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“Don't bother!!!”

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ClubHotel Riu Merengue
Ranked #13 of 39 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Burlington, Vermont
Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Don't bother!!!”
Reviewed 28 April 2012

My wife and I are experienced all inclusive traverlers and have done over 30 of them. Of the 30 or so all inclusives we've done we are not happy with this one and maybe one other.

Save your money this resort is not worth it.

For those who reviewed the food as good all I can say is please don't invite me over to your house for a meal. At best I could consider the food here to be third rate. The buffets are the same every day and prepared with only the basic of ingredients and the ala cartes the Italian and Steakhouse are a joke lol
Who every heard of an Italian with only one pasta dish on the menu? Evidently the Merengue has.
And at the Steak House they tried to past off some wierd cut of meat as a rib eye? The meat was so tough that using the butter knife they supplied I gave up trying to cut it and left.
Really, not even a steak knife!!
I was really bummed. I felt that us going to a Riu the expectations would be of a resort with higher standards. Not the case here.

Now for the service? What service! We had to supply all of our own beverages, and waited forever for a waiter to come and clear our dishes.
My wife is much more patient than I and even she was to a point where she had me go over and talk with the buffet captain.
After we had served our own beverages, eaten our meal and than returning to the table with
our deserts the dirty dishes were still on the table.
If this was an isolated incident or if the buffet was busy I would take it with a grain of salt but it was happening at all our meals and the buffet was certainly not busy.
I don't consider my anything more than your typical traveler with reasonable expectation of service but what we received here I would not accept anywhere.

Another issue I had was with the bar staff.

Every day I witness the bartenders drinking more alcohol than many of the guest so that by mid morning they were well lubercated. I feel iit effected their judgement on how they prepared the drinks as they were making them way too strong. It was apparent that they were getting their kicks by watching the drunk guests as many times I overheard them talking and laughing about some of their victims.
As the day progressed they became increasinlgy louder. The old adage that alcohol makes you deaf so you talk louder.

Save yourself from the same experience we had and look elsewhere.

This is not the same Riu as in Mexico or other Carribean destinations.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank mikef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2012

I cant explain how much of a brilliant time i had at this resort, we stayed from the 12th April to the 26th. The staff were amazing they couldnt do enough for you and the resort was so clean. I really cant understand how people can moan about the food, we met a couple who were staying at the Bachata and the food was that bad there that they asked if they could come and eat at the Merengue and they did. They said the food at merengue compared to Bachata was brilliant. There really is no pleasing anyone, if i had of listened to the reviews on here i wouldnt of gone but luckily some friends had been in March and told me how brilliant it was so we decided to go, we have just got back this morning and have already booked to go back next May. My advice is give it a go and you wont be disappointed. The rooms are a little dated but by dated i mean flowered curtains but they were clean and the maids always made a massive effort to keep them this way. They always made some towel art every day and the mini bar was stocked regular with pepsi/diet pepsi and spirits. The entertainment staff never stopped working they were always trying to get people involved in games but if you said no they took you at your word and left you alone. The bar staff came around the pool and beach twice a day with trays of drinks and ice cream, they even came round with cheese crackers and cold meats. The beach is nice and clean and the sea is calm, there is a breeze on the beach which is nice as it got a bit too hot some days. The manager was always visible in the dining room and asked everyone how there stay was going and what could be done to improve their vacation. We did the outback safari trip which i can highly recommend, not only did it get you out and about it gave you a real insight into the Dominican way of life, we also took a taxi into town and went to the hypermarket which was good. The only downside of the holiday was the Dominicans coming on a weekend they arrive late Thursday night / Early Friday morning and go home Sunday night. They take over everything they are rude to everyone including the staff, they are noisy and take over the pools and restaurants, this isnt a fault of the resort as it happens everywhere in the Dominican. I even left my phone on a table in reception by mistake and only realised a couple of hours later and when i went back to reception a member of staff came over and give me my phone back he had saved it for me, they are the most friendly genuine people you could ask for, if you are thinking of going to this resort then do it!! its defintely the best one out of the Mambo and the Bachatta, i cant wait to return next year! 372 days and counting.

Room Tip: Beach front rooms / suites seems to be a little noisey as they were on the main path that connects t...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank Benjamin F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2012

I can not say enough good about this Resort. The rooms were amazing, the Staff so friendly and helpful and definitly go out of there way to help you or serve you.

I will Start off with our arrival. Upon arriving to the resort our room was not ready but our friends room was so we used theirs until our suite was ready. The staff at the desk we so nice to us and always had a smile on their faces. The bell hops were great as well and work really hard. The grounds are immaculate. The pool is very large and clean. The restaurants we large as well and clean. The bathrooms around the resort are very well maintained as their is a maid posted in every one. The maids are all so friendly even though some of them can't speak much english. We especially like one who was funny her name was Benita.

The buffet was unbelievable. Their was so many options to choose from i couldn't believe it. There were two side to the buffet plus huge areas with desserts, fruits and salads. The breakfast menu consisted of many different items even though i stuck to scrambled eggs and bacon everyday there was still many other choices. The waiters were on the whole fabulous. We only had one time at lunch where we kind of had to get our own water but not a big deal. One waiter who i have yet to see mentioned on here is Rafael. He reserved our table ever night for use for supper, he had our glasses filled with water the minute he seen us coming into the dining room. By the second night he knew our drinks and had them all ready at the time he knew we wanted them he also had little sayings written on the table for us out of lentil beans. I will post pictures for you all to see. We are so sad we couldn't bring him with us. He was so sweet. We also met the manager of the resort one evening in the dining room. He came to our table and started chatting a bit them asked my husband to say 10 words in spanish and he would get us a bottle of champagne so with my help and my friends help we got a nice bottle of champagne. He spoke to us every day there after. His name is Sosa. Great guy.

The bar Staff are so great. They always had my drinks ready before my last one finished and they were very busy but always came to the ones who make them laugh. I have to mention a few. Sexy Boy, Simon, Ramon you are all fantastic.

The entertainment staff were great with the children and the guests. We met two of them who hung around with us allot and they were hilarious. Names to mention are Tequilla and Spaghetti. The show weren't bad but i have seen a little better but still fun to watch. We also took part in some of their games they put on and we had a blast and won some stuff as well.

We also met another great worker from the dreams casino on the Riu Bacahata resort his name was Julio. Or as i have nicknamed him Brown Sugar. He was great and enjoyed hanging around with us.

The beach i absolutely beautiful. We brought water shoes cause so many people said we should but we never used them once. We swam at the mambo beach just down from the merengue. Less coral reef there. Lots of beach chairs as well.

The rooms were fabulous. We had a suite on the second floor ocean view. Their was different towel art every day which was always nice to see. And if you left a note in your fridge with a tip the gentlemen who fills your fridge will leave you more stuff. Only one tip will get you extra stuff the whole week. The maids didn't always come the same time everyday but that's not a big deal. Sheets were all clean as well as the towels. Also we never heard anyone walking on the path below us so it wasn't at all like others have said in their reviews. Their were however some Canadians there for a wedding who caused allot of trouble by trashing rooms and getting so drunk they were going through other people's patio doors and trashing their rooms and they didn't even know them. I think some people should just grow up that is all that is. Thank god we were not even remotely close to where their rooms were. Yes the t.v.'s need to be upgraded but for as much time as you spend in your room what does it matter. And as far as others saying there are only 1 or 2 english channels. I found at least 6 so there are more then you think. Some times you just have to wait for the commercials to get over with to find out.

The pool was so nice not too cold not too hot. Always clean and lots of room until the weekend lol. The pool towels were all clean and the towel guy was there from morning till night.

The weekend yes the locals take over but they have a right to come stay there as well. I never once ran into any of them being rude of butting in front of me at the meal line or at the bar. They did however take over the pool lol. We could of went swimming but there was just too many of them. I did speak to one in the buffet line and he walked in front of me and i wasn't concerned and told him to go a head since his women was in front of me but he looked at me and said no you go a head. So they aren't as bad as they are made out to be.

The weather couldn't of been better in fact it was too hot two days in a row at 36 feeling like 41. But it didn't rain at all until late monday evening and most of the day tuesday but hey to have sun for the whole week and rain the last day isn't too bad.

The only one bad thing i can say about this place is something i witnessed with a guests and a local lady. What i over heard was disgusting but to each there own.

All in all i would definitly recommend this resort to anyone and will return again. We met some great friends and locals and will keep in touch with them all. If you listen to all the bad reviews you are missing out tremendously. I am a very picky eater and found something to eat and filled my belly everyday.

Just remember it's your vacation you make it they way you want it to be and make the most of it. Stay grounded remember where you are and enjoy it. It is a beautiful place to be and i have only been home for a full day and couldn't wait to let everyone know what a great time i had.

Room Tip: Any room close to the pool area and beach would be the best only because you are close to everything...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank BrandyTerrio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2012

This review is actually long over do. I went to the Riu Mambo well over a year ago with my boyfriend. It was our first all-inclusive experience and our first time in the DR. We chose the Riu Mambo because we saw a great last minute deal offered on an online site. Overall we had a good time because we enjoyed the all-inclusive aspect.

Upon arrival, it was a slightly long car ride to the hotel, but we managed. Before arrival I emailed the hotel to request a specific room and building (a tip I found online). At the front desk I requested the room again and they said "ok". But our room was not ready, so they stored our bags for us and we headed towards the pool/bar to grab a drink. Neither one of us came prepared with appropriate clothing, so we were sweating in our jeans until the room was ready.

Once we got into our room we were pleased with the location. It was in the building closest to the water and our room faced the ocean: perfect. But the room was not spectacular. It was a little old and dated. 2 twin beds pushed together, which we discovered were very very hard. We only got a handful of channels on the tv. And our room had an ant problem. There were liquor dispensers in the room, but it was definitely the cheap liquor. After drinking the cheap liquor for a few days we both became sick and spent an entire day in our room nauseous! We soon learned that better quality liquor is available at the bars..but you have to ask for it (Brugal is a great local rum). The wine was horrible (I'm typically a wine drinker).

The food was decent, not spectacular. We were only able to get into the a la carte restaurant on one night during a 5-night stay (it wasn't great, similar options to the buffet). The buffet was hit or miss. There were a few good dishes and lots of basic dishes. We managed to get into Bachata one day for breakfast and found out that they have a much better selection (obviously).

The pool is small. Lots of screaming kids! Lots of towel games. I learned to claim chairs early. All day I saw lots of empty chairs with towels on them. The same situation at the beach.

The night club was a little dead.

From what we saw the Merengue and Bachata were FAR better resorts. We enjoyed our stay because we were on vacation and in the Caribbean with drinks in our hands. But we would not go back...there are better options. Since this trip we have spent time in Jamaica and St. Maarten/Anguilla and we have seen the light :)

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pseudoLK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2012

Ok firstly I would like to say that I completely and utterly disagree with the negative reviews on here regarding the RIU Mambo.... My wife and I spent 2 weeks there between the 22nd March and 5th April 2012 and could find VERY LITTLE fault with either the hotel or the resort. The staff were wonderful and would go out of their way to make sure that you were having a good time, the bar staff in particular were as friendly and helpful as you could wish for, especially Tito and Diaz.... The rooms were simple but adequate and as you are on holiday the only time you really spend in your room is to wash change and sleep. The bedding was changed regularly and the maids left towel art and flowers in both the bedroom and bathroom daily.
The hotel lobby/reception was spacious clean and the staff very helpful...ALWAYS...including our rep (Thomson) Jose Antonio (a very nice and exceptionally helpful Dominican guy) so i have no idea what "Lauren D" is on about in her review....As for everywhere being smoky and a smokers haven.....again rubbish. I am a non smoker and was not bothered by people smoking at all, there were also non smoking areas in the bars etc with the smoking section generally situated at the back of the stage area (in the open air). Some people just love to complain!
As for the food at the Mambo....I am a very fussy eater and i could not fault the food here at all. We ate breakfast lunch and dinner there every day. We didn't bother to book the a la carte as there was so much choice in the main restaurant there was no need to. There was always meat, fish, vegetarian, and pasta to choose from so plenty choice for all. They even put on special nights i.e, chinese, italian, mexican...the choice was phenomenal.
The resort grounds were spotlessly clean due to the fact that the ground and pool staff there were continually cleaning day and night again i am O.C.D about things like that and I couldn't fault the cleanliness at all.
Overall I was completely satisfied with the resort, hotel, staff, food etc and would definitely visit again 100%. If i was to fault anything it would be that the beds are a little hard but not so much so you cant sleep on them. Other than that no complaints.
Don't take my word for it try it yourself....you will have a fantastic time.!!!
Trips we would recommend based on fun factor are:
The off road buggy adventure - exceptionally dirty but fantastic fun
The half day horse riding trip (book directly with Joyce at the Lorimar for a great deal) excellent
Sightseeing - the puerta plata trip is not worth going on.....some local shops a supermarket and the local area - not very interesting....however....
Paradise Island trip is a must...unbelievable beauty and the mangroves are phenomenal
Snorkelling is also a must!!
Anyway when all is said and done it's each to their own but I personally would recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to chill out and have some fun.

Room Tip: Ask for a sea view.....its stunning
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
5 Thank JulesnVon
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 (per night): ₹ 6,244 - ₹ 43,386
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

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