We were at the Riu Mambo from January 8 to January 22, 2009. It was my wife and I, as well as 3 friends and 5 relatives.
We booked the trip on the internet. The travel company was Sunquest and we flew with Skyservice. Total cost was $2,572 without insurance as my wife has the coverage through employment. Price was a big factor as it was $900 less than the Iberostar Daiquiri in Cayo Coco which we had been to for the 4 previous years during the same time of year.
The trip to and from the resort went smoothly but was very cramped as most Skyservice flights seem to be. The Sunquest rep at the resort, Louise, was by far the best rep I’ve ever dealt with. You’d run into her at the resort at all hours of the day and evening. She was very helpful and entertaining.
We paid the $25Us each for the VIP lounge upon departure. It`s well worth it. It includes for alcohol drinks, unlimited non-alcohol drinks, light snacks including sandwiches. The furniture is nice and comfortable, the space is very well air conditioned, there`s a TV, no children and it`s own washrooms. If you`re a smoker you will have to go upstairs to one of the restaurants to smoke. You have to pay your rep in cash at the resort before you leave.
There was one event that ticked me off. When we were going through customs, upon arrival in Puerto Plata, one of the customs agents noticed a nice pen that my wife was holding in her hand. She showed it to him when he asked to see it and he took it from her and put it in his shirt pocket. His partner in crime laughed as she thought his outright theft was very comical. This isn’t the kind of thing I would expect from a government employee, especially the first one you meet upon arrival.
The room was very nice and kept very clean by the maid. One day we had gone to breakfast around 7 o’clock and when we got back to our room around 8:30 it had already been cleaned. This does not mean that they will not be back to your room throughout the day though. Sometimes the maid would come in, clean the room, make the beds but have to return later with new towels. Other times she had to return to allow the men who restock your fridge in. The beds are firm and are 2 doubles pushed together. The water pressure is always consistent and there are times when you will not have a great deal of hot water but we always managed to take our once or twice daily showers. One thing that we didn’t have was a bidet. We didn’t care about it but thought we should mention it for the benefit of those who might miss not having one. We were in building number 3 and our air conditioning was adequate although the a/c in one of our friends’ rooms cooled their room better. The ceiling fans are a plus as we would have preferred to just leave the patio door open through the night but on most nights some of the noisier guests would make their way to their room at 2 or 3 in the morning. There was one day where the entire resort, including the Merengue and Bachata, had no water for part of the morning/afternoon, and then again in the middle of the night. Apparently, the cause was a water main break in the city of Puerto Plata itself. Anyway, overall the rooms are very nice.
We never bothered to get in line to make reservations for the a la carte restaurant. Part of our group did and said the food was good.
BREAKFAST The buffet restaurant was great for breakfast. There’s plenty of choice. There’s hard boiled eggs, omelets made to your liking, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, pancakes, French toast, donuts, various other baked goods, bacon, sausage, cold cuts, cheese slices, fruit, toast etc...There was a young lady who spent all of her time making juice from various fruits. This was always our favourite meal of the day.
LUNCH Lunch became monotonous for us as we were there for 2 weeks, but I should point out that we only ate lunch at the Mambo pool bar/restaurant and at one of the Bachata buffets. We never checked the buffet at the Mambo for lunch. Normally your choices were sandwiches, burgers, fries, salads, cold cuts, hot dogs, fish, fried chicken, pizza or pasta. I may be forgetting things but I think I’ve got most of it. The food was good but it just seemed that after the 10th day or so my wife and I were getting bored of it. It certainly didn’t ruin our vacation though. It was the same thing we experienced at the Daiquiri in Cayo Coco or the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana. The only resort we’ve been to where we didn’t have the food boredom issue was Sandals Inn in Jamaica.
DINNER We always had dinner at the buffet restaurant at the Mambo. I’m told that it’s the same at the Merengue and the Bachata. Again, the food was good, there was a pretty good selection to choose from but well into your second week you may get a little bored with it.
I can’t imagine anyone going hungry at this resort as the selection should be big enough for even the pickiest of eaters. We never had any stomach problems whatsoever and we also brushed our teeth with the water right out of the faucet in our room.
The staff are great people. They keep everyone entertained all day long as well as all evening long. They are very friendly and make you feel welcome there. They’re always starting conversation with the guests, even sitting down with them. They put on the entertainment shows at night and they are good at what they do, especially considering the hours they work in a day. As I said, they’re great, end of story.
Bar service is very good but if you’re ordering something other than beer and you want alcohol in it make sure to let them know you want alcohol. Obviously, if you order a gin and tonic or a brandy Alexander it will come with the proper alcohol, but if you order a Banana Mama or one of the other drinks that comes out of one of those frosty machines you will want to make sure to tell them to put in the alcohol.
BEACH AND POOL
Both were very nice, not too cold. We never had a problem finding loungers but couldn’t always get the ideal spot for sun tanning. You will get sun but you just may have to pull the lounger to a spot which might not have been your first or second choice. The early bird gets the worm. Big deal. I like the beach at this resort more than at the Daiquiri in Cayo Coco because, although the Daiquiri beach looks much nicer (i.e. white sand and really blue water), the water at the Mambo is much deeper just a few feet from the sand. When I want to swim in the ocean I actually want to swim, not walk out 100 yards or more to get the water over my waist. The beach at the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana is much nicer with its light brown, icing sugar like sand.
This was the most disappointing part. It was not horrible or enough to ruin the vacation but we did get some rain. It often poured overnight which is great but on at least 4 days it continued into our waking/breakfast hours, once or twice into the early afternoon. One day was grey all day. It was always very warm, but we got spoiled by Cayo Coco. During the 7 weeks we`ve spent in Cayo Coco, same time of year, we`ve seen less than an hour, maybe even less than a half hour of rain total.
Check in and out went pretty smooth.
Internet access is pretty good and the Mambo`s high speed internet is fast. At least 100 times faster than at the Daiquiri.
The only time I left the resort during our vacation was to go golfing at the Playa Dorada. I would have gone again but it was pretty damn expensive. My buddy and I played 9 holes each, had a cart, and a caddy (Benny) which you supposedly require and it cost us $200US before incidentals and a $20US tip to the caddy who didn`t seem to be really satisfied with it. He was a very good caddy though. The ride to and from the golf course costs $45US. My annual golf membership in northern Ontario costs me a little less than $500. Still, if you like golfing it`s worth the trip. The course is in very good shape and is a little challenging, a little less so with the caddy. If it hadn`t been for him we wouldn`t have seen some of the hidden water hazards.
Although you have access to all 3 resorts, except for dinner, we only ventured over to the others a few times just for a change of pace or to take some pictures. I honestly think that the Mambo is the nicer looking of the 3 in terms of landscaping. The vegetation at the Mambo is much more mature looking, especially around the pool. The gardeners were always trying to improve something everyday.
This is a very nice resort and we can see ourselves going back again in the future especially at the bargain basement price we got this year, but we might check out El Salvador next year.
As others have mentioned the loungers covered with towels make me sick. One morning it was raining quite a bit when we walked down to the buffet for breakfast around 8 o'clock, and to my surprise there were 4 lounge chairs at the pool that were being saved by means of covering them with a wet towel. I wondered if the people who put the towels there had done so the night before. Who in their right mind would go and put them on in a rainstorm? It was the same people that had the same chairs the 2 weeks we were there. The towels were soaking in the rain. I don't mind if I get to a chair and someone is actually sitting in it, but this was ridiculous. There was no way any of those morons were going to sit there in the rain but they wanted to make sure nobody else would. It crossed my mind to pick up their towels and exchange them for the towel cards. It would be nice if people would start doing this in general, then the weasels of the world might get the message.
- 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