My girlfriend Gigi and I chose Eskaya for our first romantic holiday. This place is expensive $500 per night including breakfast. So you when you check the website, see the great images your expectations are high. Here's what happened to us:
From the outset, arriving at Tagbilaran airport and being warmly greeted by 2 members of the Eskaya staff we knew we had made the right choice. This was further confirmed upon our arrival at the property, being welcomed by Veronica and team and then shown our villa (#7). We were delighted with the villas design and style; we took a stroll round the property to orientate ourselves and we were so happy to have made the decision to choose Eskaya. However, this feeling was relatively short lived as we then experienced a number of situations that made us seriously consider why we had chosen Eskaya.
After being in villa 7 for a few hours we realised that a few things weren’t as we had expected:
The fridge wasn’t working, so anything placed in there remained luke warm (initially we decided not to make a fuss about this)
The standard lamp under the air conditioner could only be switched on by placing the plug in the socket, there was no switch available – just wires twisted together and covered in tape (again we decided not to make a fuss and complain)
There was an infestation of black ants in the room, they were climbing the mosquito net and then falling on the bed (again we initially tolerated this and didn’t complain)
We went to the restaurant on the afternoon of the 17th for brunch:
The tuna melt is served on basic white bread as an open sandwich with processed cheese topping. We both consider this to be well below the quality of food that would be served at a luxury resort. You charge 400 pesos for this sandwich; we consider this to be an outrageous charge given the poor quality.
We ate in the restaurant on the evening of the 17th:
The staff, whilst friendly and welcoming made a mistake on the order which meant we received 5 dishes
Breakfast on the morning of the 18th:
I ordered the Filipino breakfast which featured longanissa sausages, when Gigi tried these - her reaction was that they weren’t longanissa at all. The following morning I ordered the American breakfast with sausage only to discover that the IDENTICLE sausages where used. Again with the prices you are charging for food at Eskaya this is unacceptable. When quizzed about this the staff seemed clueless as what to say.
Dinner on the evening of the 18th:
We had noticed the 3 romantic balconies overlooking the beach and enquired at breakfast if we could dine there that evening, as it would be a very romantic experience. We also asked the restaurant manager if we could have barbeque food as each balcony contains a pit. The answer was yes if we ordered at breakfast, we did – ordering a whole grilled fish for Gigi and grilled prawns for Mark. When we took our places at the balcony that evening a number of unpleasant things occurred:
We had been invited to have a complimentary cocktail. The waiter seemed clueless about what any cocktail was and resorted to just repeating that “most customers ordered Margaritas or Frozen Daiquiris” there was no champagne cocktails at all, not even a glass of champagne available. This was puzzling and an unsetting start to our romantic evening.
The food arrived and we were told that barbequing was no longer an option. The food was all overcooked, Gigi’s grilled whole fish had been replaced by a fried fillet of fish, and my prawns were so over cooked that you couldn’t remove them from their shells without considerable effort. We sent the food back, our romantic evening was ruined and all we wanted was to leave and return to our villa. We asked for the bill and then had to wait 10 mins, we left the balcony and went to the steps of the restaurant where in full view of the other diners we engaged reluctantly in a 4-way conversation about the bill and the inclusion/exclusion of our inedible meal. This was highly embarrassing. We asked for the manager – he was on break, we asked for the hotel manager – she was unavailable. This was turning into a farce. Angry and upset at this lack of ownership, we returned to our room, placed the do not disturb sign on the door and went to bed. We were woken some 30 minutes later by persistent ringing on the door – it was a waiter with 2 complementary slices of desert and an apology. This was the same desert we had ordered the night beforfe; no one had realised or thought to check. We left them and ordered room service.
Later that evening we ran the spa-tub in our bathroom only to discover that it had a crack and leaked.
Diving on the 19th:
Gigi had met with Janick the dive guide recommended by Eskaya and had explicit details on cost of diving for 1 day/2dives including boat and all equipment. He quoted $100 all in, everything. We booked a day’s diving with him for the 19th. Imagine then our surprise when we were presented with a bill from him (payable through Eskaya) at the end of our evening meal for nearly $400! The really worrying aspect of this was yet again the total lack of ownership shown by the Eskaya management team, who all claimed that the diving was nothing to do with the resort and took no action to help us other than phone Janick to arrange a meeting the next day, this was shocking.
The next day Janick tried his best to convince us that it was simply a misunderstanding. He is a diving professional with over 5 years resort experience, we don not believe for one moment that he has forgotten how to communicate with a guest as to the charges for diving, he produced a price list (which he had conveniently not produced when agreeing the price with Gigi) and proceeded to talk about his commission and percentage discounts – which is ironic as we were told that he just pays rent to Eskaya the night before. We are both convinced that he tried deliberately to mislead us and that he is more than capable of doing so again with another Eskaya guest. This was yet another example of our 3 day trip being ruined by careless behaviour and lack of ownership by the management team.
The 19th – our villa:
Whilst I was diving Gigi contracted Veronica in the morning. Please note that SHE contacted the hotel GM – not the other way round – there was no proactivity here from the GM. Veronica assured Gigi that we wouldn’t be charged for the meal fiasco the night before as she had sought permission from the owner of Eskaya to do so. This is incredible – a GM not having the autonomy or authority to make decisions on such a small matter without referring to the owner. We began to realise that the feeling we were getting through our entire stay at Eskaya is that the driving purpose is not guest satisfaction or to give an innovative, creative or special experience. It is all about PROFIT. Once we had that very distinct feeling the rest of our stay at Eskaya made us feel grubby and that we were regarded merely as walking dollar signs.
Veronica offered complimentary cocktails as the only attempt a service recovery, this was poor unoriginal and the sort of servicer recovery you would associate with a 3* resort. That evening we were told (at 730pm) that complimentary cocktails end at 630pm. UNBELIEVABLE!
We retired to our room, the black ants were crawling over our bed, the fridge was still broken and we couldn’t take a hot tub bath because it was cracked and it leaked. This was the final straw and we called for the manager, who wasn’t there! Eventually the F+B manager arranged our transfer to Villa 6 – which was unprepared so we had to wait whilst it was made ready by housekeeping. This was turning into amateur hour.
That night the air conditioner in Villa 6 kept us both awake all night and in the morning it flooded the table and lamp beneath it. We believe it was frozen. When Veronica met us outside the Villa that morning her only concern was the air conditioner. She didn’t enquire about us or apologise to us. She looked vey uncomfortable.
So as you can see our dream 3 night vacation at Bohol’s premier spa resort was a disappointing shambles of errors, poor or non-existent communication, frequent lack of ownership by management, appalling service recovery at all levels and deception by a 3rd party partner.
Needless to say when we returned to Manila and friends and family enquired as to our stay at the famous Eskaya – we were only too happy to tell them. The look on their faces as we recounted our experiences was one of incredulous disbelief and then sympathy, ironically more sympathy than we received at the resort.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.