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“Nice resort but too many smokers”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #14 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 3 February 2013

My husband and I were at this resort from January 25 - February 1, 2013. We took a taxi to beat the traffic at the front desk. It was a 30 minute ride costing $50 USD. Upon arrival we could tell right away that it was a beautiful resort. The rooms were very clean, spacious and the grounds were very well kept. Tons of green vegetation. Various species of palm trees, shrubs and flowers. The beach was ok, not like I have experienced in Cuba. The sand is not fine and water shoes are needed to go into the ocean.
We asked to change rooms to be closer to the ammenities and we had no problem with this request, Margarita was very nice and helpful.
This resort is divided in 3 sections. Merengue Village, Merengue Gardens and Riu Bachata. Had access to all the restaurants except for the Bachata (could only have breakfast and lunch there) but it was nice to sit out on the Terrace to have our meal. We also booked a la carte. Have to get there early 0700 to book and we got the chance to eat at the steakhouse and it was delicious.
The food at the buffet was awesome and there is quite a variety every day from Mexican Theme night (my favourite), Poutine, Ribs, Sushi and more. The drinks were fantastic, every day there was a special drink. Loved the Miami Vice, Banana Mommas & Mango Daquiris. The staff was also very friendly and always smiling - Pablo, Yary, Jovany, Yamilka, Lopez & Remy just to name a few. They would serve a drink to you even if you did not ask, they remembered what you were drinking. They do not expect tips like I have experienced from other resorts but we did tip them once in a while.
There are a few negatives of course. There was not much entertainment at night. We were wanting to go to a disco but you had to pay for the drinks. We just did not feel like we should have to pay for drinks, after all it is an all inclusive resort.
The other BIG negative point is the smokers and let me tell you, it was terrible. They smoked every where but the dining area. The air is so heavy there that the smoke just lingers all the time. Smelt like an ashtray everyday while out of room and dining room. I can not stress how disgusting this was. I would recommend that a designated area should be created for smokers.
Over all it was a nice vacation but I would not return to this resort due to the SMOKING and lack of entertainment.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank manon_jourdain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 February 2013

We stayed at the RIU Merengue Village (formally known as the Mambo). We were there January 8-January 22, 2013. The whole experience as great. Great food, great drinks, great weather, great people! The place is very clean and comfortable. It is very nice to be able to have access to the other 3 resorts too. We went to the Monkey Jungle which was very cool. They have small monkeys that you can feel. After that we went zip lining. There are 7 lines, the 6th is a vertical drop of 60 feet into a cave. I am afraid of height but I did it and I am glad that i did. The safety of the zip lines would surpass that in Canada (believe me I wouldn't go otherwise).

Anytime we wanted to go into Puerto Plata or on an excursion we called Taxi driver"Dima"(809-358-3599). What a kind and gentle man!

The only complaint we had was on the weekend the locals came to the resort making the resort making it feel packed.

My sister-in-law needed medical attention. The hotel doctor referred her to the private hospital. The facility and staff were amazing. You felt like they could handle anything.

If you want a great trip reasonably priced. This is the place to go!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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6  Thank DJBoston272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2013

We travelled with Thompson and stayed at the Riu Merengue from 23/01/13 to 30/01/2103.
To keep this short and sweet.....
Myself, girlfriend and father had a really great time. This was the 1st time we have been on an all inclusive package tour. We are quite fussy about our holiday choices . . . . .but we could find nothing not too like about the value of the Thompson holiday, the Dominican Republic, the hotel, staff, food, local people that we encountered . . . .
Thompson ...... Well done ...... Does what is says on the tin . . . .very well organised, decent flight, good reps...... No complaints at all.
Dominican Republic ..... Beautiful lush island full of friendly proud people ... Wow
Riu merengue ....... Clean spacious resort, immaculate rooms/ public areas/pool. Plentiful varied food, every type of drink you could want, happy energetic and helpfulness staff. I spend my business life staying in so called 4 and 5 star hotels globally and believe me, the riu could teach some of them a thing or two. The rooms are immaculate, the staff never stop doing their utmost to keep you happy (their moto .....albeit in a jokey style , is the guest is best .... )The nice thing is that their approach is not to act subservient to the guests which makes for a very comfortable atmosphere .....sure a dollar tip here and there helps, but the staff treat you very well regardless.
The food..... Fresh varied salad and vegetables every day. Fish, beef, pork etc etc. Yes there are burgers and chips everyday , but you don't have to eat them you know. ! Probably our only negative if we are being picky is that the speciality restaurant was a bit of a let down due to the very limited choice.
The drinks are free flowing and we never had to wait for more than 30 seconds before being served....they all tasted ok to us !
To sum up, unless you need your ego massaging by being treated like royalty for a week in resort costing twice as much, give the merengue a try

Room Tip: Central rooms are nice and quiet, but anywhere seemed fine to us
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank philfromstoke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2013

Our trip was a bit out of season, so the complex was not full. which was nice.

The one thing that struck us most of all was the cleanliness and friendliness of the place, hand sanitizers all over, cleaners on constant duty in the toilets. All staff were friendly.

The Mambo end of the complex was not being used, accomodation wise at the time we spent there, but the pool area at this end was and appeared to be the quietest.

The Bachata end of the complex at the time comprised mainly dutch and german holidaymakers, whereas the middle section,(Merengue) comprised of, British, German and locals.

The Merengue seemed to be the busiest and noisiest part of the complex.

There were always plenty of sun loungers on the beach, however we were out of peak season

We used the beach all along, but enjoyed the mambo end, the most, in the shade, near the beach shop.

All the pools got cleaned more than once a day as breeze blew all the tropical trees which shed into the pools very often.

The entertainment is geared a lot for children and families, with a lot of audience participation
You literally get dragged on stage. The entertainment shows are reasonable, however the pre shows can be a little repetitative, with all the daily awards for daily competition winners. Only my opinion on this.

Food was good value for buffet style dining, always something different for two weeks at different counters.

Weekends seem to buzz with a different atmosphere, a lot of locals seem to book just for the weekend, so the pool area gets busy, as does dining. With different cultures around the complex at dining, etiquette for queueing seems to go out the window a little.

Beach bar staff again are all friendly and remember what drink you want before you ask.

Beach cleaned every day with cleaners maintaining all palm trees. They even got me a coconut from the tree and cut it open for me to have a drink.

Room cleaning staff made towell animals

All staff had different coloured uniforms to differentiate between jobs and roles.

Thompson is the main agent for the complex and whilst we stayed, it appeared that they where trying to instill NO smoking in the dining halls.

Overall for the competitive price we negotiated we thought it was a good value holiday.

There are still too many people out there that take the price shown for the holiday, without trying to negotiate a better deal, then moan that they paid over the odds for a second rate holiday. Do your research and haggle for a better deal.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DaveHarbour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2013

Stayed at the Riu Merenguefromm 20/1/2013 to 27/1/2013.
I have been to Puerta Plata a few times and this resort is excellent.
My son, daughter inlaw and granddaughter came for their first vacation and were amazed at this resort. The staff treated us and especially my granddaughter great.
Here is a quick review:
Food - Excellent, ate at all three buffets and enjoyed it. Both al carts were good as well. Enough food and always seemed to change the buffets.
Room - Basic but nice. Didn't go there to be in my room.
Beach - We stayed at the end by the blue huts and it was nice. Water was beautiful.
Pools - Have access to six pools and we used four of the six. Pools were well maintained and cleaned every morning. Pool at the Bachata is the nicest and seems to get more sun than the other pools and the swimup bar helped. Always managed to find lounge chairs at any pool or at the beach.
Overall - I would come back to this resort, I have nothing negative to say about this resort and was really impressed with everything.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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11  Thank wmunroe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2013

The food was acceptable but very limited choice until the last 3 nights when it suddenly improved did hear at the airport that TUI(Thomson) big wigs visited how true that was I do not know but it was an amazing coincidence. The rooms were OK but looking a little tired. The entertainment was very amatuerish using the audience to entertain the audience most nights very 60's holiday camp style(HI-DE-HI) not what I paid nearly £3k for. We spoke to a few guests who felt the same one couple who had been several times in the last few years but won't be going back as in their words it has deteriorated. This is DEFINITELY NOT a 4* I would rate this as a 2 and a half at a stretch a 3. On a positive note if you do go try to visit the Bravissimo Show at Ocean World, both show and food 1st Class

Room Tip: Choose another hotel
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank grandadbear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2013

We stayed at the Riu Merengue (Village section) from Jan 22 to 29th, 2013 in Room 3313.
There are two sections of the Merengue, The Merengue Village and The Merengue Garden. We didn’t know which section we were staying in until they gave us an info card and bracelet when we boarded the bus.

Traveler tip for the bus to the resort… The ride is about 45 minutes, so if you would like a beer for the ride, load your bag on the bus, and ask the driver where you get beer. (not easy to find, however keep walking straight towards the check IN counters, and it will be the first set of stores on your left. Make sure you ask for a cup, as they won’t allow bottles on the bus. The best views for the bus ride are on the driver’s side of the bus. (ya, I know, the bus ride has nothing to do with the resort, but I thought I would throw in some pointers)

THE ROOMS – Well the rooms were a little dated but well maintained. They had actual keys for the room and the safe, not swipe cards or an electronic coded safe. Just hang both keys on the red lanyard they give you. They charge you a $10 deposit if you want another key for your room. They had hard liquor in the room and a couple of beer in the fridge. They only stocked the fridge every other day, but if you want more bottled water, they have it at the front desk. Leave a couple bucks in the fridge if you want a couple more liquids in your fridge.

THE BEACH – Lots of spots in the shade or in the sun. Plenty of chairs. Just watch out for the beach vendors at the far ends of the resort as they are very aggressive.

THE ENTERTAINMENT – There are 3 stages you can choose from each evening. Just check the board in each of the lobby’s to figure out what you might like. The middle stage seemed to be the largest. But like any other resort, some nights it was audience participation shows and some nights were pretty decent ‘Broadway type’ shows.

THE SERVICE- We had great service the whole time we were here. The staff didn’t have tip jars or were not tip hungry like a lot of resorts I stayed at.

THE POOLS- There is 3 pool areas to choose from. The swim up bar is at the Riu Bruchata section. It’s a bit of a hike from the Merengue.

THE FOOD- Well, I really enjoyed it, you will find stuff you like, and stuff you don’t like. Keep an eye out for lunches on the beach or by the pool. They had Jerk Chicken on the beach one day, and it was amazing. You have to book your A-La-cart early as it fills up quick. We did the steak house once, the steak was great as it was spiced and cooked just right. (I had set my beef expectation’s low prior to ordering). Oddly, I found the soups here very good.

OVERALL – I would go back here no problem. I really enjoyed myself. If you are used to going to Cuba you will be impressed, if you are used to going to the Bahama’s, you will be disappointed. The only major issue I had with this resort was its Wireless availability. You only get 90 consecutive minutes a day, only available in the lobby.

Room Tip: Ask for the second floor away from the pool.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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16  Thank tjhalifax
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
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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: £77 - £183 (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
ClubHotel Riu Merengue Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata

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