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“Value for money Caribbean holiday”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #14 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
133 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Value for money Caribbean holiday”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2013

Third time here for my girlfriend and I, and we loved it as much as the first time.
Ok its not 5 star luxury and it does have areas for improvement, but for the money you wont find much better in the Caribbean.
The beach is fantastic, loads of room, free sunbeds, free palm trees to shade you, gorgeous blue sea, beach cleaned daily. Take sea shoes because there is a fair bit of coral, but excellent for snorkelling.
If you prefer a louder environment, there is always lots going on around the pool, ideal for families with kids.
The staff are always smiling, and despite long hours in the heat they will always do their best to make it an enjoyable holiday.
The food choice and quality is above average for Caribbean resorts at this price.
The alcohol is not normally watered down, it comes straight from a sealed bottle, but at weekends when the locals descend the pre-mixed alcoholic drinks may not be full strength.

Running the gauntlet of vendors twice a week is par for the course, but if you want a gift then there they are.

The hotel and restaurant managers are always on hand and keen to improve or address any issues you have. Mr Gonzalez, the head chef takes pride in his restaurant so if there is a problem let him know (if you speak good Spanish).
The waiters and waitresses go the extra mile to make you feel special, even if you don't tip them; likewise the bar staff who work tirelessly.

The rooms are looking a bit tired nowadays, but for the price what do you expect.
Even sandals doesn't have a 4 bottle optics in your room like Riu do.

Unfortunately, as the price of this hotel goes down so does the type of clientele it attracts, so it is starting to get a bit like Benidorm around the pool, but you can still have a good holiday here, especially if you are a beach lover.

Will we go again? - never say never, but maybe its time to try somewhere else for us.
If you do go here, don't expect a 4 or 5 star hotel and you will have a fantastic holiday.

Room Tip: we've stayed in the same block of 4 every time and more than happy with ground/top floor
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank GazBouch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (778)
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English first
Gillingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2013

This was my first visit to the Dominican and my fiancee and I thoroughly enjoyed it, quite simply it did what it said on the tin.
We went for 14 days in October booked on a late deal we only paid £720 each for all inclusive, to be honest I was not sure what the standard would be like, my fiancee hurt her ankle a week before travelling so I phoned in advance to ask for a ground floor room nearthe main hotel and the room they gave us was perfect.
As my fiancee had been twicw before we didnt attend the welcome brief but were made aware how to find the Thompson rep if we needed too.
The food was okay, not always toatally to our tastes but we could always find something we liked.
The beach was lovely, and we went down to the Riu Bachata to use their pool as it had a walk in entrance to the pool rather than steps(much easier with a bad ankle).
The staff were helpful and we tipped the waiter most nights and he really looked after us ensuring we had a table reserved for us and our table decorated. (a nice touch).
All in all a very good holiday for an extremely good price, same again next year for us please.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Ian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 December 2013 via mobile

If you like a good family holiday with friendly people and lots of good food included then this is for you.

You get all the food and drink you want in a hotel that is constantly cleaned. The staff pride themselves on their friendliness and cleanliness. They are polite, friendly, family orientated and courteous. If only English people were as nice and happy.

The downside is when the local people come in. They are loud, boisterous and brash which changes the atmosphere. They also get drunk and cause problems. Thankfully they're gone after a couple of days. This did not interfere with us as we stayed away but for some it was a problem if you were staying in a room near them.

As others have mentioned, a couple of the waiters are very flirtatious and I was approached twice when my husband was only a few feet away but it was harmless and I wasn't bothered too much. They are young males after all but I'm no catch or spring chicken!

The only other thing I would change is to have a kettle with tea and coffee in the room but I am English after all!

It's beautiful in DR but remember it is a third world country. Enjoy it for what it is and just be aware like anywhere else you'd go.

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
7 Thank Amanda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kent
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 December 2013

My husband and i went to the Merengue from the 27th November to the 5th December. It was truly amazing. I was so worried after having read the reviews about the locals coming at the weekends but we did not have anything to worry about. we went to the beach everyday and didnt stay around the pool so maybe we missed a lot of the mayhem but the locals did not cause us any problems at all. The staff were the friendliest, most polite, most helpful people I have ever come across. Breakfast had a good selection of food, cereals, oatmeal, continental, english, yogurts and fruit, yes perhaps some may say this is repetitive but I don't have that much selection at home. the lunch and dinners were also filled with plenty of selection again yes a little repetitive but you can always find something different to try, the waiting staff were so helpful and polite. There is also the a la carte restaurant which isn't really a la carte but does good food, we asked our rep to book us in here on the 29th as it was my birthday, they came out with a birthday cake and sang happy birthday (a tad embarrassing) but you do need to get up early to book for this which is done at breakfast, there is a little table as yo enter for breakfast and this is where you book. The rooms were so clean, the maids so very friendly, they came in every day and did a good job. There are optics in the rooms which contain gin, vodka, brandy and the oh so wonderful brown rum, these are replenished every two days and if you would like more of certain mixers than others the guys are more than happy to supply. There are plenty of sunbeds on the beach, beach towels are supplied. I have only two complaints about this hotel but neither should put anyone off going, firstly the bellboy who bought our cases was so rude, he bought our cases to our room not long after we got there and made friendly conversation whilst waiting for a tip, I didn't really know what to tip so gave him $1 (as that was what i had read you tip) but he just stood there staring at me so I gave him another $1 and then he stormed out of our room without saying another word, he wouldn't even look at my husband as he stormed past him but hey ho and the second complaint was the entertainment, we thought there would be shows and things but a lot of what went on was audience participation, a night of karaoke and a Michael Jackson show which consisted of a Michael Jackson Look-a-like miming to the tracks, canned screaming etc which was quiet poor, I expected more but again this would not put me off going back here. All in all an amazing place, amazing resort, amazing staff which do the Riu Merengue proud. well worth a visit. Just a note, if you can take with you anything that could be taken to the local orphanage then please do (pencils, exercise books, old children's clothes etc) as there is a lot of poverty in this country.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Hayley K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 December 2013

We travelled to the Dominican Republic in July 2013 and stayed at the Riu Merengue.
Got excellent reviews from the Thomson office what a lovely quiet hotel this was. Flight was great apart from when we arrived at the airport, thunderstorms! at the time of my booking they did not tell us it was rainy season. On the way to the hotel we were informed by the holiday rep it was the Dominican holiday season and a FEW locals visit the hotel at weekends.
We arrived at the merengue overall impression nice welcome, quick check in and we were given the room I requested so a good start.
The second day of our holiday we had made friends with another family and were sitting around the pool. my daughter who was 15 at the time was playing with her friends in the pool, it was brought to my attention that 2 local guys were photographing them. The girls feeling uncomfortable went to the Riu Bachata next door. The 2 guys followed the girls and apprehended them, asking their names and ages, my daughter and her friend both said they were 15 and 14. the 2 guys said their ages didn't matter and asked the girls to go to their room with them.
The girls ran off and informed us, resulting in us making a complaint to the rep. This was a complete farse, wasn't taken seriously and nothing was documented, she informed a manager in the hotel who then dealt with the matter, asking us if we were able to identify the 2 men.
At this point the 2 guys walked into reception the manager went over to speak to them, she then came back to us, to say they were leaving that day and denied the allegation.
At this point my daughter became very upset and agitated and went over to the guys saying they were both lying in which they laughed in her face. My self and the father of the other family went over to them and were dragged away by security, at this point I asked him to remove his hand from my daughters arm. My daughter had a full blown panic attack, only then did the manager take this seriously and asked them to be removed from the hotel.
It was brought to our attention the guys were over 25 and had apprehended minors which I stated was an offence, where were the police? NO police came. I insisted this was documented by the rep.
Further to this locals started arriving at the weekend, not a few, but THOUSANDS ascended on the hotel causing CHAOS! It was brought to our attention there had been a complaint made the week before we arrived and was in a local newspaper, why were we not informed about this? They turned the 5 star hotel into a hotel shambles.
We were constantly disturbed at night by the high levels of noise and shouting, have no respect whatsoever for people sleeping, they left a mess around the swimming pool (half eaten plates of food and litter) and on a couple of occasions the pool had to be closed as they had urinated in the pool. The pool was not emptied which it should have been but just cleaned around.
We were advised by the holiday rep to use the facilities at the Riu Mambo which was closed, they opened the pool and restaurant/bar area just for international guests, must say it was a lot quieter up at the Riu Mambo but the pool needed constant cleaning as it was full of leaves, bird poo and LIVE CRABS! What I was annoyed about was that we had paid thousands of pounds for this holiday to be promised a 5 star service did we get it? no we didn't. The locals however did get provided with the 5 star treatment and the day time entertainment which was none existent where we were. Furthermore they only pay £25 dollars PER NIGHT doesn't matter how MANY ARE IN A ROOM! and they got better treatment then us. We made numerous complaints and actually stated at one point we wanted to go home cause we were sick and tired of all the problems and stress.
Being a single parent with my teenage daughter gave the locals included staff at the hotel to make lewd comments and suggestions towards us. Me being a women in my 40s was propositioned by a barman in the hotel who was old enough to be my son which was disgusting. We were given the option to move hotels on the 10th day of our holiday! TO LATE! Furthermore we realised my daughter and her friends had been given adult wristbands this meant they could of been served alcohol when the hotel states NO ALCOHOL TO BE SERVED TO UNDER 18S. they were then given children's wristbands when we brought this to their attention.
There was a few good points about this hotel, the staff were very hardworking and polite, the entertainment staff were great providing good shows especially Mini Me & Tequila.
Never again though will we visit this hotel, will stick to Mexico.
Wouldn't advice single mothers to take there daughters to Dominican Republic if so BEWARE FOR THE PERVERTS!!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Debbie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 December 2013

The Riu Merengue is part of a three hotel complex about an hour west of Puerto Plata in the Bahia de Maimon. If possible, you probably would want your flight to PLP to arrive earlier in the day and it is wise to arrange transfers, as the taxi fare is pricy (approx $50/person). We stayed at the Mambo, which is reopening shortly, but visited rooms in Merengue and Bachata and ate breakfast and lunch…and even a dinner at all three hotels…which Riu allows you to do. Many of Merengue's rooms face the beach, and several have trees growing right through the building and in one case we visited, right through the living room (see photos). The pools are nice, but the beach is long and great to walk. For swimming, the far eastern spot in front of Mambo is the clearest and has no rocks or impediments. The food, which is similar throughout the three complexes, is excellent and the fresh fruit is plentiful at all meals (if you love papaya, like I do, you will be in nirvana). Afternoon and evening entertainment is decent, and mixed drinks are tastier than the red and white wine choices…face it, you're not in Napa…you're in "Rum" territory. If you value your dollar and want a location that willleave you with some great memories, these three hotels will not disappoint you for sure. We will surely go back, when the price per week beckons us. And, as I check often, it will.

Room Tip: Of the thee hotels…best beach, Mambo, best food, Bachata, best location, Merengue…try your best for...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Firstwebcam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coventry
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 December 2013 via mobile

We stayed here 13th-27th November. Came out for my Fiancé birthday and also to take a look at the hotel as a possible wedding venue.

I had stayed at the complex before at the old Riu Mambo (Now known as Merengue Village) in 2011, so knew roughly what was in store for us, but again the whole complex never failed to amaze me.

The rooms have started to look a little bit dated but we consider the room just a place to sleep shower and get ready in. Our room had a optic dispenser in the room and a fridge which contains beer, Pepsi, water and tonic water which was replenished every other day. The bathroom was of decent size as was the main room.

The food was typical all inclusive food for the main part. Although they do try and do something different with the same ingredients every night. Me and my fiancé both agreed that breakfast was the best meal of the day by far!

The animation staff were brilliant, Tequila and Mini Me in particular we're hilarious. The daytime activities weren't as well structured as it was when I stayed at the mambo, but this could be down to the lack of guests willing to participate in them. The night time entertainment is still the same as when I was last here almost 3 years ago with only one show that was new, the Chicago Burlesque show. But the shows are still entertaining to watch. My favourite was the Dominican Folk night which we both enjoyed so much we went up to the Bachata the night it was performed there and watched it again.

The staff were all lovely and couldn't do enough to help you. Javier in the restaurant was an absolute star.

The dominican's are allowed in at the weekend but you barely notice them as they are no trouble at all!

Also a special word for the Thomson rep, Silvia. She is an absolute star, works very hard and is so approachable, by far the best rep we have ever had!

Me and my Fiancé can not wait to come here to get married in 2015 and have no doubt about bring 40 other people with us as it is such a good hotel that caters for every type of person!

As the animation staff say "Riu Merengue, Very Very Good!"

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Blaze87
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

Property: ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Address: Bahia de Maimon, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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