Memories Holguin - Hotel from Hell and free cat safari.... - Complaint about Thomas Cook - A Spokesman Said

Memories Holguin - Hotel from Hell and free cat safari....

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Martin Strang

22/08/2016

Memories Holguin - Hotel from Hell and free cat safari....

Complaint about Thomas Cook

My wife and I stayed here the last 10 days in July for our 20th Wedding anniversary, my wife's birthday and my 4 year dual transplant anniversary, and it was our first holiday abroad in 9 years because of my transplant issues, so wanted to make it a really special holiday. On paper, the resort looks fabulous.. pools, beach, sun (what more could you want?) We even paid to have the 'Diamond Club' upgrade, which allegedly gives you beach towels, a better room, a secluded private part of the beach and a beach butler, also 20% off spa treatments. Reality...... This is advertised as a 4 star resort, in UK terms it should only be a 2 star. The resort is over 27 acres, and if you have any type of mobility issues (like me) you are going to struggle. There are carts available but these sometimes need to be booked in advance. We checked in and when booking, we had asked for a ground floor room, near to the amenities. We actually got room 333 which was half way round the resort and a good ten minute walk (for a normal person) to either the lobby or the pool areas. After complaining to the reception we were told we wouldn't be able to move to the following day, however we spoke to our tour rep and he arranged to move that day. We moved to 109 which was a far shorter walk to the lobby area, and the room was a far, far better quality room then the first one (the DC rooms are supposed to be a little better) The main restaurant is a buffet style, serving a variety of foods, some freshly cooked whilst you wait, such as fried rice, pasta, and steak/chicken/pork.There is also a variety of fruit, cooked meats etc, but there are constantly flies and the odd bird that fly in and land on the fresh stuff (we were actually told by the tour rep not to eat the fruit(!!) ) HOWEVER.. there are around 15-20 cats that come and constantly rub round your feet, sit on the ledges by the restaurant and roam around the restaurant begging for food. Constantly, EVERY meal time.The staff don't shoo them away. Also there is a smell of cat urine in the restaurant and the light fittings above the food areas aer covered in bird poop. The 24 hour snack bar also has the same issue. The Diamond Club (DC): The diamond club upgrade at this hotel is pretty non-existent. At the bar you get a couple of 'premium drinks' such as Absolut vodka, however it was the beach butler and secluded beach area that we were really looking forward to when we booked. The beach area is at the far end of the main beach, and a fair walk for the less able (the cart drops you off a the main beach and it about a 5 minute walk to the DC section. We were advised by the travel agent that the DC area was exclusive to DC members. REALITY - the DC section is also open to the public, especially friends and family of the hotel staff. You do not go on holiday, pay for an 'upgraded' area on the beach and then start to relax only to have a Cuban kid urinate behind your sun-lounger!! I also stopped a Cuban child from stealing our newly made Canadian friend's bag and towels (I was starting to relax, my wife and Canadian friends had just gone into the sea and I looked up and saw a Cuban child just swim out of the sea, walk straight to their sun lounger and had put his hands in between the sun loungers gap where they had put their beach bag, when I shouted at him, and he just ran a bit further down the beach and tried to the same to someone else!) Because of this we never went back to the beach, for fear of constantly having to keep an eye on our sun loungers. The beach butler is non-existent. We were there for three hours, and in all those three hours we had to go and get refreshments ourselves,, not once did the so-called beach butler make him/herself available for us to place a refreshment order. As for the beach toilets: There are two sets - one right down at the main beach next to the massage area, and one set behind the beach by a tall observation tower - ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING!!!!!!!! No toilet roll, no soap, no paper towels / dryers to dry your hands (sometimes worked) and the stench of Urine and also urine on the floors. I had to actually get the beach bar to call for supplies so we could use the toilet.The lobby toilets (in my opinion this is the first place people generally go after a 9 hour flight) were much the same - dirty, smelly and lack of things like toilet roll and soap. RECEPTION - reception staff weren't very greeting when we checked in and on the fourth occasion we had to complete, they decided not to understand the English accent. After speaking to a friendly member of the bar staff, it appears that as it is a Canadian run hotel and most of the guests are Canadian, they are only taught to understand CANADIAN !!! I ended up speaking in (what I thought was Canadian but turns out ot be more of a New Jersey type accent) and they understood - go figure. ROOM - The beds are quite low, and there is only one long type pillow for each bed (we asked for a double room and got a room with tow single beds that we had to push together every night as the maid kept separating them! We had no hot water in the shower for the first 6 days, they fixed it then it broke again. The toilet in the room was constantly breaking down, not flushing, and the bathroom lights kept failing. The room was supposed to have Satellite TV - it did, three English speaking channels (two news and one film). The mini fridge is restocked daily, providing you have drunk whats in it (usually a can of Cuban cola, Cuban lemonade and a Can of Cuban Cristal beer), and FYI, for a room (no matter how many people are in the room you still just get a 1.5 litre bottle of water. There are two deck chair type seats on the Veranda. It took 4 days for the actual covers to be placed on them so we could sit on them! Some of the bar staff are friendly and speak English, and the cart drivers do a good jib considering they work 12 hour shifts. POOLS - there are 5 pools including a swim up pool bar. HOWEVER the first time we tried the top pool my wife stood on a staple...yes, a STAPLE in the pool. The area in her foot is still slightly black today, together with there being two dead crabs in the pool at the same time. INTERNET - it cost 2 CUCs per hour for an internet card which can used in the internet room or on your tablet/phone . There is more that I can say about this hotel whose tag line is "we make memories". They certainly did, our anniversary, wifes' birthday and the fact we hadn't been on a holiday for 9 years was ruined by the amenities, room, and security. Although the staff made an effort for my wifes birthday by doing a special desert this was pale in comparison to the ££££'s we spent on this 'holiday of a lifetime'. You may see a lot of reviews from Canadians that have been here, but after speaking to them, they use this hotel like someone from the UK would go to Magaluf or Tenerife and pay C$3-£400 for the holiday. If you want the advice of a long standing trip adviser reviewer, there are other resorts in Cuba that will meet and more than likely exceed your expectations. You don't expect to be told by the tour rep that it has just been open to the UK and we were one of a number trying the hotel out this year, and also being missold the Diamond club upgrade, and also finding out that they have only just started doing the DC at this hotel so were still getting to grips with it. When we came back to the UK and we put in the complaint,, Thomas Cook Call centre eventually came back with a £150 refund, at which I politely told them no. They called back about half an hour later with a £500 refund and if we didn't accept it we would need to go to abta which would cost us £265! It turns out that we should have been told by the Falkirk store that Cuba was over-run with cats,.. err no, they didn't. After I called them again as they had only covered 3 of 15 points, I was told that the reason the case had been closed so quick was that the tour rep had put on his report that he had offered to move hotels for us 3 times!! (only once 6 hours before we were due to go home) When I argued this with Thomas Cook, I said we had filled out a two page report at the hotel and no where was anything to say offer to move three times. Thomas Cook then asked 'Well, di the tour rep sign that actual form??' to which I replied 'yes'.. they then said 'oh, err.. if you send the form over by email we will look to see if we can reopen your complaint, but normally once a complaint is closed that is that. We are looking for a full refund as the holiday was hell, plus it was our 20th wedding anniversary, my wifes birthday and my 4 year kidney and pancreas transplant anniversary all in the same week we were away which was totally ruined!!!

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