The Dominican Republic resort where a Delaware woman says she was beaten unconscious is temporarily closing due to low occupancy.
Majestic Resorts says it has lost thousands of visitors since stories of American tourists dying or being seriously injured while visiting the island started becoming public earlier this year.
Tammy Lawrence-Daley, a 51-year-old from Wilmington, was one of the first to share her story, doing so via Facebook in May. She posted that she was beaten and strangled multiple times to unconsciousness at Majestic’s Punta Cana resort in January.
That resort, the Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, announced the temporary closing in a letter to travel agencies, Majestic Resorts said it will close on Aug. 15 with plans to reopen on Nov. 7.
“Majestic Resorts is going to offer even more services and more quality than ever before to gain our guests back,” reads the letter, signed by VP of Sales and Marketing Ricardo Espinosa.
After weeks in the national spotlight, Lawrence-Daley filed a lawsuit against Majestic Resorts in July. She is suing for $3 million to compensate for “permanent, life-changing injuries,” according to her lawyers.
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“I think it speaks volumes to the public’s reaction to the resort’s mishandling of this situation,” said Victoria Kurtz, one of the lawyers representing Lawrence-Daley.
Majestic Resorts did not immediately return a request for comment.
Occupancy at Majestic Resorts’ three Punta Cana locations was expected to dip below 60% in the second half of August, September and October, according to the letter.
The letter blames “thousands of cancellations” on negative media portrayals of “isolated issues.”
“We have taken this issue as an opportunity to rethink and improve for the future,” the letter reads.
The company said it is closing the resort because it doesn’t want guests to have a sub-par experience in an empty resort.
Guests that have trips booked will be given a room of the same or better quality at the Majestic Mirage Punta Cana. The company intends to make small upgrades while the resort is closed.
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Kurtz said the resort has had little contact with her team since the lawsuit was filed. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 22.
“It would be ideal to get this settled and move on, but if the resort feels that fighting this is in their best interest we will prove them wrong,” Kurtz said.
Lawrence-Daley was taken into a closet at the resort and “left for dead in a drainage area” by one or two people she believes were workers at the resort, according to her lawyers.
“I was kicked in the head, I was beaten with a club,” Lawrence-Daley wrote in her original Facebook post. “And then strangled again for the kill.”
She said she was found eight hours later, only after her husband and friends asked the front desk to search for her three times.
Lawrence-Daley spent five days in a hospital, where she was treated for multiple abrasions and bruises and had surgery to repair her gum line. She says she is managing several physical ailments including nerve damage and “permanent disfigurement.”
An earlier statement by the resort shed doubt on Lawrence-Daley’s telling of the events saying it was waiting for police to explore contradictions in the “strange and unusual case.”
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At least 10 tourists have died while visiting the Dominican Republic this year but officials say the number of deaths are not alarming and actually lower than in some previous years.
Flight bookings between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic for July and August dipped about 85% compared to last year, according to the data firm ForwardKeys. Ticket sales started to rebound in late June.
Lawrence-Daley’s complaint is the only known grievance at the Majestic Elegance Punta Cana.
Contact Brandon Holveck at email@example.com or at (302) 324-2267. Follow on Twitter @holveck_brandon.