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“Great stay!!”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Spent 1 week at this resort with 3 of my friends after we booked this last minute trip (got a very good price).

The check in process was quick and service is fast (we had trouble with lights in our room, it was fixed within 10 minutes of our arrival). Staff were always smiling, friendly and helpful. Staff with whom you interact directly (bartenders, waiters, entertainment team, reception desk) all speak good English, while other staff are a hit or miss (though still tried their best to help out).

Rooms are clean (the maid cleaned under the beds and mopped the floors daily), bathrooms and decks are nice. The fridge is re-filled every 2nd day with water bottles and Pepsi, and there's a rum dispenser in the room to mix your own drinks before leaving the room! There are no elevators but the buildings are only 2 floors. The only thing that wasn't as great were the hard beds.

The food at the buffet was great with good selection nightly (we enjoyed the fish, and the specialties provided for "Holly week" (Easter)). The staff at the buffet were friendly, helpful and always smiling (Carmen and Miguel were great!). The Italian "a-la-carte" was okay, but nothing amazing, so we didn't bother going to the Steakhouse which we heard was similar. We had access to two other buffets (including at Riu Bachata) where we ate once only as the food was the same. There was also other spots that served lunch where we ate on some days. There is one location open at night time which offers burgers, hot dogs and fries (great at the end of a drinking night or if you get hungry late). Drinks were great, and bar staff were amazing!!!

The location of the resort is on one side of a mountain, with the beach along its side. There's many chairs at the beach (no need to get up early or save chairs), and there were parts of the beach/pools that were quieter, while other areas were busier/louder. There are little shops to go shopping between the Riu Merengue and Riu Bachata, and we also went shopping at the shops at the end of the Merengue beach, and the ones at the end of the Bachata (both off resort technically, though there were security guards keeping an eye on us).

The entertainment team does a great job at offering activities for everyone, including dart tournament, volleyball and polo games, stretching, aerobics, etc. The nightly shows were entertaining, and appeared to be better at the Merengue than at the Bachata (based on the ones we saw). The beach is nice (obviously not as nice as Varadero or Punta Cana) and the pools were kept clean. There was staff cleaning, picking up garbage and working on the landscaping every day.

We went to the hotel during "Holly Week" (Easter), so there was a significant portion of the individuals on the resort that were locals (from DR). It made our stay that much better, as it added a cultural aspect to our stay, and made the nights out at the Discotheque (which was otherwise empty and only played American music) a great time!

The check out was as quick and easy as the check in, even though everyone left on our part of the resort were leaving as it was closing for 'low season'.

I'd definitely recommend this resort!!!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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1  Thank Christine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 April 2014

When we first arrived our transportation that was prearranged to the resort had no problems. They dropped us and our luggage at Riu Merengue for check in. At the reception desk we were told "oh, your room is in Riu Merengue Village, don't worry we will get a taxi." I asked if it was far and told it was the same resort just a different section. A worker then came with a luggage cart and took our luggage. He then pointed to the road and told us to walk out and go left to get to the other check in area, and he would meet us there. It was a good 5 minute walk. Once we got to that reception area the check in went fast. The resort description states "Sister Property Privileges
All-inclusive guests enjoy food and drink privileges at all bars and restaurants located throughout the Riu Resorts complex. A selection of theme restaurants, with waiter service, require advanced dinner reservations.
Drinks at the casino located in Riu Bachata and Pacha night club, located on property, are not included."
Well, right as you check in you are instructed that you are free to walk about the sister property Riu Bachatta and use the pool and beach, but you cannot eat or drink at the Bachatta. Every guest that I spoke with was told exactly the same, and one gentlemen had went to the Riu Bachatta to eat only to be told he had to leave and go back to Riu Merengue. The rooms were ok except for the beds. The King bed is two twin beds pushed together that are flat and hard like a board. The pillows were so flat that it was like using nothing. The food and drinks were average, and the food was repeated over and over again. We were there for 12 days and was tired of the same boring food after just 3 days. Those with families and morals should beware of Thursday, Friday and Saturdays since there is obvious prostitution going on in the bar/lounge/pool areas. The young activity staff also tries to become overly friendly with guests that they see alone, and offer to "spend time alone with you in your room for a fee." The only good thing that came out of this trip was that I met some really nice people that I will be keeping in contact with.

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to everything or you could end up quite far away and having long walks to all.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank PearlPitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2014

love the rui chain as you know what to expect . immaculate grounds great food and drink and very reasonably priced . 9 hour flight for us in the uk so minimum 2 weeks is a must 3 weeks is even better and economical .
done the merengue loads of tmes and wating to return lovely pepes . they rely on customer reporting room issues as your always going to have maintanence issues ,report it and it will be done .take no notice of negatives all you need is sun protection .
three meals a day in on lovely clean white table clothes and use of all the restarunts !! or the beach cafes..
go for it ! a nice walk up the beach or promanade and stop for a cocktail of the day in the many bars here ..
dont need trousers but nice dress up on theme nights .
books music and maybe a few films .....wifi slow but will get there eventually and triple your allownce by using the other receptions .....enjoy you deserve it and be nice they love it !!!

Room Tip: what you give out you get back ......so smile and be nice pepes and tip they all have a life toooo...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank dogsdodar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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7  Thank Lori B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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1  Thank Baggie15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank Linda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Thank Paul M
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: £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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