First let me start this review by stating that I completed 3 Customer Satisfaction Surveys, while still at the hotel, based on each room that we had during our 2 week visit and received an auto reply email stating that I would receive a response within 7 business days after my comments were reviewed by staff. I can tell you that a month later, I still have not received any response to my complaints. That pretty much sums up how Divi Management responds to all complaints.
I will also state that this was my third visit to Divi Southwinds. We’ve stayed there in June 2003 and July 2007 and had a lovely time, enjoying our stay, but something has happened over the years and the resort has gone downhill at an alarming pace.
So now, where do I begin with the very long list of complaints? I’ll start with the check in process.
We arrived early, at 1:30 p.m. knowing that we might have to wait for our room. I proceeded to check in asking for a “nicer, newly renovated room, if they had one”. My first clue that things were off to a bad start was the reply “we don’t renovate, we maintain”. Well, maintain doesn’t even come close to what they do. Maintaining would be a step up. After seeing our room, I went back to reception and asked to be moved. I was told that they were over booked and were sending guest to other hotels. I asked to be one of those guests to go to another hotel, and they said no, because I had a 2 week reservation with them, the other guest were only for a few days.
Our “maintained” room on the ground level was only ready after 5:30 p.m. – check in is 4:00 p.m. It was very small compared to the other rooms that we had on the second floor. It was badly in need of maintenance. To begin with the air conditioner didn’t work – maintenance came to our room a total of 8 times in 3 days to fix the problem, to no avail. The ceiling fans had one speed, slow, so that didn’t help. Being on the ground floor, we couldn’t leave the patio door open, which didn’t have a screen in any event, so the mosquitoes would have come in. Much later that evening, when I went back to reception yet again, the shift had changed and Amanda, who was very nice, gave us her floor fan to use until they could “fix” the air conditioner. Amanda also said that she would move us as soon as another room became available. If not for her, we would have packed our bags and left to find another hotel. But it was Crop-Over and most hotels were fully booked and Amanda really tried hard to help us with all our complaints, and sent housekeeping and maintenance often over the course of our stay. Ingrid Bynoe is also an outstanding reception staff person who made our stay bearable.
The partial kitchenette (we were to have a full kitchen) was spare and mis-matched, missing many dishes, cutlery, cups and glasses. The very small mini –fridge had paint chipped and peeling away and the door was rusted completely along the bottom. It was also missing shelves/racks. The tiles in the kitchen and hallway were broken, chipped and gauged. Of the 4 wicker kitchen chairs had 2 of them were broken. The sofa bed cushions were torn and ripped, with holes. The mattress was so old and in bad shape that our daughters woke up with bruises on their sides and backs. The bathroom tub and tiles were stained with mold and mildew. The grout was disgusting, the shower curtain worse. The shower had only scalding hot or cold water, as did the bathroom and kitchen sink. The shower head had such a fine spray that could not be adjusted, that the stream of water actually stung and made showering unbearable.
We finally were able to move on the 4th day to room #321. It was a nicer, larger room on the second floor overlooking the parking lot/gardens. However, upon opening the door, we were overwhelmed by heat and the smell of urine. I figured that by turning on the air-conditioner, the smell would go away, while moving our belongings from room #110 to room #321. Once we completed the move, my daughter found herself locked in the bathroom, unable to open the door. I thought that was a “fluke” but then found myself locked inside as well. The door handle did not engage from inside the bathroom, it had nothing to do with locking it or not. The handle just did not move, so once inside there was no way to open the door again. Needless to say, with the overwhelming smell of urine and the fact that we could not open the bathroom door, we asked to be moved yet again.
Finally a room that was passable. It was not without its problems too….a toilet that would back up upon ever second use and maintenance that could only come to unblock it between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. So we became well acquainted with the staff toilet on the third floor.
Grounds, pools, gym, convenience store, Internet/WI-FI, mini-golf, restaurants and beach
The grounds are well kept. The pools are alright. The gym is old and run down. The machines are rusted with 5 basic types cardio machines and some free weights and bench. There are holes in the walls and cobwebs in the corners. It does have a T.V., water cooler and air conditioning. The convenience store has just about everything that you need and want at reasonable prices. There is no WI-FI and internet is expensive at $11.00+ USD a day. The mini-put is $5.00 USD a round. There are two restaurants, one beside the pool and one by the beach. The wait staff are nice and the food is good. The “Manager’s Party” is held at the restaurant near the pools. Not that we even saw or met him at the party. The beach is a short walk from the hotel, across the road that runs through the “Gap”. There are lounge chairs there and showers. Being in St. Lawrence Gap is mainly why we chose this resort. It’s close to the beach, bars and restaurants and a short bus ride to Bridgetown.
All in all, if the property owners were to invest in the renovating of the property, Divi Southwinds could one day become the great resort it used to be. I spoke with a Timeshare owner, since 1981, who said that it used to be a 5 star resort back in the day. Shame that it has been allowed to get so run down. I told the staff that they are the ones who are keeping it going. If not for them, not even the location would compensate for the shape of some of the rooms.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the beautiful south coast of Barbados in Christ Church, the all-suite Divi Southwinds Beach Resort is a casual Caribbean retreat. Divi Southwinds lies along a wide stretch of soft white beach and gentle waves, and is uniquely divided by the St. Lawrence Gap-a lively street, home to restaurants, nightlight and local vendors. An intimate collection of one-bedroom suites is steps from scenic Dover Beach and offers stunning ocean views. Behind the St. Lawrence Gap, over one hundred spacious one- and two-bedroom suites surround a sparkling freshwater pool and feature tropical garden views. All suites at the Divi Southwinds feature oversized private patios or balconies perfect for a sunrise breakfast, fully equipped kitchens, king-sized beds, and sleeper sofas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Divi Southwinds Beach Hotel Christ Church
- Hotel Divi Southwinds Beach
- Divi Southwinds Beach Resort Barbados/Christ Church Parish