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“A Natural Beauty”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Mississauga, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“A Natural Beauty”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

I vacationed at the Riu Merengue Gardens (middle property between the Village and the Bachata, and in my opinion, best location) from March 25 to April 1 with a friend. I booked about 6 weeks before, and tortured myself reading these reviews in the weeks leading up to the trip. In hopes of relieving others who have already paid or perhaps helping others decide, I will try to provide a thorough and honest review.

Check in and Check Out

Seamless. Nothing about the process was problematic. I would say that if it’s raining or dark when you arrive it may be more challenging to find your room. The resort is large, and the paths may be confusing in the dark or if rushing to stay dry.

The Rooms

The rooms are dated and need a face lift, for sure. The current décor must be 25 years old. The bathrooms are fully functional, but fairly small and also dated. If you are someone who will need to spend a fair amount of time in your room, for whatever reason, this resort may not be a good choice for you. But if the room is truly a place to sleep and clean up, as it is for me when I visit hot spots, it is entirely adequate. The cleaners are meticulous, the beds are reasonably comfortable, and the showers are hot. There is a mini bar in the room which includes 3 bottles of rum for personal dispensing, and refrigerated beverages that include water, soft drinks and beer. Stock is replenished every second day.

If the Riu intends to continue to promote this resort, my assumption is that there is a plan to renovate soon. From the exterior, the 2-story mini-complexes are quite attractive, but the interiors need a dramatic renovation. In the short term, room service would be improved by increasing the provision of water. Tap water cannot be consumed in the DR. For 2 of us, we received 1.5 litres of water a day to drink and brush our teeth. Of course, water is available at the restaurants and bars, but this is less convenient. We did see the water delivery guy and he gave us extras, but guests should not have to be concerned about this at an all-inclusive. Simply add a 4L to the room for tooth brushing, and 1.5 L per person per day to drink.

The only bugs were mosquitoes, for which they sprayed just after we arrived. No roaches. No bed bugs. Not an issue.

The Food

I was extremely pleased with the food quality at this resort. The breakfast buffet was my favorite, complete with an omelette station, a smoothie station, eggs, bacon, veggies, hot donuts and churros. The coffee has to be the most delicious on the planet. We ate lunch at the beach site, which was decent. By day 7 the lunch options were a tad repetitive, but not problematic. My favorite was jerk chicken barbecued on the beach. The dinner buffet was quite good. There was a good variety, it was fresh and hot, and I enjoyed the preparation. The a la carte options were average. Generally, these should provide a nice break from the buffet but I preferred the buffet. The steakhouse was decent, but not what Canadians have come to expect from steakhouses for sure. The Italian meal was mediocre. It’s nice to be served for a change, but manage your expectations. The afternoon cappuccino at the beach bar was amazing.

The Beach

I spent the vast majority of my trip at the beach. I loved finding shade under naturally growing palm trees. I did wear beach shoes to avoid an encounter with an urchin. The upside of that is you can snorkel without leaving your resort. The beach is fairly long, there were tons of beach chairs, and the space allowed for significant privacy.

The Pool

There is no swim up bar, but you can practically reach the beach bar without leaving pool side. The pool was a little crowded, but I was generally able to find a chair on the couple of occasions I ventured away from the beautiful beach. Pool entertainment was ok.

Entertainment

Okay, I live in Toronto. If I was interested in stage productions or concerts or whatever, Puerto Plata would not be my choice destination. But I paid just a little more for this week away than I paid for Elton John tickets a couple of years ago. The stage entertainment is pretty bad. In the evenings after dinner we tended to sit in the lobby, access our free wifi for the day (90 minutes) and listen to a local singer perform. I’ve heard better local bands at other resorts, and this is an area that could be improved I think. We also went to Caribbean Street a couple of nights, which is just a 5 minute walk from the lobby. The sales people can be aggressive there, but it’s manageable.

Vendors

There was no grief on the beach or at the pool. Services were offered, but a simple no thanks did the trick. One night a week the vendors can set up in the lobby. They are quite aggressive, and truthfully, it was my preference to pay more at the airport than be stalked if I expressed interest. Riu management should really take responsibility to give the vendors boundaries as it would ultimately benefit everyone. In the meanwhile, the comments about prostitutes at the resort are complete nonsense. Either the issue has been addressed, or someone was making stuff up.

Would I Return?

I’m not sure I would do any hot spot twice when there are dozens of new places to try. That said, I was truly sad to leave the Merengue. There is something about the natural beauty of the beach and the grounds that is unique.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have specific questions.

Room Tip: The resort is quite spread out. Mine was near Caribbean Street and noise was not an issue. 2nd floor...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
7 Thank Lori B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2014

First visit to the Caribbean and thought it was good value for money, a bit happy clappy but all staff worked their socks off and never forgot your names.The room ( 1444 ) was very clean and cool and was cleaned daily.Four optics and soft drinks in room which were topped up every other day.The food was good with plenty of choice and made visits to the Italian and steakhouse where the food was good.Plenty of outdoor lunch cooking which went down well with the punters.Non stop cocktails and drinks all day and night although felt that drinks were not strong.Plenty of games to play during during the day, darts, table tennis , bowls , volley ball and party games.Beach had plenty of sunbeds and there was plenty of tree shade.Snorkeling was ok but seen better.Sea was rough for approx 10 days and sunbathing was painful on the beach due to sandblasting.Had a day deep sea fishing but seven of us failed to catch.They troll for fish so you are not really fishing, watching a rod for four hours is not what I would call a fishing trip.I spoke to someone who said they had been on the boat six times and never saw a fish caught.The shops in Caribbean street are not the friendliest and they will fleece you if you let them.They also tried to short change me.I gave shopkeeper $50 to pay for something $13 and received $32 change.When I asked her for more she got her calculator out !!!! Watch your change !!! On the whole a good holiday for £700 for 17 nights, would return at same price.

Room Tip: Stayed in room 1444 which was near the tennis court and very quiet.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Baggie15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2014

We had a great time. The staff were all really friendly, and such hard workers. The food was delicious. We liked the fact that you are able to visit all 3 resorts for food, drinks and swimming. The beach was a fun time, even though it has a lot of stones and shells, but if you have beach shoes you'll be fine. There was plenty of lounge chairs for all to use.
The servers at the restaurants made you feel very welcomed, we had such a great server, Miguel, that we made sure to sit in his section as often as we could.
The nightly shows were great fun. We have to mention a few people who really made it an enjoyable time.....Maria entertained the children in the evening before the show started, and was so good with them, Cheeky Monkey, who was the MC in the evening and also the entertainment cor-ordinator during the day, was always so cheerful and fun. And, we have to mention the rest of the entertainment group who worked so hard during the day to keep us entertained and then into the evening. We don't normally visit the same resort twice, but in this case we are definitely going to return agin!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Linda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Forest, Canada
1 review
Reviewed 13 April 2014

We booked through Sunwing Vacations,which made for a stress free holiday from the time we booked until our return. Riu Merengue Gardens is a beautiful resort with friendly hard working staff . We dined at all the restaurants during our April 2 to 8th vacation and found good food and drinks at all 3 resorts. Good beach and swimming, if a bit rocky in areas. Only complaint is beds are hard as rock! Excellent value for money spent and will bring air mattress when we return next year

Room Tip: Rooms in 1100 area are central to everything
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLDnShgq4xQ
Excellent fun for families with kids.
Very clean and with a lot of facilities.
See video for more details.
Several pools, very friendly staff and quality entertainment.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ecaterina C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kiln, Mississippi
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2014

first off we paid less that a thousand dollars for this all inclusive with airfare from new orleans and transfers. we got more that i expected for this price. i live about 50 mins. from new orleans so, having said that: the food was about what you get at all inclusive, stick to the fish and chicken, if you want great food go to new orleans. the room was fine, great porch, clean, (the beds do suck). if i was going for the room, i'ed have stayed home, my room is pretty nice. what i do not have at home is blue/green water, water falls and reef snorkling. that's what i went for, and that's what i got....lot's of it...beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.... we did 27 falls and paridise island . we did it privately with johnothan at the hotel, he was great and we were not forced to go to places we did not wish to go. hook up with him and you will not be sorry.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank beverly h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peterborough, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2014

We read the reviews before booking and were quit happy with the resort. A nice clean quiet resort just far enough from Puerto Plata to be quiet yet close enough to take a cab or bus to town. Check in is the fastest in the Dominican. The buffet was very good (for a buffet) with different themes every night. The beach is very shaded. If you want to get some sun you have to claim your spot early. Plenty of beach and beach chairs to go around. The beach is long enough for a good walk. The staff is great, very friendly and always helpfull. If you are looking for excursions you will find Radhames de la Cruz on the beach daily. He is the best and will fix you up with whatever you need. The resort does get a little congested on the weekends with locals, so plan your excursions then. We spent 2 weeks there and wish it was longer!
C&C Peterborough Ontario

Room Tip: The ground floor ocean front was great for just sitting out on the terrace. There was always a breez...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank marlburoman
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:
#4 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 (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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