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“overall.. OK..”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 13 January 2014

We stayed here for New Years 2014.. It was really the only hotel in our budget so we didn't have much of a choice.. We had stayed in RIUs in the past and expected similar amenities. Sad to say but this RIU is no where near the quality of the other hotels we stayed at in the past.. Rooms are outdated and still have tube TVs (ours didn't work well), we got two twin beds which were pushed in together to make a king, and the bathroom had mold on the walls.

Free access is allowerd between all 3 resort.. Bachata, Merengue and Merengue village. The only exception is that you must eat dinner at your own hotel.. and they are rather strict about it.. they wouldnt even let us change our towels at Bachata (they r the same exact towels).

Food was ok.. I was always able to find something to eat. There's one buffet area which is open until only 2am for those late munchies.. we came there one evening and to our surprise they ran out of french fries.. our group found this to be rather ridiculous - such as this is a major staple food item in such resort..

The beach is ok.. and the pool at merengue is alright.. we mostly used the pool at the Bachata side which also had the swim up bar. Another plus to bachata is that they offer internet connection pretty much everywhere for about $20 for 3 days.. whereas in Merengue u only get free 90min a day (the 90 min starts as soon as u turn it on and there's no way of turning it off). Therefore, we mostly hung out at the Bachata lol

overall this resort is OK.. deffenitely not a 5 star resort as they claim.. If you are looking for a cheap warm vacation with minimum luxuries than this is the place for u..

...Its not terrible but its not amazing either..

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Daria A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 January 2014

Riu Merengue village use to be Riu Mumbo.... a lower star, they just changed the name and kept the rooms the same. Beware.... do not book either Riu Merengue or Riu Merengue Village or partial ocean view because they will put you in the Riu Mumbo area. They are tricking you into booking a lower star hotel with no good entertainment at night (though you are allowed to walk 15 minutes to the other resorts and see their shows). This hotel does NOT have a late night snack bar (you have to walk to a neighbour hotel to get snacks after dinner), late drinks (walk 20 minutes for drinks after 12) and only two dinner el la carte. The rooms don't have hair dryers, and you have go to the reception to get one. So beware. Hotel is the worst of the Riu chain I have seen so far. Do not expect such a high quality as other Riu chains. Dont risk it.

Room Tip: Dont stay in this hotel.... as for Riu Meringue Garden or Full ocean view. Fighting with them wont g...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Christina P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2014

Have noticed a lot of the review are from July why would you wait all that time to review it I was one of the group who had to be moved in july nevertheless wont stop me returning, There are some comments that are unbelievable, have worked in tourism most of my life and have stayed in hotels all over from 2star to 5star, have been to Dom rep 6 times, Cuba , Florida, Puerto rico all over Europe and have never met friendlier staff anywhere.. Cleanliness of resort is excellent, they are never done cleaning and with a smile, was there when the overcrowding occurred and yet never went hungry. If you are looking for caviar and Lobster well you wont get that but what you will get is a clean room, pleasant staff and lovely choice of food, as for drinks maybe not how they make cocktail in the states but then this is not the states, maybe service is better in USA and Canada but then again you are paying 10% for that service, Europeans in general don't tip if they do it will be end of the holiday. For all the reports have hears of urinating in the pool and worse find it hard to believe with everyone possessing cameras with videos none of these have appeared,If you are looking for a nice holiday in a lovely location, with fantastic staff , food all day, okay the wine is not Rioja but then neither is the price your paying and remember in florida 20years ago having to pay 20 or more dollar to get not an international wine but a califorian,. As for for birds in dining room the dining room is enclosed its only the pool snack bar that is open never saw a bird in there and never saw a roach and as I say was my 3rd Visit twice to mambo once to merengue, if you want 5star room service and a butler well its not for you, but if you like a nice time, nice people and decent food ignore the bad review

Room Tip: All rooms have there own pros and cons some like sea vew some like near pool anyone want a map of re...
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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21  Thank tiggycat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2014

Like everyone else it is true. This should be re rated to no more than a 3 star. Which is disappointing as you are paying high end prices. I enjoyed my stay but would not go back. The Thomson trips are worth the money and are amazing. I highly recommend the dessert island and ocean world. Ocean world is huuge and there was only about 100 people there. You also get to go inside the bird cages.
The hotel pools do get cleaned daily just not very well. The beaches are extremely clean however. locals do come in at the weekends and are quite rude. They push in front of you to the bar and restaurant. Just book in at the steak house that Saturday and you will be ok. The Italian and steak house is the same place and just alter the food menu daily. The buffet food is ok changes weekly. The rooms do need a revamp. The ceiling fan is noisy. Bathroom window is cracked mould in the bathroom sealant and the maid didn't seem to do much bar clean the floor or make the bed.
Its just average this hotel. The location is beautiful and the entertainment staff are probably the best in any hotel iv been too.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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4  Thank flopsandpebs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2014

My wife and I just came back from spending 7 days at the Riu Merengue from 12/29 to 1/4. We booked late and were happy that the resort had availability. We booked a package deal through Travelocity and were comfortable with our decision after reading the reviews, most of which were pretty accurate.

I would give the hotel 31/2 stars so if you are looking for a 5 star hotel, this hotel is not for you.

Overall, the hotel was well maintained, the rooms were comfortable, albeit a bit dated, and the pool and beach areas, wonderful. The ocean was a bit disappointing as it was full of rocks. Rocks, not pebbles. Some of the reviews mentioned to bring water shoes. We did but there were so many rocks in shallow water, it made swimming in the ocean impossible.

The pool was great and both at the pool and beach, there was an abundance of lounge chairs, which is a huge advantage, as in many resorts, there seems to be enough. One or two times, there were not enough towels but this was remedied pretty quickly in both cases.

The staff were polite, friendly and accommodating.

The entertainment team were a little loud and annoying at times, but they do their best to get people to participate in a wide range of activities, ranging from darts, and ping pong to volleyball, soccer and local dancing lessons.

The food was ok, maybe a bit bland, but there were a lot of choices so there was something for everyone.

The one negative is that it seemed that everyone there smoked, so you cannot get away from it. The resort's guests seemed to mostly be from Canada, UK, Switzerland, Germany and France and it seemed all of them or at least one in every party/family smoke. I am particularly sensitive to the smell of cigarettes so this really bothered me.

All in all, we were satisfied with what our main goal was, and that was to find a nice place to relax for a few days and enjoy the weather and to get away from the snow and the cold temperatures of New jersey.

Room Tip: Take a walk to the gazebo for a beautiful sunset vista.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank dkennedy218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2014

I've been to two other Riu's (Montego Bay and Guanacaste, Cost Rica) and Merengue is no where near the standard of Riu's I'm used to staying at. I went for New Year's Eve vacation with my fiance and family and while I didn't expect a 5 start treatment I did expect the typical 4 start standard that other Riu's offer.
The food was average with very little variety, we ate pasta, rice and beans, beef, and fish all week long as other choices were either over salted or just simply awful looking that we didn't even bother trying. During the day we filled up on plates full of fries as that was the best and most consistent food they have. The salad bar consisted of lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and one type of pasta salad.
As stated by other travelers that stayed at this hotel during the same time, the place is outdated, muggy, and has bugs. The moment we entered the room we got greeted by a 3-inch cockroach and then again had to endure the gross and awful feeling of seeing another one in the shower the day after!!! The rooms were "clean looking" if you consider a made-up bed and swept floor as clean. The washrooms were barely cleaned, it felt like the maid just wiped the sink and faucet but didn't really use a product to clean it. The overall washroom was old, something I would expect 2.5 star resort to have, old tiles, stained tub, shower head that barely stays in place. Also, there are no blow-driers in the room, we had to call and reserve one and were told they don't have one available. After spending 15 minutes arguing with the receptionist I was told they just got one.
The TV in the room was an old tube box from 1995 (RCA) no more than 30 inches big. We were told there are no queen or king size beds in this hotel, thus my fiance and I had to sleep on 2 double beds that were pushed together that separated through the night with one of us falling in the whole!
The only positives from the trip were the gorgeous 30 degree weather, some staff like Spaghetti, Adriano (waiter in the main buffet), Simon, and beach towel guy. Most of the waiters weren't very friendly and you had to keep asking to get plates, table set, or coffee mugs for the coffee they put on the table during breakfast. Overall the service was borderline poor but with few exceptions it passed for low average.
As for the NYE celebrations - they were pathetic. Nothing festive, special or outgoing, you had to fight to get a party favor bag, they ran out of champagne before midnight and then didn't have it for the rest of the week. The disco was crap and you had to pay for your drinks!

Overall, I was disappointed with this RIU and will not go back there again and highly recommend to others not to go either. Please read and take all the reviews seriously, this is not a 4 star hotel, 3-3.5 at best and that was opinion of all people I talked to that came during that week.

Room Tip: None, they are all the same
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Kasia G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2014

After waiting a week for a response from Riu to the below letter (sent to them via their website as well as to their reservations e-mail and press office), I have decided to make this letter public and place it on Trip Advisor.

You should read this before booking a stay at Riu Merengue.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing today regarding a recent stay at Riu Merengue in the Dominican Republic from 26 December – 30 December 2013. After staying at your resort in Aruba in November and experiencing exemplary service, I suggested to my partner – without hesitation – that we stay at Riu’s Merengue resort in the Dominican Republic.

As wonderful as my experience was in Aruba was as poor as it was in the Dominican Republic, and now I wonder whether your hotel chain is worth the cost since the same level of service cannot be expected at each resort.

Looking to spend a holiday between Christmas and New Year’s, I immediately suggested we look into Riu’s availability. However, the level of service we received and our experience was so sub-par that we have definitely ruled out another trip to the Dominican Republic in the near term and would raise serious questions before spending another thousand-plus dollars on a Riu vacation.

To start off, upon arrival, we experienced chaos in the lobby where it was unclear whose turn it was in line to check in. When we finally reached the desk, we were handed an envelope with one room key and towel cards made from old, dirty laminated paper. For the amount we spent, this was totally unprofessional. Moreover, the hotel clerk didn’t even ask for identification, which should have been requested given security concerns in the Dominican Republic. After a request, we were able to receive a second room key, but two adults checking in should automatically receive a key – especially when they spend more than a thousand USD each on a vacation.

Despite the fact that we traveled light, your hotel staff refused to let us carry our own bags to our room instead mandating that our bags be brought by a bellhop at a later time – so that we would be forced to tip him for an unnecessary service. If this were going to be your way of business, the bellhop could have at least led us to our room in person instead of a hotel staff member pointing us “to the right” and leaving us to find our room on our own amid a maze of room numbers that did not follow a logical order.

Our room was incredibly musty as the air conditioner was not working correctly and didn’t even come supplied with an extra roll of toilet paper. Of course, this resulted in us having to contact housekeeping to have it brought to the room (which took over one hour and a second call) and naturally led to having to tip the staff member who brought it.

While housekeeping cleaned the room to the best of its ability, everything in the room was old – from the mattresses to the television to the noisy ceiling fan to the deteriorating mirror in the bathroom which, we discovered after one of us became really ill, had a sticker attached to it that translated to “water not drinkable”. Furthermore, the rooms were not cleaned until 3:00 or 4:00 each afternoon – resulting in us being disrupted when we wanted to rest before dinner. At a hotel, one should expect to be able to arrive at their room after lunch or a day out and have it be cleaned.

While the food at Riu’s Aruba resort was wonderful, the food at Riu Merengue was bland, disjointed from a menu perspective, and utterly tasteless. Parts of the seating areas in the dining hall were shut down by staff members placing chairs around them to block seating which felt more like we were eating in a high school cafeteria than at a resort.

Additionally, a number of birds were flying over and landing on the buffets and eating food. This, coupled with insects and flies around some stations, exhibit serious health concerns which Riu should address immediately. Regarding beverages, while your resort in Aruba offers quality red and white wines during dinner, the Riu Merengue offers wines from a tap that taste extremely cheap and do not complement the meal. Moreover, one of your bars did not even have the ingredients to make a mojito. I was also surprised to learn that your hotel didn’t offer room service or Internet access in the rooms – which should be expected at an all-inclusive resort. 24-hour room service and wireless Internet access are available at your hotel in Aruba.

One evening, for my partner’s birthday, we decided to make a reservation at your Steakhouse. Unfortunately, the Steakhouse was not serving rib eye steaks because the steaks it had were of poor quality. Again, while your resort in Aruba served top-quality foods at its reservation-only restaurants, the Riu Merengue under-delivered and was a disappointment. How does a steakhouse not serve steak? The meal didn’t even start off adequately as the restaurant was not ready in time and patrons were left standing in a rain storm waiting for tables to be set. The restaurant offered the same low quality tap wines that it did in the general dining halls.

Another way in which staff was unaccommodating was in arranging for the bus from Riu Merengue to Puerto Plata airport. We arranged for this service through your hotel website upon booking the trip. However, when I needed to reach a representative from VIP/Soltour, not a single member of your staff would assist me. As a visitor to your resort, your hotel staff should go out of their way to meet my needs, especially when those needs are reasonable, instead of leaving me to try to solve issues on my own when I don’t speak the native language. This is especially true when reservations are made through your hotel’s own website.

Speaking of the shuttle bus service, VIP/Soltour forced us to meet them on the day after arrival to arrange for a pick-up time on our day of departure. This was an unnecessary meeting that had a sole purpose – to try to convince us to book day trips through VIP. My vacation should not have to be interrupted with a sales pitch, and the pick-up could have been easily arranged at the airport upon arrival in the Dominican Republic.

To top it all off, it is extremely disrespectful to have shop owners and SCUBA diving vendors yell at hotel guests as they pass them to convince them to shop, which occurred on a daily basis. While staying at an enclosed resort, such a practice is not only disrespectful but tends to frighten customers away rather than attract them to shop there.

The only nice thing about our whole experience was the service by Renova Spa, in particular the service from Flor and Alex. These two individuals were a saving grace from the stress of this “vacation” and should be commended for their exemplary service.

I hope to receive a response from Riu – and not a form letter, but an actual, thoughtful response regarding this experience. I will await such a reply before voicing my concerns on TripAdvisor.com, as I hope to be able to say you resolved this matter to my satisfaction.

Room Tip: There's no point in booking a trip to Riu Merengue except to be aggravated. If you read this and...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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27  Thank W B
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
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:
#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: £71 - £132 (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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