42 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Doesnt feel like we have had a holiday
"Just got back from Casa Marina, was there for 3 weeks. The first week for okay, even though I was not impressed with the room, there are no shelves or storage, the bathroom was awful, broken tiles, cracks everywhere, with the odd bug hiding in them, And a broken towel hanger. I found the shower to be disgusting, when you stand in the bath, it feels like the bath unit will break, it was very flimsy, the shower unit sprayed water everywhere apart from straight down to you. The 2nd and 3rd week it rained every day. Even though that is not their fault, there is no where to go for shelter, apart from sit in your room all day. The resort was only 20% full and there was only 1 buffet restaurant open for the whole time we were there, and they obviously took this quiet period to carry out major maintenance work, with only 1 bar open and the place looking like a building site, which made great holiday snaps! The food was the worst ever, every morning you are stuck on the toilet for 2 hours, we basically starved for 3 weeks, and we came home 2 stone lighter. If you go to this place, take some fly killer, they are everywhere, especially all over the food, and thatâs breakfast, lunch & dinner. I counted 45 flies on one section of the buffet, it was horrible. The last week we could not face the restaurant so we left the resort and walked to Baileys, a 3 minute walk from the resort. I wasn't expecting much, but the food there was superb. Clean, fresh, and no flies. Having tried their food, there was no excuse for the poor and unhygienic standard in the resort. Also, there are loads of prostitutes in the resort, and there was men sitting round the pool openly reading Playboy, while kids are playing around them. Whilst sitting by the bar on the edge of the resort, a local lad whistled to us from over the wall. We went over to him and were openly offered any kind of drugs, and whilst my boyfriend was on his own, he was offered prostitutes by another lad...Nice!. They also hassle you to get drinks from the free bar and food from the buffet for them. We had to walk off in the end, it was relentless. One other thing to bear in mind, on Fri, Sat & Sun the locals are allowed to stay. Whilst I have nothing against them, it turned a quiet resort into total carnage. They take over all the pools, jacuzzis, and bars, and their kids pick on children staying at the resort, before helping themselves to your towels and lilos. Also be aware of the bar lady at the Sunset bar between 10 and 4. She doesn't like serving women! I regularly waited for 10 minutes whilst men were served on a 'first flirt,first served' basis! I was not the only one to experience this, many women I spoke to said the same. With regard to going out of the resort, I wouldnât advise it. In early evening it was ok, when the shops are shut, but during the day itâs very hassely and intimidating. I enjoy a good barter, but this is ridiculous. There is so much lovely stuff to look at, but youâre not given the chance. One man we spoke to was lured into a shop and was surrounded by people trying to sell him drugs. When he said no, they took all his money. This may be an extreme but the best advise is just BE AWARE! To finish, they rate this resort as 3 star. We came before in 2004, and the standard has dropped to a generous 2 star. With poor accommodation, bad food, unhygienic conditions, flies, prostitution, drugs, and hassely locals, we will not be going back. Maybe you should try Amsha Marinas 4 star resort at Playa Dorada 20 mins away!! Good luck "
- Travel date: 15th June 2011
"The whole experince at the Casa Marina Reef was fabulous. The rooms are basic but you are paying for basic it's only to sleep and shower in after all. The grounds are beautiful, the pool was cleaned every day the grounds were immaculate. The buffet restaurant had something for everyone every day. My 13 year old is a nightmare to feed and she ate every single day. The food is constantly replenished and the overall standard was excellent. The entertainment staff were outstanding during the day and the shows they put on on a night were brilliant. We went to ocean world to swim with dolphins and sharks what an amazing experience highly recommended as is monster trucks, i would advise taking a cover up t shirt as it can get very hot, and take plenty of sweets for the kids. We enjoyed the hotel and the beautiful country so much we have booked up to go back next year. My advice if you want a four or five star hotel pay their prices you are getting what you pay for and it is more than adequate."
- Travel date: 5th August 2009
just got back
"I have just got back from the casa marina reef and feel for the first time ever i need to give a bad report, i have travelled for many years to many places and this has been a lot of money spent and hard earned for what!! on arriving i was taken to my room and it was clean and basic but would do me,then as the porter left i heard the noise outside. i opened the patio door to find myself overlooking the pool and my room was right beside the loud speaker for the pool entertainment and all you could hear was a man shouting on it none stop, then the noise from an over full pool with local dominican holidaymakers screaming and playing ball games, i gave it two hours and then went to reception and asked for a quiet room which they gave me without any problem the next day. My next problem was that everyday after i had left the room and wanted to return my electronic key would not work so i had to go to reception everytime i needed to get into my room most annoying. My first evening i could not get a table to eat at as the dominicans took over the place in droves as it was a bank holiday break for them so i gave in and stood up eating my dinner at the bread station and this did not bother the restaurant staff even though they could see me standing. The television needed to be repaired twice.not that i watch telly all the time but like to put it on while back in the room getting ready to go out. In my bathroom i had frequent company by the way of baby cockroaches, saw an adult cockroach squashed outside my room in the passage. Paradise Island trip a dissaster..on the morning of the trip tropical storm,up at 5am the trip should have been cancelled but no they took us on a two hour drive to the speed boat port and made us wait in a hut for two hours bearing in mind we had nothing to eat or drink or even a seat.they were bailing out water from the speedboats so a big group of us had had enough and said we wanted to go back to the hotel and the guide pablo tried to blackmail us by saying if you dont go on the boat the bus wont be taking us back. Unfortunately one stupid woman said we have come this far so we may as well carry on and she chose to take the trip..the rest of us about 40 were eventualy taken back to our hotel and when we complained and asked for our money back we were told the trip went ahead thanks to the stupid woman and the other 5people so we were not to be refunded the 92 dollars that we paid.i was offered to take the trip two days later but after the trauma of what we went through i was not prepaired to take that journey again..so i was offered the vip lounge at the airport which costs just 25 dollars hardly a like for like compensation, i declined and have come home minus a trip and 92 dollars..and finaly i was told i had a two and half hour delay which went into four hours by the time we took of ,,that meant i missed my connecting flight, i went to thomas cook customer service desk and the man said not there problem as the delay was less than 8hrs so i had to buy another flight ticket at a cost of 50pound from gatwick to plymouth and my holiday insurance wont cover because of the 100 pounds excess lucky i had the money to buy another ticket..thanks thomas cook for a crap holiday and for being so very unhelpful and uncaring..up to you people now if you want to take the risk with this hotel and company.."
- Travel date: 22nd May 2009
"I read so many reviews about this hotel before i went on holiday, and not 1 of them matched the holiday i had. Everything was great about the holiday and the hotel, it was basic rooms but what do you expect for a cheap holiday to the carribean. The best bit about the hotel and the holiday was defo the animation team, they were all amazing, 3 in particular were great! Food was ok, was the only downfall of the holiday but we never starved there was food we could eat, just not much choice. All staff at the hotel are very friendly, day trips were amazing, we went on the mega trucks and to paradise island, would reccommend them both, especially mega trucks. Pool was great, cleaned daily, wasnt down on the beach much as not a beacy person. We only went outside hotel once, guys were trying to sell drugs so we never went back out but that didnt put us off the holiday atall, you get it on most holidays you go, again you just need to use your common sense and not venture out the hotel!! Wouldnt reccommend it for families with young kids as there isnt much to do for them its more for couples and the older generation, loved the hotel, loved the full holiday, animation team amazing! and would defo go back. "
- Travel date: 31st October 2008
At the start of our holiday we were dela...
"At the start of our holiday we were delayed for 3 hours due to hurricane Ike passing through the Dominican Republic, not a problem for us. We arrived in the Dominican Republic to horrendous rain and wind, again not a problem, it was to be expected. We had read all the information supplied to us by Thomas Cook and therefore made sure that our suitcases weren't over weight. Our only complaint about the flight is that my sister and her husband who had travelled with us were sat in a row in which the tv, call button, light or radio didn't work. They were offered a complentary drink even though there was a row of three empty seats behind mine, which the hostess informed us was for their personal luggage. A nine hour flight sitting not being able to even read is a long time. Arrived at the hotel. Our room had a pool view and was basic, but clean. Four of us found the nearest bar and had a good first evening, drinking the local rum. We were concerned after reading various reviews on this resort, but we can honestly say that we were not disappointed and got exactly what we paid for. A cheap holiday. The buffet resturant serves numerous dishes and there was always something to eat. My husband is a very fussy eater, he ate potatoes and veg and soup for most of our 2 weeks and he didn't go hungry. The snack bars were open from 12noon until 4pm and had a range of burgers, sausages, pizza and chips. Again nothing to complain about. We eventured out on the cycle tour at 10am one morning with a member of the activities staff, it was good fun once we had mastered the bike with one front brake and the rear brake operated by peddeling backwards. We were able to get a good view of our surroundings and decided were we would venture out. We left the hotel for the first time on our own on a saturday night. The street shop owners along the way are not as intimating as they look, a firm no thank you and they leave you alone. We went to small bar and ordered a round of drinks before we decided where we should go next. This round of drinks cost us 480 pesos about Â£7. We then found a Canadian bar in a small arcade, which is like a kisok bar called The Check Point. We stayed there for the rest of the evening, about 3 hours drinking and it only cost us 1100 pesos about Â£16, that was for about 30 alcoholic drinks for 4 adults, bargin. The next evening we went along to Rubys Bar which is on the slope towards Sousa Beach, again a great evening in there and cheaper than the other bars around, but not as cheap as Check Point. Our rep told us about the Charity night for $10 per person. We decided to go there alone without paying the $10 each. We joined in the quiz and brought raffle tickets costing costing 100 pasos each. My sister won the first prize which was a dolphin encounter costing $125, unfortunately we had to put it back in the raffle as we had been to Ocean World that afternoon. So even though we didn't really support the charity night by paying $40 for four of us, we supported it by buying raffle tickets and placing the prize back in the raffle. We went down to Sousa beach about 4/5 times during our stay. We walked about half way down the avenue of street bars, shops and vendors, before finding a great spot on the beach with good service by Louis who looked after us on the beach. Prices weren't too bad, a few beers and chicken and chips for lunch for four of us costing an average of 1600 pesos. Staff are friendly and helpful except on a weekend when the locals decend on the hotel and I personally think that there seemed to be too many people to cope with. We had rain for about 4/5 days which appeared late afternoon between 3pm and 9pm and only lasted 30 minutes to an hour, but it is horrendous rain, but it goes as quickly as it appeared. Sitting at the bar overlooking the beach watching the lightening storms in the mountains was good to watch. Overall nothing to complain about it was a good two weeks. "
- Travel date: 23rd September 2008
After returning from a holiday at the ab...
"After returning from a holiday at the above hotel, I was very suprised to read the reviews by Miss Hamill and Miss Baird. My boyfriend and I booked this holiday 2 weeks before we went and paid Â£700 each for 2 weeks all inclusive. As I am sure everyone would agree, this is VERY cheap for a 2 week holiday, let alone in the Caribbean. Flights there and back went smoothly and the staff were all helpful and approachable. The only thing I would agree with, is that if the turbulence does not permit the serving of hot drinks/food on board, then an alternative should be offered, especially since customers have paid for this. As for the couple who missed their airport transfer because the bus left on time, well for goodness sake, are you stupid???! If the bus says it is to leave at 12.10 then it should leave at 12.10 - I bet you would have complained if it had been late! Maybe these people do not realise that they can (and sensibly should) check out BEFORE the check out deadline, with time to spare - idiots! The resort was large and offered something for everyone. Rooms were clean but basic (as expected for the price), the grounds were well kept and cleaned regularly (as were the rooms), there were plenty of staff around who were all friendly and helpful, the food offered was varied (and yes, did include chips, pizzas and burgers as well as local cuisine) although it did become a little tedious after 2 weeks but I guess that is to be expected. There are 3 bars interspersed along the sea front which are open pretty much all day plus drinks are available from 4 other restaurants during meal times (7.30-11.00, 12.30-4.00, 6.30-11.00pm) therefore ques were kept to a minimum. As for using plastic cups (glass ones available in the restaurants), that seems pretty much like common sense to me!! As if they are going to invest in hundreds of glasses when lots are likely to be broken around the pool where people (especially children) are likely to injure themselves by treading on them - don't be silly!!! Activities in the resort: Free snorkel, fins, goggles (obviously the people who had to pay did not ask at the correct part attached to the hotel!); free kyaks; free scuba lesson in the pool; free ping-pong, pool, table football. Darts/ ping-pong/ dance/ basketball etc competitions and other games, water aerobics, step aerobics etc. 3 swimming pools, use of 2 beaches, free sun loungers (unfortunately you did have to pay for umbrellas on the beach though) and free kids clubs (which were apparently very good). Evening entertainment consisted of a show (diff one each night) from 9.45pm and a disco from 11pm. How, I ask, is there not enough free stuff to do?? There is also a beauty parlour where you can get a massage etc (not included in price). The hotel also advertise various different day trips including deep sea fishing, white water rafting, jeep safari, horse riding, trips to islands and city tours - if there is not something there which takes your fancy then obviously there is no pleasing you and you should have stayed at home!! The only downside I found with these trips is that some are quite expensive - prices range from Â£25-Â£45p.p. but I guess they are catering to a Western tourist market where people are prepared to pay these prices. All in all, this place is great value for money - great weather (generally), very relaxed and the perfect place to just kick back and chill out. Granted, if you are looking for that Caribbean idyll of remote beaches, white sands, and crystal waters this place is not for you. But then considering it is the CHEAPEST place in the WHOLE of the Caribbean, then what on earth do you expect??! If you want that then you need to pay a lot more and go somewhere like Sant Lucia/ Barbados etc. I don't think it takes a genius to realise that for only Â£700 for 2 weeks you are not going to get an out of this world, magnificant, unspoilt little paradise - I mean come on!! If however, you have realistic expectations, and fancy a cheap holiday in the Caribbean (arguably cheaper than many holidays in Europe) then this is a great place to go to."
- Travel date: 17th September 2008
DO NOT GO TO CASA MARINA REEF.... Follo...
"DO NOT GO TO CASA MARINA REEF.... Following letter sent twice to Thomas Cook and still no reply!!! To Whom It May Concern: Formal Complaint We booked an All Inclusive Holiday for 14 nights to Casa Marina Reef & Beach Resort in the Dominican Republic departing from London Gatwick on 18/05/2008 at 10.15am. We had also upgraded to your Premium Cabin, which should have entitled us to priority check-in. The description for this Resort in your brochure reads âA spacious Hotel complex with excellent facilities with a full programme of entertainment. Couples will love the relaxed atmosphere and excellent location with direct access to the Beach and close to the centre of Sosua.â Our experience of the above is what we consider misleading, unreliable resulting in a very poor Holiday for us. The start of the Holiday at Priority Check- in at Gatwick was manned by one person, and we waited 25 minutes to get checked in, whilst Economy Passengers had a maximum wait of around 10 minutes as there were several operators to accommodate Economy class. Two Check- in attendants were sitting next to Priority check-in and were just chatting and laughing with each other seemingly oblivious to the long queue for Premium Passengers. The flight over was excellent, and first class service from the Cabin Crew with great entertainment as promised in your in-flight magazine for Premium Cabin Passengers. Upon our arrival to the Resort we were booked in swiftly and led to our room by a Porter and took in the beautiful scenery of the Resort Gardens and Pool area but were instantly horrified at the appalling state of our room. Mould was surrounding the air conditioning unit, cigarette burns around the wash hand basin and the toilet, brown grime seeping up the base of the bath panel. Our room was 2126 situated on the ground floor and the patio doors which faced the pool were insecure and only took Mr Alford a quick shake of the frame for the securing door pin to fall out, this would enable any one staying at the resort or those undesirables who were allowed entry into the resort (this we will refer to later) to gain entrance into our room. We went straight to Reception and requested a room transfer which we were originally told was impossible. After standing our ground and much to the discontent of the reception duty manager we moved to room 2323 on the 2nd floor. The only difference in this room was there was less mould. In addition there was no mini bar or snacks in the room and in our experience this is standard for an âAll Inclusiveâ holiday. Instantly I thought that this was not a 3 star plus resort. The food was 80% inedible. We appreciate that food abroad differs from that in the UK and having travelled to Maldives, Indonesia, Cape Verde and Egypt, we have generally found food that we liked. Breakfast consisted mainly of German and Eastern European dishes. Even the toaster in the main buffet restaurant did not work for five days. We felt that the food was bland, tasteless and at times overcooked. The evening buffet foods were totally inedible; therefore we lived off Pringles and chocolate bars bought from the town. This was not only our experience, but the same for the vast majority of the British tourists who were doing the same. On our first night we had an infestation of hundreds of minute flies flying out of the overflow on the sink, swarming the worktops in the bathroom. We killed as many as we could and reported it to the Rep Sonia the following morning. We were assured that the room would be fumigated that same day, however, when we returned to the room after our evening out we were again swarmed with the flies. Again we killed them and used our insect repellent and plugged the overflow with toilet paper. The following evening it happened again, but this time they were coming from the plug. Again we killed them, reported it again and spent the rest of the holiday killing flies and blocking the plug and overflow to the sink. We reported it again and yet again nothing was done so we gave up and managed the situation ourselves. On the morning of our welcome meeting, we were told to be aware of Prostitutes outside the resort that will approach you for business and will pick your pocket. We were not told that Prostitutes and Pimps could walk in to the resort and tout for business. My partner Mr Alford was approached by a pimp and asked if he wanted a girl for a price, this was whilst I was with him. This does not reflect what you have referred to in your brochure as âa place where couples will love the relaxed atmosphere.â Also local Dominicans are allowed to use the resort on a weekend or day pass, which is fine but this seemed pointless as people used to walk in off the street and wander freely around the resort as and when they wanted, along with the prostitutes accompanying some men residing on the resort. We find this wholly unacceptable not only for ourselves but also for young children and parents. Again this does not reflect on your description in your brochure. At the start of the second week there was a nasty storm, and it rained torrentially, which is fine but there was nowhere to go other than the room. There is nowhere undercover to have any source of entertainment on the resort when it is raining. Therefore for a few days we were looking at the four walls of our mouldy room. The staff would not allow anybody to have a drink and take shelter in any of the restaurants so the only cover was to huddle around one of the tiny beach bars with limited shelter. Also the staff would not open the Amphitheatre bar which is the only means of shelter. We feel that these facilities are totally inadequate and poorly planned. Also the average wait at the beach bar was around seven minutes, long queues and disposable bendy plastic cups to drink from. We are adults not children! We eventually had to buy mugs from the resort shop to drink from. The entertainment in the evening at the amphitheatre was disappointing, below average and very repetitive. On many occasions when the resort allowed market traders to sell their goods in the resort, we do not wish to be hassled, sneered at or sworn at by the traders who will not accept a polite âno thank you.â To avoid these stalls, we had to confine ourselves to just one part of the resort in the evenings to avoid the harassment and intimidation from the traders. This was not just our experience, but was a general consensus from everybody that we spoke to. If we were in the town centre then we would expect this behaviour. We feel strongly that after paying a total of Â£1489.00 we expect our tour operator and resort to make our holiday as safe and hassle free as possible. Finally the flight home. Again this was premium cabin, but we were offered one alcoholic drink in five Hours. You felt that you were being a nuisance when you approached the cabin crew requesting drinks. The entertainment in premium was the same as in economy, not as stated in the in flight Magazine and overall reflected a much poorer flight than our outbound flight. Whilst waiting for our Luggage at Gatwick, our priority baggage was last off the plane and we had to wait over an hour for it. Again this was a service we paid extra for and did not see the benefits of the extra cost. Overall the only positive part of the holiday was the beautiful scenery which was the only thing that got us through the second week of the holiday both eager to get home. The holiday that you advertised is not a true reflection of the resort itself. We would rate this hotel as a two star along with the opinions of everyone that we met and spoke to. We have stayed in many hotels around the world and this resort is by far the worst resort for overall performance and customer satisfaction. In view of these issues we have raised, we kindly request a full refund of the cost of our holiday as we have been strongly misled, misinformed and deceived by your company and the holiday resort of Casa Marina Reef & beach resort and for making what should have been a luxury holiday a stressful and inconvenient expensive two weeks. We look forward to your prompt reply and trust that you appreciate the seriousness of our issues raised. Yours Faithfully Mrs Corinne Evans & Mr Jason Alford "
- Travel date: 21st August 2008
This is my 4 th visit to the DR and my 3...
"This is my 4 th visit to the DR and my 3rd to Casa Marina Reef /Beach Complex we have been in jan for three week for the past 3 years after reading some of the awful reviews i felt that i had to comment on this hotel Myself and my husband went in Jan 08 for 3 weeks and paid Â£810 all inc each I seriously cannot belive the some of the reviews i mean you are on holiday how much time do you spend in the rooms its a large 3 star hotel the ground are gorgeous the rooms are basic but clean and tidy food is plentifull and for those stuborn brits there is always chips always without fail and lovely fresh omlettes made to order in the mornings the resort is not large but big enough and there are two fab beach and 3 gorgeousl jacuzzie set in the cliffs overlooking the beachs Outside of the hotel ( you have to remember you are not in a compound or a gated community like Playa Dorada) you are in area where people live and work and you will see the DR way of life yes they bug you but a simple no thanks works wonders My husband is English and i am of mixed race so whenever we went out they thought that he had hired me as his hooker for the week which we thought hysterical and seriously funny, luckily my husband speaks fluent spanish and explained that no i was his wife and english maybe its our sense of humour but ...... when in rome do as the romans do Yes there is a lot of prostittution that goes on in sousa its a way of life but you can avoid it just go to the Playa Dorada Complex where you have about 12 hotel cinema shops and no locals people allowed you could be anywhere in the caribeean and is pefect for those people who want to travel abroad and see nothing but a glossed over version of the DR and its not real life ( think of center parcs with sunshine ) I have stayed there at the Victoria and yes its gorgeous and pretty but i was extremely bored after 3/4 days There are lots of Bars in sousa with night clubs upstairs or out the back which on are always packed (yes with lots of hookers and locals but also lots of americans and germans ) but dont worry just go in have a few drinks and mix with the locals Sousa is the caribean equivalant of Thailand with young girls with old men but its accpeted as a way of life and if you want to have a good time then accept it for what it is and you will not have a problem We have met many friend over the past few year and its very safe We stayed out untill 4 pm in the morning and then walked back to the hotel ( 5 mins walk) and never had a problem doing so Sousa is a great resort if you go and chill out and get a good price for two weeks dont pay any more than Â£650 - Â£700 out of the school holidays and you will have had a great bargain i think many people pay far to much far holidays and begin moaning before the the plane even begins to lift off its a great place for fun and night life Please please dont be scared to out and party in the local bars they popular chart RnB music and salsa stuff its a really cool place go twice and the bar staff will remember you and save you seat and shout at you to come in to the bar I have been all over south america and the caribean , mexico cuba margarita thailand jamaica and most of the holiday resorts in europe and i love and adore the DR and sousa ignore the moaners and dont pay to much and you will not regret it "
- Travel date: 12th July 2008
The letter below that I have written to ...
"The letter below that I have written to Thomas Cook: To Whom It May Concern: Further to our recent holiday to the Dominican Republic, Staying in the Casa Marina Reef, We feel that we have no option but to log an official complaint to yourselves. I will start at the very beginning and explain to you step by step why this has been a holiday nightmare and why I will be sending copies of this letter to the Press, Radio Stations, Holiday Watchdog and BBC Watchdog to help our campaign further and to also prevent other holiday makers going through what we have. Once my FiancÃ© and I had saved what we thought was a fortune to pay for our âonce in a lifetimeâ engagement holiday we went onto the Thomas Cook Website to see if we could book a Caribbean Holiday. When Searching, I stumbled upon a holiday that seemed to have it all. Sun, sea, sand, windsurfing, pedaloes and fun entertainment for all age groups. Your exact description below: âRight beside a sandy beach and an easy stroll from the centre of Sosua, this lovely hotel leaves nothing to chance when it comes to keeping all the family happy. There are daytime activities and evening entertainment with various age groups in mind, and thereâs plenty of space too for those who prefer a spot of undisturbed sun-worship. An excellent value all-inclusive resort, thatâs friendly and fun too. Customers may also use the facilities at the sister property (Casa Marina Beach) next door. â Also that this was an âAll Inclusiveâ holiday was a huge attraction for my fiancÃ© and I. We were SOLD! We shopped on the Internet to find this holiday at the best price and finally booked with your sister website as this was displaying the best price for the exact same holiday. On arrival at the check in desk we were told that our case was too heavy and that we would have to transfer some belongings from the hold luggage to hand luggage. This is quite reasonable, as I understand that for Health and Safety it would have been too heavy for your airport staff to handle. However the way in which the situation was handled was appalling. I was told to open my case and do it right there and then on the terminal floor! I was highly embarrassed at having to open my case with personal belongings on view to the general public. At no point was I offered a private area, as I would expect out of common courtesy to your customers. Once I had dealt with my luggage we were told that we would not be sat together on the flight. We had booked seats together online and were told that this was not registered on your system. We were told there was nothing that you could do and at best we could be sat one in front of each other. This was an absolute DISGRACE! We booked our seats together in good faith and this promise was not delivered. 8.5 hours in a flight not sat together was excruciating and uncomfortable. We were at no point offered an upgrade, which I would expect as an alternative and as good customer service. During the flight it was announced that we would not receive our second heated snack, as there had been a fault with the heating system. We were then served a chocolate biscuit and cold coffee. As we had paid for something we did not receive on the plane I would expect for your company to arrange for us to have something more substantial however this was not offered and we had to wait a further 5 hours before eating at our hotel which is not acceptable after a long haul flight. On arrival to the resort, we were checked in. The resort didnât look as nice as in the photographs however; the weather wasnât good so I was to reserve judgment until later. We were helped up to our room by the bellboy who was helpful and we tipped him accordingly. The room was basic and clean. This did not bother me at this point as I did no expect to be spending as much time as we did in our room. At this point we were hungry as we had not been catered for sufficiently on our flight and were told by the staff that the buffet would not be open for another 3 hours. We then went to one of the bars expecting to find snacks like crisps or the like to keep us going until the buffet opened. To our astonishment there was nothing like this available. In an âall inclusiveâ resort I find this unacceptable. We then had to pay for the first food we consumed on our holiday form your so-called âAll Inclusiveâ hotel shop. This would not be the last time that there was a dark cloud hanging over your âAll Inclusiveâ faÃ§ade. Later that evening, My FiancÃ© and I went to the buffet for a long awaited meal. We joined some other couples that we had met on our flight. We eventually got a seat and were subjected to a tepid local meal. Not a burger, pizza or chips in sight! Very basic expectations for the British holidaymaker one would think. We then retired to bed, as it had been a very long disappointing day. We were invited to our âwelcome meetingâ by our rep Sonia the next morning. We attended and the only question we were asked was if our room was ok. Not about our flight, meals or what our first impressions were. At this point I wanted to make the best of a hugely anticipated holiday and thought I would give her the benefit of the doubt and listen to what was on offer. The welcome meeting was to say the least âroboticâ and ârehearsedâ and took the form of a sales pitch. Sell Sell Sell!! You have your reps very well trained on the sales front. We were then made to feel really guilty that we were in a Third World Country and that if we spent our money with Thomas Cook it would go to local children and a hospital. At this point we booked our excursions. The Charity Night, Ocean World and Paradise Island. We were to go on the Charity night the following evening and the other excursions later in our stay. We then headed to the complexâs beach. It was a beautiful beach however not what I expected from a Caribbean holiday. I have seen whiter sands in Spain and in Aberdeen!!! Another disappointment. We asked the beach helpers for a parasol and 2 sun loungers and were shocked to be charged for their use! Another service that I would expect as standard form an âAll Inclusiveâ resort. We were then asked by the beach helpers if we wanted to snorkel or use the banana boat. I expected to have to pay for the banana boat as this is motorised however when I was asked to pay for the snorkel equipment I was SHOCKED! It was advertised as free when we booked. Your exact description below: all-inclusive features food & drink Two buffet restaurants â¢ Three Ã la carte restaurants (dress code applies, reservations required â one visit per Ã la carte per week) â¢ Four bars including pool bar. activities Aerobics â¢ Aquaerobics â¢ Badminton â¢ Body boards â¢ Beach volleyball â¢ Table tennis â¢ Water polo â¢ Introduction to scuba diving in the pool â¢ Watersports including sailing, snorkelling, windsurfing and canoes â¢ Football â¢ Billiards â¢ Bicycles. entertainment Daytime activities include water aerobics and dance lessons â¢ Evening entertainment featuring live music. children Daily activity programme. See pages 206-219 for details. Sports and Leisure Â· Activities usually include: aerobics; aquaerobics; badminton; body boards; bicycles (one hour per person per day); canoes; darts; football; French bowls; pool table; snorkelling; table tennis; volleyball; waterpolo; windsurfing. Introductory scuba diving lesson in pool (once per stay); (all watersports one hour per person per day) As with regards to the above almost NONE of this was available. There was no Windsurfing, canoes or sailing which was highly disappointing as this was one of the main reasons that we booked this hotel. Another sham in your âAll Inclusiveâ resort. I understand that you have a disclaimer on your website saying that this is based on last years offerings however you have a rep in the resort so a more up-to-date description is not an unrealistic expectation. You have had plenty of time to update your website and as you have not this is false advertising and I will be reporting you to the Office of Fair Trading. We then went for something to eat at the Jalapeno snack bar which offered some British food and for the first time in 24 hours we were able to enjoy some food. We after this wanted to venture outside the complex and explore the local area for some ice cream, which was also unavailable from the resort. Another âAll Inclusiveâ sham! I felt sorry for the poor families at the resort that had to fork out money each time their children wanted to cool down with an ice lolly. Doesnât sound âAll Inclusiveâ to me. I then wished we had never ventured out. I have never felt so terrified. We were harassed by locals to come into their shops and by Time Share salesmen saying Thomas Cook employed them. We also witnessed solicitation and armed guards at other hotels. I promptly returned to the hotel in a state of panic. Sosua was sold to us as a quiet and safe resort. It was nothing of the sort. I feared for our safety every time we went to the ATM for money. We thought we would take out money, as we needed it, as the Peso could not be exchanged on our return home. BIG MISTAKE as local drug dealers and prostitutes loitered around the ATM day and night. Luckily other holidaymakers clubbed up with us and we always went in a large group. That night we sampled the local rum and cocktails at the âAll Inclusiveâ bar. These were also a con, as it didnât matter how many were consumed, you didnât feel the effects of alcohol. The vodka was horrible and the rum weak. This was another disappointment as you expect to get the national drink in abundance when visiting a foreign country. As a rum drinker at home, I hoped to enjoy the rum of the Caribbean in the resort and was instead being offered watered down rubbish. To enjoy a decent rum, we had to purchase bottles from the on site shop. Another âAll Inclusiveâ sham! The following night we went to the âCharity Nightâ. We had to pay $10 US each and this was to help the local Childrenâs hospital. I was up for going to a bar, which was going to be serving âdecentâ drink. We decided to eat at the buffet, as I was not paying âall Inclusiveâ to pay to eat elsewhere. I was glad we had made this decision later. We met at the reception of the hotel and waited for our rep to escort us to the Rose and Thistle pub where the evening was being held. We had a pleasant evening and felt good that we were giving back to the local community hospital. At the end of the evening, everything started to get a bit suspicious. It transpired that the rep was very friendly with the owners of the pub and that her partner actually worked there. We then received our bill, which as far as we knew was an amount that could have been made up of thin air, as the bill was not itemised. This turned out to be a very expensive evening where the bar seemed to profit more than the initial charity that we were there for. Another sham in a list of many. We were then left to make our own way back to the hotel ourselves. We felt very unsafe in our 10-minute walk back to the hotel and felt stranded by our rep. This was unacceptable and I felt let down by the rep and by Thomas Cook for what I believe to be putting our safety in jeopardy. The next morning we woke up and headed to breakfast to meet the 2 other couples that we had been on the Charity Night with the evening before. My FiancÃ© and I and another couple, Charles and Bernadette Douglas had decided not to eat at the pub the evening before however another couple had and they were ill with Diarrhoea and Vomiting. Needless to say we never saw them the rest of the day. I just wonder if Thomas Cook has done a health and safety inspection of the Rose and Thistle pub to see if it meets up to their standards as I would expect when an arranged evening is for sale? If one has been carried out, through the Freedom of Information act 2000, I would like to see the report that you should send to the above address. If there is not one available, I expect an explanation as to why an excursion would be arranged by such a large Travel organisation without one being carried out, in writing from the chief executive of Thomas Cook. In the next few days we noticed that locals were starting to appear in the hotel. I expected other nationalities to be I the complex but not 1500 locals that had been sold empty rooms over the weekend. They took over the place and all the facilities. One woman said her child could not get into the childrenâs pool as it had been taken over by local children. They also changed the buffet menu at this time. I understand that people want to try Dominican cuisine however there were no British alternatives to this. We had a choice of Stewed Goat and Banana pate and that was it. Not a burger, pizza or chips in sight. No child or fussy eater is going to eat that! My FiancÃ© lived on rice for two days until we got so hungry we bought food from the shop. We voiced our concerns with Sonia and were told âevery hotel has Dominican Nightâ. And that was that. What a DISGRACE! I donât mind local cuisine but it does not suit everyone. Also over the weekend we witnessed prostitutes being allowed into the hotel. We actually witnessed a prostitute being called over by a German man and walked up to the desk where she got a wristband. This all happened in front of the British children in the reception. This is unacceptable and must be stopped as a matter of urgency and decency. Another prostitute was witnessed letting a man rub himself uncouthly against her in front of children. This again needs to be dealt with as a matter of utmost importance. Next comes the most frightening and serious of my complaints. Although I never personally witnessed this for myself, I know that another holidaymaker witnessed this while we were in your hotel. There is a woman outside the hotel selling hair braiding. At the back of this book of hair braiding styles there are pornographic pictures of children for sale and the children themselves if the price is right. This makes any of my other complaints dim in comparison. I know that this is outside the complex however I am sure that Thomas Cook does not want to be associated with Paedophilia in any way shape or form. I take it in good faith that Thomas cook will contact the Dominican Police with regards to this mater at their earliest convenience. The next few days were the most boring I have ever encountered on a foreign holiday. This holiday was sold to us on the pretence that there was an entertainment programme that had people of all ages in mind. Your exact words below: Entertainment Â· Frequent daytime activities and evening entertainment usually includes shows and entrance to disco in Casa Marina Beach next door - over 18 years only entertainment Daytime activities include water aerobics and dance lessons â¢ Evening entertainment featuring live music. Introduction A spacious hotel complex with excellent facilities and a full programme of entertainment. Couples will love the relaxed atmosphere and excellent location with direct access to the beach and close to the centre of Sosua. I wonder where this âFull Programme of Entertainmentâ has disappeared to? There was absolutely no entertainment whatsoever, day or night. We wondered up to the amphitheatre of an evening to sample the âevening entertainmentâ. It was all in Spanish! About 10 local armature performers dancing on a stage every night. Not what I would call varied entertainment. All the entertainment that I would consider worth seeing was at the âCash Barâ. This is appalling again as you wouldnât expect there to be a âCash Barâ in the first place at an âAll Inclusiveâ complex. Also the so-called Disco Night Club was a âCash Onlyâ bar. This again raises concerns about the âAll Inclusiveâ faÃ§ade that is what Thomas Cook had sold us. Due to the lack of entertainment and things to do of an evening, we were banished to our rooms to watch American Television. I have never been so bored on a holiday in my life. I would have thought I was on an OAPâs holiday, not one that had been advertised as good for couples and families. If I wanted top do nothing, I would have stayed at home. This again demonstrates Thomas Cook as misleading the customer. On the Sunday of our Holiday we went to Ocean World which was the highlight of our miserable holiday but there were even problems with this. We had ordered photographs and were told they, along with a Photo CD that we had purchased would be sent to the hotel. The photos arrived the following day however the CD did not. We then spent considerable time on the last two days of our holiday tracking this CD down. I informed Sonia who did chase this up on our behalf. Unfortunately what Sonia told us did not transpire and we had to chase the CD up ourselves the next morning (the morning of departure) as she was not available that morning. We finally receive the CD after 6 chase up telephone calls. To top it all off, we have also been struck down with food poisoning along with several other guests that were visiting the Casa Marina Reef at the same time as us. I am aware that a flight set for Belfast was grounded at Manchester due to 19 persons suffering what we have been through. Both my FiancÃ© and myself had to deal with severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea on the last morning and on our flight home. As I am writing this, my partner is on the telephone to NHS 24 seeking advice as we are to attend a doctorâs appointment tomorrow morning. As you can imagine, the last day of our holiday was a nightmare. We were chasing up a CD and had food poisoning and had to pack and Sonia was not available to help us when we needed her the most. This is an outrage! I understand that Sonia has other duties and has days off however there should be a Thomas Cook Rep there at ALL TIMES in case of an event like this. Last but not least the transfer to the airport home couldnât have been worse. THE COACH LEFT THE HOTEL WHILE WE WERE CHECKING OUT!!! My FiancÃ© and I watched it pull away exactly on 12.10 when it was to picking us up. No attempt was made to locate us on departure by the rep in charge of the transfer. I asked the receptionist whether this was our coach and he said that there would be another one along in a minute as there were several flights that day. He then asked me to fill in a hotel questionnaire and to take a seat. I then didnât panic as I was reassured there would be another coach along shortly. This did not seem unreasonable as there seemed to be a lot of holidaymakers leaving that day. 10 minutes went past and still no sign of a coach. I then asked another receptionist when he expected the next coach to arrive. He said he knew nothing of another coach and suggested I call Thomas Cook to make sure there was one. I was at this pint panicking that we would miss our flight home. I then rushed round to the desk and called the Thomas Cook number. I was put through and spoke to one of your representatives called Thelma. I explained our situation and she didnât seem to think there was anything that she could do to help us, as it was âour faultâ hat we had missed the transfer. She told us to âgo outside and flag down a taxiâ I was appalled and understandably got very upset. There was no way I was going out of the complex, as I felt unsafe doing so. This woman had no regard for my feelings when I raised them so I then asked to speak to her manager and I was put onto another woman whom just said she was the âsupervisorâ. She was as unhelpful and said I was swearing at her when I did no such thing. I then demanded to speak to her manager and a Mr Peter Grace I believe. This man was unhelpful, argumentative and arrogant with no customer care skills whatsoever. I was crying with distress and being unwell with food poisoning and all he could say to me was to calm down as I was being âaggressiveâ which just infuriated me more. I tried to explain to him that we had no money for a taxi and that it was only but right that Thomas Cook arrange for us to get to the Airport and that Thomas Cook had a duty of care to us while we were holidaying with them. He then reluctantly said that Thomas Cook would pay for the Taxi if we managed to get one. I was so angry that I agreed and put the phone down. I have never been spoken to in such a manner by anyone in my entire life. This man was vulgar and his customer service abysmal and I hope that your company will discipline him accordingly for his actions. Kindly one of the reps for Ocean World an another rep from another holiday company overheard my telephone conversation and came to our rescue and ordered a taxi for us, however the taxi had to be paid upfront. I then panicked again as we had no money however another couple we were holidaying with gave us the money for the fair. If it had not been for them we would have been stranded and Thomas Cook would have been to blame. We then arrived at the airport late and were not sat together AGAIN due to us being the last to check in after receiving a refund for the taxi fare and no sympathy from another of your reps who was short with us and didnât offer an ear for us to vent our anguish. This again was Thomas Cooks fault and we were not offered an upgrade as recompense. On the flight, the airhostess did try her best to get us sat together and was the only member of Thomas Cook that was nice to us on our whole holiday. I spent nearly all of he flight in the toilet and not one of your crew noticed. At this point I had given up hope of any help from anyone and decided to keep my suffering to myself as it would mean I would get home quicker. On landing at Glasgow airport we were glad to part company with Thomas Cook and vow NEVER to use your services again. My FiancÃ© and I plan to get married in the Caribbean in the next couple of years however we will NOT be using Thomas Cook. If this had been the holiday of our dreams and the âCaribbean Luxuryâ that we were sold we might have spent our wedding with yourselves however, if you canât get the annual summer holiday right, I would never trust you with the most important day of our lives. Our money will be spent elsewhere. I hope that this matter will be dealt with as a matter of urgency and I call for you to scrap your contract with the Casa Marina Reef as to prevent other couples and families going through the harrowing experience that we have. I will as aforementioned be forwarding this letter to the Press, Watchdogs and OFT as I feel this is a matter, which is of public interest and must be brought to their attention. All the other families that have been affected that I have contact details for are collating their complaints and we will be keeping in touch to see that everyone is treated fairly and equally in our campaign for justice in this matter. I look forward to a satisfactory resolution in this matter and I will not be fobbed off with the usual âÂ£50 holiday Voucherâ compensation. I expect a telephone call to confirm receipt of this letter from no less that a manager and I expect a written response with details of compensation and information on the actions that Thomas Cook will take to prevent this from happening to any more of your customers. Yours Sincerely Miss Rachael Hamill "
- Travel date: 4th July 2008
Me my boyfriend, best friend and her boy...
"Me my boyfriend, best friend and her boyfriend went away last year and really enjoyed ourself! were all very young and wasnt really the best of places for a good clubbing holiday but we all wanted a relaxing one anyway. Entertainment There wasnt alot of entertainment at night because most of the time they shown DVDs, but we werent to fussed about that anyway. There is a very small nightclub, that we wouldnt class as one but we didnt expect that anyway. is was very nice and cool down there tho! They had a Karoke on one night which was a very good, but it didnt last very long when we all got on stage! They do have alot of sports to do, in the pool and beach but we didnt do many of them. Food The food wasnt there best really and was what let it down the most. Some nights you would have a really nice meal but some night, i dont think they knew how to cook ha! the restaurants were ok but we werent kean on the mexican because were not a fan anyway. They do a great service when you go to the restaurants tho! The seafood one was the best beacuse it was right on the beach and had the best view and we could finally have steak, but that wasnt the best either! one night we did have a bug in one of our deserts but it didnt put us off for very long! and the salad and fruit we didnt touch because that was always covered in flies! People The people who work there are very nice and we became close to a couple of them but me and my friend found the women were the most un friendly but that didnt really bother us! The best people were the ones on the beach and they really took care of us. The people outside the hotel were ok, they just annoyed you sometimes, when you wasnt in the mood and some of them csant take no for an answer but they were only tryin to be friendly. And we was surprised that we could go outside our hotel and that we was pleased for! We went on 2 trips, swimming with the dolphins and minster truck. and they are very worst the money and it is BRILL!! i would defo go back!"
- Travel date: 28th June 2008
The hotel is definitely 3 star. The room...
"The hotel is definitely 3 star. The rooms are basic but are cleaned regularly. The grounds of the hotel are beautifully well kept. As a family we really enjoyed our stay. The food was very good, plenty of choice and lots of it, though the theme restaurants weren't authentic and the buffet restaurants were just as good if not better because of the greater choice. There are two beaches one down a flight of steep steps but this was definitely a sun trap as it had no natural shade although there are parasols. The other beach offers shade from coconut trees and games are played on this beach during the day eg. volley ball. Both beaches are great for snorkeling but shelve quite steeply and aren't really suitable for very small children. Thomas Cook offer lots of trips we tried Mega trucks dominican discovery, and Ocean world(swimming with dolphins) we loved both trips but you can get some of the trips cheaper by using the tour operater at the hotel based near the mexican restaurant. The down side to the hotel is that the local prostitutes are often invited on site by some of the guests and this was a bit off putting especially as we had been warned by the rep that they were professional pick pockets. Also during the evening local traders come on site and set up stalls, some can give you hassle but a firm no thank you usually works. The staff were very pleasant and welcoming, which was much appreciated after a 12 hour delay at the airport. Incidently if you are travelling with Thomas Cook get your boarding card stamped so you can prove when you boarded the plane. We should have departed at 10.40 but were delayed, we boarded the plane at 22.30 and departed at 22.53 but our boarding passes weren't stamped, Thomas Cook issued us with letters stating departure as 22.30 thus we couldn't claim off our insurance. We are now in dispute with Thomas Cook. Manchester Airport has confirmed the departure as 22.53. Personally I wouldn't travel with Thomas Cook again but there are lots of other tour operators who use this hotel. Travel apart we had a great holiday and would definately go back to the Dominican Republic. "
- Travel date: 20th June 2008
Fantastic holiday for all ages... We wen...
"Fantastic holiday for all ages... We went as a young couple for 2 weeks at the end of May '08 and enjoyed every minute. WEATHER: Was good mid-high 30's every day -even when overcast (you still get a tan/burned beleive it or not). FOOD: Food was excellent, catering for all cultures and good variety in buffet resteraunts. Ala Catre resteraunts has good service and godd variety within menu. Sea Scape (Seafood) resteraunt set in beautiful localion, right on the beach (recommend early bookings around 7:30 to catch the sun set). ENTERTAINMENT: In the resort during the day there is lots to do for those who want to get involved. Fun sports such as team Water Polo, Water Basketball and Volleyball as well as Pool Aerobics. For the more adventurace there is beach sports like banana boats and snorling lessons and deap sea diving (costs extra, booking recommended). Every the evening the entertainers (who work from 9am til midnight 6 1/2 days a week, may I add) put on a fabulous show (Hoolywood show is a must, lol) around 9/9:30pm. EXCURSIONS: Thomas Cook provide payable excusrions such as Cable ride up the mountain, Mega Truck Safari (Interesting, enjoyable and ALL INCLUSIVE drink all day!), and Ocean World where you can swim with the Dolphins/Sharks,Sea Lions or just watch the shows or take in the sights, to name a few... BEACHES: Beautiful... 2 beaches, one quiet for those who want to relax and one next to the watersports centre for those who like that sort of thing. But each seconds from the free bar. SPENDING MONEY: We took Â£600.00 between us (around RD$ 40,000) which was more than enough, you could stay in the resort and not spend a penny, but you don't want to miss out on the once in a life-time excusrions and see just how much the country and people have to offer.... OUR OPINION: Would we go back? hell yeah, we didn't was to leave... would go back in a minute. Already making plans for another trip back to th DR in the future. Enjoy... I know you will..."
- Travel date: 13th June 2008
Top traveller tips for Casa Marina Beach Resort
"swimming with dolphins expensive but worth it"
"Not a lot there unless you go to the flea market by the main beach"
"monster mega truck, and the mexican restaurant"
"very seedy, prostitutes in hotel and outside"
Casa Marina Beach Resort is also called
- Casa Marina Reef Hotel
- casa marina reef
- casa marina