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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed August 24, 2008

Just returned 23/08/08 believe the bad reports wish we had. Arrived after a 5 hour delay to be given a room crawling with cockroaches returned to reception and given a room again with cockroaches no made up beds or curtains, finally given a room that looked ok but only had 2 beds and no air con we eventually got a bed 2hours later and the air con fixed at this point we had been up 26 hours and we pretty exhausted.
The pool area is very small and if you want a sun bed which are very few you need to be up by 6.30a.m. The pool always had lots of dead flies and bird muck floating in it, it was closed because people had been sick in it and a shringe and needle was found in the childrens pool.
At weekends locals used the hotel and took over being drunk in the bars and it was almost impossible to get in the pool most tourists went to the beach out of the way.
The restaurants were very dated with old furniture and equipment, there were no windows so insects such as beetles, ants, flies etc could just fly in so quite often the food especially meat dishes were crawling with insects and the food is far from 4 star standard I would not even rate it as good as a 3 star. The al a carte restaurants people were complaining about as the food was no better.
Entertainment/ activities not always as advertised and if you like watching adults playing kids party games and animation team that just do crazy dances all the time it may be for you. There is no seperate bar away from this entertainment if you want to relax or just talk.
My teenage son 15 was ready to come home after 3 days as the internet room and pool room closd at 9.00pm so there was nothing to do. He planned to do day time activities as advertised but they rarely happpened.
The whole party had stomach upsets with one person hospitalised due to this for three days and is still ill and seeing her doctor on return and has been told the most likely cause would be the food, my son has also got a bad ear infection and has required medical attention for this.
The country side and beach are beautiful and the hotel staff are very helpful and could not do enough for you but the hotel is a long way from being 4 star and I will not return to the Dominican Repuplic.

Stayed: August 2008
7  Thank von1jack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 22, 2008

Great hotel for the price, its non stop drink and food.
The staff are wondeful even down to the maids who are stuck on the toilet door till early hours of the morning.
The Pasha club was good for a change it was air con and played some good music.
The entertainment on a night time was 5 out of 10, mainly for kids. We use to walk along to the other hotel and had a few drinks. The carnival in caribean street was fab the best night we had, there was pop corn men (free) bars set up and dancing.
The weather wasnt too good it use to rain around 3 every day and a few nights stayed on till late.
The air con in the rooms was rubbish and i think the mini bar should be stocked daily. There is a fridge in room.
The food was good the resturants italian and steak were more or less same menu, the problem i found was you had to que for 10am to book and people use to start queing at 9.15 which was a pain as who want to spend time queing.
There is free pedalos and other things on the beach but the life jackets stunk of BO!!
For the price we paid i was please with what we got. I emailed hotel in advance and ask for room near reception whcih they did and we were right next to bars resturants pool.
There is no toilets on the beach which was a pain. There is a beach bar at the Mambo.
Out of the 3 hotels id say the mambo was better its was quieter and had the beach bar, there was mainly english in this hotel as well.
Try the monster trucks trip well worth it but take sweets for the kids, id read to but didnt and felt guilty as the kids wait fir the trucks coming. Also take anything you dont want ie shampoo from hotel, clothes these people live in the jungle with nothing.
Be aware though, dont give kids on the street books and pencils as we witnesses a mother take them and but them on a stall she had. Give them in at the schol they take you to.
Try pay for an upgrade as its a long flight.
any question feel free to mail me.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank bettyboo1Newcastle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2008

Stayed at the Riu Merengue in August 2008 flew with Thompson it was an excellent flight the crew couldn't do enough for us.

The hotel was brilliant but the rooms were a little dated and could do with touching up.

An example of this was in the bathroom the enamel on the bath was missing in places and in the bedroom some of the electric plugs were loose nothing dangerous though and the fridge in the room the door was loose which caused the fridge to overheat and make lots of noise.. It doesn't seem like much but it just takes the edge off the room. The fridge was fixed as soon as we reported it.

The day time entertainment was excellent if you like to be active there was darts, ping pong, pool games, beach volleyball, and water polo etc etc and the entertainment team were fantastic.

The restaurants were very very clean and the food was good with a large selection. No hygene concerns here at all.

The only moan that I have was that the evening entertainment was a little same old same old, and there was nothing before 21:30 and nothing after 22:30 only the odd beach party. there is a small nightclub for those that were inclined but I was told it wasn't up to much.

The local people are so so friendly they couldn't do enough for us and they had smiles all the time.

Overall it was a very good holiday and if there weren't other countries in the world I wished to see then I would go back to the Riu Merengue as it offered a good all inclusive beach holiday for us and the 2 kids aged 16 and 13

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank hufty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2008

I am 15 years old and i find a lot of things that may have interested me in the past ,now boring but i never found a lack of things to do at this hotel. The watersports were free but needed to be booked and there was plenty of sunbeds on the beach so we didn't need to get up early to make sure we got one. The food was always of top quality and the staff were very friendly and happy (we never saw a staff member not smiling!) the reps were also very helpful and friendly.The rooms were clean and comfortable.The air conditioning and the fan in the room was a godsend as the nights were mainly muggy. In terms of entertainment there was always something interesting on. All 3 Riu hotels had a great partnership which allows you to use anything that each hotel has to offer. The one thing that you are unable to do is go to the Riu Bachata hotel for your evening meal.There is a gym,spa,and billiards hall (the only facility you had to pay for was the spa).Overall the Riu hotels Merengue,Mambo and Bachata exceeded expectations and me and my parents would definately consider coming here again as this was an exciting and relaxing holiday : )

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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7  Thank Tezbo08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2008

ok, let me first start by saying i know everybody has their own opinions but i have no idea what everybody was complaining about with this hotel!
my boyfriend and i have just returned from our first holiday at the dominican republic, and had a fantastic time.
Right lets go setion by section.
The Airport- Watch out for porters, they will take your bags any way they can and want a tip for taking them 50 feet... DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR BAGS!

The Porters- when you get to the hotel you have no choice but to let your bags be taken to your room HOWEVER the porters are extremely nice and you dont have to tip any more than $1, which is 50p basically and you only have to do it once!

The Reception and Staff- All the staff at the hotel were friendly, welcoming, and spoke good english. at the bar the tenders are brilliant, and will always fix you a good drink, but just to make you're aware they dont use as much alcohol over there.

The pool- you have a choice of all the pools between the merengue, the mambo, and the bachata as they're all next door to each other, and all pools were lovely. the only downside to the pool was the fact that you had to get your towels out there no later by 7 because the sunbeds just go. i didnt go into the pool much as the beach was so much better.

The beach- Absolutely brilliant, water sports available, the entertainment team are always around doing something or other you can join in with, but they aren't pushy, soft sand, mangrove trees, and crystal clear water which was great for snorkelling. there are quite a few bits in the sand of twigs etc but you hardly notice them. Plenty of sun loungers available. People have also said on here you get badgered by locals loads on the beach- i had no such experience. yes there are locals about and yes they do want to sell you things, but if you say no thank you, they wont bother you!

The food- The buffet is great. wide variety, some themed nights, friendly chefs, you wont go hungry! We had no experience of stomach problems and theres just two things i'd advise about the buffet option 1) dont pile your plate up, as you're more likely to get stomach problems, 2) if you dont like the look of it, DONT eat it! The a la carte restaurants were the only bad point of the hotel, they were a joke, school dinner looking food, buffet starters, no way up to standard. we had to walk out we hated the food that much.

The room- We had a standard room which was pretty big, and had everything you'd need in a room. The mini bar is stocked every other day and the maids are lovely. Watch out for cockroaches, if they get in your room they're pretty scary, but there's spray round the door everyday so you probably wont get any in there. The maids do appreciate the odd tip, but it's not vital.

overall, an excellent holiday and i would definately go back there!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank sophie2711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2008

First, I would like to say we had an amazing trip. My girlfriend and I went to the Riu Mambo hotel, which is one out of three riu resorts located to puerto plata. You pay for one hotel and you can have full access to the two others, which is quite unusual for the price. Dominicans are very smilly people. They make you fell like your one of a kind. You have a private minibar in your room, filled with rum, gin, coke, soda and beers. The rooms are VERY VERY clean. There is always someone wating nearby to clean your hands. Lots of free activities are organized troughout the days, like bingo, aquaform, shows (for children and adults) and even snorkling (deposit required). I really recommend trip to paradise island. It'll cost you about 150 $ (2 people) and you'll feel like a VIP for the whole day.
I don't recommend the hotel for young teenagers who would like to make party. If you wanna do so, go to cancun (oasis cancun). Riu mambo resort, as the two others, are for families with young children and couples who wanna live an amazing honeymoon. Families would be pleased according to the fact that there are plenty of activities organized for young children. While children are busy, you can take it easy at the bar, well it's only a suggestion :)
For couples, the unique look of the hotel (small villas instead of an hudge building) makes you feel like you live in your own condo, quiet, clean and really comfortable.

The only negative point is the food. It's good actually, but I would have liked to get more sea foods (only available at italian restaurant, which is a la carte)

Hope it'll be helpfull

Francois

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank Souray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2008

OK, so after we'd booked our holiday and were really looking forward to our first time in the Caribbean, I checked out the reviews on this site and was really worried about some of the horror stories reported.

PLEASE DON'T BE WORRIED!!!!

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted, although we didn't get the same greeting as some (drinks etc on arrival) as there were only 2 couples in our arrival party.

We were shown very quickly to our room and provided with a map of the resort (invaluable at the beginning, as the resort is quite big)

I have to say we were quite worried when we found our room was the ground floor right next to the pool, but the soundproofing must be pretty good in these rooms, as we were never disturbed by noise. Well except for at 2am most mornings when I guess most people would have been disturbed by the fallout from the nightclub.

Ok I'l break down the review in to sections:

ROOM: Clean and spacious, airy. 2 queen size beds pushed together. Bathroom clean, toilet flushed ok. Shower over the bath. Bath had some enamel missing but was fine. Shower a little on the small size, so could be a tight squeeze if you aren't a supermodel! Hot water available all day. Air con worked well, as did ceiling fan. Rooms cleaned daily, beds always made up, and usually get some towel art, and if you leave your PJ's out they'll even make art out of them!!!

Your mini bar will be filled every 2 days, includes: optics of Gin, Vodka, Brandy and Rum. 2 bottles of beer, 1 can of beer, 1 diet pepsi, 1 normal pepsi, 1 sparkling water and 1 tonic. Also a large bottle of water. If you need any extra for your bar, before the 2 day refill, then just ring reception b4 6pm and they will refill. You will need to use the water to brush your teeth. Don't drink the water from the taps. They could do with providing smaller bottles for the bathroom, but they do supply plastic cups in the bathroom.

TV: not a great reception, but watchable. Channel 38=CNN for world news and Channel 68 = ESPN for sport. Mostly spanish speaking channels but CNN is ok for catching up.

Room also has radio alarm clock, although power outs may make resetting this a bit of a chore. The brochures say there are only hairdryers in the suites, but we had one in our normal room, one of the fixed to the wall types, but adequate. A European style plug adapter works best for any electrical gear you have. Free safe in your wardrobe. Also plenty of drawer space and hangers in the wardrobe.

FOOD:
Breakfast Main Restaurant (MR) 7-10am
Snack Bar (SB) 10am-1pm

Lunch MR 1pm-3pm
SB 3-6pm

Dinner MR 7-10pm
SB 10pm -midnight

A la carte 6.30pm and 8.30pm in snack bar

I do see what people mean about the food appearing to be the same daily, but that's only if you put the same stuff on your plate!!! There are only so many ways to cook chicken, pork, beef and fish!

Breakfast : lots of cereals, fresh bread for toasting, danishes, donuts and sweet rolls. You can have a cooked brekkie every day, any type of egg, check out Oscars omelettes.. to die for.... streaky crispy bacon, sausage, beans and tomatoes. fresh pancakes and continental brekkie : cheeses and hams etc. Also fresh juice and freshly made smoothies, yoghurts.

Lunch: A scaled down version of the evening meal

Dinner: Always 3 types of pasta, 2 x rice, always a fish course which is great, 3 types of meat and a carvery. Check out the suckling pig... truly melts in your mouth. Huge salad bar with all sorts on it. Desserts are not the Dominican forte, but usually about 10 to choose from. Always a cheese board too. If you do get a bit bored with the food, try the specialty nights, especially the Mexican night. Nachos, Burritos, Enchiladas great chilli too.

Central drinks bar contains self serve beer, wines, soft drinks, tea & coffee.

High chairs are freely available.

Big tip for you. Try to befriend a waiter. They are all incredibly friendly and we befriended Domingo and Pedro. If you find a table you like, then they will save it for you for every evening meal by decorating it with flowers and candles and your drinks will be waiting for you! It's got to be worth a couple of dollars tip. Getting your table reserved is invaluable at weekends when it gets really busy.

I agree with a previous reviewer, weekends can be really spoilt by the arrival of the richer Dominicans. Those that can afford it come from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and boy do you know it. They are loud and rude and completely take over everything. It's like a swarm of locusts at the dessert trolley, and you can sense that the hotel changes to gear up to serve them as a priority. For instance, normally during the week the cheese board is about 4 or 5 types, but at the weekend that changes to about 20 with tons of different crackers too. The entertainment also seems to get geared to them too, and even the nightclub changes to be Dominican music. So be warned.

If you've got a special occasion to celebrate then just mention it to one of the head waiters who will try to sort out something special for you. We met some people who were celebrating a 60th birthday. We spoke to Frank, one of the head waiters, and he arranged a large table to be reserved, decorated with balloons and even brought out a complimentary birthday cake and a band to sing happy birthday!

All the staff are friendly and work incredibly hard and long hours and always have a Hola for you. Polonia is always cleaning or standing outside the ladies with hand cleanser. Just so cute. Teresa always has a smile to welcome you in to the restaurant. Fiona from Thomson and Jeremiah from Cosmos are both very helpful. Don't be worried if your rep isn't at the desk, just ask one of the others, they are all happy to help.

Other hotel facilities:
Internet room, opens at 9am and will cost you $3 for 15 minutes and is usually quite busy.

Caribbean street, set between the Merengue and the Bachata. Mostly gift shops selling pretty much the same stuff. A couple of nice jewelers, and a fab t shirt shop. All take dollars and Dominican peso. Everywhere mainly takes the US$, so that should be all you need to take. make sure you've got a load of small notes for tips. tips are usually $1-$2 a time, more if you want obviously. You can change up money at reception too. The nearest cashpoint is at Oceanworld, which you can only get to by taxi $18 round trip.

There's also a pool room, and a gym. Now that was a disappointment for a supposed 4 star hotel. No air con, 2 treadmills (one was broken) 3 rusty spin bikes, 1 cross trainer , 1 stepper and a couple of tatty weight machines. A bottle of room temp water available. There are plenty of wide paths around the vast complex, so you may be as well to go for an early morning run instead.

Pool:not the greatest or cleanest I've seen but ok. A little wooden bridge across the middle, which looks nice at night when lit up. pool closes at 6pm, but is often closed earlier for cleaning, especially when kids and adults alike vomit or urinate or worse in the pool. This tends to be the English i'm afraid, and by kids who are not being watched by their families. Some people just don't realize that you can't go swimming straight after eating.

There are quite a few beds around the pool, but these all tend to be taken by 8.30am. We found the pool at the mambo was much nicer, seemed to have more space around the pol for beds, and has a nice gentle slope in to the pool, which would be great for those who maybe can't manage the ladders in and out.

It is VERY hot around the pool, there's just no breeze, so it's better on the beach. However it can get a little breezy on the beach, but you will get a free sand exfoliation! Beds are plentiful and you can drag them to wherever you want. Plenty of shaded areas too, and also showers and taps on the beach for washing excess sand off.

You will need beach shoes to go in the water, or leave them off to your peril. The sand slopes quite gently in to the sea, which whilst not Caribbean blue, is pretty clean and a high salt content, so you can float quite easily. After only a couple of feet it gets quite rocky, and the coral and sea urchins are quite close to shore so be very careful. You can see fish swimming around you at this point too. I would recommend kids are very closely supervised. If you put your hand down to steady yourself in the fairly strong current, you could end up with some nasty scratches.

There aren't are beach bars, so you will need to take drinks with you, but it's never very far to any of the bars at the 3 hotels.

There are free water sports on the beach, including windsurfing, kayaking, pedaoles, snorkeling. You will need to book in advance for the pedaloes and kayaks. If the red flags are out, you probably won't be able to do water sports.

Entertainment: The Merengue team, led by Cheeky Monkey work their socks off from upwards of 12 hours a day. Mickey Mouse and Blondie are both a hit with the ladies and Shakira, Miss Peluca, Mama J Lo all keep the guys entertained. The frantic dance routines they all take part in make you tired just watching.

There is nightly entertainment for kids til 9pm, then the main show starts. It is a bit Butlins variety, but they don't profess to be the West End. The Africa show is great, as is the magician (i hate magicians, but this guy was amazing). Some of the shows were a bit cringe worthy, like the dance night, men vs women and some of the karaoke singers, Just don't expect too much and you will be pleasantly surprised, especially by the dance troupe who tour round the 3 hotels. (watch out for the ginger haired guy....camp as Christmas!)

Trips out:
We did the 3 most expensive trips offered by our rep, but enjoyed every one.
Dolphin swim at Ocean World. Cost $160 each, with a deposit payable at the hotel and the rest on arrival at ocean world. If there are only 2 of you, you will both be in the water together, so will have to buy their promo video or photos for a memento. You spend about 30 minutes in the water. You swim out to the middle,(you've got a life jacket so even non swimmers can do this) and 2 dolphins swim up from behind, you grab their fins and they bring you in. You then get to dance with them, feed, hug and kiss them. I wouldn't have missed this for the world. You can also do the shark & sting ray encounter, and the seal encounter. There's also a siberian tiger, and a tropical bird enclosure. The seal show is great, but the dolphin show is fab. A great day out.. If you don't want to do the encounters, it will cost you $55 to get in, but plenty to see.

please watch out for the Lifestyle Hacienda boys loitering around. they will whisk you off for a tour of the complex, but it's just a sales trip for timeshare. However it does give you a taste of how the other half live, and the guy that showed us round, soon realized we weren't interested and didn't try the hard sell.

VIP Paradise Island trip will cost you $140each. You take an air con coach to Porta Russia, where you then get taken by speed boat to a luxury yacht. Breakfast is served on board with as much to drink as you want. After about 1 and a half hours touring along the coast you stop near paradise beach, and can all jump off for a swim. The guys on board will jump in the sea with you and serve you drinks from the floating bar. Rum and coke whilst in clear blue Caribbean sea...what more could you want. You get out of the sea, back on the yacht then get served champagne and oysters. Then it's off to paradise beach by speed boat to have lunch. A nice buffet, and again all the drinks you want, try the coco loco, it's different! After lunch you go by speed boat to paradise island. The trip to the island is very bumpy, and very very very wet! The driver tries his best to go across as many wakes of the other boats as possible, so beware. Paradise island is literally a small bank of sand in the middle of the ocean. It's beautiful but there is nothing there except a couple of shacks to get drinks and snorkeling gear (included). There are no loos, so go before you get on the boat. You stay there for about an hour, and can take up the guided snorkeling trip which takes about 20 mins each way, and is pretty amazing by all accounts. You can have your photos taken, which will be available to buy on dvd when you get back to porta russia ($16). You take the speed boat back to porta russia via the mangroves, again another bumpy wet adventure, but great fun. More drinks at the bar then on to the coach for about a 2 hour trip back to the hotel via the market. well via the supermarket to be more exact, but gives you a chance to buy more souvenirs.

Monster truck safari $79 each. a day to remember. the trucks are massive and you sit in rows of five about 20 in the truck. Mercedes was our superstar guide. She was fab. The drinks started flowing at about 9.30am and lasted all day as much as you wanted. a trip through the countryside, across a couple of rivers, visit a school, although the kids were on holiday, visit a local house, then lunch at a ranch and a swim, then back via a souvenir shop. We got absolutely soaked at one point when the heavens opened, but were soon dry in the sun, then got soaked again, looking like we'd all jumped in the pool fully clothed. But being all brits, just took it in our stride and had another rum n coke! Watch out for the water fight with the other trucks, make sure you can cover up your cameras. Our truck broke down when we got to the souvenir shop, and the truck they sent to pick us up also broke down, but we were all ok about it, sat on the hillside, drinking rum n coke, and being entertained by the local kids singing and dancing. The kids love sweets, and also pencils and hair bands and if you have any spare hats, their smiles are amazing.

All in all we had a great 2 weeks at the Merengue. You will not get 4 star luxury, but for someone who's used to self catering in Europe it was certainly a step up!

Hope this review is useful to you, any questions please feel free to ask. Have a great time.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
20  Thank spinny500
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
Phone Number:
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
#6 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: $105 - $192 (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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