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“GREAT vacation for price!”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed December 14, 2010

I'm sad to read all the bad reviews that were written in November about this resort. We traveled to the Riu with our 2 year old son and stayed there for a week. This was our first stay at the Riu, but our fourth time to the Dominican (3rd time to Puerto Plata). We have been on several cruises before and other Carribean countries. We travelled Sunwings from Toronto (BEST flight ever) and we paid taxes in $600 each CDN. For what we paid this was a great vacation. I wouldn't have wanted to pay more. I emailed the resort a few days before arriving requesting an ocean view ground level room and that's what we got. Check in was a breeze, we were there for a brief few minutes and then directed to our room which was very easy to find and very close to everything. You get access to all the sister resorts but can only have dinner at your own resort.

Room - very clean, our fridge had a couple of beers, couple of cokes, couple of club sodas, large jug of water, we didn't need more than that, and you can call reception for restocking. Our maid did a wonderful job, and left us regularly towels shaped into animals along with flowers on our bed. We rented the safe for $3/day, we didn't mind paying for our peace of mind, but sometimes we left things lying around the room and never had a problem. Reception called us 3rd day in to see if everything is good and wanted to know if we needed anything, my husband just mentioned that it would be nice to have more beer and it was delivered immediately after. All you have to do is ask. Bathroom was basic, basic hair dryer, I never use hotel hair dryers, always bring my own. Water pressure was great, temperature was always nice and hot too. We had a large bad (2 beds pushed together), we didn’t mind, we’re on vacation, we’re not going to stress about things like this.

Beach – beach offered TONS of shade and there were plenty of loungers there, these loungers were washed and scrubbed daily by the staff. It’s a rocky beach, definitely not the nicest we’ve seen but we knew that going in, this isn’t Punta Cana, but the sand was constantly cleaned. We brought our water shoes because we knew it would be rocky. Our 2 year old loved making sand castles on the beach and ran between pool and beach as everything was in close proximity.

Pool – all the action took place around the pool, entertainment staff was excellent, lots of fun and hilarious. Pool itself could use some work but it was kept constantly clean, there was also a small pool for kiddies. It was never crowded around the pool, plenty of beach towels and loungers and mats around. Lots of palpas too. One afternoon they surprised everyone by cooking a seafood paella by the pool, it was delicious! Seafood was so fresh and it smelled divine. Another day they ushered everyone to the beach and had a beach party in the middle of the day and offered everyone fresh coconuts (some with alcohol and some without) and fresh fruits, they played music, our son really enjoyed that.

Restaurants – buffets were fine, food wasn’t amazing but it was plentiful, it does get boring and repetitive after a week, but we sure never went hungry. We ate at the main buffet for breakfast, there were lots of options, we took most of our lunches at the grill bar by the pool, they had the usual fries, burgers, pizza, soups and salads, fruits and icecream. We ate at the buffet for dinner and we tried the Italian and the Steakhouse, again nothing amazing but a nice change from the buffet. Food in Punta Cana was a lot better, but again we were well fed and our son had plenty to choose from and no one got sick.

Grounds – constantly kept clean, there was an off smell in some areas but not enough to bother us.

Spa - I had an hour massage at the spa, it was by the beach and it was very relaxing, $49 for one hour and the lady was quite good and let me nap after it was done!

Evening entertainment – we really enjoyed it, 8pm they had a mini disco for the kiddies, our son loved that, following that they put on various shows, we watched most of them and enjoyed all the ones we watched, far better than any of the other resorts we’ve been to. Staff was funny and interactive.

Flights – We flew with Sunwing and they were AMAZING. I don’t think I’ve had that good of a flight in a very long time, we were given free champagne to kick start our vacation, the staff were SO friendly and went out of their way to ensure everyone’s comfort, we were also given a hot meal both ways along with snack and a free glass of wine. Kids were given a baggie with some activities to occupy them, they gave free headsets and offered everyone a movie. No complaints at all about the flight.

All in all it was a very relaxing vacation, we had beautiful weather and our little family had a fabulous time.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank Nannouse24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 13, 2010

We arrived on the 31st of august and the moment we got there we were greeted with a glass of their local drink and such friendly service. Our rooms were perfect and extremely clean as was the area we stayed. The beaches were gorgeous and we spent slot of our time there some days the bar staff would come to us and offer us drinks. The food and staff were perfect and I would certainly recommend the entertainment too. Overall for our first holiday together it was well worth the money we paid and I would love to go back again. Best holiday ever.

  • Stayed: September 2010
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Thank juliaju1990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2010

My husband and i stayed at the Riu Merengue and had an unforgettable, unbelievale and awesome experince here. The people are so humble, heart warming and truly know the meaning of good hospitality. From the waiters to the cook and from the front desk staff to the housekeepers, they were overall great. Never had one compliant while i was there. I will most definetly return back. I just made Riu Merengue my home away from home. Thank you Riu merengue staff for making my stay excellent.

DENNIS AND STEPHANIE

  • Stayed: December 2010
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1  Thank qnzmorentia7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2010

More disappointed than thrilled with our experience in this resort. The only great things about this resort is the courtesy and friendliness of the staff and the food at the buffet.
A chain of 3 Resorts which are all connected to one another Riu (Bachata, Merengue & Mambo). Most disappointed part is the disintegrating and coroded beach! The beach at its widest point is only abot 60 feet where the palm trees are almost touching the ocean The ocean is dirty not a clean aqua color that I was expecting. The sand is rough, gravel and rocks line the entire entrance into the ocean. Very difficult to enter or even enjoy your time in the water. Expected to see a little port connected to the beach offering water activities such as jetskis etc...but that was all the way past the Bachata Resort almost a mile away. Jetkis only for the rich as 1 hour is $110 !!! (In Mexico is half the price) The rooms are VERY outdated and smell of mold. The beds are VERY uncomfortable, where the king bed we were given was made of 2 twin beds connected to one another having the uncomfortable indent dividing me and my husband. Not 24hr all inclusive as the bars and restuarants are not open all night but close at midnight. Reservations required at 2 Resort restaurants (Italian and Steakhouse) only between the hours of 7-7:30am if you want to eat there that day...set your alarm clock otherwise you can't go in there and are left to eat in the buffet during their hours of operation: 7-10am breakfast, 1-3pm lunch & 6:30-10pm dinner! Make sure you don't get hungry between the hours where the buffet is closed. The pool is ok, but does has not have a music system so it is quiet almost all the time. There are speakers in the restauarant (Mangu) nearby but you can bearely hear any music playing as it would be full blast inside the restaurant if you wanted them at the pool. Almost no Americans as there were only about a hand full including us, mostly older English, German and Canadians tourists. Leave the iPhone at home as there is no service anywhere in the hotel ONLY at the lobby area where there is a slow as molases WiFi where you will be joining 50 other people.
Wished we would have read a rewiew like ours prior to booking there because we would have shelled out the $200 more and opted for Punta Cana where reviews and friends word of mouth paints a much favorable picture of a great vacation spot !

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank TrueReviewNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2010

Just back from two weeks at the Mambo with my wife,it was our 25th anniversary,and another couple.We had read all the reviews and had a recommendation from a workmate of my wifes even then wasnt quite sure what to expect.We flew with Thomas Cook and seems they are using Majorca planes for long haul flights-bit cramped same movies there and back not so good.The check in and immigration goes pretty quickly and the Mambo isnt far from airport ,nice welcome and cases taken to your room.The rooms are big,two double beds nice balcony and got the quiet location and upper level we asked for although my friends had asked for sea view but I think its only the larger suites that have these and they are in busier bits of the hotel,no damp smells as some reviews had said and really pleased with rooms and maid service brilliantYou are allowed to use all the bars at night but must eat at the Mambo at night but to be honest I dont know how the people know if you went to the Bachata for dinner.Food is great,breakfasts fab esp fresh juice and the not so healthy pancakes, lunches and dinners a nice mix of meat -fish-salad- pasta and the superb fresh pizzas.The staff are so friendly and cant thank them enough esp the lovely ladies who give you the lotion spray for your hands as you go in.Anywhere good for breakfast,loved the Bachata for lunch as you can sit on the nice terrace and we did eat at the Mambo every night and the dining room is really nice and decorated with diff coloured drapes/ flags on themed nights.The bar and entertainment area is not great ,preffered bars at the Merringe and Bachata and the pool bar at the Mambo got the nick-name of the greedy bar.Strangely enough part of that area becomes the Italian and on alternate nights Steakhouse and we went to the Italian and it was great but you have to book it early in the morning usually if you are up for a trip.Went on three trips -Paradise island Monster Trucks and Catamaran.All were great the only gripe is that the journey back after the Paradise trip is way too long and the stop at the shop to buy cigars or whatever is crap and not helped by a drunken train wreck of a teenager coming back on the bus.Paradise Island though is a must see and the trucks trip is awesome ,the guide big papa paparazi and the guy who taps you on the shoulder all the time-Orlando, are so much fun and so enthusiastic-brill.We went horse riding for the first time and that was hillarious !!!The Freestyle cat trip is made special by the crew ,as well as all the lovely views n great lunch n booze.There was an english rep there too but she just kinda smoked and drank and told the odd story about life in DR. The beach is fab ,spent most days over by the beach supermarket as got most sun there all day.Ive tried to remember all the bits and bobs that people like to know in these reviews but to be honest we had a fantastic holiday and would recommend it to anyone .We have been lucky to go on a couple of Sandals holidays for 50th birthdays and they were great but for value for money and high standards of comfort and service lets hear it for the Mambo

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Mossparkdave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2010

Reception - friendly and very helpfull, quick check-in.
Housekeeping - room was changed to second floor without any fee, rooms are wide, but smell of mold stayed for few days. "Kings size" bed is made from two huge separate beds wich are disconnecting every time you move. It was hard to find husband at night :) Ants are hiding somewhere until you bring any food to the room, so better don't do it if don't want to see army of them. Cockroaches tried to scare us in locker and drawers. Hot water is running unstable - burned few times. "Mini bar" - re-filled every second day, two bottles of beer and some sodas, water. Slept long on refilling day - didn't get any drink even after calling reception. Hus B-day - had to remind about it to get some baloons in room.
F&B - food is good quality, those who complain about quality and stomac problems - just eat less, please :) Big variety of juices, but only for breakfast. Try restaurant, but don't get confused it's grill or Italian - same menu every time. Perfect grilled chicken, Special thanks to bar staff - Pedro, Paula, Soto, Pena, Fausto - very best workers.
Beach - brown sand, always enough of space and sunbeds, clean.
Excursions - very expensive for what you get, much cheeper and same conditions are with locals. Grab a taxi to see arround.

Perfect because of possibility to use pools, restaurants, bars and shows in all three hotels, didn't get bored in 14 days.

Would love to come back one day.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank RenataAndGedas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2010

Stayed here for 2 weeks with Thomas Cook and to be honest was quite disapponted! They say it's 24 hour all inclusive. Well find me a bar in resort that's open after 12 midnight. The staff in the bar could be quite rude and couldn't be botherted to serve you sometimes. At 12 midnight they stop serving and turn all the lights out and leave in total darkness...how rude!! The food was bland and repetitive and the a la carte restaurants are not worth visiting!!! You have to get up at 6.45am to be able to book a table by 7.15am as they close the reservations even though when you go it's half empty. The staff were again quite rude and just rush you in and out. We only went once and it was rubbish to say the least. Our rep Helen was amazing though and nothing was too much trouble. The rooms smell damp when it rains. We were offered another room but this was just as bad!! The entertainmaent was on the whole very amateur and poor. A bit like a very bad Butlins holiday camp in the sun. The trips we booked were great though and that made up for the boring times arounf the resort. We met some new fantastic friends as well so that was a bonus. The weather on the whole was really nice too. I wouldn't go back here but did enjoy the holiday on the whole.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Woz1964
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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