I am opening this thread so that brothers may post horror stories of 2011 Hajj.
The group organized different price level packages/programs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Programs 1, 2 and 3, priced for almost 8-10k, were treated quite differently than program 4 and 5 which were priced from 11-17k. The comments are sought from brothers who were in program 1, 2 and 3. However, you may post for other programs specially mentioning which program you were. This way people could see the difference and the deliberate act of cheating and non fulfillment of commitments for program 1 to 3.
First of all, I post my comments:
Cost $9890- Paid for Double Room
After taking payment, we were informed that after first nine nights it will be shared on gender basis with four persons per room with attached breakfast (First sign of providing incorrect information- I am not talking of days in Mina to Muzdalifah)
Hotels Dar el Tawhid Mecca and Move n Pick- Anwar al Madina
First four nights in Mecca excellent
Moved to Madina, problems started
Upon arrival cold dinner was served by hotel management with weird, rude and arrogant attitude
Even glasses for water were neither placed on tables nor provided upon request
Check in was delayed in some cases till 7 am in morning whereas we got there at almost 10pm
got room with stinking smell, only one bulb in the room, and non working A/C
in Madina Towers.
Hotel management refused to change the room, did spray whole can of air freshner and offered to have one. Could not use because my wife has ashtma.
Dar el Salam management commented " Nothing can be done now. We are here for Hajj so these things are minor and so called scholars sheikhs recite verses for patience"
The breakfast next morning was total chaotic. The space allocated for buffet was insufficient resulting in huge line ups for food and no place to sit. The hotel management responded, we are providing the agreed services.
No communication between dar el salam (tour operator) and the prospective Hajjis
When asked, they responded we announced in breakfast hall and you should be present there. The breakfast timing was 6:30 to 10 and diner and 6 to 10. I asked how can some one stay almost hours in the dining room to listen to the announcement and suggested to fix specific time for announcement for next day or same day programs. The management paid no heed to it.
From Madinah to Azizyah- 24 hours water, tea and juices were provided
We were informed that buses will leave at 9.Neither Dar el Salam nor the hotel provided dinner. They even did not announce that there will be no dinner. People were under the impression since buses will be leaving after 9 pm, dinner will be provided either at the hotel or by the tour operator but it was skipped. Old people dropped sugar level as they had their breakfast at almost 10 and did not wt anything. We arrviced at Azizyah (Mecca) after Fajr almost 7 so people were kept hungry for almost 24 hours in a place where retail cost for one breakfast is not more than 10 rayals (U.S. $2.5)
Quite contrary to what we were informed earlier we were put four persons per room but one wash room for eight people
During the whole stay at Azizyah:
If you want food line up early, like beggars, for almost one hour and if you want to avoid rush, there will be no food left. Every day there was food shortage and you had to talk to some one for food ( they will give you leftovers like may be only yogurt and cake or cereal and milk quite contrary to buffet description in the CD provided by Dar el Salam). There is no close place outside where you can buy food so you are at thier mercy to kill your ego everyday
Even when you are lined up for food, any edible food item ( daily not more than one) will never be refilled to force people to move to other substitutes which sometimes were stale, greasy, and had horrible taste
we were promised daily shuttle bus service for Salat between Haram and Azizyah which never turned into reality. If they have given you shuttle time at 11 am and you show up at that time , you will find either bus left at 10 or will be leave at 3. whenever we tried to use shuttle bus facility we had to wait for almost four hours for one way trip. You wait same amount of time for coming back. People will yell and shout to get shuttle.
Left for Minah- Location was exactly as described
Worst experience ever, Food lineups increased to more than two hours with intervals when people are lined up and there is no food. Line ups for bath rooms also started varying anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hour. Only ten washrooms for almost 2300 people. ( There was another set of 10 washrooms for program 4 and 5 for only few hundred participants). Quite ridiculously, there was not a single person lined up outside the public washrooms but for these so called VIP camp residents, you had to wait for 90 minutes. I used public washroom always and when informed Dar el Salam, they ridiculously said, Oh, that's gr8, why do not you go there.
half of the Air-conditioning units were not working
When people complain, these so called hired sheikhs/ scholars will recite verses to be patient and concentrate on Hajj and Ibadah and food, accommodation, washrooms, non functioning A/C units are petty issues as compared to the big cause you are here for
If you ask these Sheikhs to recite few verses for those who do not commit their commitments, initially they will defend the Dar el Salam. If they see quite big number is complaining, they will either leave the scene or say, Sure, I will talk to them". Dar el Salam continuously and regularly uses services of these scholars to exploit people in the name of religion.
Left for Arafat
The management asked the people to leave at 1:30 instead of after Fajr which is Sunnah. The scholars said it is allowed as we have been provided this time slot by Saudi Hajj ministry to use train services. Later on, it was confirmed that scholars provided incorrect information and no time slots were allotted by the Hajj ministry.
In Arafat the situation for everything truly reflected Murphy's law and "Anything that could go wrong did go wrong".
Left for Muzdalifah, No coordination, communication as a result of which few people were left out and later joined at their own
It is Sunnah to leave Muzdalifah after Fajr but here again the management with the connivance of so called scholars asked people to leave at 1:30 am. They said you may stay if you want but the last train will leave at 1:30. Those who have been blessed with Hajj know that Hajjis keep on coming at Muzdalifah till midnight so how last train can leave at 1:30. Many people were scared and left at 1:30 make life of Dar el Salam management easy. The train services were continuously provided throughout the day as we left at almost 7.
Came back to Mina - No lunch and dinner provided. The program 1, 2, and 3 participants were embarrased with the announcement that lunch is provided to VIP program participants only. However, you may come to their tents to get food.
Moved to Aziziyah. Had to stay five nights in Azizyah nsead of 2 nights Story continued as I want my fellow brothers to comment.
Some people were moved from Madina after only one night to Azizyah and so called hired scholars , it is more sawab to pray in Hram so we are moving you. ( But that is not what you promised, you become to the resident of hell fire to help the owner by playing emotional games. If you promised four nights Madina, you must provide them)
I personally asked Hajji Mustafa, the owner, why it happened to which he had no response. However, the seriousness of the owner can be auged from the fact that he promised to provide shuttle for Haram to compensate us at 3 am. The shuttle never showed up.
Some scholars tried to defend that situation is so fluid in Hajj and 10th to 13th ZilHajj nothing can be anticipated but they could not respond why this did not apply to people who bought packages for more than $11k.