Thursday 13 December, 2018

Are they serious? Terrible reviews of much loved Lucian hotels

Saint Lucia has all kinds of incredible hotel options, some of which have been named as regional and even global highlights by major travel awards and publications.

So it’s surprising to take a look at the lonely handful of reviews that express strongly negative impressions of what are such widely loved hotels.

Jade Mountain has been celebrated as the best hotel in St Lucia by U.S. News and World Report, and as the Caribbean’s best resort by USA Today, Condé Nast and Travel + Leisure, which also named it one of the best 100 hotels in the world.

On Trip Advisor, Jade Mountain has a 5 out of 5 star ranking with 1,006 reviews. However, despite receiving 821 (86%) “excellent” reviews, 26 visitors were unimpressed leaving  “poor” or “terrible” reviews.

One of the “terribles” from April 2016 titled ‘Deceiving’ says, “Just got home yesterday after 6 days of pure misery. If you are there to just sit and relax it may be your place unless constant heat, birds and bird droppings in your room on everything, and zero privacy is your thing… If you don't scuba or snorkel there is nothing to do. There is no swim up bar. As a matter of fact the only club/bar there is is pathetic. A guy sitting at a keyboard mixer playing "karaoke" type music… We have been to many resorts in many places and this rates with the worst, most boring and is the most expensive. We could have stayed in a five star resort in lots of beach locations and had far more amenities and conveniences for a lot less. Pack your bug spray, good books and get ready to keep your eye out for bird droppings on everything and lizards on your bed. Yes you heard me. Lizards on your bed.”

Ouch. Keep in mind that recent rave reviews with titles like, ‘This is the most spectacular place on earth’ and ‘Perfect anniversary trip to St. Lucian paradise’ are what Jade Mountain usually receives.

In Trip Advisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards, East Winds was voted as the 6th best hotel in the Caribbean, St Lucia's only hotel on the list of 25.

As the number 1 ranked St Lucian hotel on the site, East Winds has a 5 star rating from 905 reviews. One recent such review from a couple that has stayed there eight times titled, ‘7th Heaven’ says, “Have been lucky enough to visit some really lovely places over the years but nowhere seems to have the special magic that we feel at Eastwinds every time we visit.”

Only 5 reviews were in the ‘poor’ and ‘terrible’ categories. Impressively, even these 5 are many years old, with the most recent coming from 2012.

An ancient review from 2007 starts out with some quite insensitive remarks, “St. Lucia is beautiful in some spots (rainforest), ugly in others (the shanti's along the main roads) , but downright scary still in other areas (the locals in the shanti's).”

The reviewer continues, “Out of the dozen or so wait staff, only 2 of them were consistently nice and smiling and welcoming to my wife and I… for some reason by the second day the wait staff turned rude and were no longer helpful… suddenly our finished dishes were taking forever to get picked up and the smiles quickly vanished (except for 2 of them)… Overall we wish we had gone to a secluded resort in Hawaii (the lack of customs would have made things a lot easier for us), because we do know that there wouldn't have been such a negative stigma hanging over us for being American tourists like there was in St. Lucia. If we can help it we're never going back to St. Lucia nor East Winds Inn and would never recommend the place to friends or family.”

Ranked #5 on Trip Advisor (4.5/5 stars) and #3 by US News & World Report, a typical review of Ladera Resort describes it as a ‘bucket list stay’, ‘magical’ and ‘a must stop on your island visit.’

Only 5% of reviews skew negative. One titled ‘Don’t go’ from June 2017 offers a review which challenges the notion that the customer is always right. It says, “We arrived late, 3 adults and one kid...they refused us because of The kid. It's written nowhere the kids are not allowed in this establishment !!! They said "because of security"...I proposed to sign a waiver of liability to prove that i have the entire responsabilty of my 8 years old kid, but they refused because "it's the policies". That's the only answer they had to give us. They didn't want to listen, they just wanted us to leave and the payment had already been done! We insisted on them to stay at least one night, because it was late, my kid was tired, we all were tired, but they told us: no, we found an other hotel for you. It means that they didn't ask if we wanted to chose an other hotel, they just imposed on us a hotel they had chosen. It was suppose to be heaven but it turns to a nightmare.

Let me tell you that you don't have to treat clients as you did, particularly when The clients payed you before to enjoy The services. The place can be beautiful, but if The staff is bad, rude, uncomprehending, not human (because to throw a hungry and tired family out of your place late night is not human) then you worth nothing.

You can find other wonderful places in Soufrière with a very nice staff and good services (Anse chastenet resort, Jade mountain, and Sugar Beach villas for example). Don't go to Ladera The price doesn't deserve a cheap treatment as they provide.”

Ladera responded to this review in part stating, “Firstly, your reservation was made by a third party (your sister who was not on this trip) via Booking.com. There is very clear information on their website that Ladera Resort is a couples and adult only resort. Further, our website does also indicate this, specifically in our FAQ section. In spite of this, a reservation was made for you, another adult and a child.

Our policy is very clear. It is not only the issue of liability that was considered when we informed you that the child was not allowed to stay at the resort, but also the fact that all of our guests choose our resort because it is Adult/Couples only. We would be in clear violation of our own policy and promise to our other guests had we made this exception. This is why we refunded your reservation immediately.”

Have you ever been to these hotels? What kind of review would you have given?

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