I went to the Riu Merengue with my husband. When we originally went to the travel agents we weren’t sure where we wanted to go and looked at Cyprus, Turkey and Mainland Spain until we were shown prices were cheaper for 2 weeks all-inclusive in the Caribbean so we booked it. I read lots of reviews before we went and went with an open mind as the reviews were mixed.
When we first arrived from the airport to the hotel we were greeted in reception and given an envelope with our room & safe key and 2 towel cards, the reps said we didn’t need to check in as we were already checked in. You put a sticker with your room number on your suitcase and the porter brings them to your room.
We were given room 1164 - First impression of the room was that it was a bit 1970’s with the dated wooden furniture but the room was a fair size for 2 people. Painted white with a few parrot paintings on the wall. The beds are just smaller than 2 double beds put together with a horrible bedspread on that’s probably not been washed for years. The safe was free of charge and is locked with a key. There were 4 optics with alcohol and the mini-bar with soft drinks and beer in. TV had 3 English speaking channels Fox Life, CNN and another American channel. Air con was a bit temperamental but worked most of the time. Ceiling fan helped keep the room cool. We were on the ground floor and our small window didn’t lock so we called for an engineer who screwed it closed. There was a small veranda which is accessed through a patio door and it had a plastic table, 2 chairs and a small folding drying rail for clothes. There was no kettle in room so if you want a hot drink you need to go to one of the bars/restaurants. Plenty of plastic cups to bring a drink back to your room. There’s a hairdryer in the bathroom attached to the wall – it worked OK.
We found that when we came home all the clothes that had been in the wardrobes and drawers had to be washed even if we hadn’t worn them as they smelt very musty. There was an umbrella inside each wardrobe for you to use and we had a couple of days when it rained a lot.
Animation / entertainment:
The Animation team were very hard working and full of energy. They started at 10am and worked all day and into the night finishing about 11:30pm. By the time you come home you will be singing the Riu song. ‘I want, I want to go to Riu’. There are plenty of activities on throughout the day and night to keep you occupied if you want to.
The shows at night were mostly very good. We preferred the stage and seating area at the Bachata so mostly went there for the shows but we saw some at The Merengue too. They were the same shows by the same people on alternate weeks at each hotel. There was a mix of shows by the Animation Team, shows by the Dancing Team and some local shows. Grease, Michael Jackson, Spectacular.
I really enjoyed the Latin American duo (singer & keyboard player) that came on at the end of the shows about 11pm. The music was fabulous and the animation team danced with the guests (which reminded me of Dirty Dancing).
Food and drink:
You can have breakfast and lunch at either of the two hotels but you must eat your evening meal at the Merengue. The restaurant in the Merengue was very hot and quite dark as had a wooden ceiling with fans (no air-con). There was a good choice for breakfast with fresh fruit juices, cereal, cooked eggs, bacon, cold meats. Toaster took forever so be prepared to wait. For lunch you can either go in the main restaurant or the one by the pool. The one by the pool is mainly burgers, hot dogs, pizza & chips. The main restaurant has a bigger and better selection of food. The restaurant at the Bachata was quite nice and brighter that the Merengue one. You could sit outdoors on the terrace too which was good.
The drinks were like slush puppies - it was hard to taste any alcohol flavour in them. My husband said the rum and brandy had the best taste. If you want soft drinks and tea or coffee you can help yourself to these from the machines. The cola was Pepsi and it tasted genuine so that was ok.
There were always enough sun beds on the beach but it could get a little windy at times and the sand would blow all over you. The pools at the Merengue and Bachata were always busy but if you want a little quiet pool time head to the pool at the Mambo. The pool, bar and toilet are open there. I found that the nicest pool of the three was at the Bachata and they had a swim up bar too.
The whole hotel, beach and outside areas are constantly being cleaned and kept tidy. There are lots of fruit on ground from the trees and they come down with a thud quite regularly so watch out for them, it’ll give you something to kick.
Overall we really enjoyed our holiday and would go back to the Merengue (or the Bachata) again.
We arrived at the hotel after a 45min transfer from airport, and had a speedy check in with arrival cocktails waiting. The room we got wasn’t too good as it overlooked the bins and car park, we contacted reception and they changed our room no bother. Our party had asked to be together in the hotel but Thomas Cook did not pass this info on to hotel so we were separated but not a major problem as villas were close enough.
Rooms are clean and tidy although a bit dated, nice 3/4 beds and a big balcony with chairs and a table.
The food is great and you get loads of choice, all meals were hot and well cooked. No one in our party had any complaints, even our 5 year old found something to eat. Steakhouse and Italian is available at the al a carte - Italian is better in our opinion. The best meal of the day was breakfast, they even had 'proper' bacon. Could do with air con though as it gets very hot. The staff really look after you and will decorate your table if you use the same waiters.
Pool area is always clean and pool guys are always tidying up and cleaning the pool, loads of beds available a lot of shade if you need it. You can use the pools at the Bacheta (lively) and the Mambo (quiet). The swim up bar at Bacheta is always worth the walk; the Mambo pool was closed and emptied on our 2nd week.
The animation team are excellent and always make you smile with their antics, good activities as well during the day. Kids club is OK even though it started 30mins late every time.
The bar areas are good and serve international spirits if you ask for them, the cocktails are great - especially the Mojitos.
We had a great time here and did not have any problems, the weekends are fine and the locals were no bother.
We would happily stay here again.
There is plenty of choice of food in the buffet restaurant for both meat eaters and vegetarians. The Steakhouse and Italian restaurant also offer lovely food. If you want the early sitting you have to get up early, but generally there was no problem getting a table. The snack bar by the pool was a bit "samey" but we found the snack bar at Riu Bacheta had more choice at lunch time so we used a mix of both.
The Riu Merenge is situated between the Riu Bacheta and the Riu Mambo and facilities at all hotels can be used. It is a short walk to the village of Bahia Maimon, or a journey into Puerto Plata ia approx 40 mins, so an excellent location.
The hotel staff from all departments are brilliant. They are friendly, helpful, polite and generally do all they can to ensure your holiday is excellent. They can not be faulted.
The evening entertainment wasn't always our cup of tea, but there was always something going on. There are 3 hotels to choose from for entertainment and if the show wasn't something we wanted to watch, there was always one of the bars to sit in and enjoy a cocktail.
With out a doubt we would visit this hotel again, and would have no worries in recommending it.
The only down side was the weather (5 sunny days in 14, rest overcast or wet) but the animation team and staff worked tirelessly, and staff were always smiling so it was impossible to let the weather spoil our holiday.
Travel operator: First Choice
The beach is very nice and there are plenty of activities going on during the day, water aerobics, beach volleyball, dance lessons, bingo and many more.
Generally, it was a lovely holiday. If you're looking for plenty of night life and partying, this is not the place to go. However, if sunbathing and relaxing, in a warm and friendly environment is on your agenda, the Riu Merengue is the place to go.
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
The Merengue is one of 3 Riu hotels on a large complex. One is mainly German/Scandinavian holiday makers, one is USA and the Merengue had English/French people. You could however use all of the facilities at all of the hotels, they were all pretty much the same. We much preferred the USA pool. Plenty of sunbeds throughout the day. Do not bother to pack beach/pool towels, the ones provided on a daily basis by the hotel are more than adequate.
The beach is lovely and clean, loads of sun beds under the palm trees so none of the getting up at the crack of dawn to put your towels out.
All staff were friendly and helpful. A bedside bulb needed changing, we reported it and it was mended within 15 mins. We then had a phone call to check that it had been replaced and then even a letter to check that all was ok. We also had a phone call on day 7 from reception to make sure that we were enjoying our holiday.
Entertainment was generally of a good standard although not all acts were to our taste. Michael Jackson act was brilliant. Karaoke (especially in French) was very funny.
The only downside was the very watered down alcoholic drinks. We would also not recommend the local wine!!
Travel operator: Thomsons
Travel operator: portland
Any way back to the hotel, you cant get a phone signal with in the hotel you will have to walk up to the wedding point to get a signal, but in my opinion i wouldnt bother taking it, as you will have to much to do! The night time entertainment isnt fantstaic, the animation staff run the shows, but alot of it is dance, they have a carribean steet party and beach party every two weeks which are very good! You will not be disapointed with this hotel!! I cant wait to go back!
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
Travel operator: Thomson
The food was not as good as i had anticipated but fairly good.
The location right on the beach was great for us as we travelled with our daughter and her family.The setting for the hotel was beautiful,the gardens and grounds were immaculately clean and tidy.
The staff here are very very good, nothing is to much bother to anyone from the manager down to the cleaners
and even the ladies dispensing hand cleaner were FIRST CLASS.
The entertainment was varied except for the mini disco every night.There were some very good shows and some not to everyones taste. I have saved the best till last that is the entertainment team they were FANTASTIC bouncing around from morning till midnight.
They can certainly can dance and move parts of their bodies I did not know moved.They definately helped in making this a holiday to remember.
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
The Hotel with its location right on the beach, and its cleanliness with anti bacterial hand gel being given to you at every food location and in every toilet meant a ill free fortnight.
The entertainment team work so hard day and night to keep adults and kids amused.
The hotel staff are all so friendly and nothing is too much bother.
They had a separate beach for watersports which was great but on our last day 15th April they were moving this to main beach area, so will be interested to see how this will work, as that main beach has a bit of coral, so could be potentially dangerous if you fall off wind surfer or sailing dingy.
This Hotel is a definite to go back to in the very near future.
Travel operator: 4
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