Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Riu Mambo
Riu Mambo
 

May 2008
I just returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic. I have been there several times before, and have always had a wonderful time. This time we decided to stay at the RIU Mambo, which is located outside of Puerto Plata. It was a big mistake.

The following were problems we encountered:

They require a $10 deposit if you want a second room key.
Room keys have the room number on them, which is a security hazard. The rooms do not have wash cloths.
The rooms do not have irons or ironing boards. You can borrow an iron (but not a board) from the front desk for a $20 deposit.
There is no hair dryer in the room.
There is nowhere in the bathroom to hang wet towels.
There is no light or candle on the balcony.
The television reception is terrible.
The location was not to our liking. If you leave the grounds, there is no place you can get to on foot.
My swimsuit was taken from the room with the towels. I was told to come back to the front desk several times, and I never did get the suit back. They did show me other suits that were in the laundry, which makes me wonder how often this happens.
The shows were terrible.
The scuba facility was second rate.

I will be going back to the North Coast of the DR next year. I will never again stay at a RIU property.
Riu Mambo
Paul, Linda, Corey, Leah, Eric and Vicky 
Prince Edward Island, Canada
May 2008
We enjoyed our (8) day all inclusive in March 2008 at the Riu Mambo in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic.

Our flight from Halifax via Transat Airlines booked through Sunquest was on time, no delays from either departures. The plane was definitely full however on our return home we paid an extra $80.00 each and travelled first class. Our return flight was the red eye so the first class treatment was well worth the extra expense to have the extra room, comfort for a relaxing flight home.

Upon arrival we were bussed to our resort in clean, air conditioned bus that took approx. 45 minutes to our destination. The bus ride gave us a idea of the general surroundings of the area if you were interested in sight seeing during your vacation. There were (6) of us that took a (1) day trip to Sousa Beach (public beach) about one hour from the resort with a cab driver for a price of $80.00 total for all. He picked us up at the resort at 10am and on route we visited with a family, friends of ours had met previously, bearing gifts for the mother and her (7) children. The driver's English was very good and he explained historical sites we passed, along with average wage, living costs, etc. very enjoyable. He remained at the beach for the day, and was available to return us to our resort whenever we chose. Sousa Beach has approx. 3kms. of vendors as well as many carrying/selling anything from sandals to peanut brittle. Not at all annoying, very pleasant and if not interested, no thank you is sufficient. The Dominican people we found were very happy and accomodating. Enjoyed their company and conversations. We returned from the beach that day at approx. 6pm, beautiful sandy beach with loungers/umbrellas, food vendors, etc. Enjoy

Our accomodations at the resort were terrific, no problems whatsoever. Our check in was quick and we were very welcomed and informed. The room was clean, well stocked with sodas, beer, bottled water, and (4) 40oz. of liquor your choice, a tip to your provider will ensure replenishment daily if required. Our maid spoke very little English but was very appreciative of all gifts we left for her and her family on a daily basis. If you wish to have facecloths daily you should speak with your maid, as will not be available without asking. I did take facecloths with me as some resorts do not include with daily towel replenishment. Pool towels are available at the pool as you will receive a towel card upon your arrival, and don't forget if you loose you pay for the loss of your beach/pool towel. These maybe exchanged as you require at the towel hut by the pool. Each room as a small outside tiled patio with (2) chairs and a table, as well a retractable rack for drying of bathing suits, etc. Great addition. The grounds at the resort are beautiful and well kept. Beautiful keystone walkways throughout all of the resort and access to the Riu Merengue and Riu Bachata with the exception of your evening dinner. We found the Riu Mambo the most relaxed and enjoyable as not quite as large, therefore quieter and more personal.

The beach area at the Riu Mambo is the best of the (3) resorts as further down the beach to the other resorts it becomes narrow and rocky. There is paddle boats, windsurfing, boogie boards, etc. available, however quite busy so book your time. We enjoyed the paddle boats. There is alot of shade or sun and seating area between the resort area and the beach for you sun bathing pleasure. Also there is a beach bar but only serves soft drinks and beer, for alcohol based drinks are only served at the pool bar. We brought 20oz. insulated Keg mugs with us, and this is a must. Vacationers would actually ask us if these could be purchased at the resort, they can however pay a high price, I suggest to bring your mug with you, as only 7oz. plastic cups and with the heat your ice melts before you leave the bar. The bar staff were wonderful Wilson and Diaz we can't thank them enough. On our last day we presented the bar crew with Tshirts and Hats from our local breweries.

The entertainment crew were a great cast of people as well, they make your day and evening quite enjoyable. You'll notice that some of the crews names are such as Chicken Legs, Boo Boo, Lamar, Scooby Doo, etc. the crew are not identified by their real names, everyone on the resort as a character name. How they're chosen I'm not sure, perhaps to make it easier for us to remember.

The food was wonderful, in every aspect, and certainly plentiful. It seemed everytime you turned around there was food. BBQ's at the pool, buffet dining room, a la carte.
We enjoyed both the Italian and Steak house as well as all daily breakfast and lunch. We found very American and tried alot of the countries recipes that were awesome as well. If anyone does not enjoy the food, it would definitely be their problem. We did not hear or see of any sickness throughout the resort. Upon leaving any of the public washrooms or entering the eating areas, someone greeted you with hand sanitizer and I truly believe this would be beneficial in controlling individual germs.

There are many excursions and fun to be had, we stayed at the resort all but one day, and enjoyed every waking minute. Thank you to all the staff at the Riu Mambo and hopefully will see you again soon.

Until we meet again......
Riu Mambo
Nancy S & Peter M 

April 2008
Hi !
My husband and I just returned from a lovely week at the Riu Mambo in Puerto Plata. We had a great time and hated to come home.

The staff were lovely and very friendly, making us feel like we were guests in their home and not just customers. The food was always good, with lots of variety in the buffet, especially Dominican Buffet night on Wednesday. I like trying dishes that are native to where we are visiting. Our greeter on the lunch shift always encouraged our using Spanish and had a smile a foot wide. They all do seem to appreciate any attempt to speak a little Spanish, even the small amount we used. The Dominican people are the best part of the trip for me, well, and the sun and ocean of course! The staff at the Mambo could teach a lot of our Canadian service industry a lot about doing a job well, and with a smile and sincere commitment. No feeling as if we were interrupting them if we had a request, or sullen expressions when we said hello, which seems to be the norm in North American service these days! (Not all, of course, but I have encountered a lot of snarky service people even in little old Nova Scotia, my home province)

The only negative, and I hate to place too much emphasis on it, was that check out was at 12 and our bus didn’t leave for the airport until 5:15. There was no place for us to store our valuables while we enjoyed the beach and pool during the afternoon so we had to take them to the beach with us, and that caused us a bit of anxiety when we went in the water.

Our room was clean and comfortable and quiet. We hardly ever knew there were other guests in the building! We asked for a quiet room, and one that was away from the pool and disco, and it certainly fit the bill. Other than a day of rain, the weather was great, and we hated to come home, especially when our pilot said it was only 0 degrees in Halifax that evening...SIGH!

Thanks for your great website, it was very helpful.
Riu Mambo
Calvin, Lillian, Gary & Sharon 
Newfoundland, Canada
March 2008
Hi Debbie;
We just got back from DR Riu Mambo and we had a wonderful vacation. This was our 6th vacation in the Caribbean and by far the best resort yet.

Food: great especially in the a-la-cartes

Beach: No red flags since it is protected by a reef so you can swim anytime.Riu mambo has the best part of the beach which is shared by Riu Bachata and Riu Meringue (we had use of all three resorts). Lots of beach chairs and shaded areas.

Rooms: Excellent; clean and well stocked with four 40oz booze and lots of water and pop. Grounds: Very well maintained and tidy. It was hard to go outside without seeing at least two or three groundskeepers. (a small tip puts a great smile on their face)

Entertainment: Absolutely the best of all resorts visited so far. The animation group made us part of everything going on and we really got to know them. (chicken legs, Lamar, Janet Jackson, pineapple head, to name some) GREAT.

Hotel Staff: Very friendly and helpful. Fast check-in, good bar service, they made no secret that they want you to come back.

Conclusion: Highly recommend to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation at a reasonable price. Tip: watch for deals on the internet, you could save 40% if you hit the right time.

we'll be back
Riu Mambo
Crystal 
North Carolina
March 2008
Arrival - We were pleased with how quickly we got thru customs. The process went much more quickly than in some other countries we have been to.

Rooms - The rooms could use some updating but were nice and clean. They each have a nice balcony and a great drying rack for wet swim suits etc.

Restaurants - The buffet food was the best that I have had at an all-inclusive resort. The breakfast was great and they have a nice smoothie bar with every fruit you can imagine. We ate lunch everyday at the restaurant by the pool. They have a salad bar and burgers and pizza and really good french fries. There is a a la carte Italian restaurant and Steak House which are good as well for dinner.

Bars - The beach hut bar only serves beer and non-alcoholic frozen drinks and sodas. The bar by the pool seems to go light on the alcohol in the frozen drinks and drinks of the day, so you might want to ask for an extra shot.

Beach and Pools - The Mambo has a nice wide beach with lots of lounge chairs. It is very close to the water sports station that is shared by the 3 Riu resorts.

Grounds - The grounds are beautifully landscaped and well-maintained.

Activities - The animation team runs some type of activity all day. The shows in the evening are good. We enjoyed the Magic Show and the Beach party the most.

Conclusion - We would highly recommend this resort and hope to go back again ourselves someday!
Riu Mambo
Greg and Heather 
P.E.I. Canada
February 2008
We left P.E.I. on Friday after work at 5:30 pm during a snow storm.We got about 10-12 inches of snow but turned to freezing rain,then rain.Usually a 3 hr. trip took 4 hrs.Our son in law is a meteorologist in Dartmouth so we had a by the minute forecast and knew what we would encounter.(Thanks Clay).
We booked with Sunquest through Itravel2000 and flew Canjet.What can I say about Canjet .....same as last year.We were 30 min. late leaving (no explanation) and as they fly down the US coast (for some reason they don't fly over water) we encountered strong headwinds and had to stop in Nassau to refuel.Long story short we boarded the plane at 5:45 am and got off at 1:40 pm.7 hours and 55 minutes on board the plane with a light breakfast consisting of yogurt,fruit cup,muffin,breakfast bar and juice (coffee was offered).This B737 did not have any entertainment,in fact the plane was so old there was no fresh air outlets.One would think with being on the plane this long that 2 meals would be provided.
I must say the staff on board were excellent and the flight smooth.Seats are roomy enough.

Upon arriving in Puerto Plata,going through customs was very quick and we got our luggage and got on our bus (I watched them load our luggage on the bus) for our 1 hr.drive to the hotel,which is on the north side of Puerto Plata.We dropped off some people in Playa Dorada complex (we wanted to get off at the Fun Royale when we went by it as we have been there 6 times and love the place.)

Check in
There were only four people going to the Riu Mambo so check in was a breeze.The biggest differences of this resort from others we have been to is NO WRIST BRACELET and the safety deposit box is included.I guess the reason is there are no other resorts close by.There are 3 resorts together here (Riu Mambo,Riu Merengue and Riu Buchata) and you can get drinks,food etc. at any of the 3,other than you have to eat dinner at your own hotel.

Rooms
Our first room had plumbing and AC problems.I went to the reception desk on our 2nd day and requested a room change.The hotel was booked solid that day but I was told to come back the next morning.I went back and talked to Susy who is in charge of accommodations.She gave me the key to 3 different rooms which I (we) didn't like,but the last one we checked was perfect.We were on the second floor (the buildings are 2 storey with 8 rooms per floor all with balconies) and we could see people coming and going and could see the water. Although there wasn't a hair dryer, there was plastic packs of soap,shampoo and body gel.

We had a mini bar stocked with 3 Brahma beer (a long way from Presidente or Bohemia) 2 Pepsi,1 Diet Pepsi,2 tonic water and a gallon of bottled water.(No small bottles).Above the fridge is your liquor dispenser with 2 bottles of dark rum,1 bottle of light rum (Classic) and 1 bottle of Gin ( Normandy).These are your cost effective brands.

The room was spotless (I didn't even see an ant).Our maid IveLisse was tipped every day for this. The disappointing thing about the rooms were 2 only 48" beds pushed together and no hair dryer. These 2 things alone would take this from a 4 1/2 star to a 4 star.

The grounds
As with most hotels in the DR the grounds were fantastic.The staff were on the go from early morning till late afternoon pruning,trimming,raking and sweeping constantly.
We did not spend any time at the pool as we are beach people.The pool area is very small for a resort with 463 rooms. Of the 3 resorts,the Mambo is the only one with a beach bar.That being said they only serve beer, pop and non alcoholic pina coladas,banana mamas and strawberry coladas.
There were lots of loungers at the beach and seemed to be lots at the pool although we didn't spend any time there.
I should note that the beach bar does not have a washroom and you have to go up to the pool bar area.
As you can use the facilities of all 3 resorts I should point out that between the Merengue and Buchata there is a shopping area called Caribbean Street.The prices are a lot higher than the Orange Huts up the beach from Playa Dorada.

Beach
The beach at the mambo was not too bad,but the Merengue was just fair and the Buchata does not have any beach.It took me 20 min. to walk from one end of the beach and back again.

There are huts at each end of the beach selling products.If you are used to the Orange huts at Playa Dorada,then you will be very disappointed as we were at the prices.I like Brugal Anjeo rum.Last year I paid $7.00 US and this year I had to do a lot of bargaining to get them down to $10.00 US.If you are looking to buy rum,do it at the duty free in the airport.When you went down to the beach and turned right the beach vendors didn't want to bargain at all,but if you went to the left past the Riu Buchata they would bargain some with you.

Comparing this beach to Playa Dorada on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 4 and it would not compare in any way to Punta Cana beach.

Restaurants
The main buffet was exceptional.At breakfast there was bacon and sausages every day and lots of it.We would go in the morning and get some juice ( out of a machine and not great) and set it on a table,then go get our eggs and bacon.When you got back to your table there would be a pot of coffee and some warm milk there.
At supper time there was a vast array of food.Each night they had a carvery.Each night had something different,from roast pig to turkey to ribs,etc.The buffet was the best I have ever encountered.
There was a pool restaurant that you could go to at lunch and you didn't need to wear a shirt.So you could come up from the beach as you are and eat.At this restaurant they would have burgers,hot dogs,fries, pasta and some meat and fish.Their was also soup and desserts including fruit,cheese cake (along with a variety of other sweets) including ice cream.In the evening this restaurant turned into the ala cartes.The Steak House and the Italian.We went once to each.The Steak House was okay and the Italian terrible.My advice is go to the buffet as you won't be disappointed.

Misc.
The entertainment area was just outside of the buffet restaurant and had a bar on each side of it.It also had a roof over it so if it rained you were okay (there were umbrellas in your room).The bad part of this is there were about a dozen 24" x 24" supporting posts that restricted about 40 % of the seating.So you had to get a seat early to see the shows.

The kids show started at 8:00 pm and they would have what they called live music at 8:30.This live music consisted of a guy playing keyboard (sometimes) and a women.They both sang to pre-recorded music.Here in Canada we call that Karaoke.The songs they sang were 1980's and earlier.Hardly any Dominican music. Once each week they had Dominican night and the local artisans would come in.Again it was very hard to bargain with them,almost like they didn't care if they sold anything. The electrical outlets in the rooms are recessed so if you have a transformer adaptor (camcorder or camera) with the prongs sticking out you won't be able to use it.I had read this on Debbie's and went to the dollar store and got a short extension cord that worked great.

What we liked
The stand out feature is the staff.They are very well trained and that includes the front desk staff.They all go out of their way to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.Never a negative response from anyone.At each restaurant and public washroom they had a lady there to spray an antiseptic cleanser on your hands.
No wrist bracelets to wear.
At all bars you could get Brugal Anjeo rum if you asked for it.
You could eat,drink and use all facilities at the other 2 Riu's (other than you had to have dinner at the resort you are staying at).
There was a shopping area called Caribbean Street between the Merengue and Buchata.The prices weren't fantastic but it was an option.
The liquor dispensers in the room was a nice touch.
Bacon and sausages every day.
Safety deposit box is included.

What we didn't like.
Two 48" beds in the room are not what I expect from a 4 1/2 star resort.
No hair dryer.
Very short beach to walk on.
Pizza was terrible and Italian restaurant even worse.
Air conditioners were fair at best.We had 2 different rooms and I had maintenance staff in about 6 times and I finally realized that the air conditioners were no good.
40 % of seats did not have a view of the evening entertainment.
No washrooms at beach bar.
Could not use international operator for phone calls......cost $ 2.00 per minute US.

Would we go back
If we could get a GREAT deal,we would go back.Otherwise we would go back to the Fun Royale in Playa Dorada ( no matter where we had to fly from).
We enjoyed this resort but it is not a 4 1/2 star.I would rate it a 4 star,only because it is on the beach.If it were not on the beach it would be a 3 1/2 star.Great staff and good food.
Riu Mambo
Avriel & Peter 

February 2008
Trip Jan 8 to Jan 22 –Calgary to Puerto Plata 2008

We recently returned to Canada from a trip to the Dominican Republic. We went to Puerto Plata. We stayed at the Riu Mambo. We can not say enough good things about this hotel. They go beyond duty to make a holiday a happy memory. We were there two years ago and when we returned this time we were recognized by the members of the animation crew that we had met on our previous holiday there. It was like coming home. The hotel is clean, comfortable and all things that are brought to the attention of the staff are handled at once. While there we visited the other Riu resorts and they were also very well run and nice but Mambo is home.

We went on a tour of the cable car to the mountain and found it fascinating. It is too bad that the area is becoming very much in disrepair because it could be a nice tourist attraction. It was still worth the time to see. Go in the morning as the view is amazing.

If you are planning to hire a taxi I would advise that you take a lot of time to make it understood what you want to do. We wanted to go to the cable car, do some shopping in an area on the lines of Sousua ( a lot of cheappy cheappy shacks that you can deal) and a stop at the rum factory store to buy the rum. This was a trip for four adults. We talked to a taxi representative for 3 days trying to make sure he knew we didn’t want to shop downtown, do the things you can do on a tour, and just do what we wanted. Well we were taken. It was agreed we had a driver for $50.00 and a guide for$35.00 for the whole day to go and do what we wanted. First stop the cable car was ok the guide didn’t do anything we couldn’t do ourselves. He took us on a short walk and we answered more questions of his about Canada then he told us about the Dominican. His information was more on the things he had done in his life-army, teacher, home and his family. Then he proceeds to take us to the Tobacco Tour, the Amber Tour and what not. When we refused to go to those he took us to his friends and families shops where he would get a cut of the sales we made. We were not impressed and we told him we wanted cheapy cheapy shopping. That is in Sousua and that would cost us an extra $30.00 for the driver and $15.00 for his services. We went but were not happy. When we brought our complaint to the tour representative she told us she could not advise us on use of taxies as they are available at the hotels but she was not in favor of them. We were never warned to not use them and we thought we had made our wants clear and concise. We did not want a refund or anything but it would have been nice to have had someone interested enough to listen to our complaint and take the name of the guide and maybe save others from him. The driver was good and although they tell us they don’t understand our language our driver had no problem telling the guide how we felt about him when he returned to the taxi after he (guide) stopped to get his lunch. All in all it was a lesson learned.

We are totally satisfied with the treatment we received at the Mambo and if we can come again in a couple years we will definitely go back. Thank you to all the staff of the management, reception, housekeeping, bar, kitchen, garden, animation and the ladies with the hand sanitizer. This Animation Team is the best and anyone that doesn’t have fun doesn’t know how to.

When we left the island we didn’t have to pay a departure tax as it was in our tickets. We were told that our carry on would be weighed but it was not. They are strict in the weight of the checked luggage though. Also note that you are not allowed to have any gels, creams, lipstick, shampoo, rinse or anything on those lines in your carry on luggage. In Canada we can if it is separated into a plastic bag and goes through the scanner separately but there it is none with zero tolerance.
Riu Mambo
Brenda & Daniel 
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 2008
We arranged our own transportation from the airport so when we arrived we were the only ones checking in. We were given a resort map as our room wouldn't be ready till 3. It was cloudy when we arrived so this gave us an opportunity to explore and have lunch. Our bellboy acknowledged us for the 2 weeks we were there - his memory is good!

Rooms - Our maid Maryea kept our room spotless for the 2 weeks. The room was a good size. We didn't watch television so not sure what stations there were. She cleaned our room before lunchtime every day and left a facecloth each day. We brought a hairdryer as we know there was not one supplied. Soap was replenished without our having to leave a note. We enjoyed the mini-bar with 3 different kinds of rum and one bottle of gin (even tonic for mix) along with pop and water. This was refilled every 2nd day. If you needed something in between you could flag the mini-bar guy (he was usually at our building shortly after 5. There are no oceanview rooms.

Restaurants - Buffet was awesome. Food was always hot and plentiful. We found a waitress we really liked so we sat her her section when she worked. She encouraged us to practice our Spanish! Freddie Cruz always available to greet his guests with a smile. The Italian a la carte was my favourite, we went there twice and the steakhouse once. In the 2nd week we went to the Merengue for lunch as that restaurant was a big larger and not so congested. The Mambo closed off sections of the buffet restaurant at lunchtime. There was also a beach grill. Snacks are available throughout the day. Ice cream is yummy

Bars - Bartenders were great and selection was good. A special hello to Melo at the lobby bar for the great brown cows. We always stopped there for a drink before dinner. We were the only resort in the complex that had a beach bar.

Beach and Pools - As one reviewer wrote, it was different to see the chairs facing away from the ocean. Some days the ocean was warmer than the pool. The wide beach is nice for swimming. I preferred to be away from the crowd so wend found a spot where the sun was coming through the palm trees. We went for a walk every morning along the beach. We had a best beachfront of the 3 resorts. The pools were nice and always being cleaned, we ended up sitting by the activity pool when we weren't at the beach. We liked the comfy pads on the chairs.

Grounds - Very well maintained, there is always someone cleaning. This is an older resort so the landscaping is mature. The resort is well laid out and compact.

Activities - There's something going on all the time - I played bocce ball and my husband played water polo. We enjoyed watching "froggie" and bossy boots" perform. There is no pressure to participate. We thought the animation team did a superb job in entertaining us.

Tours - We have been to the DR many times and had already done tours so we stayed on the resort.

Conclusion - An excellent resort. Wow, we've never been to a resort where such attention is paid to cleanliness. The RIU motto is "it's all about you" is very true - they are committed to the guests' satisfaction. We wouldn't hesitate to return to this resort and will be visiting other RIU resorts in the future. Hello to our friends from England - Andy, Sarah, Heather and Alan.
Riu Mambo
Diane & Bill 
Nova Scotia
January 2008
We are a married couple in our late 40's. Spent 2 weeks at the Riu Mambo from Dec. 22/07 to Jan. 5/08.

Check In - Fast and efficient. We were warmly welcomed and had our room by 1:00 pm.

First Impressions - Beautiful grounds. Scenic mountains. Cozy bungalows (8 rooms-4 up, 4 down) Attractive patiostone walkways connecting all 3 Riu resorts. Everything clean and attractive.

Rooms - On the small side but everything in working order. Lots of drawer space, enough hangers. TV reception not the greatest, very few english channels...but that wasn't important to us. Always had hot water and 'facecloths'. I have one big issue...and it is the beds...OMG, they are the hardest, most uncomfortable beds we have experienced. In over 10 trips to the caribbean...they were the worse.

Food - Kind of made up for the beds...lol. Better than expected...very good in fact. Lots of breakfast choices, eggs, bacon, ham, french toast, homemade donuts, pastries, rolls, yogurts, cereals, cold meats etc. And of course, strong Dominican coffee. Lunch was usually something quick for us...hamburger, hot dog, salads, veggies, sanwiches, desserts, plenty to choose from. Supper offered many different choices of meats...whitefish, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, ham, pork (and sometimes goat) Only thing lacking was a pasta bar (they had pasta but not the typical 'custom made' with its own chef) and the selection of breads seemed limited. But even a picky eater would be hard pressed not to find a tasty meal.

Beach - Fine for our needs. The sand is brown and the water wasn't clear very often, but we knew this. A bit of coral and gritty sand at first but we didn't use our watershoes except to walk over by thte rock formations. I liked the beach, especially the width of it. You could get close to water (with the crowd) or go further back into the palm trees (quieter but still lots of sun filtering down through the palmtrees) Lots & lots of chairs...no need to play the 'towel game' at the beach anyway. We didn't go in the pool at all but saw lots of towels on the chairs there early in the morning. We enjoyed watching the antics of a pair of woodpeckers who were very territorial and would chase other birds away from their spot. Many colourful butterflies. I wore a bathing suit with bright pink flowers on it one day...and was delighted when twice butterflies landed on me!

Entertainment - Didn't see many shows. What we did catch was the typical resort stuff. They had a very good Michael Jackson. The Magic Show was good also.

Staff - One of the strongest attributes of the Riu Mambo. They were always freindly, helpful and courteous. We felt that they really took pride in their high level of service. It was a pleasure to be served by such well-trained, pleasant staff.
The Riu Mambo was one of the cleanest resorts we've seen and I had no worries about becoming sick from the food. I ate lots of different food (and plenty of it) with no tummy problems at all.

Shopping - The Caribbean Street area at the Riu Merengue is a row of colourful little shops selling almost everything...and almost everything is 'overpriced'. They will haggle a bit but not much. The vendors shacks at the end of the beach are interesting...but we did not buy much of anything. At the giftshop in the lobby I found a box of essential oils (5 small vials) for about 230.00 pesos ($9) & some vanilla and spices for about the same.

Conculsion - We loved the 'layout' of this resort complex. Everything handy...lots of restaurants, bars & washrooms. The walkway along the front of the resorts is perfect for strolling after dinner. And the gazebo on the cliff is very nice. The complex is nestled into the natural surroundings beautifully.
We didn't do any tours this trip. Relaxed, read a couple good books and loved every minute of it.
I would recommend the Riu Mambo...with a warning about the beds. That is the only reason we will not return...don't get me wrong...I do not expect a 'top of the line' pillowtop mattress, however, 'fair to good quality' would have sufficed. We did speak to other guests who were of the same opinion.
Riu Mambo
Stu & Ann 
Niagara Falls, ON
December 2007
Arrival - Registration provided a preview of what was to come - the staff sported warm smiles and the check-in process was very well organized. Although we arrived before noon, most of the rooms were ready for us. A colourful tropical drink was served during the information session, and we were escorted to our room by a delightful member of the front desk staff, Rosy. Throughout the week, Rosy went out of her way to make our stay at the Riu very special.

Rooms - Rooms are very clean and well maintained. Recently installed sliding patio doors and screens worked very well, and the air conditioner and overhead fans were in tip-top shape. Our maid (Myra) was very cheerful and a real whiz at creating beautifully shaped animals with the towels - she even added flower petals to enhance the arrangements. The mini bar in the room includes a free liquor dispenser (rum and gin, but no recognizable names on the labels). In the frig you'll get Brahma Beer, Pepsi and water that are topped up regularly, and the young guy who delivered to us (Juan) was a super guy - very accomodating. He even offered to bring us some of our favourite D.R. beer (Presidente) from town on his way to work. Money well spent. Although it's listed as a 4 star hotel, the bathroom seemed a bit under-supplied. While other 4-stars provide you with nice little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc and decent sized bars of soap, the Riu only had little plastc packages you normally associate with cheaper properties. Be aware also that the rooms are not equipped with hair dryers, although we mamaged to borrow one from the front desk (Thank you Rosy). She also supplied us with an electrical adapter - power in D.R. is the same voltage (110), but the plugs are different so you'll need the adapter to charge your camera batteries, use your hair dryer, etc.

There are only a very few rooms at the Mambo that offer an ocean view, and although we had requested one they were unable to provide it.

Restaurants - The main dining rooms is excellent, and you'll soon get to know the very friendly and attentive manager, Freddy Cruz. There is a great variety of food by Caribbean standards, and during our week Nov.30-Dec 7 we enjoed two theme nights, one Mexican and the other Dominican.

We learned during our visit that The Riu Mambo has recently lost 5 of its most ecperienced wait staff who were transferred to a new hotel in Aruba. That being said, we were blessed with some super young people who looked after us in style, and always with warm smiles and a great sense of humour. Special commendations to Yacaira, Reyna, Angel, Fernando, Luis, Ricky and Ramirez.

Of the 2 a la carte restaurants we really enjoyed the Italian, but found the Steak house disappointing. Let's face it - beef in the Latin countries generally isn't what we're used to - but there are a lot of other great choices. The other adjustment when you head south is that they don't have any good coffee cream. On this trip we actually took a box of the small half and half creamers with us, and were glad we did.

Bars - One of the perks of staying at the Riu property is that you are able to go to any of the bars at the 3 hotels. The Mambo has less choices of the better liquors and liqueurs than the Merengue or Bachata. If you're ordering rum, I'd recommend asking for Brugal - it's a good quality rum bottled in Puerto Plata. If you don't specify Brugal you'll get the cheaper stuff, the same one they put in your mini-bar. The bar at the Bachata also has a serve-yourself cappucino maker.

Beach and Pools - We're beach people, but we did spend time checking out and dipping into the pools. The Mambo has the smallest and quietest pools, while the Bachata has a great swim-up bar. They're all well maintained, although the water was not as warm on our week as the ocean. You will need to get your towels on the chair loungers to reserve your spot around the pools, especially if you're looking for a sunny spot. They seem to fill up first.

The beach is unique in a couple of ways. Fist of all, it's the first beach I've seen where everyone lies on their loungers facing away from the ocean. That's because the sun is on the opposite side, but it still looks strange to have people turning their backs on the Carribean. The beach also runs on a bit of an angle towards the ocean, but not enough that it makes the walking difficult. You can cover a lot of ground on your walk, stretching from the one set of merchant's shacks on the North (Wal Mart) to K-Mart on the South. There are some interesting parking spots for your lounger between the beach and the hotel, with some great shaded areas nestled throughout the palm trees in the sand.

Grounds - Staff do a great job of keeping the grounds immaculate. Not many flowers blooming in November/December but the grass, trees and shrubs look terrific. The Bachata sports the nicest grounds by far, and it seems that a fair number of the rooms look out over the ocean or the bay.

Activities - You should never be stuck for something to do. Activities are posted and take place every hour of the day. (Volleyball, darts, lawn bowls, merengue lessons, ping pong, tennis, snooker, water and dry-land aerobics, etc., etc

Tours - We've been to Puerto Plata before and took a few tours then so decided to relax in the sun this time. We did hear favourable comments from other guests about the trip to Paradise Island, the Catamaran cruise, and the Outback Safari (or reasonable facsimile)

Conclusion - If the food is very good, and the staff is friendly, happy, and go out of their way to look after you, there shouldn't be a lot to whine about. We have come to appreciate and enjoy the Dominican people, and the staff at the Riu is second to none from our fairly extensive experience.

Toss in sunshine and balmy temps and it's a great mix. Would we return? Yes, but would probably upgrade to the Bachata or Merengue to gain an ocean view. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have, and should soon have some pictures available.
stublack@cogeco.ca
Riu Mambo
Glenn and Family 

February 2007
Our trip date was the 10th -17th. My wife (in our 40's) and my two daughters (20 and 18). This was my wife's and I 2nd trip to the Rui Mambo. (2003). We stayed at a resort in Punta Cana in 2005 and did not enjoy the hotel and resort due to the fact of finding a large RAT in our bed. This made our choice of resorts an easy one. Take our girls to somewhere where we knew what to expect and where the service and staff are top notch.

ROOMS: We were lucky enough to have rooms 311 and 314 in building # 3. When we left our rooms we just walked down the stairs (2nd floor) to the swimming pool and pool bar/ lunch area. The rooms were great! Cleaned and tidy. No musty smell that some others have complained about. We took candles (and candle HOLDERS) to burn if we found the room musty. Since this was not the case, we left them as gifts to the maid and a hotel staff member. The maid cleaned our room on a daily bases and left us pretty towel decorations. Yes we did tip her, and she was quite happy to receive gifts along with some U.S. money!! I mean come on, she had to clean up after me and my family. As my one daughter stated, " she loved the fact that you didn't have to make your bed and that at the end of the day it was done for you!!" Fridge was stocked every other day. Please , if you are going to leave the maid any gifts, make a written note, (Spanish and English) giving her permission to have the gifts. No bugs and no unwanted guest! To the people that complain about the rooms, what are you doing in your rooms all day? Get out and enjoy the resort. Who cares if the TV works or not. Stay at home and watch TV. I listen to one lady complained that the room, towels and bedding were not up to her standard. They smelled different then what she was used to at home. Guess what lady, your not at home and things will smell different. Bring a fleece sheet and rub it all over! She probably complained that there was no one to wipe her butt like at home!! After all it is rated as a 4 star hotel.

Pool: My family enjoyed many days around the pool taking part in the different events that the entertainment staff put on. The pools are cleaned by staff members on a regular bases. Although we never tried the other pools at the other two resorts, we saw that the Mambo pool seem to be quieter and less congested. And YES people still put there towels down on the loungers. I watch one guy set up his loungers, (6 of them). He took not one cover pad but 2 pads for each lounger. Now come on, that means that somewhere there is 6 loungers without a pad. No I didn't count all the pads in the resort, just common sense that they would have enough pads for each chair. Then this guy leaves. Now we are talking about 6:30am. I went down early to save the seats that my family had wanted. I stayed there! In fact my family and I stayed there till lunch. The guy never came back in that time. There was 6 loungers with 2 pads on each one in a prime area around the pool not being used because this clown was somewhere else. Enough said.

Beach: The sand is not white, it is a yellowish colour. No it is not as fine of sand that you will find on a Punta Cana beach. Cause it is not a Punta Cana beach, it is a Puerto Plata beach. There was always lounge chairs to be had whenever we went to the beach. The water is a little cool but once you get in it is very nice and relaxing. Yes there is some vegetation floating. Your in an ocean?? Not a swimming pool. Swim out from the flag at the mambo, this is the best area in the whole entire beach. The family and I had a great time on the beach, whether it was just relaxing or taking part in the events offered.

Entertainment: "Chicken Legs " for ever. (Quote) Shake it BABY!! This guy was worth the price of admission. He had my family up doing events around the pool and beach areas. You make the holiday what you want. You can participate if you want to, or just sit there and relax. Your choice. My family and I decided to take part. I'm glad we did. Understand that we are not athletic, more like couch potatoes. We did the darts, bingo, crazy darts, Olympics, Spanish lessons, dancing lessons, and even the water workouts. Wow talk about having a full day(s)! On top of this we ate and drank!! We won different events and received little gifts from the resort. If it had not have been for the Chicken Legs,, my family would not have got up off the couch so to speak. These entertainment staff start around 10:00 am and don't finish till around 11:00 pm. Not only do they put on the events during the day. They also do the evening shows after dinner. They look for audience participation. Take part, you will enjoy the dancing and fun events they put on. These people work very hard for your enjoyment. Treat then well and they will treat you like one of the family. Get them a drink, they are out in the hot sun working hard to make sure you and your family are having a great time. It cost you nothing to go to the bar and get them a beer or two. Heck even ask if you can get them some food. It's free for you not them! I can't say enough about Chicken Legs and the rest of the entertainment staff. Made my holiday!!

Bars: Great service, just to remember to ask for rum in you drinks. Once you get to know a bartender or two, slide them a few dollars and watch what happens when you come back up for the next round. Word of caution, avoid the coconut base drinks. This is a natural laxative. I think this is why some people say they get the trots. It's not the food, just too many coconut based drinks.

Food/service: Always a vast selection of food at the buffet. How people can say that there is nothing to eat ???? We always sat just inside the front doors to the left in "Papo's" section. Papo is a very nice gentleman. He is quick to refill your water and remove your plates. We tipped him based on his service and I found that at each meal, I received a nice cold beer or two!! He tries to get you to speak a little Spanish, like greetings and especially when you need something. e.g.. like a fork or knife. I found this to be very friendly banter. This was done in a way to teach you a little Spanish and I enjoyed trying to learn new words. We really impressed Papo after our Spanish lesson. When we were able to greet his "good morning how are you", with our own "great, how are you today". in Spanish. Boy was he taken aback! Look him up if you want great seats in the non-smoking section. And GREAT service with a few Spanish lessons. Back to the food.Yes some foods do stay the same for the whole trip, like deserts. But how many varieties of deserts do you need? There is always a choice or two to be made at the buffet. A few things to remember, put the serving tool back on the plate and not in the dish, tool gets very hot!!! Start at one side (like everyone else ) and work your way around. Wait your turn, there is plenty of food and not need to jump in between people to get an item.

Beware: The only negative thing about this holiday was the beach vendors OFF the resort. Every thing on the resort was GREAT! My wife and two daughters decided to have their hair braided, something they always wanted done. The lady approached my wife and said she would do the two girls for $100.00 US. My wife said no way. They settle on a price of $50.00 US for the two girls and my wife. The women doing the hair were friendly, until this other one came up and started hooting and hollering. Now my Spanish and YES my French are not the greatest, but let me tell you I got the just of the conversation. At one point they asked me if I spoke Spanish and FRENCH. I knew what was going on, the one was not happy at the price they had charged my wife and kids. There was a few heated moments.

Now if you are like my family and don't like confrontations and cannot handle aggressive sales people (lack of a better term), stay away! They have these blue huts ( located at either end of the beach) that the guys sell there wares out of. They can become very persistent that you look and then buy something.The prices are cheaper than on the resort, but be forewarned, you are off the resort and you will have no recourse if a problem arises.

One other thought, since this is becoming a novel.... When you are walking along the path ways at the hotel. We could never figure out why people from other countries would not be as nice as us CANADIANS and share the pathways. Then it dawned on me that Europeans drive on the opposite side of the road than we do. That is why they always seem to be walking toward us. We were both walking on the correct side of the path way for our own countries, makes sense.

I would give this resort and staff a 5 out of a 5. Would I go back and would I tell others to go as well..... In a second, YES I would!!!!

I would be happy to answer any questions, just mark them Rui Mambo and send them to gmeeker14@hotmail.com
Riu Mambo
Heather and Andrew 
Canada
January 2007
Airline and transfer
The SkyService charter airline (from Vancouver) was adequate. That airline cannot be faulted for the fact that we sat for two hours while the aircraft needed to be de-iced due to a snowstorm. I quite liked the food but seating is cramped. Once on the ground in the Dominican Republic, baggage handling and customs was a breeze. Good organization. Don't let the baggage handlers con you into the "customary" $5.00 US tip unless you feel that is necessary. Watch your valuables, as is true for any airport, and keep your documents handy. But no worries at all.

Hotel
We stayed at the Riu Mambo. Excellent staff, service, amenities, food and entertainment. From my perspective it was by far the nicest of the three hotels in the Riu complex (because it was smaller, quieter and more cozy). We were in room #808, which is located farthest from the beach (two minutes). Loved it. Well-lighted pathways, good security. Lock your stuff in the room-supplied safe, but I never felt threatened and the chambermaids were scrupulously honest. One day Heather left her expensive bracelet on the floor...it was returned to her pillow upon our return. I was completely impressed with all of the staff, who were never lacking smiles or the ability to try to comprehend my very poor Spanish. The entertainers worked really hard and did a superb job...it is definitely "not my style" but I have to say...it was great fun!

Electricity matters
Are you a camera geek like me? Does your wife introduce you to others as her "photography widow"? Take your laptop. The 110 AC voltage is fine and asymetric two-pin North American plugs worked well in this resort. I carried a symetrical two-pin (Latin America) adapter and a surge protector, but never used them. I recharged batteries (my Nikon and Heather's Canon) every day without any problems using the standard North American (asymetrical) plug-ins. Ultimately I felt sorry for the folks who carried only flash-cards or flash-card readers...for Heather and I the ability to download and view images on our laptop after each day was wonderful...and more than once I was able to go back and get the shot properly after I'd mucked it up the first time.

Food
My heavens I have never eaten so well. The only advice I would give is: spend five minutes to wander around before you get your plate. In our experience there was always something in the corner that we missed first time around. Our table was always near the fruit-juice table, and trust me that is missed already. This morning I priced a pineapple at $4.99 CAD in the local Safeway. Although we explored some of the other restaurants, we never felt the need to do the "a la carte" thing. For us the friendly staff and excellent food more than made up for any desire for "diversity"... The staff made me truly believe that we would have felt guilty had we missed a meal at "our" restaurant. By the way, you might choose to dis-regard advice to secure a specific "table" when checking-in. In our experience it was more fun to pick different tables each day to engage in "people-watching". Trust me. The staff will find you wherever you sit.

Medical
My wife unfortunately experenced a serious medical problem (she is hyper-sensitive to sand-flea bites which quickly became infected). For most people this would not be an issue, but please be advised that if you, like Heather, are allergic to unfamiliar bug-bites (she's from Scotland), a tube of hydrocortisone is well worth carrying (available locally). I also suffered a bout of heat rash (I'm from Canada but walked far and fast). However the local doctor was wonderful, and I dare say the medical care we received was superior to that we might have expected to get in Canada. Certainly it was faster. By the way our travel insurance (RBC) worked as advertised, with no hassles whatsoever. Finally, we had absolutely no "la tourista" gastro-intestinal difficulties, which as a somewhat experienced tropical travellor, was a first for me. I expected such problems, so this trip was unusual and very pleasant in that regard.

Scenery and trips
For a wildlife biologist there was much to see...the "monster-truck" tour was particularly wonderful and offered a welcome opportunity to see more of the countryside and its people. The snorkelling was mediocre (compared to Belize or the Yucatan or some places in the South Pacific) but the beaches and swimming was terrific. I suspect the flowers and butterflies would be nicer in February-March than in January, but for me the marvel was the onset of the bird breeding season, with common species such as bananaquits building nests and singing in the morning. I much preferred this trip over our previous visit to Punta Cana in November 2003. The beaches are not as nice, but the habitat diversity is far more interesting (sugar-cane fields to mountaintops in a day?) Wow. I loved this trip!

Snippets
- If you can stand a small amount of aggressive but understandable salesmanship, the small beachfront shops to the east of the resort operation offer better prices than you will find at the Riu Bachata or Riu Merengue shops. There's virtually no shopping at Riu Mambo, but hey, are you really planning to go to the DR to go shopping?
- If you're into snorkelling, check out the rocky areas to the east of the resort area. Dawn is best.
- If you like birds, make sure you walk the nice pathway to the east of the resort area. That walk also has some amazingly colourful geckos (several species) and some nice views of the local farm operation. Don't worry about the security-guys with the sawed-off shotguns...they're friendly, knowlegeable about the local birds, and proud of their country. As they should be.
Riu Mambo
Gary 
South Wales, UK
August 2006
Just spent two weeks of August 2006 at the Riu Mambo, and it was excellent.

My wife was very nervous about going, after hearing all the reports of illness and bugs, but while we were there we did not here of anyone who had anything more than a rumble in the tummy. The hotel, one of three in the resort, is spotless, the staff are more than helpful, and literally will do anything they can to help. They are all proud of what they do, especially the gardeners, who keep the grounds looking great. We had a competition amongst ourselves to find a member of the bar staff who did not make a conversation or smile each time you went to the bar, and we failed. Every time you go to the bar, they make you feel welcome. If you are going there, there are plenty of excursions to occupy you, and we did a few, but the best for me. was organised by the crew on the Sports Beach. It is not advertised very well, but the guys that organise the pedalos, etc will also take you on a Quad Bike Safari. For $65 a bike, they take you for three hours through the villages and mountains and you will see how the real Dominicans live and survive. It really makes you appreciate the excesses of the All Inclusive when you get back to the hotel.

Anyway, we have always made it our own rule never to go back to the same place twice, as you only have one a holiday a year, and we like to see different places, but if that was to ever change, the Riu Mambo would be on top of my list of places to re-visit.

Don't think it was all good - once a week they invite local market traders to sell their wares around the bar area, and they are a nuisance. If you are after a gift, then by all means enter into a twenty minute haggling session, but as for just looking, forget it, avoid them completely. Also, we booked with Thomson, and although the hotel rep was very good, she had far too many clients to cater for. At one point when I had chance to talk to her, after a five minute conversation, a queue of 8 or 10 people had already formed behind me. I am not criticising the rep, she did more than she was paid for, but Thompson should have considered the amount of staff required for such a large influx of their customers. The two reps from other holiday companies had nobody to talk to, and at times I saw them helping the Thomson rep. Get your act together Thomson.

Anyway, off to book another holiday, and its a good chance that it will be another Riu hotel in the Caribbean.
Riu Mambo
Sarah 

July 2006
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 annimation 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 eaily come home a stone heavier! You can book the poolside restaurant in the evenings as they split it into two, one side being Meditteranean, and the other side a steak restaurant. You are waited on by the waiters and the ambience 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 alot 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 groundmen work very hard keeping it all neat and tidy.

This is a tropical island so take precautions for mosquito bites and some immodium just incase 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 othet activities. There is a gym in the centre of the resort in an area called Carribbean 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 reputaion 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 alot of Dominicans came to the beach, but stayed on the beach itself and didnt venture further back where the sunbeds and palm trees are. One Domincan 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! :-)
Riu Mambo
Shayna 
Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
July 2006
My husband and I just returned from a one week stay at the Riu Mambo. This was our first trip to the Dominican. We went on a sell-off daily special called the Riu Roulette. We did not know until arrival at the Dominican airport which Riu we were staying at. All in all, we were very satisfied with our holiday.

Check In - Check in was somewhat disorganized. Due to bad arthritic knees, I had requested a first floor room, close to the pool. When we arrived the reception clerk could not find an assigment for our room. We were asked to come back in about an hour so that it could be sorted out. One other couple had the same problem. One hour later we were given our room number, but because it was only 1 p.m., our room was not ready until 3 p.m. We took advantage of lunch in the main dining room and then returned and we were given an envelope with our room and safe keys, towel cards and a map to the resort.

The Room - The room was a good size with two 3/4 beds pushed together.
Large closet with lots of hangers. Air conditioning worked very well. On the last day our toilet broke. It took three trips to the front desk and 90 minutes later to get someone to fix it. The housekeepers were great. Each day a new towel sculpture (usually a bird) was left with little flowers adorning them. On the last day I had left a necklace with an elephant pendant on the bureau. My sculpture that day was an elephant and the necklace was used to decorate it. I was delighted because I happen to collect elephants. Our in room bar was stocked with three bottles of rum and a gin. A little variety might have been nicer. It would have been nice to have a note left in the room at the beginning of our stay with the name of our housekeeper. During the week my husband mentioned at the front desk that we were celebrating our 25th anniversary. A lovely fruti platter was delivered to our room.

Water - Never a problem. We asked for extra in the room as we drink a lot of water. We had two gallon jugs every two days.

Beach - There were many lounges and lots of shade. The beach area was kept well groomed.

Pool - Three pools, one of which was a wading pool. They were kept very clean. There was always staff sweeping around the pool and using a net to pull leaves out of the water. I would have liked a Jacuzzi. There is one at the Bachata, but it is a little far to use on a whim.

Food - Food was always hot, plentiful and fresh. The main buffet, Los Almendros had two theme nights, Mexican and Dominican. The Mangu pool bar had a more relaxed buffet for lunches. The food was very tasty, however after about the third day it became somewhat repititious. The Mangu had hotdogs and hamburgers every day for lunch. I would have killed for a nice grilled chicken breast. We found that when chicken or turkey was served, it was uusally overcooked and dry. The restaurant staff always had smiles on their faces and were very friendly. They work very long hours. If you saw them at breakfast, they were still there at dinner. The Mangu became the a-la-carte at night. We ate at the steak house. Very good meal. Bananas Flambe was an amazing site.

Bars - Staff are fast and friendly. The amount of booze they go through is astounding. Had the worst strawberry dacquiri ever. Try the Coco Loco.

Entertainment - The Anamacion team is first class. They work also from morning to night keeping adults and kids alike happy and involved. The nightly shows get a little tired and repetitious. By far the best was a Vegas style show with singers, dancers and many costume changes.

Excursions - We only took one trip, the City tour of Puerto Plata and Sosua. We were taken to the Bruegal Rum Factory, the Amber museum, the fortress and to Sosua beach and flea market. Lunch was included at a nice Italian restaurant. Lots of cheap shopping at the beach, but the haggling can get to you.

All in all, it was a great vacation and introduction to all inclusive. I think we still like going the other way and being able to experience different types of restaurants and food. However, you can't beat the price of all inclusive. It was so nice not to have to carry any money at all on you. I don't think a week is long enough. My husband would have liked 10 days, but not 14. We would return to any Riu resort again.
Riu Mambo
June Hodgetts  
England
May 2006
We have just returned from two wonderful weeks spent at the Riu Mambo Resort. After having our holiday cancelled last year due to the bug that was supposedly on the resort we thought we would try again this year. The hotel was spotless and hygiene standards were high. The food choice and quality was excellent and the staff were amazing. Diaz the beach bar waiter was an absolute scream, Jacqueline and Robinson in the Restaurant always had a smile and cleared the tables so quickly and quietly you did not notice they were there. There was plenty of entertainment available on all three hotels and the beach beds were plentiful and you could get one at any time of the day. The pools were busier with beds taken up by around 9.00 in the morning but there were people coming and going all the time. We will definately be coming back next year. The Animacion Team kept everyone amused all week with their various team games and worked extremely hard to entertain everyone no matter what time of day. They even delivered drinks to the volleyball players to cool them down at "half time"!!!! DJ Lemar was the best with his bingo calling. I would recommend the Riu hotels on this complex to anyone travelling to the Dominican from England
Riu Mambo
Cocotel 
Ottawa, Ontario
March 2006
My husband and I just returned from Riu Taino less than 24 hrs ago. The fact that I am posting so soon can only mean one of two things: either we had a most excellent time or a lousy time. Unfortunately, it's the latter.....

Let me begin by saying that we are seasoned travellers. We research things to death to make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck. We had been to the Punta Cana area of Dominican Republic before and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. From our research we felt it was the place to go, simply because of the quality of the beaches compared to other resort areas in Dom Rep.

We spent $5200 Cdn on a 14 day stay at the Riu Taino. This place is advertised as a 5 star resort. It was built in 1991 and I think that in 1991, it likely was a 5 star. Presently, I would give it a three...and that's being generous. Here's my cons and pros (I prefer ending things on a positive note!):

- Air conditioning konked out for roughly three days. When it's 30 C outside, you need A/C indoors. There are ceiling fans in the rooms - what a God-send they were.

- Hot water intermittently. It was feast or famine - either it was piping hot or freezing cold.

- Power outages - not for great lengths of time but it did go out.

On these three points, I mentally wrote it off to the age of the place and the adage "stuff happens". But when it was mentioned to the Sunquest rep, she admitted that on average, these things happen weekly. The problem is that the Riu Palace is getting an addition and the construction there is affecting the water & power to the other Riu resorts.

- Food was so-so. Lots of it and pretty much available from 0700 hrs to 0200 hrs daily (however there were times in the outdoor bar that there was no food to speak of, when in fact they are supposed to have snacks there all the time). But the food is unimaginative and repetitious. I noted that if for example they had smoked salmon the previous night in the main dining room, they would serve smoked salmon salad at lunch the next day. I am not opposed to leftovers - love them at home! - but when I'm paying big bucks to stay at a resort which boasts about its cuisine, I want to experience some unique dishes. The salads are the same every single day. The pizzas - same thing. And although they say you can eat at all the other Riu resorts in the vicinity, don't get too pumped - they all serve the same food!

- Not enough beach chairs! I went out one morning at 0630 hrs and had a look - pretty much ALL the chairs that were under cabanas were "reserved" with towels and the like. I'm on vacation, I do not want to get up at the crack of dawn simply to reserve a decent chair. We became suspicious that perhaps people were reserving prime "shady" spots under the cabanas and equally prime tanning locations on the beach simultaneously. We suspected this because people would wander up from the beach, casually hang out by the cabana for a few minutes then disappear back to the beach. I actually followed a woman one day just to prove my theory...and it was a correct assumption. I think the other problem with the lack of chairs is due to the fact the Riu Taino has a swim-up bar, which is very popular. People booked at the other Riu resorts would come over to the Taino to use the pool, bar, etc. I don't have a problem with that at all but it irked me that others were grabbing up chairs that they were using perhaps for an hour out of the day.

On the plus side:
- Very courteous staff. I think the Riu organization has done a fine job of hiring good employees. They all appear happy (saw two of the front desk staff doing a little dance together during a slow moment!) and are knowledgeable. I was very impressed with, not to mention envious of, their linguistic skills. As the resort's clientele seem to be mostly German & French speaking, pretty much all of the front desk staff and the entertainment employees speak Spanish, German & French. Some have a better command of English than others but hey! their English is better than my Spanish!

- Super clean rooms. Although our room looked like part of the set for "That 70's Show", it was spotlessly clean. The staff assigned to our room wasn't there at a consistent time each day but when she did arrive, she did a beautiful job. They were excellent when we asked for an extra blanket and pillows (when the A/C worked, I needed a blanket!)

On a final note, here's some tips:
- If you go to a bank, take your passport with you. They will ask for it if you want to withdraw money via the teller. We were not aware of this and had to go back to retrieve our documents.

- Don't assume that the Sunquest Rep is up-to-speed on all that is available to you in the area. Ask other tourists. For example, our rep (Valerie) didn't even know that there was a bank at the Iberostar resort next to ours. This was not a recent addition to the Iberostar, it looked like it had been there a very long time. The only banking "facility" she mentioned at the information session provided on the first day was the ATM located at the staff housing area on the resort grounds. When my husband mentioned the issue of requiring a passport to withdraw money from the bank, she replied, "Bank? What bank?" Valerie lives in Dom Rep and I would think as the rep for Sunquest, it's her job to ensure she is in the know of what is available to make sure the Sunquest clients have access to essential services....I think a bank is something all travellers want information on when on vacation.

- Don't rely on the ATM at the staff location. Before we discovered the bank, we tried the ATM one evening. It was out of service. And apparently it is out of service more than it is operational, especially on the twice-monthly pay days for the staff.

- The prices at the Iberostar gift shop are much better than at the Riu resorts. Still not as cheap as if you went into town and bartered but significantly less in price especially for the coffee and vanilla products.

- The usual "don't drink the water out of the tap" tip. I met a few fellow Canadians while there who had the trip from hell due to ingesting something that made them violently ill. Given that the persons who became sick were part of a group who all ate the same food items, I would have to think that they drank some of the water out of the tap out of habit. I know I caught myself several times about to rinse my toothbrush or fill a glass for a drink of water.

- Ensure you have proper medical coverage. I think this is a no-brainer but again, some people who were ill & required hospitalization were experiencing problems despite having coverage. I think the tip here is to call the insurance provider yourself, don't just allow the hospital to make the call. One person I spoke with said that regardless of the coverage, they were being told they HAD to pay up front or they were not leaving the country. It was a nightmare for them, I'm sure.

Good luck to anyone going to Dominican. It's a beautiful locale but that factor alone does not an ideal vacation locale make.....

I think the only reason I would go back to Dominican is if I do not have to pay for the journey OR we end up at a better resort that is less crowded. Given the popularity of the Dominican, I don't see the number of tourists reducing any time soon!
Riu Mambo
 
Ontario, Canada
March 2006
We just returned from our second trip to this wonderful resort. All seven of us had a fabulous time. The food was great and all of the people we met who worked there were friendly and helpful. To name a few were: Mayra, Freddie, Junior and Victor. Ask for a Mary special and she will serve you a wonderful drink at the bar. We would recommend this resort to anyone who wants a special holiday and wants to feel pampered. The donuts at breakfast were the best.
Riu Mambo
Eric and Annette 
Charlotte NC
March 2006
We just return from the Riu Mambo and it was great. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone. I read a lot of your reviews before going and was afraid of the sickness people were talking about but there was absolutely none there at this time . The whole resort was very clean. The staff was very friendly and helpful at all times. The room was very nice and the bar was stocked every other day and if you ran out of something they would bring you more. The food was great and plentiful. You could get something to eat or drink at anytime. The beach was great. It was clean and the sand was easy to walk in not like some people had said. The shows at night were fun and exciting. We went to all three resorts and the Mambo was the best. It had the biggest beach area and it was quitter than the others if you like peace and quite. This was our first trip to the Dominican Republic and the Mambo gave us a great experience. We are already making plans to go back. We used Vacation Express and they were great to work with. Our complete trip went like clock work. Please go to the Mambo if you are looking for a great place to go.
Riu Mambo
David 
Canada
March 2006
My wife & I stayed at the ClubHotel Riu Mambo for 2 weeks Feb 3 - 18th 2006

This hotel is by far the best of the 5 Hotels we have stayed at in the Dominican Republic.

The Flight
Our flight to Puerto Plata from Halifax on Canjet Airlines was the first of the season and was very disorganized with respect to check in and supplying of the correct Immigration Documentation and information. The trip down also included an unscheduled fuel stop in Nassau

Check-in
Check in was quick & easy. We were met in the lobby by the front desk staff who gave us an envelope with a, map of the resort, towel cards, along with safe & room keys. One of the bell clerks then assisted us to our room. The thatched Lobby Roof suffered some hurricane damage last year and leaked during heavy rains flooding the lobby.

The Room
The rooms are a nice size with 2 twin beds pushed together and plenty of closet space.

We experienced problems with the Air Conditioning in the first room we were assigned. After complaining to the Front Desk we able to move to the room across the hall without a problem.

Dining
We experience no problems with the food served. There are many varieties of food in the Main Buffet that would satisfy the pickiest of palates. The staff went out of their way to insure your satisfaction especially Fredie the Head Waiter

We ate most of our lunches at the Snack Bar where they served Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Chicken, Fries, Rice, Vegetables Salads and fruit. The Snack Bar became the A-La-Carte Restaurants in the evenings.

The bartenders were always happy and the service was always quick even when things were busy.

Grounds
The hotel grounds were well kept but there are not as many flowering plants as we had seen in other resorts. The Pools were well kept and were constantly cleaned. For Safety & health reasons the children’s pool was pumped out every evening and so no one would fall in any of the pools at night chairs were placed around the pool edges. There were always lots of loungers and cabana’s around the pools

The beach was long with many shaded or open places to sit. Because of the rain and high seas there was a lot of seaweed washed up on the beach.

The Animation staff worked around the pool and the beach every day and went out of their way to keep everyone involved and happy especially, Gigi, Pineapple Head and DJ Lamar.

During our stay we toured around through the other 2 hotels and it is our belief that the Mambo is by far the best of the 3
Riu Mambo
 
Canada
March 2006
Good Day, just got back from the Riu Mambo... The Resort was ok. Nothing special, food ok, (good to not-so-great). The staff listened to our problems, ex. sheets not changed for 1 week, no booze in the room, walls in the room not cleaned etc. but that is all they did. They listened and said put in a complaint. You would think that after all these years they would know what people have issues with and would corect them for the next bunch of guests. Anyway we still had a good time dispite some of these things, but I would recommend that if you want good service. Barcelo, or some other in this price range might be a better choice as I think the staff here are tired, overworked and I quite frankly think the Riu Mambo needs a face lift. Good value for money paid, but you get what u pay for. Cheers, an often traveller to DR, and the Islands.
Riu Mambo
Audra, Scott, Kissy, Sammy 
Huntsville and Bowmanville, Ont.
February 2006
Hello Debbie,

My husband, mother, daughter and myself visited the RIU Mambo and had the very best time. We have used your website twice to preview and get and idea on what to expect and we have not been disappointed. Last year we were in Punta Cana and this year we thought we'd give Puerto Plata a try. We flew with Skyservice and had a pleasant flight. The Sunquest rep met us and showed us to our bus and everything was as smooth as could be. Check in at the hotel was very easy also, which was great as we arrived around 10:30pm. The dining room manager came out and told the man checking us in that if we were hungry we could go right to the dining room and get some food. They also had a cold buffet set up for us if we wished to go to our rooms instead. This was a very pleasant surprise.

Our room package included the our safe key and room key and the usual printed matter. The mini bar in the room was sadly ignored by us but was wonderful. It had 4 liquor dispensers, pepsi, soda and tonic water. We were so excited to , we dumped our luggage, changed our clothes and went straight to the bar. As usual, in Dominican tradition, every single staff member was very friendly. The maids did a great job cleaning our room and even left little swans and other towel-made figures on the beds. We left lots of gift for her and her family.

The ala carte restaurants were wonderful but you must reserve your seating with the maitre'd right after breakfast for the day you want to dine there. The buffets were plentiful and there was never enough time to eat all the wonderful food! Amazing variety of meats and fish daily, as well as a few nights of theme dinners. One night was Mexican and the other was Dominican, which was the best by far.

The beach and pool areas were always clean and ready to go. The bar staff were friendly and helpful and all danced and sang like one big happy family. It was the best week had even though we had a day and a half of rain.

The nightly shows were wonderful also and the dancers really put in effort to make everyone have a good time. I'd like to give a 5 star rating to the Animation team. They were key in making our stay the best yet. They took the time to get to know us and everyone else it seemed. They were never pushy but they were great fun and they work hard every minute of the day. They really do deserve a standing ovation, every last one of them.

The Mambo is a beautiful resort and all the staff were pleasant and helpful. We met amazing people from all over the world, England, Netherlands and Canada. I think we may be hooked on Dominican now. It was my mom's first trip back since 1986 and she said she'd go back in a heartbeat.
Riu Mambo
SP 
Saskatchewan, Canada
December 2005
We just returned from the Dominican Republic and stayed at the RIU Mambo. We stayed at the RIU Turquesa in Cuba last year and we really liked it so another RIU was fine with us.

The resort is very clean and well laid out all you do is follow a path and you really never know when you are leaving one resort to the other. On the path are all the bars (except lobby and beach bars) you have to really drink fast if you want to stop at each bar and have a drink when you are walking, I wouldn't recommend it (I did on the way to the end and on the way back) A little to much for me. Because the resort has so many bars and pools we never really got to know anyone personally because we were all over checking things out.

You can be as busy as you want there is something always going on either poolside or at the beach we were there for only one week so we just laid around. If you don't like the entertainment at night you can go to the next resort maybe you will like that one better.

The restaurants There is something to eat for everyone we took our kids with us one is 18 the other 21 they didn't like the beef and they don't eat seafood they both never went hungry or complained. One day I tried 5 different kinds of fish some of it was great others I wouldn't try again. You might as well be adventurous, when will you have this many choices again.

The beaches were fine I read in some reviews they couldn't walk on them they needed something on there feet. Our family had no trouble. If you are going for powder white sand and clear water this isn't the place maybe Punta cana or Cuba. There is so much shade and sun in this resort we travel every year and have never seen anything like this you can be in pure sun and the person next to you can be in shade or partial shade. It was great for us because one of us doesn't like laying in the full sun all the time.

The kids went to the disco every night and got to know lots of people and the DJ they brought a variety of there own music and the DJ played it. They also liked the movie channels.

As for the virus people said the week before us lots of people were sick. I really don't think its the resort I really believe its the plane, the different food, the weather and the drinks.

We didn't have hot water for one day then the next day we had no water at all. They fixed the problem so we could shower that night. The two restaurants the mambo and the merengue didn't open there main dining area for lunch for a few days. But there was lots of food at the snack bars. If you ran out of anything from your bar in your room all you had to do is phone and they would send it right up. Our maids never did anything with the towels even though lots of others were getting great stuff done elephants, swans etc. I think ours was a little on the slow side so we never got anything extra, but then again she cleaned and made the beds. We tipped her with shampoo, soaps new lipsticks and nail polish. Maybe she didn't like what we were giving her.

I would go back anytime and would recommend it to our friends.
Riu Mambo
Liz 
UK
December 2005
Stayed at the Riu Mambo with 12 members of my family for my wedding. The Thompson wedding co ordinator Vicky and Nerys where fab and handled all our little problems. The hotel will provide you with a 24 wedding picture package but be warned these will only be of the ceremony nothing else and they prices for more pictures are bad. We were told 30 US dollars for up to 10 additional photos and it dropped down to 7 Dollars per picture but you had to buy 200 photos!!!!! The wedding itself was a fantastic day which the whole family enjoyed.

However, 9 out of the 12 people in the group got ill with continuous sickness and dioreah, both my sister and my husband contracted gastroenteritis and 3 days after arriving home my brother in law is still ill and having samples taken to find the cause. On the last day of the holiday we noticed that staff were on the doors of all toilets issuing antibacterial washes to people after they had used the loo, the pool area was alive with the buzzing of people realising that it was not just them who had a bad tummy and were having to take immodium nearly every day. This is a fabulous resort we visited it 2 years ago but their standars have slipped tremendously with regard to hygeine. If you are due to visit I would speak with your tour operator as there IS a bug of some sort there and on Monday 5 Dec there were alot of people finding out it was not just them!
Riu Mambo
Emma 
UK
August 2005
We have just arrived back from the Riu Mambo and must say that is was absolutely fantastic!!

The staff at the Mambo are amazing and make you feel like royalty in every aspect! The cleanliness and standards are second to none, hygiene promotion is paramount! The rooms are cleaned daily and our maid "Aisaida" went to extra special effort to make swans, hearts and many statues from our towels using flowers. She even used my clothes to make fans on my bed and always left me a chocolate treat! We loved returning to our room and taking pictures of what she had done! The rooms were air conditioned and had mosquito doors as well.

The food was just incredible - every dish was available and the food was so fresh, the restaurant staff are efficient and kept the restaurant immaculate at all times. The all inclusive was well worth the money as there was so much on offer consistently, the animation team were superb and offered all the activities with such professionalism and enthusiasm.

The excusions can offer you a fantastic insight into Dominican life and the Dominican people are truly lovely, so is their way of life. We visited Ocean World and various riding ranches - the animals are kept in extremely high conditions! Snorkelling, Scuba diving, Riding, Jet Skis, Kyacks and pedlos are all available whilst staying at the Mambo!

The Mambo is definately the best hotel of the three RIUs, it is smaller, friendlier and has a lovely atmosphere! The pools are also much better at the Mambo!

The weather was 100%! one rain shower for 10 minutes in two weeks! however rain would not have made any difference, it still remained hot!

We met some people with the usual "holiday tummies" but these were simply due to a change in environment etc. There was absolutely no sickness at any of the hotels!

The only downside to this holiday was that Excel Airlines lost my case for 4 days at the beginning! Thomas Cook/Excell offered no assistance at all, our Rep did everything in her power to help, but Thomas Cook's policies failed her dreadfully! I will NEVER book with Thomas Cook again or fly with Excell! No one knew where my case was or when it would arrive, so the start of my holiday was unimaginable!

I am just so pleased that I was staying at the Mambo, which is such a stunning and beaufitul hotel. I would just like to thank all the people reading this review if you were anyone who offered me the use of your clothes!!!

We have been back for 5 days and have already booked to go back next year with the rest of my family - only we are returning with Thompson!
Riu Mambo
Richard 

August 2005
I took my son out to the Riu Mambu at the end of July, and really cannot find a bad word to say about it. He's never been to the Carribean and was slightly taken aback by the sheer shock of high humidity-you soon get used to it though.

Position wise. the hotel complex is tremendous. All three hotels adjoin each other and are basically on the beach. Talking of which, is a lovely, gently sloping sandy affair, with lots of shade if you want it under the numerous palm tree that line it. It's not the talcum powder white that looks great in the brochures, but superb just the same. Loads of sun loungers and large free beach towels available all day for free-Don't bother packing any towels, there's loads in your room and they don't mind if you take the beach towels out with you on a day trip.

We did not encounter one case of sickness-a lot of people are confusing maybe a bit of dicky tummy from something they ate rather than some sort of bug. The hotel is spotless, and your room is cleaned to a very high standard every day. A nice touch is the daily elaborate towel sculpture left by your maid. Expect to come back to a white swan on your bed festooned with exotic flowers. DO leave the maid a tip at the end of your stay-they earn a pittance so a couple of US dollars to then is a fortune.

Foodwise, it is a dream. Lots and lots of choice including some wonderful DR dishes which ought to be tried. Of course there's always plenty of fresh mangoes, papaya, pineapple and water melon. The drinks are not watered down and the cocktails are to die for. I discovered Margaretas for the first time which are delicious-in a very dangerous way...

The staff are amongst the most friendly you'll ever meet. The guys behind the desk speak pretty good english, and you'll find yourself saying 'Ola' about sixty times a day, as they al greet you with a big beaming smile-and it's genuine. The Thomson reps were good and very organised. They will try and sell you trips at your welcome meeting, but these trips are very, very good. I heartily recommend the Paradise Island day. You take a speedboat out to a real desert island-very small with three tiny grass huts where they serve your drinks and an adequate lunch as wel as dishing out the snorkling gear. This is what you are going on this trip for. The sand is the real powdery white stuff, which of course means the already tourquise sea transparent. You snorkle out to a coral reef about 90 feet out where you will just see the most amazing array of tropical fish. The staff will snorkle around themselves and feed the fish, which gives you the opportunity to really, actually swim through a shoal of vibrantly coloured fish of every description. And then...you swim though a gap in the coral to see the most amazing sight as the bottom drops away about 30 feet deep, and it's all crystal clear, with every type of coral you could ever imagine. Oh and you get a decent ride in a speedboat to get to it. I can't remeber the cost, but it was worth every penny. You'll remember this forever. DO take one of those £7.99 disposable underwater cameras.

We also went Scuba diving for a day. You get a morning session in a pool, then lunch and a couple of hours lazing in the sun, before they take you out to dive to a depth of about 30-40 feet, to swim around and explore a coral reef, and all the life that lives down there. It really is very easy and there are loads of staff who are always near to you and check you all the time to make sure you're ok. Out of 12 of us, there was only one lady that didn't manage the dive. For my 15 yr old, this was the highlight of the holiday, and one of the highlights of his life so far.

If you like sport, the air conditioned gym is not bad, and always barter in the shops in Carribean Street. I managed to get them down from $80 for a silver Jade bracelet to $50. Never pay the ticket price.

For the kids there's loads of organized activities, and the kids clubs, where they take them off your hands looked well run. The Bars are great, 14 of them I think, including a swim up and plenty of beach bars.

The water is fine to drink-it's all mineral water, including the ice. Just don't swallow when you brush your teeth with tap water. The mini bar is, well, more than sufficient boozewise. You actually have four bottles of different quality rum on optics, beer, cokes etc and a big barrell of bottled water. If you run low, they replace it all.

I'd go back again like a shot.Might even see you there.
Riu Mambo
Natasha, (age 20)  
London, UK.
August 2005
Travelled with group of 8 - four adults including myself, and four children aged between 10 and 16.

Used Thomas Cook and Thomson. (Thomas Cook I still think are better).

Well, second time in the DR this year, but with family this time..

We stayed at the Riu Mambo. It is one of three sister hotels (all Rius) which are in a line along the beach. The Mambo is the smallest - we were in the Merengue to start with, but moved in a couple of hours to be closer to the rest of out family.

Move;
The staff were very helpful and moved us quickly, however, whilst waiting for the rest of our family to arrive, me and my sister were constantly told different things by the reception staff and reps, and we were actually told the flight had been cancelled. I called up Thomas Cook to confirm this, and they said it was nonsense. The staff need to be a bit more on the ball!

Accommodation;
The rooms are fine, the beds are fine, everything is clean, can't complain except that the bathrooms REALLY should have a window in them... the chances of getting a stomach bug are pretty high after all, and its not pleasant for people using the bathroom afterwards...

Area and Swimming Pool;
Right on the beach - no complaints. Sea not particularly clear, but Sosia is the best place if you want to snorkel. Pool was good actually for the smallest hotel! Nice shape, always plenty of room.

Food;
Ahh, I could go on forever here. The food here is, I have to say, not particularly inpressive. I stayed at the Dorado Club in March also on all inclusive, and thought the food was better. Here, is was very repetitive. As usual, they have themed nights, but nothing was particularly special. The salad and deserts are usually covered in flies, and it's very off putting. I liked the soup.

The lunchtime buffet in the poolside bar is again edible, but dull after a couple of days, as every day it's hamburgers, salad and spaghetti bolognese.

A l'carte - this was actually pretty nice, although not much choice. My stepsister is a vegetarian and out of the two menus for the two different a l'cartes, there was only ONE vegetarian choice - she had to have it 3 times! Service is also VERY slow here.

Entertainment;
You can go to any of the three hotels for entertainment, and there are shows every night. Usual kind of stuff, kiddie disco, embarassing competitions where they drag fat members of the audience up on stage, the usual "clappy clappy!" every five seconds.... ok but gets dull after a while. Children always seemed to enjoy it.

Trips;
This time did the horseriding - best day of the holiday!! It is really fantasic, it costs about £4Oish I think, but so worth it! You gallop, and everyone ends up doing it because its so easy. There are lots of guides and you get VERY muddy so don't wear white...

Illness;
Everyone in my group had stomach aches and diohrrea almost all the time. Not hugely serious but not very nice either. The gastroenteritis is still around from what I heard.

General View;
The kind of people that use this hotel, and the other two Riu's as well, are (or at least when we were there) almost entirely ******************* Not that I have anything against them per se, but my parents and I found, along with quite a few other British people I talked to, that they completely took over. They were loud, pushy and generally very rude. Soem were extremely inconsiderate, for example pushing past people at the bar, even children and women. This sometimes threatened to ruin our holiday, and I know other europeans felt the same.

Overall, I would not go back to this hotel, or the DR in fact. This is a country with not an awful lot to do outside of drink and eat, and maybe snorkel occasionally. I have had two nice holidays there, and it was more than enough!

This is NOT a 5* hotel. I feel it lacks a lot of things, noticeably, room service! How can a 5* not have room service? Also the lack of food choice and also thefts from rooms we heard about.

If you are going to the Rius, take some antibacterial handwash, book the a l'carte in ADVANCE, and DON'T hide your sfae key in your room! Also say hello to the beautiful manager Melanie, the blonde one! She's lovely!

I am happy to be emailed.
natasha1463@yahoo.com
Riu Mambo
 

August 2005
Recently (flew out on the 18th of july 2005), me and my family (3 of us from the uk) stayed for 14 nights at the Rui Mambo. We have stayed in the Rui Merengue (just next door) about 5 years ago, and were very impressed by the hotel, and the genral standard then, so we did have high expectations. We had heard about the "Rui Bug" a few weeks before leaving, but were ensured by Thomas Cook that it was perfectly safe to go there now, and if they wernt 100% sure we would be moved to a nearby hotel.

Our first shock on arrival was the very large number of people (especially children) staying at the resort. The pool and restaurant were constantly packed, and there was much the same level in the other two hotels. However we had never been on holiday during the school summer holidays before, so we should have really expected it! The first week of our holiday was great, the beach was beautiful, the rooms were comfortable, the food was plentiful with a good choice, and the staff were extremely helpfull! (we had some initial problems with the room, as it was only set out for two people and there were three of us, but after contacting reception they did everything they could to make sure the problem, and any others, were resolved immediantly!) The service in the restaurant was as good as it could be with the huge number of people staying there, as was the bar service. However, it was even more civilized in the a la carte (both Steakhouse and Mediterranean) restaurants, with an extemely good menu. Also, in the eveinings i would recommend going to the Rui Merengue bars, as they have international drinks and excellent service!

By the last few days of the first week, we began to hear of people becoming ill. We talked to some of the other Britsh people who came with us, only to find out that all of them had been (or were) ill at some point or another, all with the exact same symptoms of bad diarrhea, sharp stomach pains and in some cases sickness. Then in the next few days, i myself too became ill. I was extemely sick for one sleepless night, and the other syptoms carried on for the rest of the week. My family then also became ill to a lesser extent. This led me to miss a few days of the holiday asleep in bed, as i was compleatly exhausted. I also found it nearly immpossible to eat untill the last two days, and drinking (especially fizzy drinks) caused the sharp stomach pains to worsen, so i lived on water and bread or chips for the majority of the last week. Many of the other Britsh people then had the illness come back and experienced it even worse the second time around, leading some to have to visit the doctor (who was very busy with many other patients who seemingly had the same thing). Our rep refused to admit to a problem, even though there was so many people who were ill.

Although i wouldn't re-visit this complex again (mainly as i feel the three hotel layout, makes the place a little packed at the best of times) it is a wounderful hotel with excellent service, and ignoring the illness, we did have a truely good holiday.
Riu Mambo
Melissa and Craig 
Canada
December 2002
I have to mention the Kids Club as I have heard mixed reviews about it. Some have said it is not as advertised in the brochure (RIU LOVES KIDS etc...) but I have to say, it was better than I imagined. The young woman, Jahira, who looked after the Kids Club was amazing. As soon as they opened the door into the kids club, our children would jump out of the pool and run over to join the rest of the children. She took them to play ping pong, and had horseshoe tourney's and soccer games on the beach etc... They did crafts and just enjoyed meeting so many other children. Every night at 8 they would have a mini disco on the stage where they play about 5 songs and the children learn dance steps to them. SO by the end of the week our children could do almost the entire routine. Also, on the Saturday night they had a Caribbean street party, in Caribbean street. They had bands at both ends of the street and people were dancing and carrying on, it was great!!! Felt like we were in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or something. The children performed for everyone there, and then got all decked out in costumes and did a conga line through the street to music. It was amazing and the children just loved being on stage, and in front of an audience. We tipped Jahira $10 USD at the end of the week, and felt like total cheapskates. Even though the Kids Club is included, we felt we had to give something. We would have given much more if we could have. I don't know if many people tip them, but they look after the kids from 10-12 and then from 3-5 every day, not to mention the mini disco in the evening. Next year I plan on taking more money for tips.

We got our 6 year old's hair braided for $20 USD which is cheap, cheap, cheap. If you've ever traveled to Barbados, St Lucia etc... you know it is much more expensive there. I paid $70 USD in Barbados years ago, so I can just imagine what it costs now. The lady was very nice who does the hair braiding and she does it right in front of the kids club on the walkway to the beach. She was very busy and had people all the time. I would recommend talking to her a day or two before you plan on having it done to discuss pricing etc... I would also suggest going to the bar and getting a drink for her when you are done, or if it's around lunch time, maybe getting her a plate of food. She seemed very thankful to anyone who did that.

If you have children who have outgrown any summer clothes, please take an extra bag of clothing down with you. There are so many people you will meet that you can give them too. The lady who did the braids asked me if I had any clothes that I could leave for her granddaughters. I left two bathing suits and a pair of sandals my daughter wore while we were there. I wish I had more, as I have a ton of stuff at home.