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“Not Spectacular……. but a solid all round performance for the money.”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 39 Hotels in Puerto Plata
england
Level Contributor
43 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“Not Spectacular……. but a solid all round performance for the money.”
Reviewed March 17, 2014

We booked our stay on the basis of seeking a good quality, minimum cost All Inclusive fortnight away, the RIU Merengue fitted that criteria.

The hotel lists itself as 5* and based on the facilities provided this is understandable however based on a few areas (detailed below) I believe Thomson (for those travelling from the UK) are correct in advertising it as a 4* hotel.

The Merengue is actually 2 hotels, ‘The Village’ and ‘The Garden’, travelling with Thomson we stayed in ‘The Garden’ (which I believe is the norm for Thomson clients) and my review is based on this but as you can use The Village (V) and the adjacent RIU Bachata (B) hotel during your stay I will make the occasional reference as part of the overall experience but from what I could see, all 3 hotels seemed broadly similar in their style and offerings.

Check-in was very speedy, the wrist band is on your wrist before you know it and the registration paperwork can be handed in the next day so you are immediately free to go to your room (….or the bar!), a small thing perhaps but in my mind a winner after a long journey.

The rooms are in blocks of 8 (4 up - 4 down) and of a reasonable size and condition. They come with air conditioning. a free safe, a fridge - which is regularly restocked with a small selection of beer, water, coke; a selection of spirits provided. The TV (about 60 channels - circa 8 English) is a little small and the bath/shower area (in our room) was a little small – shower curtain had a tendency to cling to you. There is no kettle so if you do like a hot drink in the room at any time take your own. The beds and sheets etc were good quality and comfortable.

 A word of caution, whilst not an issue in the short term it is worth noting at the ‘Bachata’ end of the beach (in the next bay) Carnival Cruises are building a new port for cruise ships, this is apparently a $60m dollar investment. A large working barge and crane slightly blots the scenery at present but I would be more concerned once the port becomes operational (about a year?) and the impact the influx 1000’s of day trippers will have on the beach when a cruise ship ‘is in town’.

My views on the general facilities around the hotel are:

Overall the hotel facilities and grounds are very clean, tidy and well maintained. The staff get on with their jobs and in general do not seem to be ‘looking for tips’ although they are obviously welcomed.

WIFI: Free wifi is available in the reception area for 90 minutes duration once per day; this can also be accessed in the receptions of (V) and (B) hotels thereby giving you 4.5 hours per day.

Shops: there are a couple of shops for gifts, these are a little pricey but not overly so and there is also ‘Caribbean Street’ which provides a wider but similar choice of gifts etc, a Pharmacy/Chemist can also be found here.

Pool: This was very disappointing and one of the key areas why I do not think the hotel is 5*. It is on the small size (described by Thomson’s as ‘Massive’) and has a dated look/feel about it (the pools at (V) and (B) are not much better). The area around the pool for those who like to sunbathe there is also on the small side. The pool does not have a swim – up bar.

Beach/Sea: this is immediately in front of the hotel and a good number sunbeds are provided; there is a tree shaded area for those who do not like too much sun. The sand is ok (not fine golden sand) and the sea does not have a ‘Turquoise’ carribean feel about it. The sea is shallow and gently shelving but there are some rocks/stones etc to be wary of, there are some sea urchins so care is required. The hotel provides free Kayaks and Pedaloes and you can also hire Jetskis sailboards etc if you wish

Animation (Day Time): a typical range of entertainment is provided by the animation team (darts, golf, football) for those wishing to join in but perhaps the water/step aerobics is weak compared to other hotels we have stayed at.

Animation (Evening): this was reasonable; the main events were a mixture of dancing shows, a couple of music show’s (eg Michael Jackson, Rock Anthems) and a couple of guest participation nights. These were carried out enthusiastically but some investment is needed in a new PA system to make announcements more clear.

‘One Off’ Entertainment: the hotel provided several one- off type events, eg evening beach party, lunchtime barbecue, meet the staff drinks party throughout the duration of our stay.
Sports There are tennis courts, table tennis available if you wish.

Beach Bar: open from all day and in the evening, very hard working, polite and proactive staff looking to serve you as quickly as they could. If your cocktail is not listed but they have the drinks available they will make it for you.

Main Bar: open in the evenings, again the staff were very polite and proactive in serving the drinks.

Drinks: the general range of teas/coffees, soft drinks, beer, wine and sangria where available. Spirits where available together with a reasonable range of liqueurs, these seemed reasonable pleasant, and alcoholic.

Main Restaurant: this was another area I found a little disappointing. The room is dark which I found a little depressing at times and the layout of the food/plates did not seem logical. The food whilst well prepared/cooked did have a feel of repetitiveness about it. Being able to use the restaurants at the (B) and (V) did provide an alternative setting (food was basically the same) which helps.

Snack Bar: again, for me a little dark and undercover, at lunchtimes I like to be out in the open (still shaded) a little more and feel like I’m at the seaside at lunch time. The main restaurant at (B) provided this feel a little more.

Ala Carte: you have the choice of Italian or Steak, you book on the morning of the night you want to eat and this provided a pleasant alternative to the main restaurant.

Summary:

The cost of our package holiday was £930 each for a fortnight (includes travel on a Dreamliner …..a great improvement on 767’s etc) which is remarkable value when you think about it and it makes you wonder how much the hotel actually get to provide what they do.

Whilst the hotel did not particularly ‘exceed’ in any areas (except for its overall friendliness) it did meet our requirements and delivered a very enjoyable value for money holiday.

If you are after a high quality hotel that will provide all the trimmings I would suggest looking elsewhere (and pay more!), if you are after a value break and can compromise an a few things then this hotel together with the use of the (V) and (B) it should be more than adequate for the price.

Please contact me if you want any further information on the hotel.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
15 Thank Mr260Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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RHODES CORNER
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2014

we stayed here from feb 24th to mar 3rd . there was 11 of us and we all got in one building . we found the staff very friendly and the place clean . it was a long walk to the other resorts but you are on vacation and there are bars every where and the scenery georgous . we went to the steak house once but fond the buffet so good that there was no need to do a la carts . the entertainment went out of their way to make sure you enjoyed yourself . our only complaint was on the weekend the locals took over the resort . they was rude and did what they wanted , i complained to management and he said that they paid alot to come here for the weekend and he didnt care . the sunwing rep sandy was really nice and did everything he could to help you . we did a 4 wheeler tour and seen some really nice scenery and got a pic taken with a snake,turtle spider and bird all at once , pretty cool . would probably go back if the price was right as the locals staying there and being so rude really put a damper on the trip .

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank William B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2014

I stayed with my husband at Riu Merengue for one week and we had a great experience but in the same time a disappointed one.
We arrived in Puerto Plata and our representative from Thomson was waiting us at the airport.
The lady Sylwia from Thomson is a nice person and she was very helpul for all our vacation. We enjoyed there a tour of the city, the best attraction are Brugal factory and Jesus`s statue. Also, we went in Safari Out Back trip and if you want to fully enjoyed ask for Many`s truck. He is funny and full of energy. The restaurant-bar staff are professional, friendly and always with smile faces. We stayed in the room 1421 and the housekeeper was doing a brilliant job every day, making swan`s towels and tidy up our stuff in the room. The animation team is very crazy in a good way, organising shows every evening.
The bad thing happened there is a small accident. My husband hit his foot and he needed same medical attention. We asked reception (John) to call the hotel`s doctor but he gave us the number saying that we need to call him. We tried few times but the doctor was busy and he could`n take our call. We asked John to call for an ambulance but he refused us, saying that we need to wait until tomorrow when our Thomson`s representative is caming at the hotel. John didn`t help me to carry my husband which was in the wheelchair to the taxi and he never gave us same advice about the hospital.
Front desk never smiled, they are not helpful when you ask something and their attitudine is rude.
We would like to came back to see that paradise hopping that we will receive a better treatment, especially from reception which represesent the first contact witht he guest.
Thank you Sylwia, Many and Puerto Plata!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Nona T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2014

I recently got back from Puerto Plata with friends and family and stayed at the Merengue Village part of the resort. The rooms weren't great but were cleaned every day. The staff was very friendly and always greeted everyone. Staff from the animation team were awesome and hilarious; there were many activities going on every day like yoga, beach volley ball, bingo, and many more. As for the food, well it wasn't the greatest but not absolutely horrible. There was a wide variety of choices, three meals a day. There were bars everywhere and even one conveniently on the beach with waiters. Although some of the bartenders didn't understand English, they were very generous with alcohol and friendly. If you're looking for souvenirs, go to the Caribbean street shops rather than the hotel boutiques because you can get the same things for cheaper. There's not much to do at night except for walking around and going to the bars because the shows weren't too interesting. There was always food available in between meals at the snack bars. For some reason one of the pools would be closed every day then be reopened on the Merengue Village side, but there is another pool in Bachata and Merengue Garden. The beach was really nice and so was the ocean. the Scuba Caribe rental place offered free rentals like kayaking, windsurfing and pedal boats. Other activities and excursions were available like sea doos and four wheelers. Although the four wheel excursion promises a ride on the beach, in reality it is a ride up somewhat steep and rocky roads through a nearby village. There is a visit to a cigar shop and the area where they shot the first Jurassic park movie, so it's still interesting. The rooms weren't as bad. The bathrooms have granite countertops. The beds aren't very comfortable, but bearable. One downside about the rooms is that there is no key cards to unlock the door, but one key. It may be difficult for people staying 4 in a room to work it out with the key. The safe is free to use. The cleaning staff work very hard and nonstop. The worst part of the trip had to be the weekend since locals use the resort. They're loud, and are in large quantities. They're greedy with the food and they bring along many children since their children stay free. Other than the weekend, the resort is nice and calm. Overall the vacation was a lot of fun despite the food, locals, and the rooms. The resort itself was beautiful, but 4.5 starts is pushing it.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank _ag39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
40 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2014

Front desk staff was rude and did not make us feel welcome. Room needed upgrading. Old outlets that didn't work with chargers or hair applisnces. Had to wait for someone to check out to gey an adapter. Resort felt like a kids summer camp. Littered with trash. Bartenders didn't understand English at all - pointing at drink menu didn't work. Stuck with pointing at cooler oaf premixed drink. Biggest plus - pepsi products.

Room Tip: Not sure everything there is one.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kay W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2014

just come back from two weeks in Feb. at this hotel and love it all !!!!! Food very good , people lovely, weather first class . The rooms could do with a face lift but did not put us of.Locals in at the weekend were a bit to much !!!! but overall a great holiday

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Brian E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sale, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2014

Although it was last year.....I cant say enough good things about this place! It was absoplutely gorgeous, we particularly liked the fact that we could use the other hotels which were part of the massive complex. This was good in the evenings so we didnt get bored. Had the most amazing time....was soooo sad to leave. Saw a couple of people get married here, which inspired our own carribean wedding which will be taking place next year. Fab value for money......fun fun fun in the sun.
Some people wrote some pretty bad reviews on here about this place, but I couldnt fault it! Dont even hesitate.....book ir :)

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank NOONOOMANCHESTER
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

Property: 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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#11 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: 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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