The Riu Merengue was an excellent place to stay for tourists who want a nice, relaxing vacation with everything paid for and don't care to see much of the country. Everything you could possibly need is right here, but it is very touristy, although not too crowded, and is probably not the place for an adventurous traveler that wishes to see lots of the country. There are opportunities to take day trips for shopping, snorkeling, and various eco-tourist activities. The only time we left the resort was to go to Sosua for snorkeling, which was an excellent idea. (See my Sosua page for info and pictures) I highly recommend leaving the resort at least once to see what this country is really like, something not possible if you remain at the resort the whole time.
All-inclusive resorts are package deals only to my knowledge. This includes room and board and round-trip airfare. We had flights to Puerto Plata from Miami via Atlanta and five nights for about $900 each. I have no clue if this is an average price, I'm sure it depends on the time of year you come and where you fly from. They also have daily flights from Boston and a couple of Canadian cities, probably elsewhere too that I am not aware of. The website listed has info on all the packages you can get via expedia, travelocity, and other online travel agencies.
Being all-inclusive, you have the option of eating at several different restaurants at the resort, some of which are like buffets while others have menus and waiters. There are also several bars located all around with dozens of drinks to choose from, including some that are non-alcoholic. (drinking age is 18) The resort has two different beach areas, which are topless, with beautiful white sand and crystal-clear water. Along one beach is a row of souvenir shops with all kinds of jewelry, artwork, clothing, wood carvings, etc. to choose from. Be sure to bargain with the merchants, and be fierce. Their asking prices are way higher than what you should ever pay for everything, sometimes as much as 3 times the fair value. The resort has several pools and a couple of hot tubs, along with a stupid discotech place that I recommend you stay away from less you become embarrassed from such a waste of space. Also, remember to not drink the water or even use it to brush your teeth, thats why you are provided with so many bottles of water. Lastly, be sure to get some good cigars. Cubans are available, although not all are authentic, but the Dominican cigars are good too, as are those from Honduras. The beach merchants also sell plenty of these.
We had an amazing time at this hotel in Puerto Plata and reccoment it to everyone. It is the most beautifully stunning resort I've ever been to!! Everything is included and the food and service is great. There is 24 hours of booze and 23 hours of food!! Also 1/2 hour of horseback riding and 1/2 of tennis instrucion included daily!
Three waterfall pools, each one cascading down into the next! There are seven pools in all and three swim up bars!
We stayed at the Hacienda Resort, and more specifically the Hacienda Garden, 20 mins. from the airport on Cofresi Beach.
The resort shares the beach with Sun Villas, and it's also open to the public.
Four types of accomodation offered: Garden, Suites, Tropical & Villas del Mar, at escalating cost.
Our garden room was essentially bungalow-style accomodation with King bed, tv, shower etc. Also a nice little patio with french doors.
Maintenance & upkeep was ok...
Restaurants to choose from:
Garden: nice for breakfast
Beach bar: good for lunch
Italian: very good, need to book
Chinese: Didn't go, too close to noisy bar
Blue Marlin: Excellent, need to pay extra
I paid around NOK 7000 for 1 week incl. airticket, hotel, food, drink, transportation, free rental of bicycles, tennis a.s.o
All the people working there was very friendly and nice. It is an all inclusive hotel so you do not need to bring around much money, close to the beach, pool, 4 restaurants, 3 bars, nice and clean rooms.
We stayed at the all-inclusive hotel Puerto Plata Village. At the time (1992) it was a fairly new hotel, I don't know what it's like now!
Paradise Beach Resort and Casino Not to be mixed up with just Paradise Beach resort it must be the one with the casino. Great food, staff, entertainment. Visitors here are always repeats year after year
In canadian funds for about 1350.00 you can stay there two weeks. I go last week of november to the first 3 weeks december is the cheapest but best weather.
great price, is on the beach, has pool, horse backriding, great entertainment, 3 restaurants.
We stayed here during Christmas. We were not dissappointed. The hotel was ran by very friendly staff. We had a couple problems which were corrected quickly. The hotel looked very impressive when we first arrived. It was clean, open and very nicely decorated.
The watersports kiosks, waiters, waitresses, cleaning staff....all very very nice and friendly. They went out of their way to help out.
The worst bad thing was the beach. There was no great area on the beach. The shore line came close to the trees ao there was not much space for sunning. The swimming area was small and there was a lot of weeds....However....The hotel pool was spacious and the area around it spacious. This is where most people hung around. We walked down the beach towards the other resorts. The beach here was GREAT !! It was about a 5 min. walk in the waves. Nice and relaxing.
The Chocolate friends provided most of the entertainment. This group was always smiling and looked to really enjoy what they do.
The resturants we nothing special but the buffet food was actually pretty good. The food became unattractive after 7 days, as most buffets will. The ala carte resturant (only allowed one per room per week) we went to was the Santa Fe Grill. I enjoyed my meal but my wife and son absolutely hated their steak........
The exercise room was very poor, but who has time to work out during Christmas ???
There was internet services available for $5 us for 1/2 hour or $8 us for 1 hour. The cleaning staff was very friendly and did a great job.
Beware....the alcoholic drinks I found were very strong. Now, I love rum but I had to ask for weak drinks sometimes because they were VERY strong sometimes.
I would stay here again if I went back to the D.R.
Cheap and comfortable this place was perfect for our backpacker needs. Close to shops, bank, bars and only a few blocks from the sea.
clean room with shower/toilet
I have been to this same resort 3 times and it is unbeliveable! The scenery and food is just beyond your imagination. Riu Merengue is linked with two other resorts... Riu Bachta and Riu Mambo. Even though you are staying at one of the resorts you can eat and enjoy all the facilities at the other two resorts as well with no extra cost.
Riu Merengue is located in the Middle of the three resorts. The hotel rooms are spread out throughout the resort area covered in palm trees and other kinda of exotic plants. The rooms are separated into bungalo type buildings. 8 rooms per bungalo, 4 ontop, 4 on the bottom. This is an all inclusive resort so the food keeps you stuffed and drinks just keep flowing.
The Wyndham has 3 types of rooms: standard, superior, and junior suites. Half of the rooms are junior suites, which are the largest and best with a sitting area, sleeping area and spacious bathroom. There are 2 queen beds, tv, safe, good closet space and shelves (although no drawers to speak of), table and chairs, bench sofa, bath and shower and hairdryer in bathroom, ironing board and iron, and fridge with pop. Also balcony with table and chairs. Well-kept, clean rooms and comfortable beds. Standard rooms are said to be very small with little closet room, so make sure you book at least a superior and try to get upgraded to a junior suite.
Since the resort is all-inclusive there was the buffet restaurant for most meals plus two a la carte restaurants for dinners: one continental and one asian. The food at the buffet restaurant was fine but nothing special. I wasn't fond of their offerings for cooked breakfast but the croissants and cafe con leche were good and the lunch was good and plentiful with a wide enough variety, so I didn't really need much breakfast. Dinner offerings at the buffet were not much different from lunch but enough to choose from.
However, the food really shone at the a la carte restaurants. Having experienced a la carte restauarants at all-inclusives before, they can be disappointing quality, but these two restaurants were really good quality, service, and a good selection.
There were two bars: one at the beach and one by the pool. There were not many chairs at the pool bar, which was fine during good weather but posed a bit of a problem when it rained. The beach bar was better because it was also a cafe during the day, offering burgers, fries, pizza and pasta, so there were lots of tables and chairs. Both bars offered a wide variety of tropical drinks, as well as local beer and wine. Got better service if you tipped.
Check-in was a breeze. There didn't seem to be too many people staying while we were there so line-ups were not ever a problem.
Other hotel activities: bingo merengue lessons, darts, sand volleyball, kids club, disco.
There was a spa and gym. $35US for a nice 1-hour relaxation massage. Internet available for $4US for 30 minutes.
The pool was very pretty, with a waterfall cascading down over the bar into the pool. However, it was colder than the ocean and not used much except for suntanning. due to the presence of lots of chairs and comfortable mattresses and umbellas for shade. There was also a pleasant, fairly large hot tub above the bar area.
The beach allotted to the hotel was fairly small, well-kept, nice golden sand, warm water, waves perfect for swimming and relaxed boogie boarding. Wind-surfing, catamaran rides and kayaks also available on the beach. Never had a problem getting a chair, although it might have been a problem if the hotel had been more crowded. Because beach area was small people tended to be quite crowded together.
An all inclusive *** hotel.
3 A la Carte restaurant: mexican, italian and caribbean
4 beach bars
And a lot of fun!!
Casa Marina Beach/Casa Marina Reef (Sister Resorts)
I went on a package that departed for Halifax, Canada and for all-inclusive 14 nights, I only paid $1400 CAD
It is much cheaper to book through an agent and get an all-inclusive package instead of going directly to the resort's homepage and booking
The price is amazing and although it is listed as a three star hotel it should be upgraded! The staff are super, they really make the stay wonderful! This is a good location for familys, young and old. Everyone has a good time together! I plan to go back one day!!
I booked the trip through CheapCaribbean .com. The value was amazing. I've traveled around the world, but never to the Dominican Republic before, and had always been a little leery about it. But for the price, I figured I might as well give it a shot, and I was very pleasantly surprised.
Lifestyle Resort is an all-inclusive resort, so all of your food and drinks are included with your stay. The drinks include pretty decent alcoholic beverages, up to midrange drinks such as Johnnie Walker Black Label. The food was average to above average depending on the meal and venue.
I never had a complaint about anything, especially when you keep in mind how little you pay for this vacation compared to a comparable Caribbean Island vacation.
Beach Cabanas where severs bring you food and alcoholic beverages.
There were always empty lounge chairs to be found.
Myself and several friends decided to rent villas as oppose to staying in an "All-Inclusive".
The staff was very hospitable and security was well maintained.
We were able to rent a car and explore the surrounding cities and towns.
In Cabarete there is a variety of water sports.
In Sosua there is a variety of night life, restaurants and clubs.
This allowed us an opportunity to see all of the Dominican Republic up close and personal.
I have recommended Residencia Casa Linda several times over the past couple of years.
All of my friends enjoyed there stay and the accommodations.
The villas at Residencia Casa Linda are well maintained with lavish landscaping and gardens.
Each villa has it's own private pool, kitchen, livingroom and multiple bedrooms.
The maids arrived each morning and thoroughly cleaned all areas in the villa.
I highly recommend Residencia Casa Linda for anyone who is more adventurous and desire less restrictions in their accommodations.
You have the option of dinning out or for those finicky eaters cooking something in the well equipped kitchen.
An excellent 4.5 Star resort, definitly worth the money. All restaurants were great; service impecable, presenation fantastic and food wonderful. Many pool side activities and very family oriented. Beach is gorgeous...clean sand, warm crystal clear, emerald water. The animation team (in charge of all pool/evening entertainment) were excellent, always a new and fun evening of entertainment and they dance just wonderfully. Very close to all amenities such as shopping, casino, golf course, plaza (Dr, bank, etc) I would highly recommend this resort.
The staff are extremly friendly, happy and helpfull...this is what made my whole trip, Thx gang at the Gran Ventana!
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