A “royal” complaint with the right resolution? Maybe not

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By Christopher Elliott

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, you get what happened to Paul and Cindy Bergeson on their 30th wedding anniversary trip to Mexico.

You get trouble.

The Bergesons checked in at The Royal Playa del Carmen on Jan. 15th. The Royal promises (I’m not making this up) an “an explosion of luxury around every corner, all provided in an atmosphere of casual elegance.”

An explosion is exactly what they ended up with, figuratively speaking. Because at the same time, 250 listeners of a Chicago-area rock station had descended on the same property to celebrate something called Cabin Fever Getaway.

“Our tranquil vacation was shattered,” says Cindy Bergeson. “The daily noise level and filth was unconscionable.”

She continues,

The resort was disgustingly dirty 24/7. The pool area, bars and lobby were constantly a pig sty. Everywhere, garbage cans overflowed.

Full dirty ashtrays were left everywhere and untouched for hours. Cigarette butts were left on the floor at the pool, lobby, bars and hallways for days!

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At the pool, each and every morning, filth was left behind from the night before; dirty glasses, bottles, ashtrays, etc. Pool bathrooms were disgusting. Several potted plants at the pool were dead.

Every morning WIIL Rock and their “guests” were screaming and hollering while broadcasting back to the fans in Chicago. The same raucous behavior continued throughout the hotel each and every day.

From bliss to noise

Bergeson and her husband had no idea they would be sharing a luxury resort with a radio station and its listeners. They’d stayed at the Royal’s sister property in Cancun, Mexico, and had a great experience.

But not here. They checked out early.

Complaints to the resort yielded the following apology.

Thank you very much for your recent visit to THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen and for granting us with the privilege of serving you. Thank you as well for taking the time to send us your impressions and experience while hosted at our beautiful resort. We are truly sorry to read that your stay was not the exceptional experience that we always provide to all of our valuable guests.

We have carefully reviewed your report and comments and are sincerely sorry to read that you were inconvenienced by some of the guests hosted during your stay.

Kindly note that THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen aims to provide a relaxing luxurious environment for adults-only guests, also our resort is perfectly fitted to provide both a party atmosphere as well as a tranquil and peaceful ambience, as we understand the uniqueness of each of our valuable guests.

Also THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen is known for being an impeccable and well maintained resort that offers an exceptional service as our 5 stars standards dictate.

That being said, as a good will act and in an effort to regain your faith in our resort and its services, we are pleased to offer a 03 nights complimentary stay in a Royal Junior Ocean View Suite for two adults at THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen.

Once again, thank you for your kind preference and we are looking forward to welcoming you back so we can provide you with a truly amazing holiday experience.

Bergeson is unhappy with that response. She’d rather have a full refund of the $2,198 she paid for her vacation.

Hotel harmony disrupted

She also believes the apology and offer are disingenuous, a fact quickly proven by reading the online reviews and doing some basic research about the WIIL group, which she says is never invited back to the same hotel again because it is so raucous. What’s more, it would be impractical for her and her husband to return to Mexico for a three-night stay at the same hotel, a fact probably known to the hotel.

The Bergesons appealed to the Royal. Their “final” answer? A polite no.

We have carefully reviewed all the information provided and are sorry to read that you feel you were inconvenienced during your stay at our beautiful resort.

Nevertheless, please note that hotel’s daily operations nor service quality was ever compromised, as our objective is to provide exceptional service to each and every valuable guest, respecting their uniqueness and individuality.

The ROYAL Playa del Carmen is extensively known for its luxurious and pleasant environment as well as for its cleanliness and professional staff.

That’s disappointing, but not surprising. WIIL’s money is just as green as the Bergesons, and the hotel was probably just as taken aback by the behavior of some of its guests as this couple. (Related: Socked with a $450 resort fee – is that fair?)

I think this problem might have been better addressed after the first night, when the Bergesons were kept up until 2 a.m. while guests partied at the pool. Had they complained immediately, the Royal may have been able to walk them to a quieter hotel, or maybe just offered them a room far from the crowds. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

But based on their own account, it appears they waited until they had enough, and then left without giving the hotel a chance to address its shortcomings.

If nothing else, this is a cautionary tale to anyone visiting a popular warm-weather destination at high season. Ask about any groups or conventions coming at the same time. What you learn may affect your choice in accommodations.

Did the Royal Playa del Carmen offer the Bergesons enough compensation?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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