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“Great place, iffy weather”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Kapuskasing, Ont. Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Great place, iffy weather”
Reviewed 3 February 2009

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.

ACCOMODATIONS
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.

FOOD
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.
STAFF
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.
BARS
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.
WEATHER
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.
OTHER
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.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank DarinKapuskasing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Balgonie, SK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2009

We stayed at the Mambo Jan 22-29th.
FOOD: Every good. The buffet had something for everyone, no matter what meal. Supper for example had cold meats, roast beef or a roast pig, pasta, pizza, hot grilled vegetables, raw veggies, fruit, cheeses, desserts, every kind of beverage-milk, juices, pop, wines, alcohol, etc. Everything. Also all of the buffets had lots of seating and about 1/2 of the seating area was non-smoking.
ROOMS: very clean, spacious, deck/balcony. Fast service if you needed anything for your room.
BEACH: Very nice beach. The first night there had been very heavy showers and the next moring the grounds crew was on the beach cleaning up the drift wood and sea weed etc. They work very hard to keep the beach clean. Don't worry to much about rocks on the beach. There is some but in some places there is none. Remember you are at the ocean and the currents and waves of the ocean changes the beach somewhat every day. Lots of sun or shade available. Tons of beach chairs available. If none right where you want to be, just move the sun beds. They are very easy to move. There is some topless sunbathing. Females can go topless or not. Nothing is "flaunted" just people enjoying the sun.
DRINKS: Every kind available and if not they will make what you want. Some bars serve different drinks than others. Ask. Waiters wear suits and bow ties at night. Very upscale and classy.
FRONT DESK: Very help full except if you need to get cash. They could not give you cash from debit, visa, etc. Bank machine at the gate didn't work. They couldn't even process our visa card to pay for some phone calls. Only rate them one out of five for this. Otherwise very good.
Also ask the front desk about booking taxi's. There is a very good taxi available. We hired a van for 6 of us to go to Puerta Plata for the day. Taxi ws $100 us and we hired a guide with it. After the day trip you pay the guide a tip-we paid $50 us. They took us anywhere we wanted, stayed with us, translated, went to local grocery store for vanilla, rum and coffee, toured the fire hall, cathedral, local shops, the fort everything. Excellent. Our guide was Valentino. Thanks so much.
STAFF: the friendliest I have ever met. Very sociable, happy people.
I would recommend this resort to everyone as is has something for everyone.
VENDORS: the vendors beside the beach can be very agressive. They do stay at their shacks, you have to go to them and they can be quite agressive for you to buy from them. However at the vendor shacks to the right of the beach (as you look to the ocean) you can find a massage for $15.00 for a half hour, Very good. 2 guys and one female from our group receaved massages and really liked them, very professional.

  • Liked — gorgeuos
  • Disliked — the coffee
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank brelap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
stafford (UK)
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 January 2009

Stayed in the Riu Merengue for 2 weeks in october. Absolutley loved it and so did other guests that we spoke to. The staff we're amazing, very friendly and extreemly helpful!

Very clean hotel, the maids did a great job. Excellent food, with pleantly of choice and variety.

The riu resorts are surrounded by beautiful views and golden sandy beaches.

The day and evening entertainment was provided by the hotels animation team who were extreemly enthusiatic, friendly and were able to cater for all ages. Daily games such as volleyball, football and kids club were amusing during the day and the entertainment at night was well put together.

The surrounding two riu hotels are avalible to use freely, the only restriction to the use of the other hotels is during evening meals.


There is plenty to do in the area, personally i recomend the dolphin swim at ocean world. As well as the monster truck safari and jet ski-ing. The mambo tour is a great night out of the resort for those legal to drink, just remember the drinks are VERY strong out there if you dont want a hangover on your holiday!

We found that many items were priced up in dominican pesos but USD are widley accepted (just be careful of the exchange rate!!).

Overal a great holiday experience and would be delighted to go back.

  • Liked — the whole experience!
  • Disliked — coming home!
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank MartB1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mablethorpe
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 January 2009

we needed to get away, and well we let the travel agent reccommend us, and im so glad i took there advice, this is an amazing resort,

we loved the food and drinks flowed constantly, we had lots of time to relax in wonderful atmosphere, and having the use of all 3 hotels was an added bonus, our room was great, however the wicker furniture did have some kind of sand fly in the but the cleaners all carry sprays, for them, but hey your in the carribean, you have to expect some dont ya, (umbrellas in the bedroom ready for the tropical rain were a very nice welcomed touch)

the staff were amazing to us , entertainment and reception spoke very good english and were always up for a laugh and a joke,
the cleaners and toilet attendants didnt speak much english but a smile is universal, and made us feel very welcome,
for such small wages im not sure youd get the same serivce over here,lol
the only real negatives is that once your in the resort thats it your miles from a town and even then we were recommended not to go alone, (but the armed guards at the gate did make you feel protected) but wot from i dont know as everyone we did meet were amazing,
be prepared to barta esp at the shacks on the beach, they are very agressive sellers altho thats just there way , carribean street on the other hand was a no hard sell zone so if your prepared not to get the best price is an alternative but i find the bartering fun and you soon get used to it,
id deffo go back and this will rate as one of my best holidays ever
we did have some people the same week we were there that did nothing but moan and i just wasnt seeing wot they were so hey ya cant please everyone, everything is wot you make it,

  • Liked — the food and drink
  • Disliked — .
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank ant20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
isle of wight
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2009

Had a great 2 weeks at the Mambo, although we did have a tropical storm that lasted from Wednesday night to Saturday morning. The food was superb, I am a very fussy eater but found plenty of variety to my likeing. Rooms were very clean and the towel art a nice touch. Overall service was excellent, very high hygene standards, no upset tummies. The entertainment team were very energetic and friendly, the shows were good but I found some a bit amatureish and boring. I found the drinks to be plentyful but very weak, no hangovers here. Perhaps a good thing, no drunken yobs, fights or ill drinkers. All the bar staff and waiters were 1st class. The only fault I found, was when we had the storm, there was not much to do. A walk outside the complex is not recommended. If you do venture into town, look out for the motorcycles, which carry anything from 4 people to a twin tub washing machine ( yes I saw it with my own eyes) In a nut shell, a great holiday.

  • Liked — cleanliness
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank paulchoochoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
guildford
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2009

We went here for 2 weeks in April 2008, myself, husband and 3 children - 2, 10 and 11 at the time. My parents came too and stayed in another room. Fantastic all inclusive resort, set on the beach, large pool and kids pool, buffet, al a carte, snack bar. Lovely accomadation, not high rise block but small units of 8 rooms (on 2 floors) in each scattered among the gorgeous gardens. Fridge in the room containing cans of soft drinks, bottles of water, beer and mixers, optics - gin, vodka, brandy, whisky - all included in price!!!! The maids are always cleaning the rooms, never had any complaints with the hygiene. Lots of entertainment going on during the day if that's your thing, but it's not overwhelming, you can just sit by the pool with a cocktail or on the beach and not get disturbed! Very quiet beach....no sellers. Massage hut on beach! Very nice looking kids club, but did not use it. Water sports included in the price, pedlos etc. Evening entertainment happens on stage in a large room with bar....not too good, but again you don't have to be involved, we went back to our room most nights and sat out on our patio.......ideal when all inclusive actually continues in your room with the optics etc. Extremley good value for money.....I'm not saying cheap and cheerful, it's a 4* hotel....just outstanding value!!!! We've been to Kenya before and my parents regularly go to the Maldives and they could not believe the standard of the place for the money. The food was great always alot of choice and variation.

  • Liked — All of it!!
  • Disliked — None of it!! Would return in a second.
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank GuildfordLouise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2009

We Loved Riu Mambo. We letft Canada's cold weather and reached to a place that so warm and beautiful.

The food was very good.The shows in the evenings were very very funny. They have so much energy that it is unbelivable. The only thing that bothered me a bit that they were a bit aggrassive.
I mean they danced very sexualy on stage and when you go with little kids you thing that it is really not for them to hear and to see.

Every thing in Dominican is a bout sex and they have "no shame" to show it...

Other then that it is a dream place. We are hoping to go back someday...

Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank TorontoHoney
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:
#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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