Life Is Just So Daily

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly...

Okay, while we had a good time on our trip (it was productive for us, our marriage, etc....) and we enjoyed each other's company....
I would not suggest this resort to anyone. Sure, the water was beautiful & the white sandy beach was beautiful...but, we can thank Mother Nature for that....

Anyway... Here's a copy of the letter that I am sending to customer service at the corporate office in Florida....

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter, and enclosing pictures, to express my utter disappointment in your resort in Punta Cana. We were there in June at the Occidental Grand Flamenco in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; room...

I really do not know where to start this letter.

We arrived at the resort at 2:45 in the afternoon. Total travel time to get there was approximately 22 hours including flights & layovers. Check in time was 3pm, according to the sign posted in the lobby of the resort. At 3pm, we attempted to check in. We were told that our room was not yet ready, and that we could go to the buffet & get something to eat. Let me further paint the picture for you: I was wearing a dress & sandals, my husband was in a suit. We went to the buffet, but could not find a single clean table in the dining area. Also, the food was being packed up. We were told that the buffet was closing, and that we would need to go over to the snack bar for hot dogs & hamburgers. So, we did. Again, I stress that we were quite hot in our clothing & went to the snack bar to allow time for our room to be ready.

After an hour & a half of waiting in an open lobby with no air conditioning, we’d had enough. The fact that our room was STILL not ready was no longer acceptable. We wanted to change clothes, we wanted to shower, and we wanted to be able to enjoy a little of our first day on vacation.

A gentleman named Francisco told us that he would check on our room, which he did. FINALLY we were able to get into our room while they were still cleaning & preparing it.

What a relief it was to finally be in our room; and yet, the disappointment continued.
At this point I request that you refer to the enclosed pictures. {I enclosed pictures of things that pissed me off....}
The lock on the door to the room---busted off. Splintered wood in the doorway.

The shelf in the closet where the safe sits---busted. More splintered wood.

The tub area---rusty & dirty looking.

I booked this trip as a romantic get away for my husband. The whole trip was a surprise to him. I was so embarrassed that this was the resort I chose. I felt as if the resort itself was such a poor reflection of my feelings toward my husband. (“Gee honey, I love you so much that I wasted our hard earned money on this!”)

There were other things at the resort that bothered me. Obviously they bothered me enough to include them in this letter.

The main restroom off the main lobby was always filthy. It is the restroom closest to the main pool & buffet, so it is a heavily trafficked area. It needs to be cleaned more often.

There was a pond area at the resort also that was filled with stagnant water. It appeared that a pump for the fountain was broken, but it resulted in a foul smelling pond attracting all kinds of insects. It was not pleasant to pass on our way to and from the beach.

The resort boasts of multiple restaurants. When we got there, we tried to make a reservation for ANY of the restaurants. They were all booked up until days after we were leaving. We later spoke to others who were staying there for 12 days. They said that they made reservations for every night of the week, and sometimes just wouldn’t go. At other Occidental/Allegro resorts that we’ve been to, you only get to eat at the restaurants once during your stay; allowing more of the guests to access that INCLUDED feature. So here’s an example of something that I paid for, but didn’t get to enjoy.

The webpage for the resort never indicated that the beach was “top optional.” Certainly I know that women not wearing a bathing suit top is culturally acceptable in some parts of the world, and I don’t expect your company to control the actions/behaviors of everyone. I just wish I had known prior to booking the trip. And one thing my husband said, “I’m glad we didn’t bring our son.” The information presented to me was that this resort is a family place, is kid-friendly, & features a kid’s club. Among American standards/morals, nudity & children aren’t usually coupled together. I just think that if going topless on the beach is a common thing at this resort, then it needs to be disclosed prior to booking the trip, and then again at the resort. That way, if people are uncomfortable with that, they can stay by the pool rather than the beach, or keep their kids off the beach.

When booking the trip, I was told that all kinds of things were included, such as kayaks, windsurfing, and horseback riding. It leads you to believe that you will be doing each of these activities right there on the beach, at the resort. With the horseback riding, yes, they technically offer it. You get to go to a nearby ranch, not on the beach, for a 30 minute lesson. I hate to stereotype all Texans by any means, but for my husband and I—we are very well trained in the arena of horseback riding. We don’t need a 30 minute lesson. I was really looking forward to horseback riding on the beach—which was offered, if I wanted to pay extra for that. Stating that you offer horseback riding at this beach resort is a bit misleading, while it remains technically correct.

Another thing that bothered me: actions/behaviors of the uniformed hotel employees.
1) We could not pass through the lobby without a uniformed employee constantly trying to upgrade our room, or upgrade our package. I already paid for the trip. I was very displeased at this point—and hounding me for more money only contributed to my anger. The last thing I wanted to do was give that resort ANY more of my money, regardless of what they promised to deliver. They had not made good on the promises made with my initial reservation, so why would I believe that the “upgraded package” would be any different? And the hassle of being stopped every time I walked through the lobby was frustrating. I was ON VACATION! I didn’t want to stand there waste vacation time.
2) Offering drugs & hookers. Yes, you read that correctly. Uniformed employees (one in particular, an employee named “Bill”) were behaving inappropriately with paying resort customers. I am not the only one offended by this. On our last day at the resort, a woman from New Jersey was also upset by this employee. He asked her if she had any marijuana. She was there with her husband, 2 year old son, and 4 year old son. She was very offended by this man, and began yelling at him. Not something that you particularly want to witness while on vacation, and yet she was completely justified. We (my husband & I) overheard him approach her about drugs, and the whole situation could have been avoided if he had never opened his mouth in the first place. A couple of days before that, we overheard that uniformed employee trying to set up an overweight American man with a prostitute. The man expressed that he was not interested & kept walking. I understand that you cannot control the behaviors/actions of random people who happen upon the beach. But uniformed employees directly reflect the resort, and the company name.

My husband and I have been to the Allegro resort in Aruba, where we became engaged.
My husband and I have been to the Occidental Allegro Papagayo in Costa Rica, which was our honeymoon.

The Allegro in Aruba was fine.

The resort in Costa Rica was phenomenal. And, until going on this trip—I don’t think we fully appreciated just how great your resort in Costa Rica is. The customer service there was exquisite. The food was better. The amenities were better. It didn’t offer as many activities as the Punta Cana resort, but the people who worked the resort in Costa Rica were nicer, friendlier, and just more customer service oriented.

There were 3 bright spots at the Punta Cana resort:
1. The beautiful water & white sand beach.
2. A waiter that we had a majority of the time; his name was Mercado, and he was the NICEST person at the whole resort. We actually looked forward to chatting with him during our meal times.
3. The spa. Although the services were not included in our package, I knew that ahead of time. The prices at the spa were reasonable, and the services offered were varied. The employees there were a pleasure. My husband enjoyed one spa session, and I enjoyed 2. The Metamorphosis Spa is a little gem there at the Punta Cana resort.

All in all, I am embarrassed that I took my husband to the Occidental Resort in Punta Cana. I am embarrassed that I gave your company my money. I feel tricked for believing that your company would deliver on all that was promised. And if I worked for Occidental Resorts right now, I would be ashamed that this is the ultimate product/service we are offering under the Occidental/Allegro name. We were considering joining the Vacation Club, but not now. I will never return to your Punta Cana resort.

I hope this letter will spark some changes. I really don’t think I can express to you how disappointed I was. I work hard for my money and vacation time. When I spend money on a resort & use my vacation time for traveling, I expect to have a good time. Perhaps my expectations of your company were just a bit too high.

Thank you,

So anyway...that's what I'm sending, but it includes the actual photographs of the yucky stuff.
Occidental Grand Flamenco in Punta Cana, DR sucked.


At 7:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Great letter!

At 2:49 AM , Anonymous Sheal said...

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At 8:32 AM , Blogger Joshua said...

Punta Cana isn't the US. Why would you expect people on the beach to conform to US standards. You seem entirely too uptight That's why I down't want to have kids, they suck the joy out of life. You're in a third world nation, if you want it to be like the United States, go to Key West. I agree that some aspects are not acceptable, but I think your just another one of those people that don't want to experience the country, you just want to stay in a model of the US.

At 7:16 PM , Blogger Liza said...

That would really be disappointing. I just hope that the management of the said resort would consider and take necessary actions to what you've noticed about their place. Very interesting post!


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