|We just returned from one week at the Riu Merengue. It was a great vacation – no complaints at all. My husband and I travelled with our 3 children, ages 16 yrs, 14 yrs and 8 yrs – fun was had by all. We chose the Riu Merengue on the advice of our travel agent, and we were very pleased with the resort. We had to book two separate rooms because of the number in our family, and a week before our trip I emailed the Merengue to ask for adjoining rooms. Within hours I received a very nice reply indicating that they would do their best but could make no promises. When we checked in we were very pleased to be given two rooms located beside each other. Check-in was smooth – very pleasant and helpful desk staff. In fact, all of the staff that we encountered during our stay were very nice, always smiling – everyone seemed to enjoy their jobs, and it didn’t matter who it was, be it the maid, the food servers, the animation team, the bartenders, the washroom attendants – everyone was great. The rooms were spotless, and remained so throughout the week. The maids came by in the late afternoon, and we always had clean towels, etc. Everything worked perfectly in both rooms (e.g. hot water, great water pressure, air conditioning, fridge, etc.). We liked the towel sculptures that the maids left in the rooms each day. The food selection at the restaurants was excellent and great quality. There was lots of variety, and nobody in our family had any problems in finding something to eat. We really liked the smoothies at breakfast. The service was fantastic – the servers were exceptional, very professional and very friendly. The beach is very nice – lots of lounge chairs and spacious. There is a good variety of shady spots and sunny spots. We didn’t spend any time at the pool as we preferred the beach. Also, we never had any problems getting beach towels (I understand that at some resorts there aren’t enough towels to go around) or loungers. The evening entertainment is very entertaining. The staff puts lots of effort and energy into the shows. Our youngest daughter really enjoyed the the kids minidisco every evening, which was then followed by the evening entertainment – lots of variety, and energy. The bars were always well-stocked, and the staff was very friendly.
Aside from hanging out at the beach and enjoying the evening entertainment we also took in some extra activities. My husband and kids used the resorts watersport activities (windsurfer, kayaks). We also took the Outback Jungle Safari (highly recommended – great staff conducting the tours), the freestyle catamaran/snorkelling, and the Puerto Plata city tour with trip to Sosua beach. Be ready for the vendors on the Sosua beach! The Outback Safari was our favourite (lots of variety and interesting – the kids really enjoyed the boogie boarding in the afternoon). The catamaran was fine – a number of people were seasick during the trip and I understand that this is not uncommon. The city tour was interesting and included a trip to the amber gallery/museum, Brugal rum factory, a fort and a nice lunch, and then some time at Sosua beach.
All in all, we would recommend the Riu Merengue – the resort is very clean, the staff is great, the food is fine. We had a great time.