HERES THE LETTER THAT WAS SENT DIRECTLY TO GM AND TRAVEL AGENT !!! BEWARE !!!
I’m writing to you today to make you aware of the situation during our honeymoon at your Occidental Grand Aruba resort.
My new bride and I were looking forward to spending our honeymoon at your resort from June 8, 2012 to June 13. 2012 and we booked through our travel agent at Liberty Travel. We were made aware that your hotel was part of the “My Time” plan through Liberty Travel which entitled us to special amenities such as welcome bottle of wine and “fruit basket”, daily in room beach towels, and restocked “mini bar”. We had also booked our room with grand concierge service which also entitled us to concierge service, bath robes in room daily and continental breakfast daily if we choose to avail ourselves to it.
We arrived on June 8 as planned and were ushered to the 9th floor to meet with our concierge Valerie or Veronica. Valerie had made reservations for that evening at your L'Olio restaurant but was awaiting email confirmation because no one was answering the phone. She also setup reservations for the Zen restaurant for us. She mentioned that our room was not ready but we would have to be switched from our room the next day because we may not be happy with it, which right away raised our concerns.
After several hours we were able to go to our room but we didn’t have our luggage in the room so that we could change our clothes after traveling all day. We called Valerie and she told us it would be right up. As we surveyed the room we discovered that our room was not ocean view as we had asked and paid for, but it was partial ocean view and had an awful view of the parking alley and air conditioners. After waiting additional time for our luggage we called Valerie back and she said we had to wait and we complained about the room location and her answer was call me tomorrow and we will see what we can do because we are over booked.
After nearly a half an hour we finally were brought our luggage. We then discovered that we had a welcome bottle of wine but no cork screw. Our “fruit basket” was one apple, one brown banana, and one kiwi on a small plate wrapped in plastic wrap. This was far from a so called fruit basket. The “mini bar” was a warm refrigerator with one can of coke one gingerale, one bottle of water and one sprite. We called Valerie again and asked wheres the mini bar, fruit basket, and we don’t even have a cork screw and she was upset and told us “you got what you paid for”, which I thought was totally inappropriate as a paying guest and couldn’t believe this was actually coming from our own concierge which we had paid extra for. In any resort I have stayed at a mini bar is suppose to contain alcohol otherwise it should have been advertised as a mini fridge. Valerie called us back a few minutes later to tell us that she received email back from the L'Olio restaurant that our reservations were confirmed for this evening.
I had to find a maid in the hallway in order to get a cork screw and also ask for a do not disturb sign which also was missing from the room. I was told they didn’t have cork screws by the maid and then a gentleman was in the hallway and I asked him for a cork screw and he left then returned with it. The do not disturb sign was taken from another room across the hallway which left me perplexed as to how that room now will have to try to get one.
That evening we arrived at the L'Olio restaurant for dinner. Our reservations were no where to be found and our names were not on the list after much anguish and frustration fortunately the host took us in and seated us.
That evening we needed towels for the beach and discovered that they and our bath robes were not in the room. The advertised turn down service for the grand concierge service was also not performed. We had to call Valerie to have towels and robes delivered. It seems that the concierge and cleaning staff had no idea what service we were suppose to receive and what grand concierge service meant.
The next morning we decided not to call Valerie and switch rooms because most guests were complaining about the lack of "ocean view" at the pool side of the building and the noise on that side was excessive all day and night.
My wife left the room to get some coffee and could not get back into the room with the key and my key wasn't working either so we called Valerie and she said that they would reset the lock wirelessly and we should go to breakfast and by the time we get back the lock would be okay. Needless to say when we returned the lock didn't work and we were told to find security to get into the room in order to get to any of our belongings. We hunted for security in the lobby to find a security guard that called someone on the phone and told us to go upstairs and wait. We waited in the hallway for them to arrive and they met us and proceeded to work on the lock and tried to program it for nearly an hour as we were locked out and standing in the hallway. We had made plans to visit some sites in town that now we would not be able to do. The security officer had to call a female on the radio so she could come up and try to get the lock to work. After another twenty minutes the lock was able to be opened. At this point our stress level was high and our day was cut short by just trying to relax on the beach as a way to salvage what was left of our day.
Upon returning to the room we discovered that the room had been cleaned but there was only one robe and no beach towels. Again we had to call Valerie but got no answer and after calling several times we got someone who said that Valerie wasn’t there and to call back. Whats the point of having a concierge that is not there or not having someone that could assist us in lieu of her absence? We called the front desk and had to request the items which they brought. That evening no turn down service again.
The next morning we went to make reservations for De Palm Tours Jeep Safari at the De Palm desk because we had no confidence anymore in using our concierge and we didn’t even attempt to go through the long arduous task of trying to reach anyone at all there. That evening no turn down service.
The next morning after we returned from paying for our breakfast across the street because the line was so long for the buffet at the resort we were greeted with a welcome bottle of wine and another so called fruit basket but with an envelope addressed to Mr and Mrs McGregor so we called Valerie and informed her of this because the way things were progressing we may get back from the beach and find someone else in our room. Valerie said it was probably a mistake and apologized and told us to enjoy them. We returned from the beach and low and behold the wine and fruit were gone. After all we had been through I felt it was tacky and petty to remove them from the room, but expected it at this point in our stay. We headed to guest services to talk with someone to try to get it straight about what exactly we were suppose to receive with our grand concierge package. We were stopped by a gentleman selling time shares and we complained to him that we have'nt been able to get towels or anything straight so why would I want to comeback to the resort to buy a time share? In the conversation we had explained to him that if not for the De Palm Tours and activities we booked the rest of our honeymoon would have been a disaster. He asked if we had received our VIP card or discount package and had used it at De Palm tours so that we received a discount and qualified for a free activity after purchasing several activities. We informed him that we didn’t and he had to sit us down to inform us that we should have gotten it and we missed our discounts etc. We did receive an envelope in our room the first day but it only had a 10% discount coupon for a massage. My wife said she needed to speak with someone in charge and we were given Sandra Steba your guest services manager.Sandra appeased us as much as she could after we informed her of the endeavor we have been through and gave us a couples massage for the next day which we used but felt it was to little to late. She also asked if we wanted to eat in the royal club which we did that morning because as usual when we went down in the morning there was a line out the door waiting for breakfast and I did not feel like paying another $40 across the street at a restaurant outside of the resort as we had done several times in order to eat breakfast when I should be using my all inclusive package at the resort.
That evening we went to the bar in the disco after the lobby bar closed and we were told that because of the pool party the bar wasn’t open, so I guess if I wanted a drink as part of my all inclusive package I could not get one even though the disco bar was suppose to be open until 2AM. I went to the casino bar and was told that the bar was a cash bar only. Perplexed and angered again we went to bed early. Finally turn down service was done, so I guess someone finally got the memo, but dirty towels were left in the bathroom and one bath robe again. We called guest services to get them and we were told to call concierge. We called concierge and were told no one was there but they would make sure we received towels, robe etc. No towels or robes ever materialized that evening.
The next morning we complained to Sandra and also informed her about the VIP discount cards and welcome package we never received and the problems with robes, towels, etc and she offered us dinner in the royal club and we told her that if we wanted to use the royal club we would have booked the royal club. We were not interested in using the royal club. She apologized for the inconvenience.
When we arrived back at our room from the beach we had a bottle of champagne, two glasses and a welcome honeymooners letter signed by Sandra offering us breakfast in bed during our stay. This letter was dated for two days earlier and being this was our last night at the resort we decided to have breakfast in bed in the morning being we would be checking out before 10 am.
We went down to the front desk and they told us to go to guest services. The lady at guest services said we get a continental breakfast with this letter and I informed her that we normally get a continental breakfast with concierge service and she looked confused. I asked her why would I get a complimentary letter for breakfast in bed when I already have breakfast in bed with concierge service? She looked even more confused and called Sandra on the phone and I assume she was told that we were correct that concierge service included continental breakfast. I asked her what are you giving me that I don't already have and paid for? She told me she didn't know and left to go talk to Sandra. We left the desk and went to Sandra. At this point I have finally had enough and told Sandra to please keep her free gifts, free continental breakfast that I already get with concierge service and to get a letter that was addressed to us three days ago welcoming us on our last day at the resort is an insult and it seems to me that no matter what color the wrist bands are no one knows what they mean or what they are doing.
Housekeeping doesn’t get the word about what the guests receive with their package and guest services seems to be in the same confused state. If she was in charge of guest services then if they are confused about what a guest receives that seems to be her lack of supervision of staff or a lack of training. Instead of selling guests time shares or vacation club opportunities, more time should be spent on keeping paying guests happy. After all the guests are the ones that would be buying time shares and vacation clubs if they are made welcome and taken care of during their stay. You are in the hospitality business and that means that all guests should be treated the same and given what they have paid for, instead of the staff spending all their time catering to vacation club or royal club guests. All guests are paying customers, and royal club guests take up two floors of your hotel compared to five floors of non royal club guests.
I chose Occidental because I seen that you as a general manager were on Trip Advisor addressing and answering the negative reviews about your hotel. I was impressed with that and felt that you were taking a proactive stance and was genuinely concerned about guests complaints so as to ensure they wouldn’t happen again, but now I have my doubts.
Our honeymoon should have been the happiest day of our lives and that was taken away from us. These memories could never be recreated. I hope that you as general manager would appreciate our dilemma and see to it that other guests get to create memories and enjoy their special time at your resort in the future without having them ruined such as ours was.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Your case was handled by our Customer Service department, which carried out investigations and follow it up in July. Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further on your experience.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.