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super keno scam - beware!
Coral Hamaca Hotel (Dominican Republic)
Member Name: steve03
Coral Hamaca Hotel (Dominican Republic)
Date: 11/05/03, updated on 01/12/04 (1121 review reads)
Advantages: hotel - friendly staff, lovely grounds, varied food on buffet
Disadvantages: casino rip-off, very loud at pool & beach, little to do at night
I've been traveling around the world as an airline employee for over twenty years. I usually avoid all-inclusives because they limit your exposure to the people and culture you are visiting - and this was my first all-inclusive experience. First the pros - the food was OK and plentiful. I just love it when I'm not doing the cooking - I'll eat almost anything (that's vegetarian). We ate at the Italian restaurant (appetizers were OK, entrees were literally inedible - pasta was overcooked & soggy), the Mexican restaurant (fair), and the buffet (great variety of food - bread was awesome, breakfast buffet very good - all else about what I'd expect from a buffet & an all-inclusive). The grounds were well-maintained. The staff was friendly, responsive, & active. The beach was pretty & lots of chairs though go early if you want a shady spot.
Cons - first the minor cons. The pools and beach facilities close early - around 1800. So forget about a drink by the sea or pool in the moonlight unless you go up to the hotel, find an open bar (there aren't many) & then carry it back. The pools & beach are incredibly noisy. Music, people screaming, and various organized competitions. Great for kids, families, maybe some singles - crummy for someone wanting a quiet, restful day to read & relax. In our reservation, we asked for ocean-view, king beds, adjoining rooms. We got one over the courtyard that was so loud at night (old elevator, screaming & hollering between decks & the courtyard all night long, no exaggeration - the couple in that room slept with the TV on & toilet tissue in their ears) - and one in another complex across the street, quiet, but with 2 double beds. The food was OK (see pros above). And the disco doesn't open till 2300. Not much to do in the interim. The "shows" were pretty goofy. No live music. Bring a book - go to town - or entertain yourself.
The main con (literally) & the reason we will never return is
the Super Keno game in the casino. I'm not a gambler - have just played a little slots & blackjack & when I lose my 20-40 $, I'm done. This was different - they sucker you in with free chips, bring you to the table, then rope off the table so no one else can approach you. You quickly & easily make your first 95 or so points, then every ball you pull is either a dupe or a double - and you watch your bets double & double (ours went from $5 to $640) - but you feel you cannot walk away because by now, you've got so much "invested", and it was so easy to get those first 95 points, how could you not get those last 5? But in fact, you won't. Ever. The dealers hide the ball #s and tell you they are one number (a dupe) when they aren't. Somehow (we have no direct proof other than the fact this happened to everyone else we talked with) they weigh the balls down once you're suckered in, so you cannot get the last few points you need. I would have chalked this up to bad luck if it weren't for meeting 7 other couples (all previously strangers to one other) over the next few days who had the EXACT same experience - rapid move to 95 points, then doubles & dupes & never gaining the last few points. Each lost from $500 - $20,000! We have filed, as a group, complaints with Hilton management at the Coral Hamaca & U.S. corporate offices, and with the casino. Lots of promises from the locals that they would get back with us - it's been over a week & nothing communicated to any of us yet. Beware!! Stay out of the casino.
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