beach is long and great to walk. For swimming, the far eastern spot in front of Mambo is the clearest and has no rocks or impediments. The food, which is similar throughout the three complexes, is excellent and the fresh fruit is plentiful at all meals (if you love papaya, like I do, you will be in nirvana). Afternoon and evening entertainment is decent, and mixed drinks are tastier than the red and white wine choices…face it, you're not in Napa…you're in "Rum" territory. If you value your dollar and want a location that willleave you with some great memories, these three hotels will not disappoint you for sure. We will surely go back, when the price per week beckons us. And, as I check often, it will.

Room Tip: Of the thee hotels…best beach, Mambo, best food, Bachata, best location, Merengue…try your best for...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Firstwebcam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here 13th-27th November. Came out for my Fiancé birthday and also to take a look at the hotel as a possible wedding venue.

I had stayed at the complex before at the old Riu Mambo (Now known as Merengue Village) in 2011, so knew roughly what was in store for us, but again the whole complex never failed to amaze me.

The rooms have started to look a little bit dated but we consider the room just a place to sleep shower and get ready in. Our room had a optic dispenser in the room and a fridge which contains beer, Pepsi, water and tonic water which was replenished every other day. The bathroom was of decent size as was the main room.

The food was typical all inclusive food for the main part. Although they do try and do something different with the same ingredients every night. Me and my fiancé both agreed that breakfast was the best meal of the day by far!

The animation staff were brilliant, Tequila and Mini Me in particular we're hilarious. The daytime activities weren't as well structured as it was when I stayed at the mambo, but this could be down to the lack of guests willing to participate in them. The night time entertainment is still the same as when I was last here almost 3 years ago with only one show that was new, the Chicago Burlesque show. But the shows are still entertaining to watch. My favourite was the Dominican Folk night which we both enjoyed so much we went up to the Bachata the night it was performed there and watched it again.

The staff were all lovely and couldn't do enough to help you. Javier in the restaurant was an absolute star.

The dominican's are allowed in at the weekend but you barely notice them as they are no trouble at all!

Also a special word for the Thomson rep, Silvia. She is an absolute star, works very hard and is so approachable, by far the best rep we have ever had!

Me and my Fiancé can not wait to come here to get married in 2015 and have no doubt about bring 40 other people with us as it is such a good hotel that caters for every type of person!

As the animation staff say "Riu Merengue, Very Very Good!"

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
6  Thank Blaze87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

Stayed in the Riu Merengue for two weeks from 13th November 2013 for my partners 30th birthday. We wouldnt usually write a review but after reading all the negative ones before we went away, we felt we should! Some of what people say is true, but not in the way they put it.
Yes the locals are allowed into the hotels at the weekends, but they are in no way rude or ignorant, if anything they are much more polite than many other guests! Some are loud but they are just having a good time! The staff treat them no differently to any other guest and you have no problems getting a drink or food. The food can be slightly repetitive but they have different themes in the main restaurant - mexican, chinese and dominican. We only tried to Italian A La Carte and the food in there was really good. Also, at breakfast the chef makes fresh omlettes to order, or any other eggs you want cooked and fresh pancakes.
Room is basic but its clean and has everything you need, especially as you dont need to spend much time in there! I found the beds quite hard but others loved them - personal preference.
Every member of staff in this hotel work very hard and are so friendly, gardeners offer to get you fresh coconuts, barmen make any cocktail you want and maids leave towel art most days!
Only bad thing about the hotel is the little shop - definately a lot more expensive than if you go outside the hotel and they rip you off on top! Market night isnt great - we did the walk along the beach and up the alley to the restaurant that others have mentioned.
We did two excursions while we here, Ocean World is a must and we will definately be going back! The catamaran trip was OK but we spoke to people who did the paradise island one and will be trying that one instead next time!

Overall - we loved the hotel, the staff and the Dominican! If you want to find something to moan about then you probably will, but if you want to enjoy your holiday and are polite to others you will have a fantastic time!! We cant wait to go back!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Kentcouple2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

To sum it up in one word (Fantastic), must be the best holiday i`ve ever had. All of the staff could not do enough for you, i`ve never met such a lovley bunch of people. The weather, well what can i say, two weeks of sunshine, it only rained twice in the whole two weeks "at night". it`s a must for families, the entertainers during day and night time are brilliant.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Mick187
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 57000, 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:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Puerto Plata
#7 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: $104 - $266 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Merengue 3.5*
Number of rooms: 998
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

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