Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Budget travelers of all types hang by the pool and on the beach.
The Riu Merengue feels a lot like the many budget properties along the beach in Puerto Plata. Sprawling grounds are well kept and the airy common spaces have a laid-back, casual feel with worn wicker furniture and tropical accents. Though the resort features several pools and a large beach, crowds of guests -- everyone from spring breakers to families to couples to solo retirees -- gather early in the day to soak up the sun. Yet though the Riu Merengue isn’t particularly tranquil (especially considering the daytime activities that take place poolside), it has a relaxed vibe.
In the westernmost part of Puerto Plata
The Riu Merengue sits on a large beach in the westernmost part of Puerto Plata, alongside its sister resorts. Surrounded by rolling farmland, the property is about a five-minute drive from the closest town, which is a tiny area called Maimon, home to several restaurants and bars. Cofresi, where the popular Ocean World Adventure Park is located, is about a seven-minute drive from the Riu, and guests can also drive about 10 minutes to reach the main area of Puerto Plata, where they can find numerous restaurants and shops, and a lively nightlife scene.
Most guests, however, choose not to leave the resort once they arrive. The Puerto Plata Airport is about a 30-minute drive from the hotel, which costs about $40 USD each way.
Rooms are dark and drab.
Rooms at the Riu Merengue are severely outdated. While they are spacious enough, and all have large outdoor balconies, they feature small tube TVs, dated bathrooms, and drab decor; picture tired wicker furniture, sun-worn tropical curtains, and thin red comforters on the beds. To add insult to injury, king beds are really just two double beds pushed together.
The one positive is that all rooms come with bottom-shelf liquor “on tap” and mini-fridges stocked with sodas and water bottles. Rooms also have laptop-size safes. The rooms at the Riu Bachata next door are more up to date, with small flat-screen TVs.
Numerous on-site features add value.
With numerous pools, a beach, and a long list of on-site activities, the Riu Merengue offers a solid value. Guests can play volleyball in one of the three pools or on the sand, and water sports, tennis, and organized daytime activities are also available. Families will likely appreciate the kids’ club, playground, and game room, and while the fitness center is relatively sparse, it does have a couple cardio and weight-training machines, as well as free weights. There is also a game room, a theater, and a spa, and guests can access facilities at the Riu Bachata next door.
Food at the Riu Merengue is mediocre at best. There are six restaurants, with the most popular being the buffet. Several of the restaurants are duplicates in order to accommodate the crowds, so the range of cuisine available is not particularly extensive.
Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby daily, and operates on a time limit.
This budget-friendly property attracts families, couples, and solo travelers with its many features and affordable rates. Rooms are outdated and there are numerous complaints about the food being bland, but those seeking an inexpensive getaway can enjoy the hotel’s large beach and numerous pools.