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“Beautiful location, great staff”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 1 October 2013

Just returned from a two week stay at the merengue. September being low season for the DR we got a good deal and found the weather to be great if a a little humid at times, in the two weeks it only rained on three days for about an hour and a half and always in the late afternoon. The complex which is made up of three parts, the Merengue garden, the Merengue village and the Bachata. You have use of all areas except for evening meals which have to be eaten in your own part of the complex. The three pools are quite different the village pool being the quietest at this time of year due to the village accommodation being closed until November when the high season starts. To be honest we spent most days on the beautiful beach only retreating in the afternoon heat to the shady poolside areas at the village pool and the bar there which is also very quiet. The staff are very attentive and do not expect a tip every time you are served but appreciate one which we generally gave once an evening at the bar or each time the bar staff walked along the beach taking orders and serving us which I found out is not a task they have to do in their usual duties but rather a extra they offer in the hope of getting a little extra money to make up the low wages they earn. The cleaners are great and work hard to keep the resort spotless as do the gardeners who will fetch you a coconut fresh from the tree if you want. The restaurants are ok and there was plenty of choice each sitting however we did find some cuts of meat to be quite poor quality and generally tough or very fatty at times. But there was always something on offer to cover all tastes. We took two excursions which we booked through our tour operator. The safari which included visiting a typical village house and school was well worth it and a great day out. The other trip was the cable car and tour of the town which included shopping at a local supermarket which was similar to a trip to Aldi or Lidl and a chance to get cheap drink and gifts for taking home. The resort became busier over the weekends but only really affected the main garden and Bachata pools but was never too busy to find a sun lounger and to be honest it was nice to se the pool liven up with the local families showing us all how to enjoy ourselves. Again if you want peace and quiet then the Village pool is always quiet. On our second to last night the air conditioning in our room packed up and we called reception to report it, thinking it wouldn't be fixed before we leave due to the maintenance guys who are always cycling around the site repairing this and that being busy but it was fixed within five hours. The evening entertainment was a little too 1970's Butlins at times but I guess with an international crowd it is probably what works best to please everyone. The evenings which had the dance troop doing their Grease show and Africa night were very good.
The Animation team are hard working, fun and try to include everyone even if it's just a friendly chat to make you feel welcome. The drinks are of cheap brands but if you ask for a branded drink the do have then as we'll. however they do make them strong. All in all a very good holiday which I would recommend to anyone.

Stayed: September 2013
5  Thank Fudger22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 October 2013

If your travelling here for the first time you will enjoy it. Take things at your own pace and try not to rush everything. Lay back and soak up the sun. We stayed 9 sep to 23 sep average temp was 38 c with very little rain.

Flight out was fine and transfer was good.

Hotel reception was well run and booking in system worked easily, from arrival at the hotel to getting our luggage delivered to our room took 20 minutes.

To say this is a 4 star is overrating it, it might fit the criteria in the Dominican republic but compared to other areas in the Caribbean it is on par with a 3 star. The decor is basic but clean in most areas. The reception area and the main causeway passed the shops to the restaurant are the marbled zones other than that the rest of the complex are basic tiles and fading paint work.

Food was good and on the whole was well presented. If you like a full english breakfast then there is plenty to choose from. Omelette's with various fillings, fried/boiled or poached eggs bacon (crispy streaky bacon) sausage, tomatoes beans but to find them all means a walk round all the serving areas. These are positioned on the right and left sides as you enter. There were also two toast machines one on each side. In the evenings there was also a salad area in the central part of the restaurant. The a' la carte restaurant is part of the pool snack bar and is set up in two areas either the Italian or the steak bar same table cloths same style glasses but operate on alternative nights booked on a first come basis (with two sittings at 6-30 and 8-30) in the restaurant before 9 am.

Room was quite spacious for two of us but I think two king size beds pushed together is OTT. Bathroom was clean and well equipped. Fridge adequately stocked every other day. Four bottles on optic. We never used them.

Pool area was clean and had plenty of sun beds available. If you wanted a quieter time you could use the pool in the merengue village (old riu mambo) it had its own bar but no snacks and closed at 5pm. Because it is windy the pool did suffer from leaves and bits of branches falling in after it had been cleaned, which was several times a day.

The staff were exceptional and could'nt do enough to help you out. The cleaners and grounds staff kept the hotel complex very clean.

There was always a Thomson rep available even on flight days. They however do not do excursion bookings this is done by the Hotelbeds agent. Be advised they operate exclusively in US dollars make sure you take enough. Although they will accept Dominican Peso's or Sterling their exchange rate will leave you out of pocket.

And with excursions in mind we did the "Outback safari" trip in a truck visiting a school some plantations and also did some boogie boarding. Went "White water rafting" on the Yaque Del Norte river travelling 8 miles through the canyons and over the rapids. Only snag journey is 2.5 hrs each way. Did the "Freestyle Catamaran" bit of sailing, snorkelling and general drinking trip beware of the sun. Went to "Ocean World" just to be different swam with Sting rays and a nurse Shark, great day out plenty to see. Parrot show was very entertaining and Dolphin show using 4 dolphins was exceptional. We did the "City tour and Cable car" city part was spoilt by visits to Gem shop, tobacco shop and Brugal rum factory also a stop at a super market. Cable car was well worth the visit rising 2700 feet above Puerto Plata. The views were brilliant. Our final trip was the "Columbus VIP trip and Paradise Island" onboard a motorised twin hulled covered two decked craft. You get nonstop VIP service, full bar, 5 waiters and when you stop for a swim they have a floating bar. Exceptional lunch apart from steak you could have lobster or shrimps. After lunch it was back on board a swift visit to a mangrove swamp then a fast run out to Paradise island where we snorkeled over a reef. Well worth the cost.

Regarding the influx of locals at the weekends yes they can be noisy, if you visit Ocean world they behave the same. They are however not the only people that can cause havoc there was a boisterous group of lads celebrating a birthday that made more noise. Point to note as most of them are families they tend to eat earlier, you could book a' la carte or go later to eat on the weekends.

Like some other resorts I have stayed in around the world this one is isolated, you can't just go outside for a walk as there is'nt anywhere to go. Of interest if you walk down the beach past the wedding platform at the Bachata hotel you will find Bahia maimon where they are in the process of building a port for cruise liners in the future. My advice just sit back relax and enjoy yourself two weeks is'nt long.

Room Tip: Upper floor has less insects flying about.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank swift_to_move
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2013

Overall a great hotel, superb location, great facilities, wonderful staff and fantastic food. The only thing that let the hotel as far as we were concerned was the room, it was too small for our family, it also needed a little updating, the air on did not work properly and the fan was not brilliant.

This aside, it was always clean and tidy, the bar and fridge were constantly restocked.

Our room was directly onto the beach and close to the main facilities, the pools were excellent, we chose mainly to use the ones down by the Merengue village, nice and quiet down there and the locals were not allowed down there at he weekend.

Overall the room did not detract from a superb holiday in a nice hotel with superb helpful friendly staff. The food was outstanding as well.

Room Tip: The rooms are not big enough for a family of four. We travelled as two adults and two children (8 &a...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Rob S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2013

i've been going to the Merengue for the past 6 years and nothing has changed the entertainment is still bad the food is still bland but ok. on the whole it's clean and tidy everyone is friendly the locals do come but they are not imposing, if you like the main pool yes when the locals are there they do hog it but there is another 2 pools to choose from plus theres the sea as well which is empty most of the time. For the price of the Holiday you wont find anything better in my opinion. if more tourist came they wouldn't need the locals would they the locals keep the staff in a job. I wont be coming back to Merengue but the reason is i want to see the South of the Island I.e Punta Cana and then thee other Islands in the Caribbean, when money is tight you wont find better ( Rooms clean, Pool clean, People friendly, Great location, what more do you want?.

Room Tip: don't go looking for 5 star because you will be disappointed but great for a young family on a b...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Toopy2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2013 via mobile

After months of worries about this resort before we left the UK...me and my now fiancé had an amazing 2 weeks holiday at Riu Merengue. This was definatly a holiday to remember. We stayed from 26th August- 9th September.

On arrival we were greated with a cold fruit drink and given our all inclusive bands... which was a bit unorganised at first but the idea was brilliant. We got our room key, safe key and towel cards in an envelope and stickers for our luggage which was left for the porters.
Staff were then located along the routes to your rooms directing you which was a nice touch.
We were given a ground floor room initally which was soon changed with minimal fuss.
Once in our 1st floor room reception called to check everything was ok.

The buildings were small and spread out which was lovely. The rooms themselves are a little dated but typical carrabian style with flowery curtains and wicker furniture. Balcony did not have a light and patio had a wire door which kept the bugs at bay but would atill recommend alot of bug spray and mosquito tablets. Two huge double beds which did get a little annoying when you had to roll to turn off the light at night. The bathroom was a strange layout but practical, shower and hairdryer good. Tv in room dated but alot of channels if you wanted to watch TV. Only bad point was no soap supplied, the only soap was a shower gel... no hand soap or complimentary minis. Mini bar optics included vodka, rum, whiskey and Brandy x2 Presidente beers, coke, diet coke, tonic water and bottled water this was restocked every 2 days. You could never drink all the alcohol anyway!

The food here was really good throughout our stay and neither of us were ill. The layout of the restaurant could be better as the stations are around the edge which sometimes made it feel a bit canteen. Also the food is not presented amazing like some other all inclusive places we have stayed, dont expect carved fruit art or beautiful presntation it just isnt here. All the food is presented in metal trays or porcelin dishes and tasted alot better than it looked. It was strange that when the hotel was busier on a weekend less stations were open but was never an issue. You were greated by staff with hand gel which was lovely touch.
Breakfast- Full english (Bacon was amazing), fruits, smoothies, cereals, omlets even doughnuts and churios!
Lunch- We ate at both buffet and snack bars. We found that they all served simular things during the day which did get a bit boring. Burgers, Chips, Salad, Rice, pizzas etc
Evening- Always had different things which was nice and theme nights such as dominican, japanise and mexican. There was always an amazing meat station with a different joint each night roasted Turkey, Pork, Chicken. Fresh pizzas and pastas. The staff in the buffet were always really happy and served you water and drinks quickly. It didnt feel like staff were working for tips and were all genuine.

Steak house/Italian- A little disapointing as this is the pool snack bar with table cloths on an evening however, felt nice to be served and spoilt. The staff lovely and the food was very good! Amazing steaks.

The hotel gardens were just beautiful and the staff here work tirelessly keeping the place looking spotless. They would always great you with a hola and ask if you wanted coconuts. The hotel had a carrabian street which had an array of shops, hairdressers, gym and pool hall.
There are two shops in the hotel which sell everything from coffee to suncream. Although this is very very expensive and we never bought anything from there because of this.

We unfortunatly both got ear infections on our first week and ended up at the medical centre which was a bit of a nightmare but did not spoil our stay. The pools were not the cleanest and were closed down a few times during the two weeks, but this did not have any negative impact. We did not really use the Merengue pool throughout our stay as this was a bit too much for us. If you want children screaming and sun loungers close together with busy enterainment you will enjoy this pool but we however did not. We spent most time on the amazing beach. The Mambo pool was alot lot quieter but quite dirty Although you do get asked every half an hour on the beach if you want hairbraids it was a lot more relaxing than the merengue pool. It didnt bother us really as they are just trying to make a living.
We did spend some time at the Bachata pool also which was huge and had a swim up bar, waterfall and jucuzzi. Drinky Drinky man was hilarious and the staff always around ordering you drinks. It is hard not to compare the Bachata with the Merengue.

The bars and staff here were fab, always happy and giving high fives!! They had a cocktail special every night and we enjoyed bikinis the best! Oh and dont forget your Mamajuana shots!! We were a little disappointed with the evening entertainment as it began to get a little bit repetitive as you couldnt really get away from it... The suggestion here would be that the hotel definitely needs a quiet bar with music for relaxing, to get away from the entertainment if you wished. There would be plenty of places to do this even in the carrabian street or on the beach. The entertainment team work such long hours and do a brilliant job. We did enjoy some of the shows we saw including the Greece and Africa show. The last night we were there they did a beach party which they had a disco and dancing which was fun...however they could do that all the time for guests who dont want to sit and watch the evening entertainment.
Pacha disco was ok but quiet, the drinks in there were not included but were cheap enough.

We went on 3 trips during our stay.

Outback Safari
We really enjoyed this trip and would highly recommend this to others. Picked up around 8:30am and return about 4pm. The day is spent driving in an open back jeep safari around the villages waving at locals taking in the amazing views. Visit a typical dominican house and meet the local people who live there. Try there home grown coffee and talk to the children who all want to introduce themselves to you. So cute!! Visit the local school and see the children in class.
Driving through the sugar cane fields, watch out for branches!! You arrive at a beautiful secluded beach where you can buggy board or have a free massage. Lunch is included at the ranch chicken and rice. Overall this is a fantastic day for all ages and much enjoyed.

City Tour
This was half a day tour visiting the sites of Peurto Plata. Visiting Brugal rum factory and seeing how 1,000s of bottles of rum a day is produced and packaged. The opportunity to buy the rum for a really cheap price. $4 a bottle! Amazing.
Also visit the amber factory where the guide explains how Larimar is produced and you can buy gorgeous jewelery which is only produced in the Dominican Republic.
There is two options on this trip we decided to take the cable car up the mountian. Wow. Although pretty scary the view was breathtaking and just amazing.... definatly do it! You will regret it if you dont.
You also visit the local supermarket. Here you can find everything really cheap. You can only pay in dominican pasos so make sure you change your dollars before you go! This is the place to get Santa Domingo coffee, sweets, snacks and any extra suncare products as the hotel is so expensive!!

Dune Buggys
This trip was just fab!! It was one of the cheapest trips that TUI offer. If you want a bit of an exciting dirty morning definatly book this up!!
You are taken to the garage where they explain how the buggys work, where we will be going who to follow. Given safety helmets, shoes are provided with a small deposit. Goggles and balaclavas are paid for extra.
We were worried about driving on the Dominican roads but there is only a couple of times where you do and they make an amazing effort to stop the traffic on roads and assist everyone.
You spend the morning driving through the sugar cane fields, through puddles and through dirt track roads... past local houses and taking in the sights and smells.
You arrive at a secluded beach where you can have a nice cold drink and much needed paddle in the sea.
It is such a fun morning... and we would really recommend this trip. It is so fun that my fiancé wanted to do it again the next day! Be prepared to get dirty!!

The Thompsons reps on site were very helpful and would always remember your face. They had a lovely book exchange idea where you could leave your completed books and exchange for a new one. They also collected up unwanted suncreams which people left.

All in all we had an amazing time at Riu Merengue and really enjoyed our stay.

Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
5  Thank ClaireDurham86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2013

First off, I would like to say the staff were very good...
The hotel was rated as 4 1/2 when we booked our trip. The Rui magazine in the hotel also rated it as a 5. That is what we were expecting...it is not what we booked into. The front staff told us it was a 3.
The food was terrible. Everything cooked in sauces, vegetables were all over cooked. The breakfasts were good.
They say they have two al a carte restaurants...wrong they have one restaurant, one night it is steakhouse, and the next night it is Italian. So, they do not have two al a Carte. Also, they would only book between 20-30 people for the restaurant. The rest of the restaurant was empty.
The riu has three hotels, that you can go to.
In the one hotel, the pool was closed every night at 5 pm...the other two hotels they were closed at 6pm...the only time they kept it open later than that was when the Domicans came on the Thursdayto the resort for the weekend they kept it opened on that night only till 7pm
The pool in the Merengue does not have stairs or a ramp to get into the pool. Ladders only.
The disco you were not allowed to bring in your drinks, and when you went inside, if you wanted a drink you had to pay for it.
The bed mattresses in the hotel were terrible....people were lying them on the floor, much more comfortable.
It was a clean hotel room, but they had no hand soap.
I have stayed at another Riu, and that is one of the main reasons we went there. Now, I will question it the next time.
We considered upgrading to the Rui Pachate , but the only thing you would get is a bigger room. The food was the same over there.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Donna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2013

I have just read a review which I find very offensive. The reviewer seemed to think that they should be given priority for seating at the evening entertainment over local people who have, by the way, paid to come to the hotel. My family and friends stayed at this hotel in August of this year. We had the misfortune to witness a guest behaving badly toward a 'local person' when she ran in to the main entertainment area with her children to shelter from the rain. As tourists we are visitors to this country and we should remember that.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank Cathy P
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:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
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:
#3 Best Value Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £73 - £136 (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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