Puerto Plata, Riu Mambo Review

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From 3 reviews
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Sarah229's review of Puerto Plata, Riu Mambo

“This resort is by English standards a 4 star resort. ”


written by Sarah229 on 19/07/2006

Good Points
Stunning resort, beautifully maintained. Wide variety of fantastic food. Staff happy and helpful.
Alcohol on tap. Plenty to do.

Bad Points
There has been illness there very recently and also a year ago which has given the resort bad publicity.
We found the resorts to be scrupulously clean and we were not ill, nor was anyone else that we were aware of during our stay.
Its a real shame people have been ill, but are they washing their hands?

General Comments
This resort is by English standards a 4 star resort.

There are 3 hotels in one large resort and they are side by side. The Mambo, The Merengue (in the middle) and The Bachata.

Guests can use facilities at all 3, except for dinner which must be taken in your own hotel.

The animation team are fantastic and the RIU song that they sing regularly is very catchy... I now have it on CD in my car. How sad!

They will however leave you alone if you don't want to join in, they are not pushy.

The Mambo beach is best for swimming but guests can walk the length of the resort and use the other beaches, they all run into one anyway.

The Mambo pools are clean and very pretty, with plenty of shade, but we preferred the beach. The mambo is the only hotel with a beach bar, although it only stocks beer and rum. If you want a cocktail you only have to walk a short way to the bar in the poolside restaurant.

The variety of food is amazing and the quality is very good too, you could easily come home a stone heavier!

You can book the poolside restaurant in the evenings as they split it into two, one side being Mediterranean, and the other side a steak restaurant. You are waited on by the waiters and the ambiance is lovely with the pool all lit up and candles on the tables. The menu is however slightly limited, although they did cater for my children by cooking them plain steak and chips as a special request.

If you want a lot of variety, eat in the main restaurant.

The accommodation was clean and well maintained. We had a problem with a dripping tap that it took them about 4 days to fix, but that wasn't through lack of trying!

I left a tip for the maid on many days, but this is not expected and certainly doesn't affect the standards of cleanliness in your room.

Every room had a rum bar and a fridge with beer, cokes, and water etc... all included. They never allow the rum to run dry.

There is air conditioning and a fan in all rooms.

We had requested a pool view on the upper floor, but didn't get that when we arrived.

My husband went to reception and the manager took us to another room to see if we preferred it, apologising for not honouring our request. We moved straight away, and our new room was everything we wanted.

I even heard of a family who were not getting any sleep because one of their party kept them awake snoring!

The staff at reception moved them into one of the larger suites, at no extra charge..

The grounds are well maintained and stunning. The groundsmen work very hard keeping it all neat and tidy.

This is a tropical island so take precautions for mosquito bites and some Imodium just in case of a tummy upset.

All their fruit is washed in bottled water, and ice is bottled water too, they are very stringent with hygiene and all areas are very clean.

The evening entertainment was typically Dominican. We have stayed at other 4 star resorts in the DR before, and this entertainment was much the same.

Expect a Michael Jackson night, and a Grease night along with the usual audience participation evenings.

We rotated between the 3 hotels just for a change for the entertainment, and often caught the same show twice, but we didn't mind.

Just chill out and enjoy the atmosphere.

There is a nightclub between the Mambo and Merengue which was like a fridge inside, but very lively none the less.

There is a step aerobics class every evening and also pool and beach aerobics daily.

The animation team organise regular volleyball, football and other activities.

There is a gym in the centre of the resort in an area called Caribbean Street which also has some shops, and a street party every week.

The resort was pretty busy while we were there over Easter.

Unfortunately many people were putting towels out early in the mornings around the pool, which was rather infuriating.

The Germans have a reputation for doing this and certainly seemed to live up to their reputation, as there were many Germans there the second week. Hence our departure to the beach where there was a wider choice of places to sit and plenty of shade.

There is a kids club in each hotel, and this seemed to be popular with the little ones.

My children who are 10 and 12 years made friends with other children and I felt totally at ease with letting them roam around, as there is good security in this resort.

One word of warning though, the actual beach itself appears to be public. On Easter Sunday allot of Dominicans came to the beach, but stayed on the beach itself and didn't venture further back where the sunbeds and palm trees are.

One Dominican man pulled a sunbed out and sat on it, and the security staff very quickly told him off. An argument ensued, (which was fascinating to watch), and then more security guards were called and two arrived carrying guns!

The women in the Dominican party got quite agitated, and I thought things were going to get nasty, but in true Dominican style the security guards ended up laughing and joking with the offending party and patting each other and hugging.

The security guards sat there for the rest of the evening and into the night, with one sitting on a chair one side of the small river that separates the Mambo from the outside of the resort, with a gun on his lap, all the while talking to one of the Dominicans who had seated himself on the other side of the river!

I had to laugh.

Now for the bad press regarding the tummy bug that seems to have been reoccuring at regular intervals at all 3 hotels.

I can honestly say that I saw nothing to give me any clue as to what may be causing it.

We had no problems at all while we were there and heard of nobody else who was ill.

There are always maids on duty outside the public toilets who spray your hands with sanitizer when you leave the bathroom, and also before you enter the restaurants.

I can only think that some people may have refused the sanitizer, or didn't wash their hands after using the loos and then caught the bug from the handles in the bathrooms.

I really think, that if you are going to an underdeveloped tropical country like the DR, that it is up to the individual to reduce their risk of getting sick by being stringent with hand hygiene, and not drinking any water other than bottled water. The resort certainly encourages this, and I truly pity them for the bad press they have received as a result of the illness.

They work so hard, and this resort certainly knocked spots off the other two hotels we had stayed at in recent years.... The Sirenis Cocotel Beach and The LTI Sol de Plata.

I would expect Thompsons and other tour operators who sell holidays at this resort to be honest and open with new customers about the illness that has been there. I am not hearing that this has been the case though!

Customers who are worried should have the option to cancel or change their holiday and also be in receipt of all the true facts!

Maybe it would be wise to close the resort for a week or two to eradicate this bug entirely?

Having said all that I would recommend the Mambo, just be sure to be careful and wash your hands as much as possible and take sensible precautions.

We would return at the drop of a hat! :-)

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