RIU Hotels & Resorts / we will now become your 'nightmare'!
Riu hotels & resorts - www.riu.com
Attn: ms. monica serrano
Riu palace resort
Luis riu, president and ceo
Carmen riu and luis riu, jr.
Riu palace resort
Cc: leonel fernandez reyna felicio jimenez jeff, duty officer
President minister of tourism american embassy
Dominican republic dominican republic dominican republic
New york times new york daily news new york post
Travel editor travel editor travel editor
Dear ms. serrano:
We are writing this letter to you with a copy to all of the above regarding the deplorable experience we had at riu palace macao resort, punta cana, dominican republic and the unprofessional behavior of the staff at the resort and the authorities in your country.
My husband, who was born and is a citizen of the dominican republic and whose family still resides there, and I decided to renew our wedding vows for our 25th wedding anniversary at the riu palace macao on october 8th 2007. (we arrived on october 5, 2007.) we reserved rooms for our guests who were traveling with us from the united states and over 60 people were attending the ceremony and reception to help us celebrate our special day. all reservations and plans for our wedding and reception were confirmed many months in advance. before we go into what happened on october 8, 2007, let me tell you what transpired from the first day of our stay.
Our guests, robert dobles, his wife sylvia and their daughter laura were staying in room #3336. their cell phone and ipod were stolen from their room. our niece, priscilla arias was staying in room #3338 and while she was bathing she heard someone trying to open the balcony doors, thinking it was her sister trying to get in she went to look, it was not her sister, it was someone trying to break into her room. she startled him since he probably thought the room was empty and he ran and climbed to the roof. she went to get my husband and our friends who tried to find him but were unable to. both of these instances were reported to sub-director, franklin trinidad when we were finally able to locate him many hours later. he was very nonchalantabout both these incidents and his response was that there was a safe in the rooms for valuables and that he was already working 'two hours over his usual work time'. he did not feel it was necessary to address the incident with our 19-year-old niece who could have been badly hurt or worse if she was attacked. safety of your guests does not seem to be an important matter to your hotel if mr. trinidad is your representative. while we were speaking to mr. trinidad, we met two women who were staying in room #3317 who also had their cell phone stolen. mr. trinidad shrugged his shoulders at their story and did not seem concerned. I guess robberies in your hotel are a normal occurrence. we inquired with the front desk if a police report was issued for the robbery and break-in and we were told that no police report gets issued only a 'resort report' will be issued. the two women in room #3317 reported the incident to their travel agent who contacted the resort and told the resort representative that they were not going to refer vacationers to riu palace macao unless the women's issue was resolved. the women were immediately compensated for their trouble. (priscilla arias had her room changed to #3357 after the attempted break-in)
We met with your so-called wedding planner, magnolia on saturday, october 6, 2007, to confirm all aspects of our ceremony and reception on october 8, 2007, and to discuss alternate plans for our ceremony in case it rained. our 24-year-old daughter, my mother, cousin, our best man and his wife were also present when we discussed plans with magnolia. our main concern was the weather and what alternate plans were in place if it rained. magnolia stated repeatedly that 'it is not going to rain'. each time we asked her to tell us what the alternate plan was if it did rain she said, 'it is not going to rain'. no matter how many times we asked, she would not elaborate on any alternate plans if it rained. she told us that we were not to worry everything would be taken care of. needless to say, it rained, and her alternate plan was to put over 60 people in a small, dingy, moldy smelling room near the kitchen for our wedding ceremony and reception. this was done only after our guests, my husband and myself were allowed to sit in the rain until her alternate plan was in place. october 8, 2007 was supposed to be our special day. we were married 25 years ago by a justice of the peace and we wanted this day, 25 years later, to be special. well it was, it was 'especially horrible'.
We spent the entire morning of our ceremony waiting to speak to mr. trinidad. we went to the reception desk at 9:00 am on october 8th and when the front desk contacted mr. tinidad, he said he would be there in 20 minutes. he did not show up until 11:00 am and was not the least bit concerned or apologetic about keeping us waiting. as a matter of fact, he stated that he is not a 'robot' whatever that is supposed to mean. we have recorded proof of mr. tirnidad's condescending conversation. by this time, we were angry and upset and insisted upon speaking to mr. tinidad's superior. mr. miguel rodriguez who we were told was the 'director' finally spoke to us. we wanted to know what he was going to do about securing the safety of our guests and the guests of your hotel. he stated that 'there would be security on our floor and that we could put our valuables in the safe deposit boxes in the rooms'. this did not comfort us at all. the only time we saw security guards posted on the night of october 8th, and the police were still not contacted about the robberies and break-ins. my mother-in-law, alma arias a dominican citizen and resident, finally had to contact the local police and a report was made.
On friday, october 12, 2007, we 'bumped' into mr. trinidad and asked him how we could get a copy of the police report. he told me we had to go to the police station in person. we asked him to arrange transportation and make arrangements for us to speak to someone once we got to the police station. mr. trinidad made arrangements for us to speak to the person who was 'supposedly' in charge of the robbery. when we arrived at the police station the person we saw refused to give us his name. we explained what transpired at the hotel and that another one of our guests had a pair of $150.00 sneakers stolen from his room. he made a joke of this and told us, 'he had a pair of sneakers he could give him'. everything was a big joke to him. my husband was very angry and this 'person' taunted my husband by getting on his knees and begging my husband to hit him'. we have witnesses to what transpired at the police station and cannot believe the way we were treated. this person then told us we had to go to the 'tourist police station', we had to buy stamps and then come back to him. by this time, we had enough. we went back to the hotel and asked to speak to miguel rodriguez. while my husband was speaking to mr. rodriguez, I called the american embassy to relate what was going on and how threatened we all felt, how we were being 'taunted' by franklin trinidad and that we were all afraid to be alone at any time anywhere in your hotel. the american embassy representative told mr. rodriguez to keep mr. trinidad away from our group.
Also on a side note, on october 11, 2007 one of our guests julio negro room #3341, rented a quad with his son for a sight seeing tour. at 11:45 am on october 11, 2007, he passed the tourist police precinct and saw your director, franklin trinidad standing in front of the precinct with officers in uniform, drinking beer.
Needless to say, our 25th wedding anniversary, renewal of vows and our vacation along with our guest's vacation, were ruined. we were devastated and heartbroken. I needed to seek medical attention upon my return to the united states and now find myself under doctor's care due what we were put through. we spent what should have been one of the happiest times of our lives scared, embarrassed and humiliated. it was a nightmare. what we planned for months, was totally ruined by your unprofessional staff and government officials. we did not receive any satisfaction in any way from anyone associated with your hotel. no one said 'i'm sorry'. no one tried to help us in any way. you should all be ashamed of yourselves and your countrymen.
We promise you, we will not let this rest. we will now become your 'nightmare'.
Virginia and julio arias
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