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“Don't go if you like to drink”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #14 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Philadelphia, PA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Don't go if you like to drink”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2009

The place was nice...I liked how you were able to use the oither hotels. It made you not feel confined to one area. I am 24 and wanted to drink down there....The drinks appeared to have a lot of alcohol in it, but when you drank it, tasted like nothing.

The food was good, but you can skip the a la carte reservations. The buffets were really good. Big selection for dinner and lunch. Breakfast was standard but it was good.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank eds29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Newfoundland, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2009

This was my first visit to a Carribean all inclusive. We met up with friends had been there the previous week and were there for another.
First the good.
The resort itself is nicely laid out. The buffets were ok, depending on what the theme was. Waiters were friendly and very fast to offer you water. The Al a Cartes were good. The animation team is a lot of fun, and very friendly. Where they get the energy I'll never know. The bar staff was excellent. Very fast and friendly. The ability to use all 3 resorts was very nice as well. The Bachata's pool was great. . The grounds were kept clean. Check in and out was very fast and easy. Beach is ok in most places. Weather was fantastic.
Now the bad.
Watered down liquor. They never seemed to pack much punch. But the main issue were the rooms. In ours and one of our friends, the tiolets never worked well. The AC never really cooled the room much, the room immediately had a heavy musty smell as soon as you walked in the room, which never left. The shower head....what can I say....it was almost useless. We were only given 2 jugs of water for 7 nights of stay. This after asking once at the front desk, and then tipping a cleaner in person to bring me some water whom I never saw again. The beds were hard and not really that comfortable. The mini bar of Pepsi's was only refilled once, and sometimes the room wasn't cleaned until late in the day which made it difficult to go back and relax if you choosed too. The Caribbean street stores were way...can I stress...wayyyyy overpriced for most things. The evening shows that involved the Merengue staff were generally not that good. The ones that involved the audience were usually decent however. An odd thing was for several nights, 2 or 3 dogs large dogs were outside untied, next to the restaurant close to the disco. They were there several nights even after we told adminstration about it. Many people have phobias about large dogs. It was just strange seeing dogs there like that unattended too. My friends who were there for 2 weeks agreed that a week was the most that they should have stayed for.
The day we left the resort was on the 9th, and it was opened to the local people which I have no problem with. It was odd though to see many policemen and men in camouflage around all day around the beach and grounds in general with batons, guns, and whistles. It became a little unnerving. The only activity we did offsite was the Yasiki Zipline tour. The tour itself was fun, but I would recommend not buying the $30 video. I was told it was all people doing all the ziplines. All I got was a very shaky camera recording with an annoying hissing noise with the first two ziplines recorded. The video then cuts to Dominican advertising. A ripoff in my opinion. I am kinda on the borderline as to would I recommend it. If you can get a nice room I'd say yes...otherwise probably not.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank brooker32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cumbria England
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2009

We have just got back from holiday, and thought i would give you my outlook on the resort. I see alot of the recents ones are not too good.

We are a family of 3 from the uk, with limited income, so this was more than a cheap holiday for us,basically the cost relates to about 10% of our annual income.

I also stayed in the Merengue in 2004, so i can compare a few things i had noticed different.

My partner, 16 year old son and I travelled on the 1st of April, the flight was with Thomson, and the plane was so much better than when i flew with them in 2004, more leg room, back of seat TV's. The food, well it was airplane food, strangely we had the same meal on the return flight too!

At the airport there is a bit of a hassle with the forms you have to fill in, in 2004, they simply took my $10 and we wandered through, no form was filled in or anything!, this time we all had to fill in a blue slip, and there was a further white form that I had to fill in, You can do this on the plane, and i recommend you do, it will save time.
The buses where all waiting for us, (our plane was slightly delayed so it was a relief we were quickly picked up), i was pleased to say this time there wasnt a hoard of men wanting to carry my case as they were intimidating and wouldnt take no for an answer, and expected a tip obviously. So it was pleasant to not be hassled on the way to the coach.

The drive to the hotel took about 40 minutes, and the coach was air conditioned.

On arrival we got a welcome drink, and a quick chat by the duty manager, then keys where handed out and everyone went off to find their rooms, which is quite confusing, because i had been before when i saw the room number i knew it was going to be a room overlooking the main road in and quite a walk from the pool resteraunt etc, so we asked to change, and this was no problem and we got room 1674, which over looked a small garden, no sun on the patio due to the trees, but this wasnt a major concern for us.

However the room stank of mold, it was very strong and didnt go away no matter how much we sprayed. In 2004 the room def did not have any odour. Plenty of storage in the rooms for cases and clothes even with 3 of us in 1 room, due to the fact we changed rooms at short notice, there was no 3rd bed, but this did turn up later that evening, now the bed was old, no 2 ways about it, but the sheets where clean and it was very comfortable but i didnt dare look at the mattress, obviously the 3rd bed reduced the size of the room, but we didnt mind as we didnt stay in the room much. The TV's are old, and the picture is dodgey, and the remote didnt work, but for the little we watched it, it was ok.
The rooms were cleaned daily and to a high standard, we tipped $2.00 a day, the maid folded towels into swans etc. The bathroom was ok, there is a hair dryer in there, and ours worked fine, the ceiling above the bath/shower was mouldy and so was the window, also be warned....from the outside you can see everything when someone is in the shower! and i mean everything, it is frosted glass, but it does not work. The mini bar was filled every two days, but we order extra pepsi every day from reception, as they leave 2 and there was 3 of us. We left a $1.00 tip for the pepsi guy.
The bathroom comes with some shower gel and shampoo i think, but we brought our own so didnt use it, we had more than enough towels for us all.

The resort is clean, and there is no shortage of staff cleaning all day, the pool at the Merengue is small, and sun loungers are taken early in the morning, but we used the Batchata pool, where there is more space and a swim up bar. Although the swim up bar proved to be a problem as a bloke got so drunk at it, he actually dumped in the pool and the whole pool had to be closed while someone had the unpleasant job of fishing it out, and cleaning the pool! The bottom of the pool has paint coming away, which was not the case in 2004, but this doesnt bother us, and didnt stop us having a great time.

The beach is stoney, and I would recommend swim shoes for anyone wanting to go into the sea, there are alot of spikey anenomes, last time i was there i got one in my foot, so took swim shoes this time, snorkels and goggles are a must if you go into the sea, even close to the beach there are some gorgeous fish to sea, take a banana in and squash it in your hand, they will feed from you.

I would recommend buying your sun tan lotions from home, they are very expensive from the resort, probably 3 times what you pay at home, we had to buy factor 70 and it was about $17 !!

The food is ok, but again had gone down hill since my last stay, the cheese board was fab last time, this time, just the same cheese, kind of a rubbery cheddar just cut into different shapes. We didnt starve, and there were a choice of foods, but pretty much the same every day. No one in our family got ill, but we were careful, washed teeth in bottled water etc. Def take a thermos cup with you, as this saves hassle when you need a drink, and it keeps it cool, in the blistering heat. Birds will land and drink from your open cups, cute to look at, but health wise, well i couldnt comment.

Entertainment team work hard to keep you busy if you want to be, but noticed this time, when playing water polo they just drop the ball off and wander off, last time they stayed to referee, and oversee the game, which meant it didnt get too rough and children where kept out of the area during the game, this time it was a free for all, and got a bit dangerous at times, with little children coming into the middle of it!

We did the helicopter ride, which was fantastic, it cost $256 ( i think) for 15 minutes, and in hind sight i wish we had paid for longer, as it was brilliant. Jet skis are good fun $40 for 15 minutes, but 2 folk can go on the same jet ski for the same price. The shops are very expensive, a bag of crisps/chips are $7.50 !! the shacks down by the jet skis are cheaper and you can bargain down there. The pharmacy is uber expensive, i needed 4 plasters for blisters and they cost $8.00 for 4! so take your own!

Overall a good holiday, the weather was fantastic, the resort was good, but def looking a bit tired compared to 2004, but on the whole it was good.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Larazoom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brantford
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2009

We stayed at the Riu from Mar 20 to Apr 3/09.We arrived at noon and our room wasn't ready but we were told where we could change and that are rooms would be ready by 3 which in fact they were ready around 1.The room was very clean and our maid was outstanding.
It rained most of the first week but when the sun finally came out the second week everything was perfect.Found the drinks very water down but you could always ask for doubles or triples.
The food was good at the buffets but i found that the 2 la cartes were not worth the time to stand in line to register.The Italian resturant had fish, port chops, or a thin steak where were the pasta dishes ?
One other thing if your taking kids they did not have peanut butter so take your own.
We travelled Sun Quest and they treated us great a cool punch drink when we got to the resort a fruit plate was deliverd to are room and Lou the rep was always there to help.
The beach looked nice but we were more of a pool person besides the bars are closer to the pools .

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dadcobrantford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amsterdam
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2009

With family, I've been staying at the Riu Mambo hotel for 2 weeks and got exactly what I was searching for. Some stress free, relaxing holiday while enjoying a high service of hospitality.

Highly recommended for anyone looking to relax and take a break from it all.

  • Stayed April 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank eigenwijs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Yorker
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2009

My wife and I stayed for 5 days 4 nights at the Mambo resort in DR in late March 2009. We are a couple in our early 30's who were looking for a quick inexpensive vacation, nonstop from NYC (our Home) where we did not have to deal with any money and could sit on the beach all day.

The Riu Mambo was a good overall choice for the PRICE, do not expect a perfect 5 star and pay $600 a person...that does not exist...you are not getting a deal, you are paying whats fair.

GROUNDS: can not stress enough how it was always clean and what you would want to see in a resort style (low buildings and colorful)

ROOMS: looks to be mid-80s decco with twin beds pushed together. They were very clean and a fine place to sleep, but you would not want to stay in them all day (but you shouldnt any ways..you are in a resort)

BEACH: Clearly the best of the three RIU resorts as you can walk to all three. The Mambo has the most sand/beach/chair area and the best sand. IT IS NOT WHITE SAND PUNTA CANA, but it is fine. Remember for those that have issues, DR it is 100% ok to be topless and I would say there was approx 10% of the women who were.

SERVICE: Everyone was very friendly and would leave you alone if you wanted to relax, or play with you if you were into being part of the action.

BARS: The Mambo has one on the beach which is nice, but only ice drinks with no alochol and beer is served...but still a good service. Always ask for alcohol in your drink as many times they pull the drinks from the "ice mixer" which has NO, repeat NO (as I asked) alcohol in it. If you just ask for a drink they will pour it without alcohol. They do close early..approx 10pm.

FOOD: Clearly fine for a buffet as it is 100% international style food (pizza, burgers, eggs, sausage, etc). You would never think it was 5 stars, but you do know its fresh and clean. After 5 days we had enough of it...but just because it all tastes the same. DO NOT waste your time with the "restarant" reservations as it is 100% the same food only slower.

KIDS: As detailed earlier, we do not have any so we were fine with the % of kids....there was no bother, but we were on the beach and most kids were at the pool. If you have kids they seemed to have fun and the resort incorporated them fine.

DRESS: Shorts/swimsuits and tshirts all day, shorts/pants and tshirts at night. Some people dressed up but, it was a little off-center for me being a new yorker...fancy dress for a buffet and free drinks by the beach???? Did not get it..but to each their own.

EVENTS: Very busy and looked like people had fun, however we found heading to the bar by the pool at night was better as you could relax and play cards etc...warm and drinks.

MUST BRING:
*Extra beach toweles as you only get 1 per person per day and have to check them in and out.
*Flip Flops to get around including the walks along the full RIU beach...does have small rocks and shells.
*Air freshener for room, not because it was not clean but instead because you are in 98% humidity..its always damp/musty
*Prebook car service from/to airport (say orbitz or like) as it is the same rate (maybe cheaper) and then you do not have to deal with bargining when you get off the airplane

Feel free to contact me with questions, it was a good place for the price and I would go back if I caught the right deal again on Orbitz or whatever.....

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Drewsonecard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philhotmail
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2009

Hi we stayed at riu mango 24th march to 6th april 2009 , we enjoyed every aspect of our stay there. The rooms were pleasant and cleaned very well each day, they stock the fridge in each room every two days with beer, water, cola etc, no charge for this. The food at the mango was to a very high standard and well presented, staff there are very attentive. We took this holiday as allocation on arrival it could have either been the merangue or the mambo, from what i saw each accommodation is as nice as the other. I would recommend this holiday for anybody and will visit again myself in a year or two. We had rain on the first day but after that the weather was great, nice beach too. Also thanx for thomas cook for sorting us all out after our plane could not land at puerto plata airport on arrival because of strong winds, we ended up landing at puerto cano airport, and had to stay in a hotel in puerto cano for a night before we could fly into puerto plata, got there in the end though, great trip...

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank philhotmail
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
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#13 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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