from Newport, United Kingdom
Submitted on 12-17-2016
Let me start by saying the following. I read the reviews about this hotel before we stayed here and after my wife had already booked it. I decided before I went that I would accept the previous issues raised by guest reviews and do my best to enjoy my stay, the main previous issues being, no wifi in the rooms (even though it advertised on their web site), unhappy staff, the steep steps leading to the accommodation block overlooking the bay. Some of these are solvable and others are just how...
Let me start by saying the following. I read the reviews about this hotel before we stayed here and after my wife had already booked it. I decided before I went that I would accept the previous issues raised by guest reviews and do my best to enjoy my stay, the main previous issues being, no wifi in the rooms (even though it advertised on their web site), unhappy staff, the steep steps leading to the accommodation block overlooking the bay. Some of these are solvable and others are just how it is and nothing can be done about them. Wifi is solvable, they just want the guests to come down to the bar area where the wifi is and spend, (understandable) just not acceptable any more in modern day hotels. There is no good reason why the wifi could be extended to the rooms. This is just the hoteliers choice.
On our first day we were dropped off by our taxi at the ferry dock overlooking the bay towards the Marigot beach club and dive resort. To say is a beautiful destination is an understatement and taking the free ferry across to the other side is charming and enjoyable: we arrived at the reception desk with our 3 large holdalls and were made to feel welcome by the girl at the desk. We were then shown to our room by Barbara and a porter, an older slender built man, helped with our luggage. We proceeded around the side where the steps lead up to the accommodation overlooking the bay. I proceeded up to the room with my wife and porter in tow. I could see that this luggage was taking its toll on all concerned and after dropping my large holdall of diving gear off at the highest room available, I returned to offer help to my wife who told me to take the bag off to porter who looked in desperate need of a defibrillator. I relieved him of the burden and staggered breathlessly myself to the room. yes the steps will challenge the less fit and I include myself in that, but they are manageable so long as you are not carrying bags and you take a breather. A tip here which we discovered only later, is there is a easier meandering route that is slightly to the rear of the restaurant leading from the diving office which takes you to the half way point of the steps. this is the route we took most often, especially after our meals. The room we were in P7 was tired and there were signs of damage and wear to the furniture and fittings, draw handle missing, slats broken on the on the wardrobe shutters, I took photos on our arrival just in case we were blamed, but was not too bothered about this. The room was clean enough, the air conditioning worked and trust me you will need this to sleep. The temperature is a steady 30c day and night and it's humid. No you can't leave the door open, as firstly the humid air forms as ice in the AC and stops it from working and secondly the mosquitos have developed cloaking technology and long range scanning detection which seems impervious to any defence you may wish to deploy.
Breakfast however is an issue. The restaurant used is Doolittle's and is ideally situated looking out across the bay. We booked the full breakfast as part of our package and went to fill up before our daily excursion as soon as the restaurant opened. We found there was no consistency of how things worked, people arriving after us had their orders taken first, some offered coffee when we were not, so we had to chase for it and then having to ask for the milk and sugar. The longest wait we had was an hour until we started eating and I stress here that it was never busy with guests. If for one minute you think about booking a taxi or excursion close to breakfast, prepare to forfeit one or the other as this is not a fast food restaurant by any stretch.
We went for breakfast 10 times in all and these are the issues.
The girls serving do not appear at all happy and for what ever reason that is, as guests it's not our fault, and no matter how polite and friendly you are it's hard work to build any report with them and after about the fourth day I felt really sorry for them being so unhappy in their work, although when the staff were huddled together they seemed to enjoy a good laugh then, but when serving, well let's just say it's as if there is a switch. I can tell you that I made sure I did not complain about anything to the girls serving, I just grinned and bared it throughout.
The Full English was tasty and more than enough when subsidised with the varied fruit and pastries on offer and was enjoyable. When ordering the items from the girls though they got things wrong and we wanted soft boiled eggs not hard boiled, raw not fried tomatoe, they missed items like mushrooms or beans, and in many cases the beans were cold. Now I mentioned earlier that I did not complain and here is the reason why. I worked at a restaurant waiting tables as a young teen back in the mid 80s and discovered to my horror the chef spitting into the food of the patrons that had complained. That was a fancy restaurant where people paid good money to eat???? So do yourself a favour and deal tactfully and politely with those that serve you. They are not paid much and people are generally a pain and can be fussy, so I say hide your discontent and write a review instead.
So here is my breakfast tip.
Cover up, you will be bitten to death by the cloaked mozzies. You'll think to yourself "oh but it's too hot". It took me 4 days to realise that breakfast is when I was bitten the most and my legs below the knee were plastered with bites on bites. The long wait does not help, but as soon as I wore jeans with long socks and trainers for breakfast the bites on that part of my body stopped.
Don't book an excursion which might compete for time during breakfast.
Chase for stuff early at breakfast as the servers are not attentive. If you do not ask you won't get.
Now for the positive stuff, if you come to Doolittle's for lunch and evening meals it's a different world, completely different from breakfast. The meals arrive quickly, taste great and the guy behind the bar is good fun when not rushed off his feet. There is a big black guy doing serving at night times and puts everyone else to shame. Made us feel welcome, very attentive and professional and would not be out of place in a high end establishment. Thank you to him, he did make us feel valued.
The reason we chose this particular resort was because we wanted to do diving and I can't offer enough praise. Ponty the dive master runs a tight ship and is on the ball. Everything was safe we were all looked after. Food onboard good enough and never felt rushed. The dive team he has on board were great fun and this made the whole experience very positive, thank you.
Three more things to mention,
I noticed there is a small army of staff working tirelessly cleaning and maintaining the grounds after the frequent downpours and overall they are doing an excellent job. But the pool needs a second clean about 1 o'clock to clear out the bugs and leaves or at least leave a net by the side of the pool so we could do it ourselves.
I think that staff should be reprimanded in private and not at the bar in front of guests. The white guy doing his "how not to motivate staff seminar" at the bar for all to overhear, needs training, particularly on how to be succinct, less condescending and patronising.
The same porter who helped us with our luggage was being bullied by another member of staff, very disappointing to see.
As guests these instances were contrary to the image the hotel strives to achieve and I am sure this is not what they want. As guest these experiences made us realise this is not the piece of paradise we hoped it would be. maybe this is were the problem lies, who knows?
Overall we did enjoy our stay and if given the chance would go again. However in the race for new experiences we rarely do the same thing twice. Don't be put off by any of the reviews, the place is magical and they seem to be doing their best in what is a difficult geographical location. Truly I wish people would not complain about the steps, there is nothing they can do. Overall we offer our thanks, we enjoyed our stay for the most part.