E-Ring stolen from safe in Majestic Colonial Punta Cana
Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:02 PM
I am writing to you regarding my recent experience on Sunday January 13, 2008 at the Majestic Colonial Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Just a background on my holiday- My now husband and I traveled with 37 other guests (totaling 39 guests) to the Majestic Colonial from January 6-13 for my destination wedding, of which 32 of them booked through Air Transat. This was supposed to be a joyous and special occasion, which turned out to be a nightmare.
On January 13th, our departure date, I realized at about 5pm (Dominican Republic time) that my $25,000 diamond engagement ring was missing from the safety deposit box. I called the front desk of the resort 7 times and spoke to a few different people. I called front desk crying and frantic and asked for the hotel manager and security manager to come to my room (I was in room 2137). After each call I was told that someone would arrive in a couple of minutes. After my 7th call to reception I finally had a gentleman show up at my door that did not speak a word of English. I ran from my room to the front desk at the main reception and started to report that my diamond engagement ring had been stolen from the safety deposit box and wanted the hotelâ€™s general manager, my tour operator representative (Air Transat/Nolitours) and the Punta Cana police to be called. Immediately, they refused to call any of these people. I had Angel from the front desk say that there was no reason for the police to be called as well as my tour representative and that the hotelâ€™s general manager was on his day off. I was refused help at any level. Angel went as far as to take the phone away from me and refused to provide me with the phone numbers to the Police and tour operator. I remembered that there was a binder on my tour operatorâ€™s desk, which would have her emergency number. I ran over to the desk and brought the binder to the front desk and asked to use the phone again and they refused. At this point I was extremely frustrated and angry because my rights as a citizen were taken from me- I felt as if I was a prisoner and held hostage because they would not help me nor would they provide me with phone numbers of people I needed to contact for help as well as the phone to literally call them. Finally, after 45 minutes, the hotelâ€™s general manager, Jose Maria Gutierrez, was called and came to the resort. They took me into a room to try and find out what was going on. At this point I had expressed my disgust at the resorts way of handling problems â€“ there are no systems in place in case a guest is left dealing with a problem. Is it really appropriate for me to have to make 7 calls and wait over 25 minutes for someone to show up at my room to assist me? They didnâ€™t know what the problem was when I called- just that I was extremely upset and crying over the phone. Someone could have died in my room and no one even cared. The resort manager Jose Maria Andres (another manager) agreed to call the police for me as well as my tour operator Ginette Lussier.
Once the tour operator representative and the police arrived, Iâ€™m not even sure if this was really the Punta Cana police as the main officer showed up at the resort in jeans and a Hawaiian print shirt and did not show any proof of being a police officer. However, another gentleman who was clothed in a police uniform escorted him. We went back to our room and showed them the safety deposit box. All throughout this problem I felt that I was the one left to deal with all the problems. We were also asked to bring back our luggage to our rooms from front desk and asked to open them up for the police officers to look through and search. Once we opened the luggage, they were barely even touched or searched. At no point was there any problem solving used to try and get to the bottom of the problem. It is very clear that this was a set-up from the start and that an employee from the resort had been planning this from the start and waited until the last possible minute to come into my room and steal my diamond ring. They did this at the last possible minute so that they knew they would leave us in a bad situation where we would only have a couple of hours to catch our flight back home. The missing ring was identified at 5pm and our bus for the group from Nolitours was supposed to be arriving at the resort at 6:40pm. WE WERE FRAMED- this was a set-up with a few people in on this scheme to steal my diamond ring. Everyone at the resort was trying to cover up and no one was speaking or trying to help. Finally, I asked Jose Maria, the general manager, for a computerized report of a time and name record of all the people that had been in my room that day. Since the key was a computerized card, they were able to print this report for me. There was a lady by the name of Angelita Guerrero who is a supervisor at the hotel that entered my room at 1:19pm. There was absolutely NO reason for her to enter my room nor did she have any right to enter my room. When I questioned her as to why she entered the room, it was translated by Andres (another employee of the resort) into English that she came to check to see if I had checked out of the room. There was no need for this because the resort was fully aware from the morning before (on January 12th at around 10am) that I was having a late check out (since we were the bride and groom and as per our wedding package had the ability to have a late check out, subject to availability). I spoke to Francisco, the front desk manager on January 12th at 10am and was told â€˜no problemâ€™, that I could keep the room until 5:30pm and that he would put the note on our profile. I saw him with my 2 eyes put this on our room number. He also mentioned that we would need to return on the morning of Sunday January 13th with our keys to the front desk prior to 12 Noon so that they can be re-programmed so that the keys would work until 5:30pm. We had 3 keys to our room- 2 were re-programmed and given back to us and 1 was left at the front desk. We had 3 keys because 2 were given to us upon check in and the third was given to us because I was sleeping in the room and had taken the key to go into the room earlier than my husband and rather than him waking me up to open the door, he went to the front desk to ask for another key. Iâ€™m wondering if there is a possibility that the 3rd key that was returned to the front desk was re-programmed as well and used by an employee of the resort to gain access to our room when we werenâ€™t there because from the computerized report from the key access to our room, there is 1 entry time logged as â€˜clientâ€™ that was not us- we back tracked yesterday afternoon and there was 1 entry point which does not make any sense. Either that, or Angelita was escorted by another employee, more than likely one who has access to open safety deposit boxes into our room to steal my diamond ring. There was absolutely NO QUESTIONING from the police and hotel management as to the whereabouts of Angelita or Enrique- there was no investigation in place. The managers of the resort stood in the background when Enrique demonstrated how a hotel employee opens up the safe. They kept telling me I had lost my ring and not owning up to the fact that it was not lost, but stolen by a hotel employee. No one else had access to our room. No one else had been in our safe that day. I explained and repeated myself multiple times through physical demonstration what events occurred in the morning and how the 2 rings on my fingers were taken off and where in the safety deposit box it was placed. It is not impossible to hack a safety deposit box- unfortunately, itâ€™s a false sense of security because by putting your documents, money and other personal valuables in the safety deposit box, you need to be ready for the harsh reality that an employee has access to stealing this. I kept asking for these people to be searched and investigated and they kept saying that we would have to go to the police because this was out of their hands. What amazed me is that at no point did someone try to help us- all of them kept their mouths zipped because this was a group effort and they knew that the resortâ€™s reputation was on the line. I made it very clear that I wanted to leave this resort with either my diamond ring or $25,000 to replace my diamond ring.
We were told that if we wanted to start an investigation process that we would have to proceed to the police station for them to write a report and to start an investigation process which could take up to 45 days to be dealt with. Meanwhile, we were told by our Nolitours representative Ginette and her supervisor Emily that if we chose to stay back at the resort or if we went to the police to report this, we would risk losing our flight and would have to incur the costs of alternate travel at a later date on our own. Really we were left with our hands tied because this was a set-up- all conducted so perfectly that it would not leave us with any time to deal with the problem. Instead of a police report being written, we only received a claim form on Air Transat letterhead of what had gone missing (a To Whom It May Concern).
You will never be able to understand the pain and suffering that I have endured since Sunday afternoon, January 13th. This was not just any vacation- this was my WEDDING!!!! All my memories and experiences of this week have been ruined. I expect that there will be support from the resort in trying to get to the bottom of this and for starting a formal investigation through the police in the Punta Cana.
Furthermore, we had 2 rooms that had severe problems. One was the room of Edik Harunian and his family and the other was the room of Steve Harutunian and Susan Wall. Edik was originally given a room with 1 king bed for a family of 4, which is not a huge problem, but he had to wait for a few hours before he was given an appropriate room. Then once he switched to that room, he was given another room in building 1 that had major plumbing issues. There literally, excuse my language, [censored] spewing out from the Jacuzzi tub when he had the shower turned on and the feces covered the floor of the room. They were left packing their belongings and walking in a pile of feces to try and get out of this room. Edik went to complain to front desk and even called Flight Centre back home (company with which we booked through) and was given another room again. There was very little sympathy from the resort and Edik had to ask several times to be granted a late check out and for the phone fees of about $16 to be waived because of all the problems he had endured with his room and inconveniencing him to re-pack and move to 3 different rooms during his stay with his 2 young children. Steve Harutunianâ€™s room lost complete power on my wedding day, January 9th, 2008. He placed 4 calls over the course of a couple of hours to front desk for them to send someone to his room to look into this matter because he needed to shower and get ready for my wedding. After every time he called, he was told someone would come right away. As usual, no one was sent. He went to the front desk to argue with the manager and told them that if no one was sent to fix their power problems or if a new room was not assigned, that there would be consequences to deal with regarding complaints being lodged to different people. Finally, after a 6 hour wait and having to use the washroom in another family memberâ€™s room to get ready for my wedding, they came to fix the problem. Again, there was no sympathy from the resort.
Now weâ€™re onto January 13th again, where my guests are getting ready to depart for the airport, despite a few of us staying behind to deal with the stolen diamond ring. When Jason Pereira, a guest in our group checked out of his room at around 2pm, he was told to leave his luggage in the storage room next to the reception desk until his bus arrived later that evening. When he asked the front desk manager, â€˜Is it safe for me to leave my baggage in there?â€™ he received a response from Francisco â€˜Itâ€™s safe as a bank.â€™ Thus, there was no reason for him to assume that an employee from the resort would rummage through his belongings and steal his ipod and a silver chain. When he went to pick up his baggage from the room, he thoroughly checked everything to notice that these 2 personal items had gone missing. He asked for the bell boy who handled his baggage to come out so that he can be confronted and the resort refused to bring him out, instead, they said â€˜No sir, he canâ€™t come outâ€™. He kept insisting that he wanted to see this bell boy and confront him and have him return his belongings and they wouldnâ€™t allow him to speak to this bell boy. He even asked for all the security people at the front and all the bell boys to come out because he would be able to identify based on physical appearance and not by name alone because he did not pay specific attention at 2pm to the name of the person. When the Nolitours bus arrived at the resort for the 6:40pm pick up, 2 of the security guards and a couple of the bell boys stood in front of the bus saying â€˜[censored] Youâ€™ to Jason Pereira and pointing their middle finger at them. Honestly, from a 5 star resort, what kind of service is this? I wouldnâ€™t even expect this to occur in a 2 star, let alone the Majestic Colonial. Furthermore, 2 security guards went onto the Nolitours bus and threatened Edik Harunian to get off the bus, go to reception and to pay the $16 in phone charges which he was told by the front desk manager Francisco would be waived because of all the room issues he had. They would not leave him alone- they grabbed his arms and were trying to get him off the bus and kept threatening him in front of a group of 32 people including small children. Finally, one of my other uncles went to pay off the front desk because he was afraid of the physical and mental abuse that was occurring, especially in front of the small children. THIS BEHAVIOUR IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE AND THREATENING A GUEST BECAUSE YOUR INFORMATION IS NOT PROPERLY INPUTTED INTO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEMS IS NOT LEGAL NOR WILL IT BE TOLERATED. This is absolutely appaling behaviour.
My expectation is that the Majestic Colonial will compensate me for all the emotional and physical damage that I have suffered. To have such a sentimental and valuable item stolen from the safety deposit box should not be tolerated. I want my ring found and returned to me safely. If not, I expect that there is going to be compensation for my stolen diamond ring either through the Majestic Colonial. This is not a $5 ring- this ring was my $25,000 solitaire diamond engagement ring that cannot be replaced. The events that occurred on Sunday January 13th have literally ruined the memories of what was supposed to be the most joyous event in my life thus far. How can you represent such a hotel? Shame on all these people. I will broadcast to the world the kind of resort and people they are. Nobody should have to endure the pain and suffering, the stress and embarrassment and spoiled memories that I have from their wedding week all because the resort employs money hungry, dishonest, poverty sticken individuals that are the face of the Majestic Colonial. You cannot understand what I have been left to deal with and with no support. This has literally ruined my entire wedding experience as well as the memories of all my guests, an event I have looked forward to my entire life. How is this fair? Nothing will ever take away the pain and suffering I have been dealing with but I do expect payback from the resort - I want my diamond ring recovered. I want the public to be made aware of the scandals that take place at this resort and how my rights as a human being were refused. It is illegal to take my right away from me to phone the police to report a theft. It is crystal clear that this was a planned cover up operation. I want this situation to be thoroughly investigated and I want the individuals responsible fired and criminally charged with theft because theyâ€™re the ones that should be paying the price, not an innocent traveler like myself. When I am told by management that itâ€™s safe to leave valuables, documents such as passports and money in my room safe, then it is the hotelâ€™s responsibility to hold themselves accountable and make every attempt to locate the ring and if one is not able to locate it then to compensate the person for their loss. I will broadcast in local and national newspapers the lack of support I was given from resort management and my tour operator if this case is going to be put on the back burner.
You have to understand, my rights as a citizen were taken from me- the people of the Dominican Republic have no right of denying my rights to make a phone call or to report this theft to the police and to open an investigation. I should not have to resort to yelling and screaming and wait 2 hours before I am granted the opportunity to open a file with the police, all when itâ€™s too late and my flight is departing. Looking back on this conspiracy and set up, I cannot believe the events that took place on Sunday January 13th and how the everyone involved just tried to ignore this was going on until so late in the day when they knew that I had no other option but to leave. I expect justice for what has happened and I will not rest until I am satisfied with the outcome. Shame on this resort! Shame on the employees of this resort!! I will not rest until those that have committed the crime have paid for what theyâ€™ve done.
Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:12 PM
Im glad she is prosecuting them and not letting them get away with it who knows how many people they have done that to
Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:14 PM
- LeanneP likes this
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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:27 PM
Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:30 PM
All that said, I do feel really bad for her because that is a really crappy thing to have happen. I would be telling the world about what happened, I would write to the papers and put it on all the websites possible and even tell the news. They need to get to the bottom of that and fire some people, that is just terrible.
Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:34 PM
| Originally Posted by gkashmira |
Well I do feel bad for this girl but I guess the lesson that we should all learn is do not store items in the hotel safe. Obviously the hotel staff can access them (the must be locked and left a million times each). Some very fancy hotels have safes at the front desks but I Don't know which would be better. I wonder why she left her ring in there to begin with (I wouldn't leave a $25,000 anything in the hotel room!)
If I had something that was actually worth 25K, I certainly wouldn't have A) brought it w/ me to the DR ... put in the safe ... C) taken it off my finger -- ever.
Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:43 PM
| Originally Posted by foxytv |
If I had something that was actually worth 25K, I certainly wouldn't have A) brought it w/ me to the DR ... put in the safe ... C) taken it off my finger -- ever.
However, obviously this person did not think about it and clearly she is in the right to make sure EVERYBODY in the world knows what happened here. Certainly the person who stole the ring should be fired (though they may already have quit and retired on their 25K) and the hotel should reimburse the bride. I wonder if insurance would cover it outside of the country like that? That would certainly be interesting to know!
Posted 17 January 2008 - 01:29 AM
I've been to DR once and will never return back. I never felt so unsafe in my life.
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