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“Riu Merengue - Nice”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #14 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 19 March 2014

We had a great time in the Dominican. The beach was very nice. If you go you will want to go to the Monkey Jungle. They have really cute little monkey's there but the zip line is fantastic. There are 7 zip lines, one is a 60ft drop into a cave. I am skeptical about any zip line but this one has better standards than in Canada (my husband checked it out). It is a really nice way to spend a day and the people are very nice.

My sister-in-law had pnemonia and we recieved top rate service at the international hospital. There is a store close by that you can buy just about anything. I forget the name of it but the locals call it Walmart.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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7  Thank DJBoston272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 March 2014

I’m writing this review to notify you how disappointed we were booking with Signature Vacation and with our stay at Riu Merengue, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic, during the week of February 18th to February 25th, 2014. There were a number of reasons which made our vacation unpleasant and not enjoyable. When we were booking our vacation we specifically wanted 4.5 or 5 stars resort. Destination was not an issue as we were open to any location in the Caribbean. I’ve visited Cuba 5 times and loved it, I was under the impression that Dominican Republic would be great and even better based on what I have heard from different people. I was truly looking forward to experience Dominican culture and food.

The hotel was advertised as 4.5 stars resort, however based on what we experienced I would not rate it more than a 2.5stars, maximum 3 stars – and I’m giving it 3 stars for housekeeping. First of all, the information provided on the brochure about this resort was only partly correct. There was no 24 hour snack bar. Buffet closed daily at 10pm and snack bar, which had french fries, old pasta, uncooked or burned burger patties and artificial sausages swimming in the water, closed at 12:00am every night. If we wanted to have a drink pass midnight we had to walk all the way to the other resort “Riu Bachata” to have a drink. And only once I saw international brands – Stolichnaya Vodka and Ballantines whisky, I don’t believe that one brand of vodka and whisky classifies as selected unlimited international brands. In terms of the wine selection we had tree options – red, white or rose. Would you consider this alcohol selection qualifies for 4.5 stars rating?

Furthermore, when I was booking the resort I had two options, one was to book with Sunwing and another one was to book with Signature vacations. After comparing both options I decided to go with Signature operator as they were offering special discounts on certain excursions booked with them, Signature hour from 4pm-5pm along with a spa credit. At the time of booking I asked the travel agent about Signature extra offers, she did not provide much information, however, she reassured me that when we will arrive at the resort there will be someone from Signature and they will be able to provide us with more information and give us the vouchers/promotion. That was not the case! When we were in Dominican Republic we only saw Sunwing/Signature representative twice – one day after we arrived, he gave a small speech about the resort and other time on the last day we were leaving. During the meeting, Sunwing/Signature representative guaranteed that he will be in the lobby every day except Friday until about 4pm or 5 pm. We didn’t see him any hour of the day except those two days mentioned above. What kind of 4.5 start service is this, when you can’t find a vacation representative on the resort and the front desk staff are not helpful at all?

What made me even angrier was that when we inquired about special offers as we booked with Signature he did not know what I was talking about and he refused to confirm it with anyone else. He pretty much accused me of lying. Thankfully I brought the vacation book with me and I was able to show him that if you book with Signature you get 20% off selected Signature local excursions, spa credit to selected treatment, along with other things. After a long debate we booked two excursions one for the regular price and another one for 20% off. However, we were only given the receipt for the one we paid full price, which makes me wonder if the second excursion was properly documented.

We enjoyed the City Tour and the cable car excursion, but I cannot say the same thing about our other excursion. Both of us felt that Catamaran excursion was rushed, overcrowded and pressured. There were way too many people on the boat, we stopped at two places for snorkeling for only 30 minutes and the lunch which was provided at the boat was very disappointing. I don't want to compare, but when I was in Cuba and we went on the similar excursion we had a choices between lobster/seafood, chicken and vegetarian dishes for lunch. If I have known what food will be served on the boat I would have taken some food from the hotel, not like it was any better but at least we would have had some decent lunch.

In regards to food, there were a number of issues. First of all options and choices of food was very limited and secondly every time we would have a meal, 30 minutes later, without a fail, we both would had to look for a washroom. I would not say that I have a sensitive stomach but even now, writing this letter makes my stomach turn and go in nuts. Additionally, if that wasn't enough of a problem, we had a horrible experience at both speciality restaurants. We went to two different restaurants three times and every time we had to wait additional 15 to 30 minutes before getting seated after our reserved time, even though restaurant was barely half full. Moreover, I have a food allergy on bell peppers (also known as sweet peppers and capsicum) and before ordering I always make sure to triple check the menu and notify the servant of it. I understand that English is not their first language so I tried my best to explain what bell peppers are. Reading over a many a number of times and not seeing a mention of bell peppers, I decided to order seafood pasta. After an hour wait we finally got our food and there were Bell Peppers all over my dish. I decided not to spoil my mood and politely asked our servant for something else. We had pork chops few nights before so I asked to get that instead. When my food finally arrived, it was about two hours later since we got there; my pork chops were undercooked and bloody, when I asked for them to be cooked medium. We also noticed that portions were not proportional and the quality of food was different all three times we ate there. If you think the experience at the speciality restaurants were bad, the organization process of getting a reservation there was not any better. If we wanted to eat at speciality restaurants we had to be at the buffet restaurant right after 7am, but before 8am to make a reservation. Twice we had to look for the guy to make a reservation all over the buffer restaurant because he was not at his designated spot.

In addition to Signature representative not knowing a thing, restaurant and food experience not being the greatest, entertainment and entertainment crew were not any better. The only show worth mentioning was Michael Jackson show. Everything else was unprofessional and boring, as the entertainment crew was only focusing on the teenage girls. The disco at the resort too was a joke. The place was dark, stinky, dirty and disgusting with bad music, and they were charging for drinks. Casino at the Riu Bachata wasn’t any better. We went inside twice and both time cashier gave us two different prices for the chips. I was under the impression that Riu Resorts and Hotels all have similar guidelines and standards, and employees there are well trained and not allowed to scam visitors.

We also wanted to get a treatment at the spa, but that never happened because staff there make their own schedule and want travellers to be on their agenda. On our second day at the resort we went to the spa at Riu Bachata wanting to make a reservation for our last or second last day there. The lady at the spa said to come to them on the day we wanted a treatment done as they were not busy and would have a spot for us. We requested at least a tentative reservation but she assured us that it would not be necessary. Two days before leaving, in the morning we went to the spa to get our treatment, but they couldn't accommodate us as they were fully booked. I was pretty disappointed and upset considering that we asked for reservation on our second day there. At 4pm a lady from the spa found us at the beach and pressured us to come now as she has a spot. However, she could not perform the treatment we wanted as she had to leave in an hour. Being on the beach the whole day and swimming in the ocean we did not want to get a treatment right there and then as our bodies were covered in sunscreen and salt from the sea. We asked if we can quickly go to our room and take a shower and come back, but she refused as she had to leave in an hour. Would you consider this resort 4.5 stars when you cannot get what you want and you are being pressured in to buying something else based on the staff schedule and program.

On the note on technology; we only had 90 minutes of complimentary internet which was hit and miss. If we were lucky we were able to check our emails and respond to them, it was never full 90 minutes. Sending or uploading pictures was not an option based on the internet connection. And the TV in our room most of the time was blurry and fuzzy which made it unpleasant to watch anything.

On the other hand, housekeeping was always on top of cleanliness of our room and they did an amazing job every day. However, mini-bar was not restocked every two days as promised and the water in the shower was either boiling hot or freezing cold.

Lastly, our experience with Sunwing airlines wasn't as pleasant as we hoped. We had no problem checking in at Toronto Pearson Airport but when we were leaving to come back home, Sunwing representative at Puerto Plata airport was rude, arrogant and unprofessional. She made us re-arrange our luggage three times because one of them was 2 lbs over. We also noticed on our e tickets Elite written under class, when we inquire about it she was extremely rude and abrupt, saying - “All tickets have that!”. And on the plane there and back we did not have an option of choosing our hot meal as they didn't have any choices left and only had one option available. On our flight back I filled up a survey voucher, but did not receive any email back from Sunwing with promised $50 voucher. It's not like I would go out of my way to search and book a vacation with Sunwing or Signature, it's the principle that matters of promised $50 voucher.

We went to Dominican Republic to do a little bit of a research for our upcoming wedding, as we are going to have a destination ceremony and celebration. Based on our experience and disappointment we are very hesitant to even consider Dominican Republic and Riu resorts and hotels as our destination spot.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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5  Thank kolbaska87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2014

Service was terrible, we had to walk half a mile under the rain to get to the room because they don't have transportation or umbrellas. The credit card machine was not working and they told us "just cash or leave". The drinks are very bad. We could only drink water and beers. Don't want to talk about the room. It's a nightmare.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Uzias V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

We booked our stay on the basis of seeking a good quality, minimum cost All Inclusive fortnight away, the RIU Merengue fitted that criteria.

The hotel lists itself as 5* and based on the facilities provided this is understandable however based on a few areas (detailed below) I believe Thomson (for those travelling from the UK) are correct in advertising it as a 4* hotel.

The Merengue is actually 2 hotels, ‘The Village’ and ‘The Garden’, travelling with Thomson we stayed in ‘The Garden’ (which I believe is the norm for Thomson clients) and my review is based on this but as you can use The Village (V) and the adjacent RIU Bachata (B) hotel during your stay I will make the occasional reference as part of the overall experience but from what I could see, all 3 hotels seemed broadly similar in their style and offerings.

Check-in was very speedy, the wrist band is on your wrist before you know it and the registration paperwork can be handed in the next day so you are immediately free to go to your room (….or the bar!), a small thing perhaps but in my mind a winner after a long journey.

The rooms are in blocks of 8 (4 up - 4 down) and of a reasonable size and condition. They come with air conditioning. a free safe, a fridge - which is regularly restocked with a small selection of beer, water, coke; a selection of spirits provided. The TV (about 60 channels - circa 8 English) is a little small and the bath/shower area (in our room) was a little small – shower curtain had a tendency to cling to you. There is no kettle so if you do like a hot drink in the room at any time take your own. The beds and sheets etc were good quality and comfortable.

 A word of caution, whilst not an issue in the short term it is worth noting at the ‘Bachata’ end of the beach (in the next bay) Carnival Cruises are building a new port for cruise ships, this is apparently a $60m dollar investment. A large working barge and crane slightly blots the scenery at present but I would be more concerned once the port becomes operational (about a year?) and the impact the influx 1000’s of day trippers will have on the beach when a cruise ship ‘is in town’.

My views on the general facilities around the hotel are:

Overall the hotel facilities and grounds are very clean, tidy and well maintained. The staff get on with their jobs and in general do not seem to be ‘looking for tips’ although they are obviously welcomed.

WIFI: Free wifi is available in the reception area for 90 minutes duration once per day; this can also be accessed in the receptions of (V) and (B) hotels thereby giving you 4.5 hours per day.

Shops: there are a couple of shops for gifts, these are a little pricey but not overly so and there is also ‘Caribbean Street’ which provides a wider but similar choice of gifts etc, a Pharmacy/Chemist can also be found here.

Pool: This was very disappointing and one of the key areas why I do not think the hotel is 5*. It is on the small size (described by Thomson’s as ‘Massive’) and has a dated look/feel about it (the pools at (V) and (B) are not much better). The area around the pool for those who like to sunbathe there is also on the small side. The pool does not have a swim – up bar.

Beach/Sea: this is immediately in front of the hotel and a good number sunbeds are provided; there is a tree shaded area for those who do not like too much sun. The sand is ok (not fine golden sand) and the sea does not have a ‘Turquoise’ carribean feel about it. The sea is shallow and gently shelving but there are some rocks/stones etc to be wary of, there are some sea urchins so care is required. The hotel provides free Kayaks and Pedaloes and you can also hire Jetskis sailboards etc if you wish

Animation (Day Time): a typical range of entertainment is provided by the animation team (darts, golf, football) for those wishing to join in but perhaps the water/step aerobics is weak compared to other hotels we have stayed at.

Animation (Evening): this was reasonable; the main events were a mixture of dancing shows, a couple of music show’s (eg Michael Jackson, Rock Anthems) and a couple of guest participation nights. These were carried out enthusiastically but some investment is needed in a new PA system to make announcements more clear.

‘One Off’ Entertainment: the hotel provided several one- off type events, eg evening beach party, lunchtime barbecue, meet the staff drinks party throughout the duration of our stay.
Sports There are tennis courts, table tennis available if you wish.

Beach Bar: open from all day and in the evening, very hard working, polite and proactive staff looking to serve you as quickly as they could. If your cocktail is not listed but they have the drinks available they will make it for you.

Main Bar: open in the evenings, again the staff were very polite and proactive in serving the drinks.

Drinks: the general range of teas/coffees, soft drinks, beer, wine and sangria where available. Spirits where available together with a reasonable range of liqueurs, these seemed reasonable pleasant, and alcoholic.

Main Restaurant: this was another area I found a little disappointing. The room is dark which I found a little depressing at times and the layout of the food/plates did not seem logical. The food whilst well prepared/cooked did have a feel of repetitiveness about it. Being able to use the restaurants at the (B) and (V) did provide an alternative setting (food was basically the same) which helps.

Snack Bar: again, for me a little dark and undercover, at lunchtimes I like to be out in the open (still shaded) a little more and feel like I’m at the seaside at lunch time. The main restaurant at (B) provided this feel a little more.

Ala Carte: you have the choice of Italian or Steak, you book on the morning of the night you want to eat and this provided a pleasant alternative to the main restaurant.

Summary:

The cost of our package holiday was £930 each for a fortnight (includes travel on a Dreamliner …..a great improvement on 767’s etc) which is remarkable value when you think about it and it makes you wonder how much the hotel actually get to provide what they do.

Whilst the hotel did not particularly ‘exceed’ in any areas (except for its overall friendliness) it did meet our requirements and delivered a very enjoyable value for money holiday.

If you are after a high quality hotel that will provide all the trimmings I would suggest looking elsewhere (and pay more!), if you are after a value break and can compromise an a few things then this hotel together with the use of the (V) and (B) it should be more than adequate for the price.

Please contact me if you want any further information on the hotel.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank Mr260Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2014

we stayed here from feb 24th to mar 3rd . there was 11 of us and we all got in one building . we found the staff very friendly and the place clean . it was a long walk to the other resorts but you are on vacation and there are bars every where and the scenery georgous . we went to the steak house once but fond the buffet so good that there was no need to do a la carts . the entertainment went out of their way to make sure you enjoyed yourself . our only complaint was on the weekend the locals took over the resort . they was rude and did what they wanted , i complained to management and he said that they paid alot to come here for the weekend and he didnt care . the sunwing rep sandy was really nice and did everything he could to help you . we did a 4 wheeler tour and seen some really nice scenery and got a pic taken with a snake,turtle spider and bird all at once , pretty cool . would probably go back if the price was right as the locals staying there and being so rude really put a damper on the trip .

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank William B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2014

I stayed with my husband at Riu Merengue for one week and we had a great experience but in the same time a disappointed one.
We arrived in Puerto Plata and our representative from Thomson was waiting us at the airport.
The lady Sylwia from Thomson is a nice person and she was very helpul for all our vacation. We enjoyed there a tour of the city, the best attraction are Brugal factory and Jesus`s statue. Also, we went in Safari Out Back trip and if you want to fully enjoyed ask for Many`s truck. He is funny and full of energy. The restaurant-bar staff are professional, friendly and always with smile faces. We stayed in the room 1421 and the housekeeper was doing a brilliant job every day, making swan`s towels and tidy up our stuff in the room. The animation team is very crazy in a good way, organising shows every evening.
The bad thing happened there is a small accident. My husband hit his foot and he needed same medical attention. We asked reception (John) to call the hotel`s doctor but he gave us the number saying that we need to call him. We tried few times but the doctor was busy and he could`n take our call. We asked John to call for an ambulance but he refused us, saying that we need to wait until tomorrow when our Thomson`s representative is caming at the hotel. John didn`t help me to carry my husband which was in the wheelchair to the taxi and he never gave us same advice about the hospital.
Front desk never smiled, they are not helpful when you ask something and their attitudine is rude.
We would like to came back to see that paradise hopping that we will receive a better treatment, especially from reception which represesent the first contact witht he guest.
Thank you Sylwia, Many and Puerto Plata!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Simon G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

I recently got back from Puerto Plata with friends and family and stayed at the Merengue Village part of the resort. The rooms weren't great but were cleaned every day. The staff was very friendly and always greeted everyone. Staff from the animation team were awesome and hilarious; there were many activities going on every day like yoga, beach volley ball, bingo, and many more. As for the food, well it wasn't the greatest but not absolutely horrible. There was a wide variety of choices, three meals a day. There were bars everywhere and even one conveniently on the beach with waiters. Although some of the bartenders didn't understand English, they were very generous with alcohol and friendly. If you're looking for souvenirs, go to the Caribbean street shops rather than the hotel boutiques because you can get the same things for cheaper. There's not much to do at night except for walking around and going to the bars because the shows weren't too interesting. There was always food available in between meals at the snack bars. For some reason one of the pools would be closed every day then be reopened on the Merengue Village side, but there is another pool in Bachata and Merengue Garden. The beach was really nice and so was the ocean. the Scuba Caribe rental place offered free rentals like kayaking, windsurfing and pedal boats. Other activities and excursions were available like sea doos and four wheelers. Although the four wheel excursion promises a ride on the beach, in reality it is a ride up somewhat steep and rocky roads through a nearby village. There is a visit to a cigar shop and the area where they shot the first Jurassic park movie, so it's still interesting. The rooms weren't as bad. The bathrooms have granite countertops. The beds aren't very comfortable, but bearable. One downside about the rooms is that there is no key cards to unlock the door, but one key. It may be difficult for people staying 4 in a room to work it out with the key. The safe is free to use. The cleaning staff work very hard and nonstop. The worst part of the trip had to be the weekend since locals use the resort. They're loud, and are in large quantities. They're greedy with the food and they bring along many children since their children stay free. Other than the weekend, the resort is nice and calm. Overall the vacation was a lot of fun despite the food, locals, and the rooms. The resort itself was beautiful, but 4.5 starts is pushing it.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank _ag39
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:
#6 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £69 - £181 (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 All Inclusive ClubHotel Riu Merengue open all year round, is located in the RIU Resort right on the natural Bahía Maimón beach and next to the ClubHotel Riu Bachata. The inland terrain is characterized by wooded hills and mountains. The RIU Resort features a Caribbean Street with several shops, Wellness Centre and gym. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Puerto Plata (9km) and Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) is approx. 25 km away. The hotel has 998 comfortably furnished rooms and offers many amenities. Relax with a massage at our Renova Spa or get in shape at our gym. 3 outdoor pools, 1 children’s pool. For the youngest guests, there is the RiuLand Kids Club (for children from 4 to 7 years & 8 to 12 years old) and for adults, day and evening entertainment and many Water Sport activities, Discotheque and Casino. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main buffet as well as Italian cuisine and Steakhouse, 4 bars. ... 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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