We were married at the Paradisus Punta Cana on 4/13/13. From the moment I started the planning process, it was a complete nightmare. I will start from the beginning...
I began planning my wedding in January 2012. After looking at a couple of islands and looking at reviews, we decided to get married at the Paradisus Punta Cana. The reviews were mixed but they weren't as bad as most of the other locations I found. I had a personal reference from someone I knew, so we booked our wedding date and began the process. Unfortunately, while informing our guest of our negotiated rate, we found that the online rate was lower than the group rate they were giving us. After debating this with my wedding planner, she agreed to match the rate. After our discussion, I followed up with an email to her and her manager. In all honesty, I couldn't understand why a couple could get a better rate than my guests since I was planning a large wedding. Months went by and my guests booked through the wedding coordinator because we were promised the lower rate. After many follow up calls and emails asking for a confirmation of the rate we were promised, I was contacted by the manager and told that my guests would not receive the lower rate. At this point, my guests were booked and paid a deposit. They promised the lower rate in email and refused to keep their word. They told me that my guests would be subject to a cancelation fee of $50 per person if they canceled their reservation to book it online. I had no control over this. I felt helpless since we were already booked and paid more than 50% for our wedding and had over 50 people booked to come to our wedding. This is just one incident.
The person in charge of booking our rooms was very unorganized and unresponsive. Almost every time I called her and asked for something, she would promise a response by the end of the week. She rarely kept her word. I followed up with her after a week or two of not hearing from her and she would promise it again by the â€œend of the week.â€ My guests also had issues reaching her and with her not following up with their requests. I raised my concerns with her manager and she made matters worse. She was very confrontational and did not take ownership for her employees lack of responsibility. They did not take accountability and it took a few emails to get an apology.
I asked her what her standard turn around time was and she stated that they have a standard two business day turn around time. I dealt with their office for over a year and they rarely met their turn around time. I also spoke to the manager on several occasions about the woman in charge of our room reservations and her lack of response on requests my guests were making. She asked me for a list and after giving her a list of specific items, she claimed to check their call logs, messages and email and not have a record of all of our requests. Again, instead of apologizing and fixing it, they tried to cover it up and pretty much said we never made the requests.
This is just a quick summary of what I went through planning my wedding at the Paradisus. This office plans weddings at all of their sites so please be think twice before you book it here. The only person I enjoyed dealing with was my wedding coordinator, Bianca. She was very responsive and patient throughout the process.
So after planning my wedding for over a year, I thought all of the issues I dealt with would be over.... I was wrong.
Apparently, the hotel has a new system and they lost half of my guests reservations. They tried to charge twice the price for my sister-in-laws room but we refused because we had a printed confirmation. We arrived on 4/10/13. A few other people that arrived on the same day had to wait hours for their room to be available.
We stayed in the â€œRoyal Service Ambassador Suite with Whirlpoolâ€ located in the Royal Service area. Aside from the private villa, this was the nicest room on the property. This is the VIP section of the hotel that comes with a private butler. We paid close to $4000 for 5 nights. Within hours of being there, I realized that this room was more like an old car with new paint. We did not have hot water for 2 days so we had to bathe in the jacuzzi. When we finally had hot water, the shower head broke. Our toilet also broke over 5 times. Our bedroom wasnâ€™t close to the entry door. We could not hear people knocking on our door from the room, shower or bathroom so we had random workers walking into our room, not to mention at 10 pm on our honeymoon night. Our phone did not work the entire time. It would ring once and go dead. We had no clue who was trying to reach us. I called many times to the royal service desk and they seemed confused each time. I had to explain the problem to them every time I called. I had guests flying in from all over the country and I had no way of reaching them. When I called the front desk to get their room numbers, they could not find them in the system.
The day after our arrival, the onsite wedding coordinator called me at the spa to inform me that the assistant general manager (second in command) wanted to speak to me. I met him by the pool and he informed me that they were overbooked and they had to move 9 of my rooms to the Paradisus Palma Real. He told me that the hotel was 5 minutes away and they would pay for unlimited transportation to and from the hotels. He also promised to give my guests a $300 resort credit for the inconvenience and upgrade them to the royal service so they could receive VIP service. I refused to move half of my wedding party to another hotel so he offered to move my guests to the resort next door and they would just have to cross the beach to get to the Paradisus. He promised to give them the $300 resort credit, VIP service and pay for transportation. I walked away from him in tears because there was nothing I could say. How do you inform a bride who spent well over $20,000 at your resort that youâ€™re moving half of her guests to another resort?
After dealing with that issue, the hotel was unable to give me a list of the people they displaced. I had no clue who was at the resort and who was moved. I later found out that they only moved a handful of my guests because most of my guests refused to be moved. The guests that were moved, were not moved next door, but were moved to the Paradisus Palma Real which was approx. 30 min away. Of the people they moved, they moved my Matron of Honor. She had to wait for a cab at her hotel, come to the Paradisus Punta Cana, and catch a trolley to our location. This took over an hour each time. They also had a really hard time finding someone to pay for the cab fare to and from the hotel, as the asst. general manager promised. This was exhausting for them. They also were only given a $200 resort credit instead of $300 promised and they were not upgraded to VIP.
From the moment I arrived at the hotel, our personal butler asked if I wanted to get a few of the girls together the night before the wedding in our room. I agreed and he said he would have bottles and food ready when we got to the room at 9 pm. I grabbed my friends and went to my room only to find 2 bottles and no food. I called the Royal Service lounge and the woman that answered had no idea what I was talking about. She told me that I had to order the food through room service. I refused to order food because this was promised to me and I confirmed this with the butler 3 times including the morning of the event. I really donâ€™t understand why we paid for the service because they did not do a thing for us and all I asked was for a night with my friends.
I traveled with my 11 year old daughter who stayed with my mother in another part of the resort. As I was leaving my room, I stopped by the towel stand to grab some towels. My daughter had been in the sun all day and I noticed that they had a bottle of kids sunblock so I took a small amount on my hand and put some on her shoulders and face. One of the employees approached me and told me that I was not allowed to give her the sunblock because she was not a part of the royal service (18 over) and his manager and security would be upset if they saw me. Really??? After all of the bull I dealt with, approaching me and trying to stop me from using a small amount of sunblock we the tipping point. I told him that his manager and security should approach me because I had enough. He walked away and I didnâ€™t hear from them again.
My mother-in-law and aunt had food poisoning after being there for 3 days. It only lasted about 24 hours so I was glad they bounced back quick. Iâ€™m a foodie and I was told the food at the resort was amazing. I was NOT IMPRESSED. The restaurants required reservations and although we called every morning around 10, the restaurants were always booked. We had to settle for the buffets and I honestly could not wait to go home to cook. I like seasoning and flavor and they were lacking big time. If I didnâ€™t have 51 people at our resort, I wouldâ€™ve checked out day one.
I did not smile at all until my wedding day. I went to bed the night before and made a conscious decision to let it all go and enjoy my wedding and that is exactly what I did. My wedding was perfect and the food was great. I could not wait to leave and begin our honeymoon. The resort we chose for our honeymoon was amazing and if I had to do it again, I wouldâ€™ve changed locations.
It took me an entire month to write this. Iâ€™m in a good and happy space and writing this brings me to a bad place. I do not wish the aggravation I experienced dealing with the Paradisus on no one. I had a lot of patience and not once did they compensate me for my aggravation. Iâ€™m going to write my review on every wedding website I find. When I think of my wedding, itâ€™s hard not to think of everything I went through. This is just a summary. As a part of our package, we receive a complimentary anniversary stay. I will never in my life return to this resort, nor will I recommend it to anyone. I want no part in this resort and I feel really bad that my guests had to endure the pain and aggravation from the Paradisus and I hope that when they think of my wedding, they remember the fun we had during the wedding and not the frustration they experienced.