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Before you go to Punta Cana, please read

By Guest
Posts: 1

Posted on: August 11, 2011 at 3:16PM

PUNTA CANA WRITE-UP AUGUST 11, 2011 My youngest step-son and his fiancée decided to travel to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for their wedding. To that, they chose the week of July 30-August 6, 2011. 49 members and close friends of the family traveled in a group for the occasion. Let me just start by listing the positive feedback from such a trip since, my intentions in writing this report is to make the future traveler aware of our experience at the BAHIA PRINCIPE PUNTA CANA-BAVARO. Let me just say that, the hotel hygiene was excellent, the food abundant and delicious and the service of the room maids and waiters and waitresses was far beyond our expectations. In fact, those people go out of their way to help you in any way possible. In fact, a member of our party got seriously sick and a waiter we met there, Victor, even went on his own time to the town to get him medications. That is something we will never forget. However……….. From the very start of the process I had serious doubts about the choice of the travel agency to handle our reservations as well as the hotel itself and, my fears were slowly but surely confirmed as the time went on and, as we arrived and spent our week-long of celebration and vacation there. Let me start by telling anyone who reads this that, if you decide to travel to Punta Cana, or any other place in the Caribbean, under no circumstances you should use the services of LLC Travel in Hialeah. The person with whom I dealt with, Libertad, didn’t seem to be interested in clarifying my concerns and worries. She insisted in re-directing my questions to the person who organized the trip, my son’s Father in Law. Emails went unanswered and in her voice, I sensed a feeling of hostility and lack of concern for my questions. As I said, she never replied to my two emails and my questions were not answered through the group’s organizer. Furthermore, Libertad, does not speak English and that raised a serious concern over her qualifications to do the job she was being paid to do. I blame her for most of what happened later because, as the person and organization that received and cashed my checks, paid well in advance of the due date, she did not bother to follow through with the requests and demands of the group. So, if you decide to visit RD or any other place, look for another vendor. You will not regret researching. Our nightmares started upon arrival. I needed a safe deposit box and was charged $4 per day for the service. Never in my years of traveling, had I had to pay for such service. I have stayed at hotels and resorts of all levels of price and comforts and this has always been an included service. But, paying $28 was a small price to pay to protect my jewelry, money and most important, travel documents such as my passport so I reluctantly paid it. The reception clerk seemed mortified when I questioned the charge and such attitude became the norm for the clerks and administration of the Resort as I would soon find out. Check in was a nightmare. We discovered that, even though we had requested from LLC Travel and Libertad to be placed in the same building or at least, in the same general area so we could participate in activities together as group and family, the entire group was scattered through the complex, more than 50 buildings from front to rear. So, we were never together as we had hoped for and as we had been assured we would by Libertad. My brother and his wife, as some others in our group who are disabled and can’t climb stairs, were place in rooms on the third floor, no elevators, even though we had specifically asked for a first floor accommodations. LLC had again, assured us that they would. In my brother’s case, the air conditioning was not functioning. When they went to the reception, they were denied a change of room. The excuse was that, there were no rooms available in spite of the fact that, dozens of new arrivals were lined up at the desk to check in and no rooms were assigned to them. Only after I had to sternly demand from the reception clerk for a supervisor or Manager, that a woman named Carlene came out of the office to speak to us. And, only after promising legal action against the hotel, did Carlene admit there were rooms available and moved my brother to a room with functional air conditioning. However, the room was on the third floor, double bed with one of the beds broken and such bed, laying on top of the bed that was operational. It was close to midnight, 14 hours after arriving at the hotel that, my brother and his wife were able to go to sleep and shower. Others in the group did not have a room until past midnight. They arrived before many others who were given a room before they got theirs and as before, we were met with apathy, un-concern, and disregard for our needs by the employees working behind the desk. You would think that at least, a one day refund would have been offered to them for this inconvenience? In any other hotel in the world, that would have been the norm but not in Dominican Republic and not at Bahia Principe Resort Hotels. In our group there were several senior citizens, grandparents of the bride and others who were unable to climb the stairs however, during the week-long stay, they were not allowed a first floor room. Instead, they had to struggle day and night to go up and down the stairs. And to think that, LLC Travel and Libertad, had promised me an experience never before experienced. She was right at that. I have never experienced such a crappy treatment at a high price resort as in this case! One of our friends, a man with whom I have worked with all my life, was my personal guest for the wedding. LLC Travel and Libertad, refused to accept his payment until just a week or so before departing. The excuse was that, he was paying with a credit card and the Resort would not allow him to pay. I have never heard of that. In fact, others in the travel business who sell the same resort, told me that they have never heard of such policy and questioned why Libertad did not accept the payment. It gave me the impression that, she didn’t want him to attend for whatever reason you can think of. In any event, my friend’s room had a defective lock and would not lock on their second day. He called the desk and all he would be told was that, they would send someone soon. After 4 hours of not being able to leave the hotel, and again, raising his voice in demand, someone came and fixed the lock. Meantime, the hotel offered a solution: Leave the room and go eat or whatever, but the hotel is nor responsible for anything that gets stolen. What a comfort, what a treatment from a resort that offers an experience never imagined before, as LLC Travel and Libertad assured me! He complained and demanded to see the manager, Mr. Ocampo, who, in writing, confirmed an appointment in person with him and his wife, for 7 pm the next night. When the time came, Mr. Ocampo, unprofessionally and cowardly, did not show up and instead, sent a female clerk whose only offer of solution was to give my friend a late check out the day they were due to leave. Bones, when you realize that you must check out early to catch a flight back to the States on the day of departure. My friend, who suffers from diabetes had to return to Miami due to an infection in his right toe, the next day. We could not risk this infection to advance due to his medical condition and I took him to the lobby where I requested the assistance of a clerk, Johann and another whose name I did not write down, but whose name tag said, “In Training.” At that time, a hurricane was almost near Punta Cana and they refused to book him a flight using their computers. Instead, they just gave him the American Airlines number. Nobody would answer, probably due to the weather, or the phone was busy. The clerks mentioned above, did not assist him. The only show of efficiency and compassion was when, after finally getting through the airline, my friend went to check out and got a bill from the hotel for phone calls. We couldn’t use the computers that they Resort designates for guests. Only 2 computers for more than 5000 guests. LLC and Libertad, had assured me internet access but in reality, there were only 2 computers, you needed to make reservations and were only allowed 20 minutes per day. The contract with LLC Travel and the Resort called for 4 complimentary dinners at specialty restaurants which are not included in the regular price. On page 20 of the Resort brochure issued to our group by LLC Travel and Libertad, it clearly states 4 dinners for those, like us, who purchased the 7 day package. Once at the hotel we were told that there were only 3 dinners, not 4 and the staff would not bulge even when I showed them the brochure. Furthermore, the brochure calls for “With reservation and subject to availability.” This is a fraud of great magnitude! Each and every time that we tried to make the reservation at one of the restaurants, were turned down by the staff saying that, “The restaurant was full.” We discovered that, tossing a $5 dollars “incentive,” ( bribe), to the Maitre’D of the restaurant, would get anyone in and to add insult to injury, the restaurants were never more than 30% occupied at any given time. I suspect the hotel did that to discourage guests from eating at the pricy restaurants and instead, people would be forced to eat at the regular buffet restaurants. By the way, those buffet restaurants had plenty of delicious selections, much better than the specialty restaurants. But nevertheless, the staff actions were, at the very least, unethical. The beach was always dirty with piles of seaweed on the sand. We have been in Punta Cana before and have never seen such dirt on their beach shores. The Resort allowed you a beach towel per person per day however, we had to have ours for 4 days before we were able to exchange it for a clean one. Their excuse was that, they were out of towels. Imagine that! As if all this was not enough, the day of the wedding we had 49 PAID guests for the wedding and dinner-reception to follow. However, since my friend and wife had to leave two days earlier, and one guest did not fly in, there were only 46 guests. We located a very old friend of the family, former manager of Casa de Campo Resorts in La Romana, and invited her to attend. She arrived at 4:30 p.m., for the 3 hour wedding and dinner. The Resort manager, Mr. Ocampo, and the Wedding Director, Ms. Julissa, refused her to enter unless we first paid a ONE DAY PASS, for $80.00. First of all, our guest would only stay for 3 hours, not a day and second, we had already paid for 49 guests and there were only 46. Mathematics never lie and it is obvious that, there were 3 paid guests who would not attend so, I asked why? Why do we have to pay for someone under these circumstances? Mr. Ocampo started screaming at me when I told him that he was extorting money from us and did not prevent Ms. Julissa, who works for him, under his supervision, to waive those $80.00. At the end, we had to pay them since we were not going to let our guest rot outside the entrance to the Resort. Ms. Julissa was the “Official,” who officiated the ceremony. While we were all nicely dressed according to the occasion, ( beach wedding), she showed up with no shoes, dirty feet, dirty blue pants with the top button unbuttoned, white-dirty and sweaty guayabera type short-sleeve shirt, and her stomach protruding from clothes that clearly, did not fit. Quite frankly, it was an aberration to the elegance and solemnity of the ceremony. I could not believe that someone would dress like that for such occasion. Thank G-d that the photographer cropped her from all photos. Notwithstanding the above, the weather, and the sea made the ceremony beautiful and emotional. The reception was a total success. Again, the men and women from that Resort who work in dinner and room service deserve all the tipping one can give. Finally, the Resort charged us a $100 TRANSACTION FEE, because, the package was paid in Miami, to LLC Travel and not to them directly. So, they even had to rip us off one more time. But for me, it was the LAST TIME! I don’t have plans to return to Dominican Republic and much less, Punta Cana. However, if I do, or those who read this, if you do, please, do yourselves a favor. Reconsider the place and most definitely, the travel agency we chose for this trip. Otherwise, you will be raped of your money and your trip for a week in heavens, will be turned into a week of headaches, stress and anger. Personally, I will spend my money here in the US, or on other parts of the world and will never visit any of the Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts, or use the services of LLC Travel and Libertad or anyone else associated with them. If anyone who reads this has questions or comments, feel free to email me. I will answer any questions you may have. report a problem

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