Monday, January 07, 2008

Volunteer/Helpful Information

The Batey Relief Alliance is looking for a few good volunteers. The press release is below:
The Batey Relief Alliance is currently recruiting groups wishing to carry out five working-day mission trips to serve children and families severely affected by poverty, disease and hunger in the Dominican
Republic’s impoverished urban/rural slum or batey (sugar cane plantations) communities.

Activities may include delivering short-term medical, eye, or disaster relief assistance, repairing or building homes or schools, or starting a new project of community building or education. The group may be between 10 to 25 volunteers made up of professionals, retirees, or students. A letter of interest must be sent to the Batey Relief Alliance at least three months prior to the first day of a mission.

For more information or inquiries, please contact Ulrick Gaillard at or (917) 627-5026. To learn more about the humanitarian work of the Batey Relief Alliance, visit our website at

I have been getting emails for the last couple of weeks about different hotels that many gay visitors patronize, namely the Mercure, Hodelpa Caribe Colonial and the Residence Venezia. The complaint is about the added cost of having a "visitor" to your room. The complaint is about being charged when someone just came to the room for 10-15 minutes.

I even got an email from someone who stayed at the Sofitel, and was not having "visitors," as he was traveling with his parents (40th anniversary present). They stayed at a resort and then came to the city to do some sightseeing. He hired a guide, and a driver. When the guide and driver would come up to his, or his parents' room, they were charged $20. They, of course, did not find this out until they were checking out and took notice of the bill. They complained, but to no avail.

I have been asked to list on the different policies with regard to different hotels. Like whether internet is free (or available), breakfast included, safety-deposit box included, etc. I agree, it would be great to have all that information in one place. Unfortunately, I don't have the time (nor the desire) to do that. Also, policies change from one day to the next.

Here's what I suggest. Before you make your reservations, check with each individual hotel to find out their policy is about guests, internet, breakfast, and the like. Upon check-in, reconfirm the information you were given. And finally, check your bill daily, if you think some shenanigans are taking place.

Knowledge is power!

As ever,
The Monaga Blogger


Anonymous said...

I find this "visitors charge" strange. I recently within the last two months stayed at the Caribe Colonial and had visitors and they never charged me an extra peso. Albeit I am a regular customer of the Hodelpa since 2001 and have stayed there for years. Maybe they let it slide with me but I checked my bill carefully and they never charged me for overnight guests. Could this be a "new" policy within the last two months? I am sure I will check this out before I make future reservations.

Anonymous said...

Hotel Duque is charging 200 pesos for a visitor and 60 pesos an hour for internet use......

Anonymous said...

This nonsense about charging for guests is almost unheard of in other parts of the world. This nonsense is only exceeded by hotels that do not allow guests under any circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I recently stayed at the Hilton Santo Domingo. Very nice, but breakfast wasn't included, and they wanted $10 plus tax to use the internet in the room. They even charged for the coffee, which is usually free at all other hotels I have stayed at around the world. I want to stay somewhere where you do not have to pay for every extra. At least the safe was included.

louro said...

Translation: hotels do not want (gay) guests to take in male escorts who may put in danger them and other guests (assaults/thefts) or just downgrading the hotel.

Anonymous said...

I've stayed at Hodelpa which is right by the Catedral and they are great. They do not charge for visitors, the staff is great the internet is free although it is slow and they do charge for the safe in the room. I wouldn't stay anywhere else

Anonymous said...

I think louro is absolutely right on the money with is statement! It's about male escorts entering the hotel and the potential for theft/assault and the appearance of such escorts affecting the hotel's reputation.

Monaga said...

If a hotel is concerned about having a reputation for allowing escorts, then they shouldn't allow guests at all. The gay following is small in comparison to the many older men here who like young prostitutes.

As for the Caribe Colonial. I have spoken to the reservations manager who confirmed that they are now charging for "overnight" guests.

The point is that hotels can have any policies they wish. They just need to be communicated properly to your guests.

Anonymous said...

I am willing to bet that any american paying customer who is a regular at the Caribe Colonial and calls to make a reservation and specifically asks about this policy that they will waive the charge. The last time I stayed there the hotel only had about 8 rooms occupied (you can tell by watching from the bar and the breakfast in the morning) and there was only one straight client who was bringing in young female prostitutes every day and night. As for me, I stayed with the same man every night and they never charged me at all and even let him eat breakfast with me every morning for no charge. I guess it is who you are and how you act and WHO you are bringing into the hotel.

Anonymous said...

I will give you some advice about the Caribe Colonial after having stayed there 9-10 weeks since 2002. On the day of my arrival, I tip well the gentleman who brings my bags into the room and the man at the front desk when I check in (I usually put $20 US in each hand) and then as the week progresses I will tip the maid, tip the bartenders, tip the waiters well and I have NEVER had a problem. In fact, I never even pay for the safe key and lock when I check in. It is just handed to me and never has been on my bill. A little generous tipping at the Caribe Colonial can go a long way in getting whatever you wish.

Nena Nuyorican said...

I've stay at a few place and the FEMALE PROSTITUTES are everywhere even at the once again it's just as simple as "discrimination" against gays. They want the money and sneak around and get there groove on...of course they do it on the is power, How we use it, that's the question.

Yes, I haven't read the blog in awhile or been around much..but i'm back :)