Visited over Memorial Day to escape the crazy Miami crowds. We have frequented this property before and actually have used this property to judge all other Ritz Carltons by (and of course, they have never lived up to it :)). But this trip - was a bit off. I am going to hope that this was an off week for the resort, but after our experience this past week, we may be looking elsewhere.
The RCGC is wonderfully located along a stunning piece of our most favorite place on the planet - Seven Mile Beach. The water is stunning, the temps are perfect and the view is to die for. I have always said, if God had a vacation home, it would be on Seven Mile Beach.
The Hotel is large - rather sprawling would be a more descriptive term - it is not very high - as it encompasses both sides of a well traveled road. We have stayed on both sides of the property (Resort and Beach) and there are positives and negatives for both. Our time on the beach side was noisy (noise from events, Seven, pool) and the time on the resort side was dissapointing (lots of noise from Periwinkle, extremely echoey from the surrounding buildings). Regardless of what side you pick, you will have to walk somewhere at sometime - if you never plan to leave the beach, then stay on the beach side, if you never plan to be coming and going a lot, stay on the resort side. For the view, hands down its the beach side. Also, better breeze/fresh air on the beach side. There is a lot of walking back and forth for different things (Seven is on the beach side, Periwinkle is on the resort side, the spa is on the resort side, but Barjack is on the beach side, both sundry shops are on the beach side by the pool...). We spent more time walking back and forth - and woe to the person who forgets something in their room - lol - rather than walk all the way back to the room, i just went into Waves and bought more suntan lotion.
The grounds are kept wonderfully and overall the property has a nice feel to it - british island feel. Many items up close will show that they are dated, and honestly after 10pm there really is nothing to do and very little choice of what they are offering (you can watch a game AND listen to horrific dance music AND an electric guitarist all in the Silver Palm lounge - all at the same time. I had a headache after 30 minutes of this - and no food is served. So much for a late arrival ;)
The property will offer to send the RC Car for you - this is $90 each way. A taxi is less than $30. its one long road... if it was $50 i would say yes, $90 is far too much (this isnt the bronx, taxis are clean, personable and quick)
As this was not our first time, overall i give the property a B-; they need to start refreshing some items or they are going to continue sliding down the ratings scale.
The lobby is nice and friendly. This is only the second RC we have stayed at where we were not met by someone who asked us our information (or like Cancun KNEW it already) - we were left to wait by the front desk. Once the young lady was off the phone (not complaining, she was working and was all alone while her coworker was nowhere to be found) she realized we were club level and rewards Elite members and called the club to have someone come down and check us in. We were offered one rum punch (im sorry, did you not see there were two of us?) and the woman never came back with another drink. The lobby is clean and fairly well organized (ATM dispenses Cayman and USD but it is hidden behind an alcove at the front desk). Concierge never even made eye contact with us. Our bags were scooped up and we saw them about 10 minutes after we got to our room (not sure why they were not IN our room considering we were taken on a not-needed tour of the hotel prior to arriving in our room).
BE WARNED. You will be charged a hotel tax, a $41 service charge (tips for bellman, housekeeping, etc) AND a $50 resort fee (wifi, watersports, spa ammenities, free "condensed" copied newspaper int he AM) - so if you are in club level you will be charged for club level ammenities (outside of what the resort fee covers its the food/booze offered - that is it). Our room was $449 per night, and we paid over $150 in fees per night.
Checkin - B
Club Level & Club Level Rooms
We always stay at club level, and as a whole over the past few years, we have noticed a significant drop in club level service/offerings at most properties...such as why am i paying for club level AND being charged a resort fee that include the same things? That said, we were overwhelmingly underwhelmed with the club level. The person who finally checked us in asked if we were returning guests (this is a no-no; you already know we are) and asked if we wanted a tour. We kindly said no, just the room - we were taken on a tour anyway. We were shown the club (similar to most club level lounges, but tucked in a corner on the 3rd floor near the elevators - awkward access for most people). The club prior to our arrival had arranged for all of our itinerary items we asked for (Thank you) but we were not provided with any confirmation or notes (as we normally are and have been at this property even when NOT staying at club level).
The club was, well, disappointing on all levels. Most of the times we went in, there was not even a rep on hand; the food we tried (friday evening, saturday morning and sunday afternoon) was OK - nothing i would have been happy about paying for in a restaurant and the offerings were sparse. Considering we pay an upcharge for club level AND the resort fee AND the service fee - i expected, no demanded, more.
Club Level rooms are disappointing - first floor, view of trees and periwinkle restaurant peeps staring right into our room at all times. We even had peeps at the pool waving to us on our balcony. The rooms are the same exact rooms that are NOT club level. Club level is supposed to be superior rooms to standard, not less than standard.
The bed was lumpy, the pillows threadbare and the overall feel of the room was just meh.
Based on our last few experiences overall with club level - we will NOT be utilizing that feature anymore as we would have had a much better room without it.
Club Level Rooms & Amenities - C
I know, odd category right? BUT considering the exorbitant amount you are paying for the resort fee (and lets face it, most of us pay that for the wifi) you expect it to work, and work well. This wifi works well int he middle of the night or very early in the morning. I am assuming this is because they allow all guests to stream, etc so as soon as a few peeps are up, bang - no interwebz - i was so frustrated - i felt like I was on a cruise ship - one email an hour if that. Spotty coverage and unreliable. When i asked numerous employees about this, they said its always that way.
Wifi - D
We rented a luxury daybed on Saturday as the oasis ones were fully booked (and thank goodness we didnt get it = all of the oasis ones were filled with large families with children). After 1.5 hours and two trips to barjack for food and drinks, I asked another server if we would be able to actually have a server come to the $300 per day cabana so i would have to stop going back and forth to Barjack on my own - they sent someone who was nice, but the service was very slow and I assume this was Barjack, not the server.
The Luxury Daybed "roof" really does NOT provide any shade as it is not an opaque covering - it also does not cover the whole bed for the day so everyone who stayed in one walked away with burt feet and ankles or spent the better part of the day with their legs covered in towels - they need to change the covering. Also, our cover was broken as well. No cooling towels, no refreshments just a jug of water that was never refreshed the entire time we were there (6 hours) and some melted candy (left out in the sun - duh) and overly warm bags of semi-stale chips. Fruitplate was a nice treat.
NOTE - if it is windy - DO NOT rent the daybed - you will spend all day rebuying drinks that fall over, chasing hats and towels, and worst of all eating sand.
Not happy with the overall service BUT the location is excellent right on the waters edge (no chairs in front of you except your own). The beach and the pool were very crowded but that is expected.
The beach pool was always too packed to get a seat; the resort side pool is always empty - and SUPER quiet compared to the beach one. the service is NON existent so plan on finding your own food and drinks at the resort pool.
There are a few manual floats, but most people get there early and tuck them under their chairs like they are their own personal floaties - not cool. The water sports area is a bit down the beach, but its part of your $50 so use the paddle boards, hobie cats (sailing lessons are NOT included and they are mandatory unless you know what you are doing, and they are $50 per half hour); the jet skis, etc are part of a company in Waves boutique - the jet skis are $70 per half hour.
Pool/Beach service B
Overall Rating - B-
I found this trip to be disappointing compared with last stays, however, most of our stays at RCs over the past year have felt that way - service being a little less attentive, places more run down, less bang for your buck - there is a lot of competition out there now in the way of luxury boutiques and hotels. When I am dropping at least $1000 a day on property for food, drink, room and other items, i expect that level of service. I would of course visit again, but if the next time is anything like this one - it will be our last.
We ate at Barjack, Blue, Silver Palm on property and will review those separately.
Club level rooms are no different than standard rooms - use the extra $$ to stay beachfront.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.