My boyfriend and I decided to go to the Bahamas for New Year's Eve. We found a very reasonable pkg on Expedia. We are used to beach hotels so we were ready for a little wear and tear. So, that being said, our complaints are not about that, but about service and attitude.
The hotel is part of a complex with a restaurant and timeshare properties across the street (where the pool actually is), with the beach beyond that. It's a lovely beach and the hotel pool is beautifully laid out with a grotto cave-like bar, and a lazy river style inner-tube float around the outside. The rooms were clean and we had no issues at all with the maid staff. They were helpful and friendly and kept the rooms clean. The issues we experienced had to do with the general staff at the hotel and the attitudes of a few and the apparent lack of oversight. With a beautiful location, and some good amenities, I do really think that this hotel has a potential to be really something. However, but they need to train and periodically evaluate their people to ensure their service, or this place will surely slide into obscurity.
On check-in there was one group ahead of us getting a total of 4 rooms. The check-in person seemed not to know what to do and took a very long time to check them in, reprinting paperwork, and a lot of confusion. Then she insisted on putting on each person's wristband by hand, one at a time, instead of letting them do it. You have the have the wristband to do anything at the hotel, so it's not like they were going to give the bands away or sell them or anything. This took a very long time. We were next in line and waited almost an hour to check in. We got no orientation regarding the hotel (restaurant, services, etc.), but quite frankly we were so exhausted by the travel and our wait, we didn't stay around to push for information. We were given a 3rd floor room, and informed there were no elevators. No one volunteered to assist us with our bags. We were left to drag ourselves and our bags to our rooms alone. Not a good first impression.
We went to dinner at the hotel restaurant which is open air and lovely in a beachy sort of way. We waited for some time to be waited on. The hotel appeared to be out of many things, and we asked for 3 things that weren't available until we hit on the menu items that were available. I asked for water with lemon and the waitress kind of looked at me and kind of slumped her shoulders shoulders as if I'd asked for something impossible. She never came back and someone else brought me water and walked away before I could mention it was missing the lemon. The food was very good but a little expensive but without much choice, we still considered it a good deal. There did not appear to be any other restaurants in walking distance, and the only other option without a car was to pay $12 for the 2 of us to take the ferry to Port Lucaya.
Since the pool closed at 6pm, we walked the property and the beach, and looked into the gift shop. I was looking for flip flops and possibly a cover up, but discovered that the only size they had of most things were small as they said they have run out of a lot of their stock. I asked for sunscreen and they stated they were out of it. When I wanted to purchase some eggs to take to our room for use in the kitchenette, I was informed that I had to buy a minimum of $10 because I was using a credit card. The option to charge to my room was not given, and it would have been easy to spend that $10 if they would have had what I wanted in stock. Reluctantly I purchased some deodorant as I was running a bit low and one other item in order to meet my minimum.
The next morning we went to the restaurant for breakfast. There was a nice layout of hot breakfast including eggs sausage pancakes and such. There was a large tray which appeared to have had bacon in it at one time, but was never refilled until 5 minutes before we left. I was a little alarmed at the temperature of the food, as it seemed barely hot enough to be safe. I asked for hot sauce for my eggs and got the same shoulder slumping response and the waitress never came back again. I asked someone else for my hot sauce and got it. This was the way with service here.
At 10am, a bus showed up with many people who we deduced must be from a cruise ship, visiting for the day. To our surprise, the hotel staff spoke to the gathering of visitors, explaining all the features of the "resort", the policy on signing out beach towels, the hours of the grotto bar, etc. We stood by to get our orientation as we had not heard any of this information before. Within minutes, the grounds were swamped with people. All the inner-tubes were taken, along with most of the lounge chairs. We went to the front desk to sign out beach towels, and were told they were out and that we needed to wait. They located 2 more towels, but by then, my boyfriend had stepped into the bathroom, so they gave one to me, and gave the other away to one of the bus visitors, even though my boyfriend was in the bathroom right next to the front desk where she was standing. We gave up and took our one towel and headed to the hot tub.
The hot tub has a sign outside of it that says that no one under 14 was permitted in it. There were several kids in it, and no one watching out for that. I read the sign, aloud, in hopes that someone would hear me. No one did, but the kids moved on eventually. The hot tub was so dirty that we could barely see the bottom. It was very warm, though, so we did use it. (This was not an isolated incident. We came back to it each day, and each day it was dirtier than the first. I do not think they ever cleaned it while we were there.)
Next we went to the grotto bar. It is a swim up bar on one side, and a walk in bar on the other side. It was a very cute idea, and we couldn't wait to sit and relax a bit. The bar tender acted like it was an effort to serve us. After she served us one round, she never came back to us even though we were right in front of her trying to get her attention for a 2nd round. The other gentlemen waited on us and was very friendly, but walked away without collecting our money. The girl kept stocking beer in front of us, but never looked up, and the music was so loud that we couldn't make ourselves heard over it. We finally got her attention and paid, and left. Incidentally, this woman avoided us the next 2 times we went there, and she was the only one there, so it was next to impossible to get served. We eventually resorted to walking to the restaurant bar when we needed a drink.
We did take a glass bottom boat trip from the hotel and it was very enjoyable. The boat driver was friendly and helpful and put in extra effort to ensure we saw all of the features of the tour, including several trips to the shark area to ensure we got to see the sharks. It was a little alarming that they bait the sharks in the same area the snorkeling and diving folks were swimming. Although the sharks aren't large (3-5 feet), it still didn't seem all that good an idea.
We signed up for the $50 per person New Year's Eve bonfire and dinner because it seemed like a nice option to end our trip. It was supposed to be all you can eat and drink, and ending with a nice bonfire on the beach. At 4pm I called down to the front desk to verify the start time, and was told it would start at 5pm. We got ready and headed to the restaurant at 5pm, only to be told that the event was canceled and we needed to go back to the hotel if we wanted our refund. When we did, the hotel desk didn't know about the cancelation, and said the activity desk was closed and that the person was gone for the day. We were informed we couldn't get our refund until 9am the next day. The problem was, we were leaving at 7am the next day for the airport. At that time, the front desk informed us of the "welcome center" down the road near the condos. We had never been told of such a center, which we found entertaining. Well, perhaps that was what was missing then, the "welcome"? Lol! We walked down the road to the welcome center and finally got our refund. Luckily we had gotten ourselves a car the day before, so we drove to Port Lucaya and had a lovely dinner off the site, in spite of it all.
Checking out the next morning, it was as if one more thing had to happen to make our "welcome" complete. We were trying to check out and get our key deposit before heading to the airport. The front desk clerk was counting out change and looked up as if we were disturbing her. She said just a minute, and continued to count change for quite some time. We said that the room was pre-paid and we're sorry but we need our key deposit back so that we could head for the airport. She told us she was counting and she "can't stop" or she'll lose her place. She made us wait for her counting the entire drawer. After that, she gave us our key and our proof of the key deposit refund, and we left.
We will not return to the Flamingo Bay. Our hope is that someone in authority at this hotel may read this and do something to improve the service and attitude there. If not, we are quite sure that things will not improve. That would be quite a shame because there are some good people there who want to do the right thing. All they need is the structure and the support to make it happen.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Flamingo Bay Hotel, adorned by the beautiful emerald green Bell Channel Waterway, is part of three Taino Beach Resort & Clubs properties on Grand Bahama Island. Guests enjoy full use of the largest pool on the island, beach and business center with free WiFi in the lobby. It is a reasonably priced alternative to the larger resorts. Standard features include king rooms and two full size beds in double rooms with small kitchenettes. Full service Marina offering 25 dockage slips. Beauty Salon , Convenience Store, Laundry, Ocean Front Restaurant & Watersport Activity Center on site.A unique & scenic water taxi ride away from Port Lucaya Marketplace. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Flamingo Bay Hotel And Marina
- Flamingo Bay Yacht Hotel Marina
- Flamingo Bay Yacht Club
- Flamingo Bay Resort Bahamas
- Flamingo Bay Hotel & Marina Bahamas/Freeport, Grand Bahama Island