There are three options to choose from: the RIU Merengue, the RIU Merengue Garden and the Bacchatta. We stayed at the RIU Merengue Garden and I think it's the best choice as it's in the middle of the three hotels, has the nicest beach and the best nightly entertainment. You have the option of eating at all the buffets at the three hotels during the day, but only have choice of the two restaurants at your location for dinner. We wandered around all the locations and the staff were excellent at all of them. The food at the buffets were similar so we mostly ate at the RIU Merengue. This is an older resort so it looks a little tired but is still Ok. We met a lot of great guests from Germany, Quebec, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, Russia and other places. Unlike Cuba, it wasn't mostly Canadian.
The staff were very friendly and made sure that whatever you needed was provided. "Ola" was heard a lot as the staff are very quick with a Hello and a smile.The front desk was very informative and I was surprised when we exchanged money that we got the exact, correct amount the first time (unlike in Cuba or Mexico where you have to count your change exactly!) The bartenders were very friendly and remembered what you drank and how you liked it - after the first visit. I was pleasantly surprised. As well, unlike Mexico and Cuba, you don't have to tip to get a drink - and we didn't see very many people tipping. We left tips with our favourite bartenders and waiters at the end of the trip. However, if you would like a table reserved for you at the buffet - tip your waiter and ask for a reserved table at the beginning of your trip and you will have a set table every night.
Food and drink:
There are two restaurants, one Italian and one Steakhouse. We tried the Italian one night and it was ok. The buffet was good. They have a variety of different types of food and you can count on some type of pasta, pork, beef, chicken and fish every night. The fish was fresh and tasty. The wine is terrible but the drinks don't seem to be watered down as much as other places.
We had a beach front room, there's good and bad in this. We had an excellent view of the ocean and the beach but the walking path that feeds the other hotel and additional garden rooms cuts in front of the ocean view rooms so the late night revellers can wake you up when the wander home in the wee hours. As well, when you first enter, it smells a bit musty. Turn on the fan and up the air conditioner and it clears out after awhile. I would book a room on the second floor next time, however, this room was was very convenient to the amenities. The cleaning person was very good and did an excellent job on keeping our room clean. We left her a tip on the bar and she didn't touch it, then we remembered to leave a tip on the bed. The beds are AWFUL as are the pillows. I hope they upgrade these soon. I had to use my down jacket as a pillow as theirs was so hard that I couldn't sleep on it. The beds are a bit bumpy as well. Nothing that a few rum and coke didn't cure for me. My partner didn't have any complaints and said the beds and pillows were fine.
We mostly spent our days on the beach. It was lovely, Nice sand, a gradual slope and there were always chairs available. There is also a reef that is good for snorkelling (not great, but good - we saw a few fish and some marine life.) Paddle boats and kayak's are free, as are snorkelling equipment but there is a $25 deposit for snorkelling equipment. The nightly entertainment was good, much like you will get anywhere. We spoke to guest from the RIU Merengue and Bacchata and they all said the nightly entertainment was the best at the RIU Merengue Garden.
I had a massage on the beach and the masseuse was excellent. It was $85 for 50 minutes and worth every penny. I felt totally relaxed and very comfortable and can compare the experience to a Canadian massage in a spa but better because the waves you are hearing aren't from a CD. I would recommend this.
We only did one excursion. We went snorkelling on Paradise Island which included a speed boat tour through the Mangroves. It was 1.5 hrs on a bus to get to the boat. Then a 20 minute to a half an hour boat ride and 2 hours on the island. The speed boat driver made the trip through the mangroves very exciting as he would head straight for the trees then bank quickly and scoot through an opening that you couldn't even see. I totally enjoyed the boat ride. Paradise Island is a sand bar with four or five shacks on it. Not much else and no bathroom. The snorkelling was GREAT - we saw a LOT of fish and they are used to people so stay around looking for bread or bananas. My partner saw a Baraccuda around the back of the island. The snorkelling equipment is not new - we always take our own - but I noticed that after people were finished using the equipment provided, that the snorkels didn't seem to be sanitized or washed. I may be wrong - I hope I am. The life vests were inflatable by a blow up tube and I didn't see the pipes being sanitized either so I asked the guy at the booth to blow mine up. They provided cheese and ham sandwiches - not cheese and ham, but either cheese or ham. Not great. The lunch provided was limp french fries and overcooked burgers - again not great. But the boat ride and snorkelling at Paradise Island was worth it.
OVERALL, IT'S NOT A LUXURY RESORT. HOWEVER, WITH THAT IN MIND, I WOULD RETURN TO THIS RESORT AGAIN. I HAVE STAYED IN LUXURY RESORTS AND DIDN'T ENJOY IT AS MUCH AS I DID THIS. THE TRADE OFF WAS A NOT SO GREAT BED BUT EXCELLENT STAFF AND SERVICE.
- 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
- ClubHotel Riu Merengue Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata