Ok, so maybe the title of this blog post is a bit dramatic, but it definitely was one of the worst, if not THE worst trips we have ever taken together. Let me start from the beginning.
The husband (yes, he's officially been upgraded from fiance to husband as of May 29th) and I were just starting to talk about where we should go for our honeymoon back in October when we got a direct mail piece from Costco Travel regarding a few deals to the Caribbean. We weren't even considering going to an island at the time, but we saw this deal for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and couldn't resist. After pricing out some other options and checking out the reviews on Trip Advisor, we booked our all-inclusive 5-day trip at the Majestic Colonial.
We got married on a Sunday in South Florida, and by Tuesday afternoon we were walking in the sands of the DR. However, this was before our room was ready and while we were still in awe of how amazing the beach was. While we waited for our room to be ready, we went over to the concierge to make reservations at two of the restaurants (a French place and hibachi dinner) for that night and the following night. At 3pm we checked into our room, which was on the first floor overlooking the walkway to the beach (meaning we had zero privacy, but at least we had an amazing view of the crystal clear water).
We walked into our room, which had very nice decor, including a jacuzzi tub in the middle of the room. I started to explore the details of the room while the husband went to the little boy's room. I tried to open up the cabinet under the sink, which was apparently only meant for show because the entire door fell out onto the floor. Moments later, the hubby walked out of the bathroom stall (which was just for the toilet) and announced that there was water dripping from the ceiling. We immediately called the front desk and told them that we needed the leak fixed. A maintenance person showed up relatively quickly. However, rather than trying to fix the actual leak, he instead took out the ceiling panel, dumped out the crazy amount of water onto the floor, and then put the ceiling back together. Being someone who failed Spanish in high school, I didn't know how to tell this man that he was wasting his time and that we would be calling him at least a dozen more times to empty out the waterfall coming from the ceiling.
After the ceiling was emptied out, we discovered the hard way that our deadbolt lock to our door was not working, as a maid knocked and then walked into the room to clean up the water while I was taking a bath in the jacuzzi tub. Luckily, I had some time to throw on a robe and save some dignity. After shooing her out of the room, we decided to start to get ready for our 9pm dinner reservation at the French restaurant at the resort called Le Gourmet. We were already clothed and just doing our finishing touches (the husband was doing his hair and I was putting on my jewelry) when all of the sudden a random maid opens our door and walks into our room without knocking and starts asking us if we had beach towels. We screamed at her to get the hell out of our room and then called the front desk yet again to demand that the maintenance guy come back to our room to fix the lock. The unexpected visit from the maid was the last straw for me, and we were only a few hours into our honeymoon. We stormed up to the front desk and asked for a manager, but were told that he wasn't going to be in until the next morning around 9am.
Frustrated and hungry, we went downstairs to the French restaurant for our late dinner. Lord only knows why we had to make a reservation to eat at this place considering there were only 5 other occupied tables. We both said a friendly "Hola" to the waiter, opened our menus and began to order our three-course meal. We both ordered the shrimp tempura appetizer, I ordered steak and the hubby ordered shrimp ravioli as our entrees and we both ordered different desserts - I got a chocolate cake-type of thing and the husband ordered creme brulee. All I can say is that the only thing that was remotely edible was my dessert. The shrimp tempura (which is news to me that this is French cuisine) was literally battered shrimp. The ravioli wasn't even cooked (we later found out from another couple that their waiter told them not to order this dish), and my steak was what I considered to be dry and bland (the hubby said it was pretty good considering the rest of the meal). All in all, we left dinner starving! We had a 9:15am appointment with our travel agent company the next morning so we decided to turn on the NBA finals game (Go Heat!) and called it a night.
We woke up early and made our way to our appointment with Eddy, a super friendly Dominican man who was full of knowledge (like don't drink the tap water) and personality. After meeting with Eddy, we walked away with a booked dolphin excursion for the following day. We immediately walked over to the front desk and asked to speak to the manager. A tall Swiss man walks out and starts speaking to us in perfect Spanish. He quickly realizes that we are American and switches to English and asks us what is going on. We explain our concerns with the room and explain that we are on our honeymoon and the events from the previous day were unacceptable. He was very upset, especially with the maid who barged into our room, and immediately offered three different rooms to switch to. We decided to stick with the same type of room, but up on the 3rd floor with a view of both the pool and the beach.
We were both bursting with excitement to get out of the cursed room that we quickly packed. Instead of waiting for the bell hop to move our stuff, we rolled our bags along the boardwalk to our new room. We got into our new room, only to find that it was infested with ants (not the big kind, but more like the small fruit ants). We decided that we could survive sharing a room with tiny harmless critters for a few days, and so we stayed put. So we grabbed our beach bag, sunscreen and books of choice and headed out to lay on the beach. We stayed out there for a decent amount of time until two things happened - first I got hungry for lunch, and second it started to rain.
After an unimpressive meal, we headed for the pool, and then immediately for the swim-up bar. However, I had yet to find a decent adult beverage (my drink of choice is a Cosmopolitan, but this was foreign to the Dominican bartenders who thought that it was made with Hawaiian Punch instead cranberry juice), and I took two sips of the ordered drink and it immediately went into the trash. Our day at the pool/beach was over and we decided that it was time for my daily jacuzzi bath, followed by getting ready for our hibachi dinner.
As the hubby was getting ready for dinner, he realized that he had left his belt in the other room. He immediately called the front desk and asked if he could get into the room to get his left possession. The girl on the phone was so rude and told him that they had other people staying in the room already and that she would send a housekeeper in to try and find the belt. Well, this was not the answer we were looking for and he immediately screamed at the girl and threw the phone onto the bed. I then picked it up and calmly asked her why in the world they would put someone into a room with a leaky ceiling and then I slammed the phone down while she was mid-sentence. After a few curse words, I told my husband to see if the keys from our old room still worked. So he walked over to the other building and sure enough they worked and he got his belt back with no issues (and of course the hotel was lying and no one was staying in the room). Crisis averted!
While waiting to be seated fo dinner (we arrived at the restaurant at 8:25 for our 8:30 reservation and were sent away for being too early), we headed to the main bar in the hotel lobby. While waiting to order another drink that I was sure I would dislike, I saw an Australian girl order something that looked like a mudslide. I asked her what she was drinking and she told me it was called a Dirty Monkey, which consisted of chcolate syrup mixed with a banana smoothie and rum. Finally, I found a yummy drink! So me, the hubby, and my Dirty Monkey headed back into the restaurant and were finally seated, along with 5 other couples. Immediately, the husband turned to the couple on our left and asked where they were from. Long Island, NY! (And they weren't even Jews...) We ended up talking the entire time to our new couple friends, Sam and Vanessa, who were on their first trip together since they had their 16 month old son. She did try to talk to me about how wonderful having a kid was, and since she was so enthusiatic, I sparred her the trouble of telling her that children is not my favorite topic of discussion.
After dinner, we decided to share a cab to check out the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which we heard was amazing. We asked the hotel how much a cab would be and were told between $15 and $20 each way. Sold! We got into the cab and told the driver where we wanted to go. However, something didn't seem right when he pulled out of the resort and started driving away from the coast. It definitely didn't feel right when he pulled over in the middle of town, rolled down his window and was handed a bag (which I later saw was his dinner, thankfully). After over 30 minutes in the cab, the car finally stopped at a random shopping plaza that looked to be closed. The driver got out and opened up the side door for us, but none of us moved. We were totally confused until we saw the sign for the Hard Rock Cafe. Oye vey! We immediately told the driver that he took us to the wrong place and that we wanted the casino, not the crappy restaurant. He was definitely not happy that he went well out of the way to the wrong destination, but the driver got back into the cab and was very polite about the mix up and 30+ minutes later, we passed by our hotel and arrived at the correct destination.
We walked into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino completely in awe! This place was modern, hip, and huge! We started to wander through the lobby area and stopped for a few photo opps, including a picture in front of the car Madonna arrived in at the Grammy Awards. This photo was definitely not worth taking (the other couple took it, not us) as the security guard noticed that our hotel bands were grey and did not match the ones for the occupants of his hotel. At this point he tried to kick us out, but our new friend Vanessa sweet talked him in Spanish, and he allowed us to quickly glance inside the casino. After trying to sneak out to see the breathtaking pool area, our secutiry guard nemisis chased us out and back into our cab. We returned to our hotel, said our goodbyes to our new friends, and headed to bed.
The next morning we woke up excited for our dolphin swim adventure, only to look out the window to a thunderstorm. We ate breakfast quickly and headed up to ask Eddy if we could switch our time to later in the day to avoid the rain. However, he informed us that it is a tropical storm (like the ones I am used to growing up in South Florida with) and that it would pass shortly and we would be in the clear. We took his word, jumped onto the bus, and luckily Eddy was right. We had an amazing time getting a kiss from a sea lion and then swimming with our new flippered friends Picasso and Titan, the dolphins. We got to take a few rides on their fins and even got pushed by the dolphins on our feet resulting in us standing straight up into the air like Superman. Absolutely incredible! After we bought a few photos, took some pictures with some birds, and then some of the white tiger, we headed back to the bus and then back to the resort.
Upon our arrival, we went striaght to the bar, where we were served by a very pregnant bartender. I wish I would have taken a picture of this irony, but I was just so dumbfounded by the whole scene that I couldn't take my eyes off of her pregnant belly behind a bar. We then walked over to the spa to book our couples massage and then headed over for a mediocre lunch at the buffet. We got in some more beach time and then headed back to the room for my daily jacuzzi bath and a book time.
As advised by the conceierge, we headed over to the seafood restaurant for dinner. Very excited for some fresh fish, we ordered different appetizers to share (I got a quesadilla and the husband got fried mahi bites), both of which were pretty good. We both ordered the lobster for dinner and were very excited to chow down. However, we both took one bite and practically spit out our food. It was absolutely disgusting! (sidenote: lobster and disgusting are two words I never thought I would put into the same sentence.) I headed over to the buffet line to get some ice cream for dessert, which I have to admit was really fresh and good. We then headed down to the lobby area for the flea market that came for the night to our resort. We were immediately bombarded with vendors begging us to go look at their tables, and I was annoyed before even seeing any of their items. We bolted for the casino, which was tiny and full of smoke, but it was a way to avoid the nagging Dominican vendors. We then hustled back through the crowd, and after grabbing some drinks, we headed back to the room, whiped out from our day with the dolphins.
We woke up on Friday morning excited for our last day of awful food and overcast skies. We ate our normal buffet breakfast (which consisted of the most amazingly fresh banana smoothie), and then headed over to the spa for our 11am couples massage. Now I had been warned by a friend that massages in the DR are not like the ones we are used to in America. We were told to take off all of our clothes, which made my husband extremely uncomfortable, especially since this was the first time he was getting a massage. I have to admit that out of not knowing how to react, I just burst into laughter. We both laid down and covered ourselves as best as possible. The massage began and was so ammateur that I wanted to scream at the girl to actually dig in and get some knots out of my back. However, I decided to keep my mouth shut and let her do her thing, which included her massaging my butt and coming very close to my pachacha. I can only imagine what type of rub down the hubby got from his girl around his man parts.
We practically ran out of there and didn't look back and headed straight for our lounge chairs on the beach. After about an hour or so, I looked up and noticed that the sky was quickly turning black. I told the husband that my Florida instincts were telling me to get under cover fast. So we decided this would be a good time to go to the inside buffet for lunch. As we walked in the doors, the sky opened up and poured for the rest of the day and night. (I was later told by my mom that it was a tropical depression - go figure.)
For dinner, we went back to the Asian restaurant, but this time for some Chinese food and sushi. It was decent (probably the best meal there and it wasn't even that good), but we had a fantastic server who made our meal enjoyable with his humor. We then grabbed some adult beverages and headed over to the shops to make a few purchases (very few since the selection was poor and the prices not cheap). I also jumped on the Internet to see if I could check into our flight. However, AirTran wouldn't allow us to check-in because it was an international flight. Grrrr...
We then headed back to our room to watch the Heat game with our friends the ants. However, another friend decided to return - this time our ceiling was leaking just outside the toilet stall. All we could do was laugh and thank the lord that we were leaving the next morning!
We had to get up very early the next morning (6:30am wake-up call) so we could eat breakfast and be ready to check-out and get into the airport shuttle by 7:45am. We arrived at the airport around 8:15am for our 10:50am flight, or so we thought. At 9am, the AirTran crew finally showed up and turned on the screen to display that their first flight out was headed to Baltimore and not Atlanta. This is when I started to panic. We asked the girl at the counter where the Atlanta flight was and she informed us that the first flight out to Atlanta wasn't until 3:55pm. WHAT!?! It turned out that while booking two one-way flights (there with Delta and back with AirTran) that I had accidently booked both flighs from ATL --> PUJ. Shit!
We ran to the Internet shop only to find out that they didn't have a working phone or internet - useless! So we tried to use our credit card at the payphone, but this didn't work either. Finally, we purchased a $20 calling card (I haven't bought one of these since sleep away camp), which gave us 20 minutes. After 12 minutes or so on hold with the airline, the husband finally got someone on the line and quickly explained what had happened and yelled that he only had about 5 minutes to get us off of the 10:50am flight out of Atlanta and onto the 3:55pm flight out of Punta Cana. The next words I heard out of my husband's mouth were, "$900 f*ing dollars?!?" My heart immediately stopped. At this point I was so nervous he was going to run out of time on his calling card that I turned on my cell phone and called AirTran myself. After 15 minutes of international roaming charges, I was able to speak with a very nice and understanding rep who waived the $150 change fee, but was unable to get us the same $300 rate that we originally booked with. My final words to her were, "Just get me out of this damn country!" and she did.
So the next 8 hours were spent sitting outside on a bench amongst the local airport workers and 9 stray cats. At least I got to finish the book I was reading. We finally were able to check-in for our flight around 1:30pm and enter the actual airport terminal, where I had never been so excited to see a Cinnabon in my entire life! After a 3-hour flight, an hour through customs and baggage claim and a short ride to our car, we were finally on our way home. We spent most of the car ride back to our house recapping all of the awful events of the past 5 days and just laughed, because how else do you react to a vacation like that...
Thank goodness we are booked to go on a cruise on the Allure of the Seas in December, which will be renamed with the title of our honeymoon.