Not the “Sandals difference” she was hoping for

In case you missed the ads, the “Sandals difference” is that this chain of all-inclusive “luxury” resorts offers “the most romantic getaways with more quality inclusions than any other luxury beach resort.”

“The closer you look,” it adds, “the better we look.”

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Well, Camille Desroches and her husband, Vincenzo, looked closely — and they didn’t like what they saw. They’re asking me to be their advocate and persuade Sandals to offer them credit for a do-over.

As a reminder, this is our weekly installment of Should I Take The Case? — a completely unvetted reader problem in which I ask you if I should be the advocate. haven’t contacted Sandals yet, but I will if you tell me I should.

The Desroches, who have been to a different Sandals resort before, stayed in a concierge club level room at Sandals Royal Bahamian in November. Things did not go well.

“It was a very stressful vacation,” says Camille Desroches.

Let’s go right to the written complaint:

To start, the overall staff is unknowledgeable. We were given the runaround many times and wrong information as far as which restaurants were available to eat at, what the dress code was, how to go about making dinner reservations, and even what time our airport shuttle was to depart (we almost missed our flight home because of this).

The majority of the food and beverage staff, particularly bartenders, were very rude and unhelpful. During dinner a couple of nights, we asked our server if a particular dish was spicy; both nights we were answered with “I have never tried it, I do not know.” Instead of finding out for us, he rudely asked us again what we wanted.

One night during dinner service, dinner was spilled on Vincenzo. Instead of receiving an apology, the server quickly walked away with a nervous laugh. Another night, when ordering champagne, I was served champagne with a dead cockroach affixed to the glass. Again, no apology was offered.

Secondly, our Club Sandals Concierge experience was nothing like described. To start, we never received a “personalized resort orientation.” After we checked in, we were told to follow a concierge from the lounge to our room – we were never shown around property or told when an orientation would be available.

Also, we were never issued a “specifically made Club Sandals room key” – we noticed that non-Club guests were utilizing the lounge. Through conversation with other guests, we learned we were never invited to the returning guest Wednesday night dinner or given our returning guest gift (we had to request it and be persistent about obtaining it).

We were very surprised to learn that those coming from the local cruise port could purchase a day pass to be on property. Not only did it bring in a rowdy and rude crowd, but we were not given the type of service we deserved because of it. It significantly increased the lines at all of the bars and restaurants.

On Friday, we were unable to make the 11 a.m. ferry because of the influx of day pass guests. We also had a thirty-minute wait for lunch at Stew Fish and Royal Café. Through conversation with people in the hot tub, we learned that there was a 60-person group which was on a singles cruise. Also, their travel agent solicited us. We were told to “call her for our next trip and she would get us a better deal for a Sandals resort” and she handed us her business card.

It upset us that we were solicited while on resort property from someone who co-coordinated a singles cruise, when Sandals prides themselves on being a “couples only” resort.

We tried to make our trip better a few different times by speaking with the concierges. The first night we were there, we asked if we could pay to upgrade to a butler level room. We were told that they were completely unavailable and they would let us know if that changed over the next eight days.

On the fourth night, after we found out about the day pass guests, we spoke to the concierges about our concerns and frustrations. We asked if we could transfer to Sandals Emerald Bay. We were told that there would be a fee and we would have to pay for our airfare there.

The concierges did not do anything to remedy the situation or attempt to make things better. On Saturday, one of the managers learned about our frustrations through guests who frequent the property. She listened to all of our woes, but again, the situation was not attempted to be fixed. She did not do anything to make our stay better.

In the end, the couple persuaded Sandals to transfer them to its Emerald Bay property for the last day of their vacation.

Still, that doesn’t sound like the “Sandals difference”. The Desroches believe Sandals should offer them a stay at another Sandals property at no cost. I suggested they send that request to Sandals.

Here’s how it responded:

Please accept our apologies for any inconveniences you have encountered during your stay at Sandals Royal Bahamian hence the cause for relocation to Sandals Emerald Bay.

We fully appreciate the importance of a vacation at our resort and understand your disappointment at having encountered the difficulties you have outlined. Please be assured that we take comments of this nature extremely seriously, as this is the means by which we are able to amend any possible shortcomings in our vacation package.

Mr. & Mrs. Desroches, we sincerely regret that circumstances which initially necessitated you to write. Clearly there were a number of situations encountered throughout your stay that were not reflective of previous Sandals stay and not reflective the true Sandals Resorts hospitality, I have since met with the relevant managers who has assured me that other guests will not encounter the same.

It is our sincere pleasure to extend to you our goodwill gesture of two (2) credit nights, a voucher will be sent to you under separate cover (restrictions apply).

Is a two-night voucher and an apology enough compensation for what happened to the Desroches? They don’t think so.

I’m not sure. Did they get the “all inclusive” vacation they hoped for? Without a question, no. There were many service lapses. Should Sandals have to offer them a new vacation? I’ve seen do-overs in the past, but they’re rare.

I’m much more concerned with the way in which Sandals appears to have handled this couple’s initial grievance. By their account, no one took their issues seriously until the very end. That’s troubling.

If I bring this case to Sandals’ attention, it might result in a few extra days’ compensation. But something tells me the root of the service problems that led to this complaint will remain unaddressed.

Should I mediate Camille Desroches' case with Sandals?

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199 thoughts on “Not the “Sandals difference” she was hoping for

  1. Sorry, but a number of things ring false about this laundry-list complaint and for that reason I don’t think you should mediate. Food was spilled on the husband and a dead roach was attached to her glass, and yet, those things were apparently insignificant compared to those *gasp* guests from a singles cruise being allowed on the premise and to have access to the same facilities as the hoity-toity Concierge Club guests.

    I think a credit of two days if far more than enough. They did sleep there an make use of the resort, didn’t they?

    1. I agree. I simply don’t believe the OP.

      Does anyone really think there was a dead cockroach clinging to the drink glass? The first thing I would have done was take a picture. Where’s the proof? Or that a server spilled food on the guy and walked away laughing? Does that sound like a probable reaction? If there were really getting served dead cockroaches, that would be #1 on any list and would cause the OP to never want to eat there again.

      Laundry list complaints are bad enough. Ones that are…”embellished”…are worse. Don’t mediate this one because the OP is not believable.

      1. A server spilling food on a customer and laughing wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve seen it happen. Having dinner at a nice restaurant, I saw a waiter spill an entire pitcher of ice cold water on a customer sitting at the table across from me. The waiter cracked up laughing in the guy’s face. The customer wasn’t laughing though, and I’m betting the waiter got a lousy tip. Another time, I was at a restaurant, and a roach crawled out of the dinner plate that had just been set in front of me. I killed it with a napkin and called a manager whose only reaction was to offer to throw out the napkin with the dead roach in it away. He actually thought I was going to eat the food the roach crawled out of and that I was going to pay for it. Suffice it to say I didn’t, and it should come as no surprise that both restaurants closed down years ago. Both of these cases were in a big tourist city in the U.S. So don’t discount that the same thing happened to the OP. I believe her.

        1. We were at a restaurant once and there was actually a fly in my husbands soup. When he called the waitress over, he said “I know this sounds like a cliche but there’s a fly in my soup.” The girl looked at it and said without missing a beat “Would you like another bowl?”.

          The days of good customer service are over, lol.

          1. Well, perhaps she misunderstood and thought the fly had landed in it while he was trying to eat it…? In that case, offering another bowl would be a reasonable offer.

      2. I believe it about the bug. I was at a very high end reception in a NY hotel and they served me a glass of wine with a cockroach in it.

        1. I worked in restaurants and if you saw what I saw, you would never, never go out to eat again. I took care of a customer complaint of a “fly in his soup.” I took the dish, removed the fly, changed the dish and returned the soup to the patron. I was 16 yrs old and the bus boy.

          1. I’ve worked in Restaurants all my life, and never see idiotic things like mentioned above. Probably happens rarely if ever. And I also go out to restaurants all the time. I never have fears about the employees doing stuff like that. I do though treat the employees like I would like to be treated, and I never, never, let small crap stuff bother me, or ruin my day………anymore, lol.

          2. Steve, you had better not visit the kitchens of some of the ‘greasy spoons’ of NY/SF Chinatown restaurants. You will not like it. Asian bosses are quite different that you profess to be in the treatment of their employees. My Mom worked for tips only and one meal, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week in an SF Chinese restaurant. Of course, no health/medical benefits.

      3. Oh the humanity! I had to wait 30 minutes to go to a restaurant in a resort. We didn’t get a specifically made key, we had the same key as other gusts!!! A non-club guest used the lounges? Did she follow the guest around all day to see where their room was? Because, you know, people go form the pool to the lounge and back tot he pool or beach without going to their room. These people sound nuts to me!

          1. LOL! That was my first reaction too. 30 minute wait for lunch…HORRORS!

            I’m going to do my best to follow the new “kinder gentler commenters” rule and NOT say what I was about to say. Let’s just say the word I was going to use rhymes with “minors”.

            Laundry list of irritants. That’s all this is. If they let this kind of stuff ruin their vacation, they are there for all the wrong reasons.

            If everything they reported is true, they deserve some compensation…I would have suggested credit for two nights the next time they visit a Sandals. Oh, lookee here! That’s exactly what they got.

            But a complete redo? Give me a break. They stayed there, ate the food, swam in the pools and had their entire vacation. They had some bad waiters and it was more crowded than they were expecting. Big deal. Do-over? Wow.

            Run Chris. There are people with REAL problems who need you.

        1. They apparently paid for the “Club Level Concierge” experience, which, according to their website, starts at $370 per person per night (i.e. $740+ night), and which promises a special key with access to the “Concierge Lounge”–

          “a place overflowing with extraordinary privileges, unique experiences, and exceptional service for concierge guests of Sandals Resorts. Extravagance is blended with remarkable amenities that completely redefine genuine hospitality and allow guests to enjoy one-on-one service and complete relaxation in the comfort of a stylish lounge.”

          http://www.sandals.Com/main/bahamian/ba-concierge/

          Doesn’t sound to me that they received the product they paid for.

          1. Classic resort hyperbole. These things should always be taken with a grain of salt. If you believe you will get that kind of luxury and perfection at a Sandals, I got a Nigerian prince to introduce you to…

          2. Except they were satisfied at other Sandals and they were probably paying $740 or more per night at this one…

        2. I wonder what you would be saying if you booked a package at Disney for $5k a person that promised private amenities, one of a kind front of line ride privelages, VIP seating at a restaurant and lounge, and special access to Disney characters that the general public does not get… then when you get there, find out that anyone with $20 can get line passes, meet the characters, cut in front of you in the VIP line, and hop in front of you on all the rides.
          My guess is that you would be screaming from the mountain tops how much money you spent at Disney and you didn’t get the exclusivity that you paid for.

          1. If other people were paying for access to things that I also paid for access to, I would have no problem. If I thought it was too crowded, then I would take that into account before returning. If the other people got a better deal for the same access, then shame on me for not doing my research and paying more than the others.

      4. If the cockroach incident did happen how is that not the primary complaint instead of being buried after minor things like the staff not knowing the dress code or which restaurants were open?

        That’s what is so comical about these laundry list sort of letters–the people must think they’re scoring points for how thorough they’re being but in reality it comes across as being totally unbelievable because there’s no degree of severity assigned to anything. Totally trivial points get top billing and more detail than what should be major issues. They spent twice as much space talking about the silly key card they never got than on the roach incident, for example. And they supposedly almost missed their flight because of the hotel yet that just gets mentioned in passing yet there’s all kinds of detail about the server not having tried everything on the menu.

    2. I voted “no”, but it’s not that I don’t believe them. It just seems to me that they spent the entire trip worrying about what they didn’t get, or should have got, or what they thought was wrong, instead of enjoying the things that were there.

      I would appear that the stress they experienced was self-induced.

      1. Exactly. They were in a beautiful sunny location, they had a nice hotel room, and all the food they could eat (minus the cock-a-roach). If they had a bad vacation because of these mostly minor irritants, that’s their own problem.

        1. LeeAnne, lets say you spent a LOT of money in vegas at a certain resort. the host calls you and offers you for your next trip, a limo ride from the airport, a chefs table at the best place in the resort with complimentary dinner, A high floor strip view suite, and a private cabana at the guest only hotel pool.
          When you get there, they’ve sent a taxi to pick you up, give you buffet passes, and you get a mid floor mountain view room. When you head down to the pool, you find out that it is full of locals who paid $5 to get in, so that you have no privacy in your cabana and you have to wait a half hour in line to get a drink refill.
          Did you get what you expected? Based on your description, you should be happy, because you were in sunny Las Vegas, got a ride from the airport, a free room, all you could eat food, and a cabana where you could enjoy the sun and pool all day.
          The fact is that they paid good money to get things they were never given and were promised many things which were not delivered. The fact they were in a beautiful sunny location makes ZERO difference in this case.

          1. Nope that is not at all what I said. The situation you described is not even close to what they experienced. They had a couple bad waiters, the staff wasn’t as friendly as they’d like, and they had to wait a half our for LUNCH once (not drink refills). OH and there was a cockroach…yuck. Oh and it was more crowded than they expected, and there were :::shudder::: single people.

            Vegas is not the Bahamas. You go there solely for the resorts. The place itself is ugly desert, no beaches.

            Sorry but your comment just has no relation to this case.

          2. In how many Vegas resorts do the rooms start at $740/night (double occupancy)?

            I read the anecdotes of the missed ferry and the 30-minute wait as examples of the crowding issue, not as an exhaustive list:

            “we were not given the type of service we deserved because of it. It significantly increased the lines at all of the bars and restaurants”

            Apparently, this is what passes for “extraordinary privileges”, “exclusive opportunities”, “complete relaxation”, “exceptional one-on-one service”, and “remarkable amenities that completely redefine genuine hospitality” these days…

          3. Sorry but a 30 minute wait for lunch is nothing, especially at a popular resort. That’s the only wait they mentioned in numbers, so one can surmise it was the worst one. (Doesn’t it make sense they would have reported the worst one? If they had to wait longer at any time, wouldn’t they have mentioned THAT one?)

            If you consider that “significant” then…well, I got nothing else to say.

          4. The 30 minutes restaurant wait was noteworthy because it came on the heels of missing the (not so) “exclusive” private ferry.

            I see there’s a nice double standard here with respect to “laundry lists.” If one alleges a pattern and provides an example, then the complaint is dismissed as an isolated incident. If one provides more examples, then they must be a whiner who can’t be pleased…

          5. No, again you’ve misinterpreted my meaning. If someone has legitimate complaints they should complain about them and request appropriate compensation. But if your complaints are trivial or picayune, don’t. And never pad your legitimate complaints with trivial ones. THAT is what we mean by “laundry list”.

            You seem to be under the mistaken impression I believed they had no legitimate complaints. I never once said that they had no legitimate complaints. They did…and they received appropriate compensation for them. Had that been the end of it, that…well…would have been the end of it. And should have been.

            But they are actually asking for a total re-do! That’s why some of us are responding in this manner. They sent in a classic “laundry list” – a couple of legitimate complaints, padded with picayune whines. And they seem to think that the fact that they had so many picayune whines should earn them an entire free vacation.

            Please. :::rolling eyes:::

          6. The complaints you selected for mockery involved the roach and the Friday crowds (which resulted in a missed ferry and a 30 minute wait for the restaurant). Which of those was “trivial?”

            Keep in mind this property advertises and prices itself as a high-“luxury” resort. Not a “popular” resort.

          7. Wow, this is almost comical! The roach is actually among the issues I fully agree warranted complaint, and I stated as much. So…it’s clear your entire purpose in continuing to respond to my comments is to be argumentative and trollish, so I will stop responding to you as it’s apparent you aren’t even reading my comments, just being oppositional. Buh bye now! 🙂

          8. The roach issue makes me wonder if it wasn’t done on purpose. Did the couple complain too much and this was a sick joke played on them? Sorta like sending your meal back at a restaurant, where it gets spit upon. After reading the list of complaints, this was my first thought regarding this.

          9. LOL you are not the only one who wondered that! We had a little discussion about that possibility further up in this comment thread. 😉 I agree that it’s entirely possible. Keep in mind that the letter describes how they went to management several times to complain. If their in-person complaints included some of the trivial stuff they mentioned in their letter, I can totally see possibility of the servers exacting a little revenge.

            I’m NOT justifying it (wanted to get that out before somebody puts words in my mouth again!). Putting a roach in someone’s glass is pretty gross. Just saying that it’s not outside the realm of possibilities, if this couple is just as complian-y in person as they are in their letter. Human nature being what it is and all.

          10. Decades ago, before I started working in travel, friends of ours took a cruise and sat at their table in the dining room with a woman who complained all the time. One complaint was that she asked for a half of a scrabble egg and she was served more than she asked for. Hard to please some people.

          11. I didn’t read this:

            “OH and there was a cockroach…yuck. Oh and it was more crowded than they expected, and there were :::shudder::: single people.”

            …as taking those complaints seriously. I guess I stand corrected…

          12. Yeah, cockroach…yuck! (Maybe googling the term “yuck” would help?) So, yes, you stand corrected. 😉

          13. A lot of the complaints were not about getting what they paid for, but about perceived slights in the service received.

            But for me, in your example, I’m rarely in my room, prefer the mountains, don’t swim, so a free ride, free room, and all I could eat would make me very happy 😉

  2. On one hand they are a luxury resort, but on the other hand it is the Bahamas (what a dump, was the roach the insect or one of the residents of the island?

      1. Bali! Everything is so inexpensive (well, comparatively anyway), and the people there always seem so happy just to have you there on their island. I never once had a moment in Bali where I felt like they were only interested in getting my money. In some cases it almost seemed as if they were embarrassed to even take my money, and were just honored to share their beautiful paradise with us.

        That was my experience, anyway. YMMV.

          1. LOL! Yeah I try to pepper my comments with hipster internet terms so I’ll feel cool. 😉 Sorry ’bout that!

  3. I am very skeptical when it comes to those with a laundry list of complaints so I voted no. I am sure this couple had a couple legitimate complaints but the letter overwhelms us with minute details of everything the LW could find to complain about. Simply adding details to make the stay seem as miserable as possible takes away from the legitimacy of the actual problems. I think Sandals offered enough to this couple.

    1. I agree. Only stayed at a Sandals once eons ago. I was a Club Med Person and went to most of their villages. Sandals did not “cut it.”

    2. The small details are what really makes it an issue. Yeah we think they are pains in the rear guests, but when you have enough issues, it becomes a barometer for the entire trip and the resort as a whole.
      If the lady would have said we want a free vacation because of two incidents, we would say no way. However, when you add in all the other ways in which the resort screwed the pooch, then you get a much larger picture of incompetence.

      1. I think a “laundry list” of complaints tends to get less attention than a complaint that highlights the truly major problems. I base that on personal experience with customer service from several companies, including travel industry businesses. Several years ago I was on a flight from Vegas to Atlanta that experienced weather delays and then an incident on the ground while refueling. I wrote to the airline about the cost of getting from ATL to my house. I told them what happened and why I incurred this expense–no extras and no embellishment. i was reimbursed. A business colleague then wrote but provided a laundry list of problems with the airline and he received a polite note back saying the airline is not responsible for weather related problems. Sometimes highlighting the major problems and leaving the rest alone is the best way to go,.

        1. While I agree that hilighting major issues is better than an entire laundry list, in this case I think the laundry list needs to be listed. I say this because every single item goes against what the resort claims in it’s advertisements. Further, when you start out with a bad experience and then each day more things happen that make you go WTF, well it does ruin your vacation because you then start focusing mor eon the bad things. You find yourself waiting in a long line to eat because the resort isn’t following it’s own policy. you find yourself in an obnoxious environment again because policy isn’t followed. ALL of these things add up into a much larger total than just the few big things like a spilled plate or a bug on a glass.

          1. Listening to the whining, I thought to myself that this was probably a couple they won’t want at their resorts in the future. Her ability to find things to snipe about means that she’ll be a very fussy and demanding customer in the future. As Elliott says, the ONE thing you don’t want to say when asking for a gesture of goodwill is: “I’m NEVER going to use your service again!”

            I think if the OP had written something like: “The resort was beautiful and staff friendly BUT here are some problems that happened that ruined all of it”, they would have gotten a better result.

      2. NO – a laundry list just paints them as whiners – and to expect Sandlas to foot the bill for a flight to another island to visit Emerald Bay was plain ridiculous, so if Sandals DID upgrade them to this beautiful resort, and pick up the airfare to boot, AND give them 2 free nights for the next time – enough done. And I wondered if they booked this on their own? Because you have to register your stays as a past guest for them to recognize that on the trip. Doesn’t sound like they did that, and then expected Sandals to “know” that they were. I confess, NOT a Sandals fan, but make VERY sure my clients understand what they get before they go, so that things like this don’t happen.

        1. if Sandals DID upgrade them to this beautiful resort, and pick up the airfare to boot

          And if they didn’t?

          The article does not make it clear who paid for additional airfare, if any.

          According to Sandals’ website right now, Club Level at the Royal Bahamian is from $370 per person per night and Club level at Emerald Bay is from $362 per person per night. So even if they spent one night in Emerald Bay — as opposed to merely spending their last day on the resort grounds — that could have been an upgrade or a downgrade or a flatgrade.

          The minimum rate for Club Level for 2 people at their original resort appears to be $84/night higher than the minimum lower tier rate. If they stayed 8 nights, that’s at least $672 they paid for an ‘exclusive’ experience that apparently was nothing like advertised.

      3. I agree – I think they believed the marketing materials and pictured how the vacation was going to be, looked so forward to it, and then when they got there, what they received was so different from what they imagined (based on the extravagant wording in the marketing materials), that they just soured on the whole experience. Perhaps some naivete played a small part – I would probably have reacted the same. You work hard for your vacations, you take alot of time picking the right place, think you got it, and look forward to it for days and weeks. Then you get there, and no one cares. No one tries. You’re just a big wallet waiting in line for them to take your money. I get it.

    3. I was amused at her indignation and being “upset” that she was solicited by a travel agent to get her a cheaper rate but she seemed quite happy to collect intelligence from the various intruders as to what gifts she was entitled to.

      1. Yeah that’s totally Sandals’ fault, that some travel agent solicited her while she just happened to be on their property.

        1. If she was REALLY offended, she could have gone to an island business center and asked to print up more copies of the card (as if she was the agent).

          Then leave dozens of copies of the card everywhere. Leave a stack of them at the front lobby. Leave them in people’s windshield wipers. Throw a copy on every doorstep at the resort. Make everyone SICK of seeing that card. 🙂

    1. I hope they read them and re-think how they approach vacations. Any time you travel outside of the US you have to go with an open mind and not allow the minor annoyances to ruin your good time.

      I’m not saying they had no valid complaints…I mentioned above that if everything they said really happened, I believe they were entitled to the compensation they got. So I hope they avail themselves of it. And let’s hope the next time they go, they approach their vacation with a bit more flexibility and a bit less perfectionism. I know I always enjoy my vacations better if I don’t spend the whole time looking for what’s wrong, and focus more on what’s right.

      1. When I want perfection, I plan for it. I went to the tripadvisor page for the resort and the resort got good reviews (far more than I would have expected) but with the caveats they mentioned. I booked business travel for a few weeks for now for some backwater city and did a lot of research there too. I try to know the area as well as the locals do _before_ I get there. Go online and read reviews. Talk to people at work about the region. You’ll hear horror stories AND raves. That’s what I saw at tripadvisor.

        Another option: Pick up the phone and call the front desk. I get lots of great info from doing that. I found out that there was a motorcycle convention in town during that month and scheduled around it. Wouldn’t have gotten that intel from an 800 number. Another option: Have a spouse pretend to be a bad guy. They want a party-friendly, cheap vacation and wonder if the resort has that option and if they have a laid back approach and cheap booze. I’m sure the front desk would be enthusiastic about letting them know.

        1. SPOT ON! I wasn’t going to get any deeper into this (trying to follow the be-nice policy) 😉 but you hit the nail on the head. There is nothing on their laundry list that I wouldn’t have expected, having read the reviews of that resort. And I never…NEVER…go to any hotel or resort without reading every review I can find, so I know what kinds of things might go wrong.

          If I’m aware in advance of the things that are likely to happen, I can prepare for them either by a) having a contingency plan or b) just accepting them which for many of their items on the laundry list, is exactly I would have done.

          Of course I go knowing that other things may go wrong too, but I simply don’t let things like this ruin my vacation. Oh the horror stories I could tell of things that went sideways on my various trips! Some I shrug off as just the stuff that happens, others I will go after whatever I feel is appropriate to either resolve now or get compensation later, but it takes a lot for me to consider a vacation spoiled. And nothing on this list falls into that category.

          There’s also just knowing the culture and atmosphere you are going to. When I go to the Bahamas I’m well aware that I will likely encounter service people who do not fall all over me with friendliness…whereas when I go to Bali I can expect to be treated like welcome members of the family by almost everyone I encounter. I know this because I READ, and I research. I spend far more time researching my vacations than I ever do ON them. 🙂 To me that’s part of the fun, and makes the whole experience last that much longer.

          1. I was laughing at Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” as being a paradox. NOTHING that guy does happens without a whole production team taking care of everything. 🙂

            Despite that, I do a lot of spur traveling where I reserve various holes in the wall, apartment rentals, yelp lookups, etc. and luxurious travel by either subway or a closely located hotel which happens to have shuttle service from the airport. 🙂 (I do tip the driver!!!)

            The luxury folks are bound to be disappointed much of the time. I recall a woman writing that she went to some luxury bed and breakfast and it was largely a ripoff. For me, someone delivering a bottle of Crystal and room service will probably result in disappointment either in that they won’t do even that right _OR_ I’ll be overcharged. But Bourdain (seems) to have it right: Find the hole in the wall run by a family that does great cooking and don’t care that none of the chairs are the same or the plates are plastic. I care about the food and people. And besides, who wants a room that smells like your dinner?

            Another option: I get around and know someone from every corner on the planet and they have relatives. I usually have a guide to help me avoid getting skinned alive. I also carry a bag of chocolates and small presents: Anytime I ask a local for advice or directions, I give something small and say thank you.

            But you know, I appreciate that some people have money saved up and just want to not “think” when they travel too. I hope I don’t reach that age! But I can appreciate what they want and feel pity for them. They deserved better. They would have been a lot happier vacationing in the summer at Croatia or like you said, Bali. A longer plane ride, but worth it. But if you’re in first class, you won’t even notice the long plane ride! 🙂

  4. Whatever happened to, “We didn’t care for the steak, so we won’t eat at that restaurant again.”? This is a laundry list of the worst type. A specialized room key? Please. No mediation; the voucher was already too much.

    1. In their defense, I read it as a special key that allowed exclusive access to an area of the resort, that turned out not to be exclusive at all.

    2. Actually, I think that was one of the only things on the list that WAS worthy of compensation. If they paid for concierge level access to that room, then found that everyone could just walk in, well, I’d have been pretty steamed as well.
      The rest, eh. Two days seems more than fair.

      1. Well the roach was pretty gross, but I can’t help but wonder why there is no mention of a picture of it. Who doesn’t have a camera phone these days? If I found a roach in my wine glass, you can be damn sure there would be a picture of it included in my complain letter. But that’s just me. 😉

        1. Back when I worked at a restaurant, there were some employees who would get so fed-up with rude customers they wold intentionally mess with their food. I personally never did it, I took the high road, but the roach could have been intentional, the spill could have been intentional as well. And I agree, I would have taken a picture as well.

          1. Oooh…interesting concept! Just how much of the “rudeness” they experienced from the staff was simply reflective of how they were treating the staff themselves? Food for thought!

  5. I voted no because I have been to Atlantis in the Bahamas. From the taxi driver to check in, to concierge, to bar staff, to wait staff, to casino staff – I found an attitude of disinterest which bordered on outright rudeness. We have never visited the Bahamas again. I think rudeness toward tourists is endemic to the culture, not the resort. And I have been everywhere in the Caribbean.

        1. From CNN…
          Unfriendliest cities in the United States
          10. Miami
          9. Wilmington, Delaware
          8. The Hamptons, New York
          7. Los Angeles
          6. Detroit
          5. New Haven, Connecticut
          4. Atlantic City, New Jersey
          3. Hartford, Connecticut
          2. Oakland, California
          1. Newark, New Jersey

          1. The world’s unfriendliest cities
            20. Caracas, Venezuela
            19. Bethlehem, Palestine
            18. Casablanca, Morocco
            17. Wilmington, Delaware
            16. Moscow
            15. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
            14. Shenzhen, China
            13. Albany, New York
            12. Los Angeles
            11. Guangzhou, China
            10. Tangier, Morocco
            9. Atlantic City, New Jersey
            8. Detroit
            7. New Haven, Connecticut
            6. Lome, Togo
            5. Kuwait City
            4. Luanda, Angola
            3. Oakland, California
            2. Islamabad, Pakistan
            1. Newark, New Jersey

          2. In case they don’t allow the link

            World’s Friendliest Cities
            11. Budapest, Hungary
            9 (tie). Seville, Spain
            9 (tie). Savannah, Georgia
            8. Cape Town, South Africa
            7. Siem Reap, Cambodia
            5 (tie). Sydney
            5 (tie). Dublin, Ireland
            4. Charleston, South Carolina
            3. Victoria, BC, Canada
            1 (tie). Melbourne
            1 (tie). Auckland, New Zealand

            World’s unfriendliest cities

            10. Nassau, Bahamas
            9. Monte Carlo, Monaco
            8. Milan, Italy
            7. Frankfurt, Germany
            6. Beijing
            5. Marseille, France
            4. Paris
            3. Moscow
            2. Cannes, France
            1. Johannesburg, South Africa

          3. Over 130 countries – the majority of those in the world – recognize Palestine as a State. Calling its people losers? Not sure how that got past the moderators.

          4. Seriously. Palestine IS a state, based upon the four basic “elements” of statehood. It meets the criteria. We are in the minority of countries which doesn’t recognize Palestine as a state.

          5. 4 wars. Overwhelmingly out-armed. Starved, deprived of just about everything and they keep coming back for freedom. Nope, not losers, no matter how you try to twist the definition.

          6. Gee, the Ægeptians, Syrians, Jordanians were out-armed? Or just out-classed? Let’s compare the lists of Jewish Nobel prize winners with the lists of Islamic Nobel Prize winners. There was an Islamic guy who wrote that the Muslims should give serious thought to the reasons for this situation, and address those deficiencies. [Wish I could remember the fellow who wrote it up.]

            Of course, those countries keep the “Palestinians” in kamps. They don’t want them. Whenever the Israelis try to make nice to them, they get their hands bitten. They want freedom, but nobody wants them. Sad situation.

            Face reality and make peace like civilized people do. They ain’t gonna destroy the Israelis without a huge fireball in that area which will kill everybody off. Glad it ain’t my problem.

          7. Here’s the thing… just because it doesn’t officially have its own land doesn’t make Palestine NOT a state. There’s 4 criteria under international law to be considered a state. Palestine meets it. The fighting over the specific land is an issue, yes. But Palestine technically deserves to be recognized. Even the UN “kinda” recognizes it. It’s kind of being kept from official statehood by… well… by us. I’m not pro Palestine by any means. But if you look at it from an international law perspective, it really should be an official state.

          8. OK, let’s see how that works. Any time you lose, that makes you a loser. Right. Per capita income in Palestine: 4,900. Per capita income in Israel: 32,140 dollars. No labs. Poor universities. Precarious living conditions. And who picks the Nobel prize winners? Think about it.

          9. “Any time you lose, that makes you a loser.” Took you long enuf. There ARE treatments for ADHD – check into it. I did, and everything is peachy-keen…….

            Subject of the non-state has been shut off per His Excellency, C.E. Try adhering to his dictum.

            “who picks the Nobel prize winners?” Same ones who picked a guy for what he might could gonna maybe possibly do [but hasn’t done yet].

          10. I apologize. Didn’t know about your ADHD. I do try to be understanding of persons with disabilities, but you should have let us know sooner.

          11. Losers: those who have not won the war, as in 4 losses, no wins. That is “losers” in the dictionary. Kinda like the Redskins lately. They’re losers also.

          12. “Albany, NY”? Really? Wow! Someone must have really had a bad time here. Maybe in winter (we really do have lousy winters). Still, after moving here after college in the 60s, my wife and I have always found Albany friendly and welcoming. It’s a great combination of a beautiful natural setting, decent size and good economy. Of course, we could always use better service at our airport….

          13. I like Albany’s airport. Just wish there were more jet service to the airport and not all the regional carriers.

          14. I agree. And it would be nice if there was at least one non-stop flight a day from the capital of New York State (Albany) to the biggest airport (JFK) in the biggest city in New York (NYCity). How sad. BUT, not “unfriendly”….

          15. Really? How sad. The result of too few carriers and too little competition. (But we sure do like those low, low prices, don’t we?)

          16. That, and people don’t wanna go up there because of the polar bears walking down the main street, and the blizzards in July, and the dual-language requirement where you gotta put the cusswords on the side of the truck in French also.

          17. Awwww…. I’ve never seen a French-speaking polar bear here yet. Blizzards in July? Maybe….

            Still, it’s a very nice place to live.

          18. And if Albany, NY is not on the list of unfriendliest cities in the US, how can it then be one of he unfriendliest cities in the world? Illogical….

          19. I’m not. Although Jersey City is even worse. I seriously hate NJ. I have really tried to find something nice to say about it and I guess about the best thing I can find is that it’s kind of pretty in some places. Except it’s pretty in lots of places. I don’t need NJ for that. And what’s up with the lack of fences? That drives me NUTS. Houses come with fences in CA for the most part. I can’t imagine no having a fenced in back yard. What’s the point of having a yard at all if people can see everything and just wander on and off your property?

            And the beaches are inferior to any California beach (all east coast beaches are IMO… comparatively freezing and no real waves to speak of).

            I love NYC so much that anywhere is NJ is torture for me and my in laws have a train obsession. I drove our car to port authority when we visited this summer (they won’t let us take their cars to port authority but this year we drove from CA to NJ) and it was a far superior experience than the stupid 70 minute plus subway train ride (subway = yay, NJ transit = no). In particular I hate waiting on the train schedule. I want to leave when I want to leave. I don’t need to hang around Penn Station for an hour when I miss the other train by 5 minutes.

            And yes, people in NJ are insanely rude.

          20. I meant I was cracking up because I always thought it to be true, and it was! So many of my relativwes are movign to NJ because its cheaper, and I just don’t get them. I do agree, some parts of NJ are pretty, but I try to avoid it at all costs. And I love your post 🙂

          21. LOL at Newark and Oakland. You know it’s bad when they occupy basically the same spaces on domestic and international lists.

          22. Noted! I can’t imagine scheduling a vacation to any of them anyway. Surprisingly to me, we found the people of New Orleans to be the most polite I’ve ever come across in the US. Except for the transit drivers. They were brutal. We like to take public transit when we travel.

          23. I live in Connecticut and couldn’t agree more with New Haven and Hartford being on the list! I don’t even like driving past New Haven on I-95!

          24. I live in Connecticut, too. Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport are in my no-visit list. Unfortunately, like many other places, you can blame the disparity in wealth for this problem.

          25. I’m sorry, NYC is far “ruder” than Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE NYC. I love it so much that I’ve always wanted to live there and when I visit, tourists ask me for directions because apparently I act like I do live there (I visit a lot, though, and I do walk really fast and ignore people, lol). But seriously… in NYC people will just run into you if you don’t jump out of the way fast enough and then glare at you when you say “sorry” (even if it was totally them). In LA (actually, in all of So Cal, IMHO), we at least try to weave around people. There is a much greater awareness of people’s existence here, I think. We might still ignore you, but at least we don’t run into you on the sidewalk just because you didn’t move to the side fast enough. And don’t get me started on the “nudging” of cars which are parked just a little too close for easy parallel parking… even worse are the nudges at lights. You’d seriously get screamed out around here for doing something like that. It baffles me….

            Newark I believe… my husband is from NJ and I seriously hate that state.

        2. Myrtle Beach is the most underrated destination in the country. A bit more of a drive for many, but there’s a plethora of well priced resorts, warm beaches, variety of restaurants, and friendly locals (but do take the main roads. I took a side road to get back to 95 and there was a yankee hating patrolman that seemed to have a speed trap.)

          1. Our GPS lost its mind the first time we went – between that and Spring Break traffic it took us 24 hours straight. The only person in the car that didn’t have a hissy fit was our dog. It should only be a 17 hour drive. But we were there for two weeks; the extra time didn’t matter. Love at first sight for us. We stay at the quiet end though.

          2. I avoid spring break like the plague. Here’s why: For starters, the water is still cold from winter while the early fall (September, early October) has the water still warm from August. Next, no kids. Plus airfare is cheaper. It’s a win-win all around.

      1. I live in a tourist town. Though we have our local jokes about dumb tourist questions, etc, we make a big effort to treat them nicely. This may have something to do with the fact that we travel a lot ourselves.

  6. I think that you should just to get the resorts side of the story. It sounded more like eating in a run down cafe than at a Sandals resort. One thing I have to ask, after a dead cockroach was served to me I would not be eating there again but would be calling the local health authorities.

  7. i didn’t mind the list–top properties understand that it’s the little things that add up to a great stay or a disaster. Vacations are their business and they need to execute at a level of excellence–or at least meet expectations built from their marketing campaign. While any one complaint isn’t necessarily a big deal, they all added up to a horrific vacation. If a property advertises one thing and the experience is quite another, it’s deceptive. It is irrelevant if that poor service attitude is endemic to the country–no excuse for it. The consumer deserves a refund of at least 3/4 in my opinion.

    1. I think if the customer had better drawn up a laundry list to the majors, then that case can be made but probably better for a credit to one of their other, better maintained, resorts.

      It’s funny: My wife and I were just watching an ad for the Sandals resorts where a guy loses his wallet and the couple still has a good time. My wife, love her, asked: “Why couldn’t she pay for anything?” I chuckled because if a man forgets his wallet, he’s probably not getting on the plane. 🙂

      So for me, it looked like a good deal and we would have considered it: Instead of being nickled and dimed to death, enjoy the vacation without guilt or money worries (or at least get them out of the way during the booking process.) If a place is luxury, they should have decent liquor in the rooms, decent food, polite service, and a quiet, exclusive atmosphere.

    2. I didn’t mind the list either. Maybe just organize it differently with different emphases. First list the major lapses that ruined the vacation. Then the minor ones: “In addition to the above, we consistently received rude or indifferent service (food spilled on my husband with no apoplogy, dead roach on glass, also with no apology)…” The letter makes every complaint sounds equally atrocious.

  8. I’m really conflicted today …. Initially I voted yes just to get Sandals response (can you really have a “Couples Resort” that you admit a singles cruise too?). After thinking about it longer, I think they were compensated appropriately. The laundry list or petty complaints just soured my whole view of this. Yes… they received bad service, Yes they should receive something for that. No, they don’t deserve a complete do-over.

    1. Because they detail the bad experiences, they don’t deserve compensation? What about when someone details the wonderful experiences they have at some resort? Is that OK?

      1. Chris has said time and again… the laundry list will get you no where. They already received two free days so they received compensation. No I don’t think that they should get a complete “do-over.”

        1. Why would they wanna go back?

          Just write the place up for this forum, and never go there again. Write it up in detail, as they did, and then, at the end of the list, state that you’d NEVER return to that place again.

          1. I realize that. Maybe that DOES indicate something inconsistent with the complaint, now that you mention it.

            If it were so bad, why return?

          2. I think she was trying to throw a whole bunch of spaghetti at the wall and hoped something would stick.

            I think she does much better if she picks too points and runs with them (ie your service was substandard and you failed to live up to the promise of a couples resort… here are my examples)

          3. they want to go back

            No…

            The Desroches believe Sandals should offer them a stay at another Sandals property at no cost.

    2. Actually, just means no kids. That’s what their Beaches resorts are for. But “singles” are not discriminated against, provided they are adults. MOST of their complaints (having to wait in line for lunch, too many people in Club lounge) are just petty, and not worth even recognizing except with an apology, which is not what they want. The bug, the spilled food – 2 nights more than enough. And the fact they moved them to the MUCH better Emerald Bay, even including the flights, tells me they did everything they could and she still wants a free stay. Not worth Chris’ time.

      1. @Lindabator:disqus My sister ,who attended a wedding at Sandals, would disagree with your assessment on the single discrimination but that’s beside the point. I’m wondering since she mentioned it more than once if they were fishing for the upgrade all along… or booked the wrong place to begin with.

  9. If this was in the Bahamas then even hallucinating about decent service is a stretch. The Bahamians don’t like you, they know once they have a job they can’t be fired, the middle name of every Bahamian, in a service role, is Sloth. Totally and completely worthless.
    When the Atlantis resort was very new they were allowed to hire non-Bahamians for a period of time and the experiences were pretty nice. As soon as their exemption from hiring Bahamians expired the place went from a 3 star resort to a particular kind of hell the Bahamians seem to reserve for white people visiting the resort where they can only work. The out islands of the Bahamas can, emphasis can, be quite nice but New Providence is an awful place.

    1. The last time I went to the Bahamas was 1981. It was apparent then that the culture didn’t appreciate me or my tourist dollars. I wouldn’t go back. No, I wouldn’t take the case. I think they have gotten all they are going to get.

    2. I must agree with your comments that service in the Bahamas is sub-par.

      I went to the Bahamas a few times for deep sea fishing in the mid ’80s. One time, I ordered a drink at the hotelresort’s pool (it wasn’t busy) and it took over 90 minutes for the drink to be delivered. After 20 minutes, I went to the pool bar, got a drink and was finished it long before the ordered drink arrived. Of course, there was a mandatory tip of 18% on that bill.

  10. I don’t think you should get involved because I doubt anything else will be done. though I do believe they should get a couple more nights for their trouble. (4, instead of 2)
    While their list of complaints seem petty, the total of all of them do bring up a much larger issue. To me this is almost like a lemon law for a vehicle. minor problems don’t get it labeled as a lemon, but when you have enough problems, it then warrants a special label.

  11. I think they should take their business elsewhere. As someone who travels roughly 45 weeks/year, I’ve had my share of bad experiences. However, if all of this truly happened I wouldn’t hesitate to take my business elsewhere. Sandals was given an opportunity to make this right and didn’t in the Desroches’ opinion, therefore they should move on. Give away or sell the 2 night voucher. My vote is no.

  12. I voted no. Personally, I never go back to a restaurant where I receive a bad service. Not sure why this couple is willing to go back to a place which they had so many complaints about. They should have cut their stay short and asked for a refund instead of asking for an upgrade.

      1. Should be – which is why it is a good resolution, especially as they paid the difference and the cost of the airfare to move them to Emerald Bay (former Four Seasons resort, and MUCH nicer!)

  13. What’s wrong with all you skeptics? They listed all the stuff which went wrong, so you choose to criticize them for that?
    The place appears to be a dive. The couple describes the shabby treatment they were afforded in a so-called luxury resort, and you all blow them off because they tell in the letter all the details of the failures of the place?

    1. But most were ridiculous (waiting in line for lunch or too many people in the Club lounge), and the hotel DID pay the cost of airfare and the upgraded price to move them to the Emerald Bay, and then gave them 2 free nights on top of that. Sounds like she just wants a free trip, and that is asking for too much.

      1. I didn’t like her indignation at being solicited by a travel agent. That wasn’t the resort’s fault so to speak although, technically, the agent was at fault probably because solicitation is rarely allowed in most places. If she was really offended, she should have had the agent thrown out. It doesn’t belong on a laundry list that has a lot of good points to it.

        Lawyers refer to this as over-arguing a case. She had a good case but wanted to make sure so she threw in stuff that undermined it. I do this (sometimes) too.

  14. I too went to Sandals St. Lucia in a $500 night Ocean View room. While there, 8 of us got food poisoning, went to see the “nurse” who confirmed it. She recommended going to their store & purchase some medication. Irate I went to their “Service Desk” & requested they provide medication as it was all inclusive & they were responsible! All to no avail, had to go & purchase the meds. The rooms, by the way are outdated, & shabby. Never again will Sandals see us!

  15. I’m annoyed about the “Day Pass Guests.” That, to me, reminds me of the infamous case of the couples resort that allowed families in for a Jewish Holiday. (Not featured on this site, but it has been discussed)

    If you are a private “romantic” resort, allowing in rowdy day-pass customers to make a few bucks is just wrong.

    …and the cockroach in the champagne is unforgivable. Sounds like they didn’t even receive an apology for that.

  16. What do they want that would satisfy them? If they think they are going to get another whole week, they aren’t being realistic. This is a tough call, but Sandals did offer them two nights. I have been able to get another night or two by going to our Sales Manager when something like this happened. Did the couple book through a travel agent? If they did, they should contact the agent and ask him/her to contact their Sales Manager.

    Sandals are we have found are not the be-all, end all all inclusive resort. Some of the properties are not kept up as they go on opening new properties and it is possible to get poor service on a hit or miss basis. I’ve had my share of snotty butlers and people giving out wrong information.

    But I also think that this couple is over- exaggerating – I also can’t believe a cockroach was on a glass and a picture is worth a thousand words. As others have said, they were too concerned with what others told them they should or shouldn’t be getting. If they have already been to Sandals, then they should know what they are entitled to.

    But this couple needs to decide what realistic compensation is before going any further. If it were me, I’d ask for another day – they did stay their entire time but the issues they had shouldn’t have happened for what they pay for Sandals. The other issues seem to be a bit petty and Chris, not sure that you should get involved – I think they can handle it themselves.

    However, one issues Sandals does have is the problem of travel agents soliciting guests on property and we just received an email from Sandals about wanting to know which agents are doing this. Since the couple has the card of the agent, they should absolutely report it to Sandals, since they are looking for agents that do this to stop them. They can e-mail [email protected] to report the agent who did this.

    They can also opt to post their issues on Sandals Facebook page or contact Adam Stewart at Sandals, who’s email address can be found by googling, since he gives it out for guests and agents to contact him if there are issues. The legit complaint is the selling of day passes – there are supposed to be a limited amount available for sale and it seems they went way overboard at this resort to give them out to 60 people.

    1. You are correct on all points Annie good response. And they did go to another resort…I am guessing that Sandals paid for the transfer.

      1. Yes, a flight to Exuma – and the Emerald Bay is generally higher priced than Royal Bahamian, so this and 2 free nights is a great resolution. As for the travel agents soliciting, Sandals prohibits this, and will crack down, so why didn’t she give the manager the agent’s business card? Not Sandals fault someone was so rude.

  17. Sandals does not allow discounting and no agent can provide a “better rate” without breaking their strong rules. Also had she reported that agent, it would have been dealt with by Sandals, I am sure. And she has the business card, so the agent can be turned in for inappropriate solicitation. That said, this couple did not have the experiene they wished for, and they should either avoid this property, in the future. There is nothing to mediate here. They had a vacation that did not meet their fantasies and expectations. It happens.

  18. The influx from the singles cruise would have been enough to send me over the edge! Definitely a different perspective on “all-inclusive.”

    1. Having seen the pictures on the link to the place that’s in the article, I thought I was being transported back to the era where slavery was still practiced in those islands.

  19. Is the 2 night voucher for the same property or any Sandals property? I think 2 nights at any property is OK, but the same property-no way. So it might be worth mediating to confirm that and/or get it changed any resort.

  20. I voted no, it sounds like nothing would make the OPs happy. Sorry for the snark, but after reading their e-mail, I don’t think they are the type of people who should ever go out in public. Perhaps a private island rental would live up to their standards.

  21. I’m probably going to get slammed for this, but why does everyone find it less believable when there is a laundry list of complaints? I find that once something bad happens on a trip, yes, you notice other things that aren’t as they should be. All of the little nit picky things (though I think their list has lots of things that are not so nit picky) add up to color the whole trip, and as someone else pointed out, it does paint a picture of incompetence or misrepresentation by the resort.

    1. But just listing EVERYTHING you didn’t like (even those things NOT in their control, like the Travel Agent soliciting them) means they will never likely be happy, so how can you even begin to make them an offer (as was done here – moving them to another island, paying those expenses, AND giving them 2 free nights) which can make them whole? You know they want a complete refund, and that is just ridiculous.

  22. I think that the LW made two mistakes:

    1. It seems like they made an assumption that their previous experience at a Sandal property will be the same at this property.

    My wife and I took a tour of Europe where we had an outstanding time. We book another tour from the same company through our travel agent and that tour was sub-par to say the very least.

    2. It seems like they didn’t research the ‘standards’, ‘norms’, culture and etc. of the Bahamas. There are exceptions but overall the service is the Bahamas is ‘slow’.

    I think that it is very important to research the country (or countries) that you are visiting on your trip so that you can set your expectations accordingly.

  23. How did they book this hotel? With their incredibly knowledgable instincts, talking to a “get the sale” Sandals agent, or a travel agent that has been to that resort and would not sell it for free due to it’s assosciation with the cruise lines? They did not know that did they! I hear cry baby all over their complaint.

  24. A cockroach? Ick. Can’t believe the server didn’t notice it. Two days credit is fair. in spite of the problems they had–which aren’t acceptable–they didn’t have a plumbing issue that prevented them from using their bathroom, or an issue that prevented them from using the resort facilities. An entire free stay is not warranted. I wonder what the Trip Advisor reviews say about this property? Maybe they didn’t look it up. I do think the resort should review its day-guest policies. Day guests should not take precedence over resort guests and make their stay unpleasant.

  25. I say yes.

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Sandals’ Beaches Resorts. Whenever we’ve had a problem, they’ve handled it quickly and comprehensively. So I expect, if approached properly, that Sandals would offer compensation that is more than fair.

  26. “On Saturday one of the managers learned about our frustrations” Why take so long to go to a manager? Especially if wanting to change properties? No one can expect to take an employees word for something like that! While I completely understand these little things added up, none are really worth 2 nights anyway, so I think they’re ahead of the game (even if they don’t use it) Waiting in lines, accepting day trips, while annoying, are the nature of AIs. Not getting a private tour? Again not a huge deal. The only thing really they should bend over backwards was for the cockroach and dinner spilled. As for “singles” if on a cruise probably traveling in couples anyway. As for comments about Bahamians–I’ve been many times. You get what you give–They’ve always been kind to me (Even at AI properties.) I think air, change properties, and 2 nights comp is plenty

  27. The agent that solicited should be banned for life from the properties. I’m surprised if Butch Stewart didn’t do that yet. Other issues, I personally know the manager at this property I find a bit hard to believe that nothing was done. However this is a definitive instance where they should have contacted their travel advisor if they booked through one to take care of any issues they encountered. And someone else mentioned pictures of the food and the cockroach -they should have CYA’d themselves when they are wanting to pursue allegations like this.

  28. Actually many of the items regarding the resort tour and the restaurants times and dress code are in the daily newsletter that gets delivered to their room daily! This newsletter can also be found displayed in the concierge lounge, the front desk plus a few other key locations. Additionally the dress code for each restaurant is on their website. Just because they didn’t take the time to read it doesn’t mean that Sandals owes them a free vacation. Regarding the orientation-Sandals Royal Bahamian is a small property- not much to tour as everything is a hop skip and jump from the two room blocks. Thew whole thing about a singles cruise- seriously, they didn’t even know about it until the travel agent told them so apparently the behavior of the day pass guests were beyond reproach! There were a few items that appeared legit but not worthy of a free vacation. Especially as there was no proof . Seems like someone is hoping to get a free vacation without any real grievances that would warrant it. They got a free night already at the upgraded Emerald bay and two free nights- getting greedy at this point! Sandals has been extremely generous already.

  29. I don’t believe this request. Sounds very fishy to me. I would tread lightly and not get involved. The TA dropped the ball and should be banned by Sandals for soliciting other people while at the resort, the resort has every right to allow people to obtain day passes to get on property and try out the place (hopefully will book a stay), and the couple DID stay there two nights. You’re getting the wool pulled over your eyes. I would back off big time.

  30. Well it looks like a lot of people do not know my Daughter and Son-in law. No reason for BS they are both professionals with quite a bit of cooth. They have been to other Sandals resorts before and have only had great things to say about it. I heard about this trip from hell every night on the phone. Funny thing is PICTURES were taken of the roach and other assorted issues. Didn’t matter this was like a low low budget hotel. They tried to get a plane out of there after day 2 boy was that expensive. They could have done a CC charge back but decided not to. Long story short this Sandals resort is nothing like the others they have visted.

    1. They have “cooth”? 😉

      I would agree with you that the Sandals in the Bahamas ain’t no great thing. And your daughter and son-in-law might have been prepared for that if they’d read the reviews on TripAdvisor. Just on the first page I saw a “Good but not great”, a “Spotty customer service,” and a full-on “Don’t go!”. That would have made me sit up and think!

      Bahamas has a rather spotty reputation overall. Sometimes it can be great, but sometimes it’s not. And all-inclusives tend to be spotty as a whole. I rarely go to them, preferring to stay at boutique hotels and dine at local restaurants.

      I do hope that they avail themselves of their free two nights, and have a better experience next time. I’m sure this was a learning experience for them.

      1. No. Bad reviews shouldn’t justify bad services. That would be a ridiculous, circulating logic. I read tons of horrible stories about Comcast customer service before I signed up, but that doesn’t change the fact that they got no right to rip me off.
        The online reviews you found should validate the couple’s claims independently. They were not particularly whining, contrary to what many commenters here trying to portray. The location has issues.

        1. I never said that bad reviews should “justify” bad service. Y’know I really hate it when people put words in my mouth. Just a pet peeve.

          Of course no resort should ever give bad service, because duh. But just because it’s not right doesn’t mean it’s not happening. What reading the reviews in advance does is give you the information you need to make your decision. If they’re bad enough, don’t stay there. If they’re spotty, and you choose to go anyway, be aware that you could encounter the same thing and be prepared to either accept it (hey, you took the risk knowing it could happen!) or do something to resolve it.

          Either way I NEVER said that bad reviews JUSTIFY bad service. Geesh.

      2. if they’d read the reviews on TripAdvisor

        If they read the reviews on Trip Advisor they would see that TripAdvisor reviewers rate this the #1 hotel (out of 33) in Nassau.

        Who knows what the first page on TripAdvisor looked liked when they booked. But, since you mentioned it, right now 8 of the 10 reviews currently on the first page give 5 out of 5 stars. Of the other two: The “good but not great” review complains only about loud music and a loud DJ. Otherwise that review states: ““First the room and staff we great. Sandals functions like a well oiled machine and the staff were very helpful. The food was also a highlight…” The “Beautiful resort spotty customer service” review complains about the dive shop, and about having alcohol “constantly pushed at us”, and about a botched transfer back to the airport.

        None of the complaints corresponds with the issues the couple reported.

        1. Spotty reviews permeate every page on TripAdvisor for that resort. Anyone who only reads the first page is only denying themselves a full picture. Oh, and there are other review sites by the way, where they could also find plenty of other negative reviews.

          Again, the whole point is to arm oneself with knowledge. Good reviews do not guarantee a positive experience. Bad reviews do not guarantee a negative experience. They simply give you an idea of what MIGHT happen to you. And if you choose to stay at a property where some people did not have a good experience, that’s your choice. Go there knowing it might happen.

          And before anyone starts putting words in my mouth again…I am not “justifying” poor service. Nor am I saying that this couple had no valid complaints. I’ve made that as clear as possible throughout all of my comments.

          1. You mentioned the first page, so I think it’s more than fair to look at that page and check what the reviews you referenced actually say.

            If you want to look at the second page, 9 of the 10 reviews on the second page are 4+ stars and overwhelmingly positive. The one bad review mentions poor customer service, but the main service complaint was about a failure to confirm a scuba reservation from home by phone or email weeks in advance of a stay.

            We could do this all day and go page-by-page… You can find and cherry-pick negative reviews for any hotel in the world. If you are dying to show that this couple should have known that they would experience the types of issues they reported, current TripAdvisor reviews don’t support that narrative. Those TripAdvisor reviews rank this property #1 out of 33 hotels in Nassau, Bahamas.

            Not only that, checking Expedia, this property is also the #1 most expensive option in Nassau, Bahamas…

          2. Yeah, except we’re not going to do this all day, because it’s obvious to me you are just being argumentative for the sake of arguing. Nothing in any of my comments is worthy of arguing. So…seriously…I said my opinion. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. Buh bye now Michael! Mwah! 🙂

          3. Pure hypocrisy. Someone thought it was worthy to lecture to Ms. Desroches’ father that his daughter and son in law should have read TripAdvisor (nevermind whether that actually reveals similar experiences). Same someone who also lectures about arguing for the sake of arguing….

          4. You seem to be taking this all just a leeeeetle bit too seriously, hon. Really, lighten up. It’s the internet. People have all kinds of opinions. Mine seems to have really gotten under your skin. Not my problem, but you certainly seem to be rather obsessed with it!

            Because I’m such a giver, to save your sanity I’m choosing not to engage further with you. You should consider finding something healthier to do than argue with strangers on the internet. Seriously. 🙂 People are not always going to agree with you. And this one’s been beaten to death.

          5. There ya go! Now go do something fun. You’ll feel better, I promise. Anger is just such an unhealthy emotion. Especially when it’s directed at strangers on the internet. 🙂

    2. FYI… The original intention was for them to go to Jamaica. Before they left they were notified that there was a major mosquito issue at the time and people were getting very ill. That is how they wound up at this resort. It was not their intention to spend that kind of money there. If you have that kind of money to spend more than once you would not be looking for a free vacation as some implied. You should know the facts before being so nasty people.

  31. If they do end up getting vouchers, they should not use them at Sandals Cancun. They will surely be disappointed as it is much worse than described. No a/c, no water, being locked out of your room for 5 hours because no one could figure out how to open the door after the lock stopped working, raw sewage washing up out side of the restaurant, running out of food, I could go on and on. I will never go to another Sandals. This was absolutely the worst resort I have ever been to.

  32. “On Saturday, one of the managers learned about our frustrations through guests who frequent the property.” As a general manager of a vacation resort, this comment really upsets me. Guests who are unhappy with their experience should relay their concerns to the property’s front office manager when their unhappiness occurs. These guests did not speak to the manager, they waited until a manager heard they had a problem. Had the guests spoken up sooner, they might have had a different experience for the rest of their stay. I feel bad when I get a letter regarding a guests’ unhappiness after the fact and there are no notes anywhere, either at the front desk or in housekeeping, that the guest let anyone know of their unhappiness during their stay; of course, I hate to hear that anyone was unhappy while they were staying with me but my real difficulty, now that they’ve gone home, is that, though I can refund some nights or provide a future credit, there is really nothing I can do now that will change the guests’ unhappy experience. Most likely, the front office manager can and will make things right. If the front office manager can’t/won’t help, ask to speak to the GM. And ask for those people by name, not just “the manager” – names are surely easy enough to find these days. These guests should have helped themselves while they were on property – the property is not going to pay for an entire second vacation for these folks. Yes, there may be a systematic service problem throughout the property, but it is better for the guests to know that on their first night, rather than their last.

  33. This is SUCH an odd report, I’m not sure why. It seems to me that when you have major hotel problems you go right up the chain of command until they are rectified. You don’t just keep complaining to “the concierges” whoever they are. I’ve gotten to know a few hotel executives and they surely seem sincere and interested in my welfare. But I’ve never been to the Bahamas or to a Sandals property. So I have to agree on the fishy description … there’s something here not right about this little tale of woe, I think they’re looking for a free vacation.

  34. The people had an all-inclusive experience, although a poor one, meaning they had a week’s worth of food in drink in addition to the room. If it was just a room, I’d say it would be worth a try to ask for a week; but food, drink, etc.? That’s a bit much to ask.

    More importantly, in my book, is that it sounds like this resort has fundamental problem, especially as it relates to non-resort guests from cruise ships. I can’t help but wonder if those types of issues will be fixed.

  35. Chris, no matter what you decide about advocating for the LW, the information presented here is enough for me to not include Sandals in any future vacation plans.

  36. I think that you should not mediate. I sell travel for a living and I am a fan of the company. These things could have happened yes.. I have been to some properties and got less than stellar service. It is rare and I have been to many. What I think is more than likely day 1 something triggered them and whatever else happened was a result of them nit picking. The truth of the mater is some people just like free stuff and others get hooked on the negative crap. As far as the agent soliciting.. Shame on her. I would hope above all else that they report her directly to Sandals. She will be no longer to sell the product. I don’t tell anyone I am an agent on property not even staff. On rare occasions when I am sitting at the pub bar and I strike up niceties I may say it but that is in passing.

  37. How on earth does the roach incident not get top billing? Instead it comes in behind waiters not having tried the entire menu and staff not knowing the dress code. That little fact by itself makes me doubt that any of these things happened exactly as described. And the term “rude” gets used way to often. Staff was rude, other guests were rude. Presumably, these people were simply using the amenities at the resort so how exactly would they have been rude? Their mere presence was rude?

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