Don't stay at Kunza Hotel and Spa unless you enjoy repeated frustrations.
My wife and I had an unpleasant stay at this facility in Chile's Atacama desert region. When I checked Trip Advisor ( after the fact, unfortunately) I found others had similarly negative experiences - see recent reviews from Acca_11 and Eurosailornewyork.
Upon arrival one sees a very nice, beautiful physical plant, fitting in well in materials and color with its desert surroundings. That supports the expectations the hotel's website fosters.
The reality is much different. Most everything about this place is second class, or worse. The indifference, the incompetence, and the inconsideration of the vast majority of the staff is incredible.
A listing of some of various indignities we dealt with includes these :
. the food menu is skimpy, poorly cooked, seldom varied, unimaginatively presented, and very, very slow to come to the table. I realize that Latin meal times may be later than elsewhere in the world, and Latin meals may last longer, but the wishes of guests for prompt service and a finite meal time should be taken into account. Plan on at least two hours for the simplest lunch or dinner time at Kunza. The breads are truly the worst I've ever had, anywhere ! We got food poisoning from what was offered as a "pizza"; it was uncooked - who knows what it really was ?
. upon arrival, when we tried to book the excursions included in our 'all-inclusive' package, we were told that most were already sold out, although we tried to book within minutes of our arrival there. Eventually we were accommodated in our choices but only after having to explain repeatedly the injustice of offering packages but then not having any choices available to guests.
. getting our room cleaned daily was a major chore. On our first day, housekeeping woke us at 7:45 a.m.; after a long inbound journey we were very tired. We asked for a later visit. That came at 9:20 a.m. and I asked for, literally, "five more minutes", as I pointed to my watch. Our room got made up at 3:00 p.m. that day. Housekeeping service was similarly late on all three of our days there. It is not pleasant to either stay out of the room, hoping for service, or to use the room all day with the bed unmade and the bathroom linens not being attended to either.
. Although English is my native language, I fully recognize not everyone in the world speaks it. However, in the hospitality business, as in many others, it has become an international lingua franca; it facilitates communication between locals and overseas visitors many of whom use their own knowledge of English as a second language as a way to communicate with others of many nationalities. The English language capabilities of the staff at Kunza are deplorable; few can deal with it or with other European languages, outside of Spanish, which I also tried to use there.
. Our room safe and TV did not function; requests for repair went unheeded.
. Our transfer arrangements to the airport on departure were a nightmare to set up; we were told certain rules had to be followed in that area but Kunza staff repeatedly broke their own guidelines when they finally sprung on us the included departure arrangements.
. People in the hospitality industry expect to be tipped for even the simplest performance of their basic task, instead of for exceptional performance, as should be the case. In an attempt to tip when I found even the slightest reason to do so, it was impossible to get the front desk staff to break larger bill sizes. Once, when attempting to get smaller bills than a 5,000 Chilean pesos ( a little more than U.S. $ 10) the lady at reception looked at me like I was asking for change for $5,000,000, not C.P. $5,000. She laughed hilariously (to her, not to me) and said "no possible". If the hotel can't change bills as small as that, they better tell their employees not to expect gratuities from guests. The hotel also offers no exchange service whatsoever, not even at the usually usurious bad hotel exchange rates frequently offered elsewhere.
. The few parts of the hotel staff that did seem to work were the Spa, where the manager arranged a very nice session for us, and the finance manager, Esteban, with whom I spoke out of the sheerest frustration the night before we left. I had askers someone else for the General Manager, to lodge a complaint, but was told he wouldn't be in until the next morning - and I was told this by an individual who had just arranged a very early morning transfer to the airport for the next day and who therefore knew I would not still be at Kunza at the likely arrival time for work by the G.M. Esteban, "on managerial duty" that evening, did his best to apologize for things and help out but it was still unpleasant to have to take things that far.
So, Kunza's a beautiful place if you just want to stay in your own little bubble but if you need or want any help from the staff, help or service of any sort, either stay away or prepare yourself for major disappointments.
Many of these comments are intensified because of Chile's very admirable record of clean governance, a sound economy, political reforms, an educated population, and its performance in other areas of "first world" measurements. The kind of experience we had at Kunza is more indicative of a much less developed country; Chile can and does offer much to the world traveler; Kunza, however, does not do its share and detracts from its country's fine reputation.
The series of rooms from 1001 to 1303, on the way from the main building to the pool/spa complex, ap...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.