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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #14 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed April 11, 2010

We travelled with Thomson to the Dominican republic,had a great flight over.Cabin crew where great as was the flight. We got of the plane in Puerto Plata and the heat just hit us 31 degrees.what a start to our week long holiday.
After a coach ride of about 40 mins we arrived at the Riu mambo,to be greeted with a refreshing non alcoholic drink and a welcome chat with the head of reception and the general manager.here we were given our room keys and sent on our merry way....
The room we were allocated was 2017 and it was on the 1st floor of our block,first impressions were good,the room was a little musty at first,but once we had opened the patio doors for a while it cleared. I must admit this is the first hotel that i have ever stayed in that has had full bottles of drink on optics as well as a stocked fridge.
The only down side to the rooms is that there are no Tea/coffee making facilities,we did take our travel kettle,but the current is so different over there that it takes a month of Sundays to boil the water.
The pool and its surroundings are lovely and there is a bar and restaurant close by,here you can get a cuppa if you want one or enjoy one of the many cocktails they whip up.We did take thermal beakers with us this year,as they will only give out small plastic cups to drink from during the day,it also cuts down on the time you send walking back to the bar for a refill and it keeps it clod for longer too!
The beach was good, Clean and with plenty of bed chairs to go around. The sea was not as i had expected (crystal clear and full of fish) but slightly cloudy and a bit stoney under foot. This did not spoil my holiday though.
The restaurants were clean and clutter free and the food was well prepared and fresh.The service was great and the staff are lovely,nothing is to much of a problem for them(and despite what others might say this is not because they are after a tip) Although you will find that they will look after you better if you learn just a few basic words in Spanish.(it makes them laugh when you make a mistake!)
You can use the facilities of all three hotels any time during the day,but their restaurants cannot be used for evening meals.
We decided to do the catamaran trip on the Sat it cost about £65 each,but was well worth the pennies.you take a bus ride twenty mins down the road and jump on the boat at another hotel,then you sail of to sosua to go snorkeling in crystal clear waters you then have lunch on board before sailing into deeper waters for another swim.A gentle sail back with some great entertainment from the crew on the way back.
What i will advise though is to take American Dollars not Dominican pesos as we did,everything is priced in dollars,even the trips through the agents.this is really frustrating as you have to keep asking for it to be converted for you and you never know whether your being diddled or not!!
All in all we had a great week,with the best weather they have had since Christmas( it didn't go below 78 degrees during the day).wish we could of stayed another week.
Bravo to all the staff for making our stay so good,and to Belky our chambermaid for a lovely clean and fresh room everyday.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jessejames41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2010

Never I/we experience such rudeness from the people of the Dom Rep staying at the Mambo ... and the other two resort Bachata/Merengue .... not only were they extremely loud they totally disrepected the staff at the resort it was a blessing to see them all leave by Sunday and early Monday morning ... from then on we as with the rest of the vacationers enjoyed the resorts and enjoyed what the Resort had to offer ... the valueable lesson here is to not booked our vacation during the Dom Rep national holidays.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RudyandMax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2010

I had a long list of items that I planned on writing about due to previous negative reviews but the latests reviews sum the place up perfectly so I don't want to repeat everything again.

I stayed here for 2 weeks 20th March-3rd April 2010 and had a fantastic time. The cleanliness and service of staff is fantastic. The animation team are great and there is always plenty to do in the day if you want, or you can qite happily just lounge by the beach or pool. The entertainment of an evening is a bit hit and miss, the Michael Jackson show was good, the Couples show was hilarious and the magic show was quite good, if a little slow. You have to give the animation team credit as they usually present the shows in four different languages so at times it can be a little bit slow but they still get everything across.

There is a good choice of food and you could eat almost every hour of the day if you wished. You usually end up just eating for the sake of it because it is there!

I used the scuba diving services for 3 days. It certainly wasn't the best place to dive in the world, it is mainly just pretty corals and very few fish but it was still very relaxing. The DM was very helpful although there are a few things that I did pick up on. I am a DM myself and dived various places around the world so an OW perhaps may not pick up on such things. This included no roll call when back on the boat, no safety sausages included with equipment and no briefing about oxygen and first aid (although both were on the boat)

We went on the Bravissimo trip which I would recommend for an evening away from the resort. We had the al a carte meal which was lovely and then saw the show. It was a little cheesy but the costumes were really good and the show was just the right length of time. We spent an hour in the casino before we came back. It was a really nice evening.

Paradise Island was really good. We were picked up from the hotel at 7.30ish and had a coach trip to catch the speed boat. We were first on the island so managed to get some really nice pictures before everyone else arrived. We left Paradise Island at 12 after spending about 2 and a half hours there and went for some lunch and travelled back.
This gave you a really good view of some of the Dominican villages.

The Catamaran trip was also very good. (Freestyle Catamarans) In the two weeks this was the only day the weather was bad. It rained all day and being out on a boat was not much fun for a lot of people. About 75% of people were throwing up and wanting to go home but we just grinned and beared it and enjoyed our time with a few drinks. The staff were trying to keep peoples spirits up but did give up after a while. Their intentions were good. I know, that if the weather had been the usual glorious sunshine then this trip would have been really good fun and I would definately go on this trip again.

Overall, like other people have said this was a lovely hotel to stay in. I would rate the hotel a decent 4 star. The only reason it is not a 5 star is that the beds were like your usual 3* Mediterranean type beds.... hard! but I could not fault anything else.

The only thing that we didn't try was the spa. This was only because it was quite expensive compared to other places I have been. When on holiday I like to use spa facilities because they are usually much cheaper than UK prices but these spa facilities were no cheaper than the UK.

I would not return to the hotel but only because I want to explore other parts of the island but I would definately travel to a hotel with the Riu brand again.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank ell1e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2010

I will start off by saying if you bought the tickets for this hotel already I am so sorry for you. When i was looking through other reviews before I went to this hotel most of them were back but i was thinking how bad can vacation really be? Trust me this hotel showed me. The first day that we got there we were put in a room that was very close to the bachata shopping strip and the room were TINY and nothing worked not the tv, the ac, no plugs. After a couple of hours they finally provided us with a better room, it was still very small but atleast things worked. And a tip for the women that blow dry their hair, please bring your own hair drier the one that they provide looks like its from back in the day. Its so loud and small and it smells. Also the shower, if your taking a shower at night people can see everything I caught a show of a few too many people taking a shower. The pool is small and its very hard to get a bed near the pool unless you go in the morning. The beach was better with the beds, there always seem to be available ones. My biggest concern was the food, we are not a picky family but we couldnt find anything to eat. In the morning the coffee was always cold and the tea tastes like it has sand in it. If you want to have a decent cup of tea i suggest bring your own tea bags. For lunch they always have the same stuff salads which were very watery, pasta that sometimes you have to stand in line for, and some meat that you cant even eat. For dinner there were a few more choices but still nothing tasted good. Overall the food was absolutely horrible. I have no idea how they keep their 5 star rating. Also we would leave a tip in the room everyday and the bedsheets wouldn't be changed. One day when she changed them my bed sheet had gray marks all over it, do they call that a clean bed sheet i don't think so. Also my pillow case wasn't changed for 3 days, i turned it inside out just to see how long it will take her to change it, after 3 days she still didn't change it. Also we stayed during the Easter weekend, starting from friday all the way to sunday they let local people in. And it wasn't just a few of them, the hotel was packed with local people and they were loud and rude. We couldn't sleep until 2 am because they would be so loud outside. and I wouldn't recommended this hotel to anybody, i honestly cant find one good thing to say about my stay at merengue.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank Kiki906
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2010

travelled with 14 friends and family ages 5 -45, everybody had a great holiday. the food was fantastic, the service was great, the rooms and overall hotel were clean. having the three sister hotels to "play at" made it so there was plenty to do and lots of bars and restaurants to enjoy. we travelled over the Easter holiday which was resulted in a $400 per person discount, because of the holiday every excursian and extra curricular activity was shut down for 3 days, with that in mind you can plan your week around it and use the down time to relax on the beach or get involved with the energenic animation team and thier activities in and around the numurous pools. even without the discounted price this hotel gets our approvel and we will be returning

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank bigredapple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2010

The accomodation was ok - not 4 star but definately 3. If you drink Rum, ask for Brugal or else you'll get some watered down stuff that gives you the runs.

The rooms (we tried two) both smelled damp, insist on a change. In the main the staff were Ok but I have just, today come back from DR and, as a dark skinned BLACK woman from the UK, who is well educated and well travelled I found DR to be among the most RACIST place I have visited with the exception of Russia and perhaps Germany.

I paid £2000 for a one week visit for a friend and I. She is mixed race and the contrast between how we were treated was 'stark'. I was ignored by many reception, gardening and cleaning staff who would say 'halo' to my friend and other European visitors whilst they averted their eyes or just spoke to someone else when I came along and as for the Head Waiter - forget it! Some of the UK white visitors commiserated with me - not good!

My visit to DR was amongst the most degrading of my life and for those of you who justify your treatment of the Haiti's by referring to yourselves as Mullato, you should feel ashamed of your lack of acknowledgement of the slave trade and the fact that this is what brought about such a term and your being.

I was told the DR government, which has food in abundance, has set up a trading post so the Haitians can trade the clothes and shoes they get get from the UN (which is apparently very good) for food, AS THEY DON'T NEED SUCH ITEMS!!!!!!.

I will visit DR again because, to be honest, although this was my experience of the 'privileged''lighter skinned' resort workers the RUI tends to employ, whilst out of the resort, people 'in general' and food were more pleasant.

I should add that my experience of the Rui in Cape Verde was not dissimilar, though perhaps I had less of an expectation. The RUI need to consider their staffing policy and train their staff in inclusivity and customer care. I WILL NOT VISIT A RUI AGAIN!!!!

To be told stories on the bus drive by the outsourced contractor on the Thomas Cook trip to Paradise Island (a sand dune in the middle of the sea of no more than two hundred metres square) of how the DR's admire white skin and would walk in the sun with umbrellas to avoid looking like chocolate or dried cocoa in the sun was insulting to say the least. No disrespect to Thomas Cook though, Abby the rep is phenomenal.

Looking at the Internet, my experience is not isolated so go at your own peril but be warned, its not a nice experience and for context, this is probably the 3rd time in my nearly 50 years that I've been made to feel like [-]. These BLACK people think they're Spanish! and I wouldn't mind, some of them were darker than me!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank cool57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2010

i cannot praise the hotel and staff enough,on all counts it is superb.
food-enough of a choice to entertain any type of appetite
cleanliness-maids on all the main toilets with alcohol gel before entering,and also on the entrance to the main restaurant too.
staff-all willing and very helpful and big praises to the very good animation team too.
all in all an excellent holiday experience which we didn't want to end.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank brynbabe
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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