A friend of mine recently returned from a vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and the all-inclusive deal included a potential rapist/murderer.
I tend to battle things that I find disturbing, uncomfortable, or awkward with jokes. Hence, the GIF’s. But make no mistake, this is a very serious issue, and I’m writing this blog not only to warn others of the potential danger you may be exposed to in the Dominican Republic but to expose Grand Memories Resort and Sunwing Vacations for their lack of professionalism and empathy, which only serves to perpetuate incidents such as the following.
Ayzha & Sharifa are friends who travel together a lot. They took their children on a trip to Punta Cana recently and stayed at the Grand Memories Resort. Sharifa’s dad came along so that the ladies could go out and enjoy themselves in the evening, which they tried to do until it all went south.
The women booked 3 rooms: Ayzha and her children in one, Sharifa and her kids in another, and Sharifa’s father had his own room. On the second night of their vacation, some creep stalked them back to their rooms from the resort disco and managed to acquire their room telephone numbers.
He called Ayzha’s room within seconds of her entering her room and in Spanish said: “I want your p*ssy.” The following night he called Sharifa’s room and told her to come meet him at the pool. Again, within minutes of the women entering their rooms.
To make matters worse, the only decent response to what these women were experiencing was by a sales manager name Unis. She took the ladies to Guest Services to file a report and requested they have a security guard stand post outside of their rooms through the night. Only that didn’t happen, and things quickly escalated.
Thinking that security would be outside of their doors and that they would be safe, Ayzha and Sharifa decided to put their best feet forward and try to have fun. They intended on going to a club off of the resort, but due to the incidents of the previous few nights, they decided to stay on the resort and attend the disco there. This time they even returned to their rooms much earlier than the times before.
The women were awoken by their room phones in the middle of the night. Ayzha called the lobby to report it and the receptionist advised that it was probably a wrong number. She informed him what had been happening and he assured her that he would send someone to her room. This bit of information is important because what happens next is terrifying.
Ayzha and Sharifa had been on their cell phones with one another since being awoken by the room phones. Suddenly there was a knock at Ayzha’s door. She peered through the peep-hole and there was a man standing there in plain clothes. Was this the person that the lobby sent? Why isn’t he in uniform? Should she open the door? If this isn’t security, who is it? With Sharifa on her cell, Ayzha cracked open the door. She asked who are you and what do you want? The man replied, “It’s ok, come with me.” Ayzha shut the door and locked it. The man continued to knock at the door saying “It’s alright, open the door, open the door.” Eventually with all of the racket, Ayzha’s children awoke and began crying. The man then moved onto Sharifa’s door. Ayzha called the front desk to inform them of what was happening. They said they would send someone. To her knowledge, no one showed.
The response by Grand Memories and Sunwing:
As this resort was one of those which have two sides, the women were offered to move to the neighbouring resort, the Royalton. The problem is that guests have access to both sides so in theory this stalker could still find them. But they thought something is better than nothing so they would give it a go. Unfortunaetly, in order to ensure their safety, the Sunwing representative Danyel, wanted them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before the problem even got resolved. When the women asked to speak with the police they were told that there are no Tourist Police in the Dominican – which they would discover was a blatant lie. The Guest Services and Sunwing representatives also told the women that they would not have the police come to the resort and that they would have to travel to the police station to file a formal report. The women agreed, but then were told transportation to the station would cost them $40USD. This was like salt in the wound and Ayzha and Sharifa had had enough. They eventually made it to the police station where the matter was dealt with accordingly.
The Sunwing representative Danyel tried to make the women sign NDA’s prior to dealing with the issue of their safety, rather than making that request after properly resolving the problem. Danyel also asked that the women sign a statement saying that they refused to go to the police station, when in reality, they only refused to pay $40USD to get there. Danyel and the Grand Memories representative lied to the women about the existence of “tourism police” in the Dominican Republic.
A Sunwing representative other than Danyel, only contacted the women about the matter after they had posted the incident on social media. A representative, informed them that they would arrange for transportation to the police station but never followed through or followed up with them.
The only help that the women received was from the staff at the Royalton (the resort next to Grand Memories), the resort at which they weren’t even guests, as well as officer Luis Fernandez.
Ayzha has epilepsy, and not being able to sleep due to the incidents left her suffering with headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
It’s unclear as to whether the creep was a local who was permitted on the resort or a tourist who spoke Spanish.
PSA: being a creep is never a good strategy for getting it in. Just don’t be a creep.
Ayzha and Sharifa’s vacation was ruined by the fear of potentially being sexually assaulted, raped, or even murdered. More devastation was created by the lack of f*cks given by Grand Memories and Sunwing, who had already collected their money from the women.
Sunwing recently contacted Ayzha with the typical “the safety of our customers is of paramount importance bullsh*t yada yada yada…” but stated that “they acted accordingly, there was no negligence, and are not responsible.”
If you’re going to the Domincan Republic just be careful. This long-time tourist favourite destination has been a little sketchy as of late.