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“So many problems, so little resolution” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Suites at La Palmeraie

The Suites at La Palmeraie
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The Suites at La Palmeraie
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530 S. 2nd St., Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250   |  
Hotel amenities
Harbor Springs, Michigan
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“So many problems, so little resolution”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

I booked the Executive Suite for 10 days, assuming that it was accurately represented online. That was not the case. At the time that I rented this unit, it was advertised as having an ocean view. That view was mentioned twice in the online description of the property. There is no ocean view out of any room in this suite, nor from the veranda. The online photos leave the impression that this property is clean and well-maintained. The unit may have been clean when the photos were taken, but it's condition had deteriorated. Several rugs were frayed and soiled. The carpeting was in need of cleaning. Several bed slats were loose or broken, and one set of dresser drawers was broken. The phone message system did not work. Incoming phone calls could not be received. Directions for using the TV/DVD were incorrect. There was only very limited cable service when we arrived. There were shards of broken glass in the kitchen cupboard. Several items from the promised "pantry list" were missing. The seat on one beach bike was broken - it unpredictably dropped while you rode the bike. There are certainly lots of DVDs and videos in the "house" library, but we couldn't help but notice that many of these appeared to be illegal copies.

I was looking forward to staying in this place, and appreciated that it was a pet-friendly unit. I've stayed in plenty of other beach houses and cottages with my dogs and my family/friends, always finding those places to be as advertised, and finding the landlords to be friendly and accommodating. I have never encountered any problems — things were always as they were represented. These other places were well maintained and reflected the owners' considerable attention to a renter's satisfaction.

Not so at this place. The owner was not in the area, but has a local person who provides onsite help in case of trouble. I can appreciate that being offsite might be challenging when it comes to managing a rental. But in my view, there is no excuse for knowingly posting an inaccurate description of a unit. Nor is absence an excuse for failing to have a unit "ready as advertised" for occupancy by paying guests.

I'm not a complainer by nature - in fact, this is the first time I've posted a negative review of anything! And had there been just one or two problems with our rental, or a mechanical breakdown of a one-time nature, I could have put i off to bad luck and carried on. But in the midst of the many problems we encountered, I suddenly had a flashback and recalled reading (and ignoring, based on the owner's response) a couple of other critical reviews of this property. (Funny how easy it is to side with the owner and think that people who complain are crackpots — until we, ourselves, encounter problems.)

I paid good money for a place that had too many problems — so many, in fact, that it consumed the better part of an evening of my vacation to list them all in an email to the owner. Someone should have inspected this unit prior to our occupancy to ensure that there weren't problems in the first place. That should be routine — it's a no-brainer and a fundamental responsibility of a landlord. Since I rented this place, the owner has changed the description of the unit, replace "ocean view" with "ocean glimpse." I suppose this is supposed to indicate some sort of attempt at honesty, but in actual fact, the description is just as dishonest as it was before: this is not a matter of degree or interpretation. The ocean is either visible or it isn't. There's no "ocean view," just as there's no "ocean glimpse," because they are one and same thing. Why lie about it and give people an expectation that's not going to be met? If the owner feels compelled to mention the ocean, why doesn't she state a true fact, "The ocean is just a two-minute walk from the unit." Why not mention assets that are real, instead of misleading someone to expect something that's just not there.

I informed this owner of the problems we encountered, and that I found her dishonesty to be troubling. I got an email reply along the lines of "Sorry you didn't enjoy your stay. Thank you for taking time to make us aware of the problems." I then got an offer of a $100 refund, even though I asked for more consideration. I don't mind paying people money for something of comparable value. However, I do object to people who fail to deliver promised value, who refuse to offer me fair compensation for that failure (based on the value they establish when they set a rental rate), who are dishonest in the moment, and who after the fact seem content to continue to victimize (and profit from) some other unsuspecting person.

The bottom line? There are clean, well-maintained, dog-friendly places to rent along Florida's coasts. This place isn't one of them. And there are honest, sincere people who rent properties to others – people who have a sense of what's right and fair, who advertise honestly, and whose properties match the descriptions one reads and the photos one sees online. Sadly, this owner isn't one of them.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaPalmeraie, Owner at The Suites at La Palmeraie, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
I made an exception to allow this guest to bring her 3 dogs along, but she announced at the last minute that she was bringing 4 dogs. I didn’t allow the 4th dog and her attitude changed after that.

She apparently wants to share the minor issues she experienced, so we can address each one...

- The ocean is visible from the Executive Suite balcony, living room and master bedroom. Our property is 1-block from the ocean and there is a 1-acre park at the end of our block near the beach access. It’s an excellent location and we provide many conveniences that make it much more comfortable than a hotel.

- We offer free long distance phone call with the US and Canada, but she didn’t know how to turn the ringer on or work the voice mail system. I offered a service call by AT&T, but she didn’t want that.


- We upgraded to a premium cable package and she was there one night without the full selection of channels.

- We provide a fully equiped full-size kitchen and most guests really enjoy it. But a wine glass fell over on the top shelf and broke. She said she was just making sure I knew she didn’t break it, which I assured her would not be an issue.

- We provide a gas grill for each suite and we stock several pantry items, but we do not promise to stock BBQ sauce.

- We have our carpets professionally cleaned several times each year and we are absolutely proud of our cleaning lady who is diligent and reliable and has ALWAYS done a fantastic job cleaning our three suites for over 7-years.

I was pretty shocked when this guest sent her complaint list to me during her stay, so I offered her a free extension or a $100 concession. She wanted more than that, but I refused since only had very minor issues (which are all resolved now).

You be the judge.... Are we bad landlords, or is this just an unhappy traveler?
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12 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013 via mobile

Each suite is made for the convenience of the guest. Large beds and pull out futons can fit more people than any hotel room. The full kitchens and grills in each suite are great so you don't have to eat out every night. The flat screen tvs in each room have dvd players and a great dvd collection. The location couldn't get any better! Bike rides along the beach are easy and you're only a few steps from the ocean. The beach access on the street has a park, volleyball court, and parking, although there's no need for a car. The backyard is absolutely gorgeous including a firepit, hammock, and tons of tropical plants. Not to mention the outdoor shower feels amazing after a day at the beach. Although the owners don't live on-site they have someone on-call for any complications. Overall the whole experience was worth every penny and I can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

I really enjoyed staying at this propery. I have went there several times. Everytime I want to go to the beach, I stay here. It is always just like I never left. It is always clean, and the customer service is great. They have everything that you need there. It is in a great central location. You pay a lot more for a hotel, and you don't have all the comforts of home. This place has everything that you need!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avenue, Maryland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

Arrived at unit to find heat was not working and garden suite smaller than I could have imagined and filled with uncomfortable furniture. I had to clean refrigerator due to sticky shelves and the presence of hair in several areas refrigerator. Landlord said she had not but "should have" checked the hvac system before the weather became [seasonably] cold. Turns out separate heat pumps in all three suites were not working at the same time. Hard for us to believe the landlord owner was not aware of the problem before we arrived.. Two space heaters were provided. They blew the circuits immediately upon plugging in and leaving us in the dark at 9 pm in the evening. The space heaters had not been prepared for use per manufacturer's instructions, but if they had the owner/ll would have known about this problem before we were faced with ist. As overnight temperatures were below 50 and predicted to be as low as freezing for the remainer of our stay, we were forced to move to a hotel, And, despite this she did not make other arrangements for tennants whoarrived after us, even though she knew the units were uninhabitable. She did not answer calls promptly throughout this ordeal and refuses to negotiate a fair resolution,. Sometimes took hours to hear back from her, leaving us to decide what was appropriate.She (Holly Dean) refuses to refund our full payment because she could not re-rent the heatless unit. Go figure.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaPalmeraie, Owner at The Suites at La Palmeraie, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
The first cold snap of the year came on Christmas Eve and of course that’s when we found out the Garden Suite system needed to be fully replaced. The contractor inspected it immediately and the whole system was replaced as soon as the holiday schedule allowed. We agreed to give the guests a credit for the inconvenience on their first night and we provided alternative heating, which the guests deemed acceptable. However, they insisted they needed both space heaters in the same room and called us as soon as the breaker tripped to say they were leaving. I advised them to just reset the breaker and use one heater per room, but they insisted on leaving.

As a owner/landlord of this vacation rental business of 8-years, we know that sometimes there are some issues that we can’t control, but we always stay in communication, make every effort to resolve the situation quickly and try to make our guests as comfortable as possible by offering alternative solutions. We did all of the above when the heater failed recently and I can reassure our potential guests that we try extremely hard to provide an enjoyable vacation rental experience for every guest. Now all three of our suites have brand new heat and A/C systems. Our cleaning lady has been with us since the beginning and her work has always been impeccable. We take great effort with our property and we are extremely proud of its condition. Come see for yourself! :)
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Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2012

Booked in January for March 31. I should have known better after my initial contact with Mike Lastiwka. He insisted I had to pay him a deposit online. I phoned to ask for an address to send the check to, but not an option, I was actually told that he couldn't spend his time going to the bank to deposit checks. Place was cute so I thought what the heck. Within 10 days found out we had to cancel so I immediately emailed. Mr. Lastiwka told me that if the room was booked he would refund my money. I had never run across this before and I had not signed anything with this man. I filed a complaint immediately with Consumer Services of Florida. I sent all correspondences I had had with Mr. Lastiwka. After a few weeks I received a letter from them letting me know that his mail was returned. So the address on his website is not correct I can only assume. I have never heard back from this Mr. Lastiwka. Not a very nice transaction and obviously not a very nice man. I would highly recommend NOT booking this property. The fantastic reviews on his website as well do not seem kosher, not from many "real" people, seems quite a few a from "Guestbook Comment". Interesting. It took me so long to review this after the cancellation because I was seeing if he would get in touch after the booked reservation, but alas no.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaPalmeraie, Manager at The Suites at La Palmeraie, responded to this review, April 23, 2012
Charlene Curley refund was actually processed and sent ahead of schedule on March 26th. Ms. Curley's rental agreement clearly states that in the event of a cancellation we remarker the inventory and upon resale a refund is made available to guest. Refunds are processed after the initially reserved inventory is complete so that a full accounting of any re-sales can be made. As Charlene's inventory re-sold early, her refund was processed 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

If anyone doubts the veracity of our guestbook comments and reviews we will gladly furnish email addresses etc to anyone who wants to ascertain the accuracy of any comments made about our property and efforts therein.

Considering that Charlene was a "yard sale" during the booking process and seemed to have difficulties with finances in providing her rental deposit, I'm not surprised that Charlene's mail was returned. Our mailing address is still the same as our business address and as you can see by the below review from a guest from last week, we are still operating our business at a high standard that pleases the most discerning of customers.
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Toronto
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

My job has us travelling through the States staying in different cities and different hotels every week. On the second last stop we decided to get a proper home and despite some initial concern considering the below reviews, we booked the house anyway.
The representational we spoke with on the phone was very honest right off the bat about the reviews, which I respected immediately. Once I entered the property I can see why there are rules. The place is gorgeous; has everything you could possibly need, has an incredible location, incredibly comfortable beds, is clean and well taken care of. If people find the rules strict and a bit ridiculous, then this clearly isn't the place for them. They place is taken care of and they expect the same from it's visitors.

Thanks to Holly and the rest of the staff - we will happily return next time we're in Jax Beach!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2011

What a headache! It seemed the perfect place for my wedding week, the place itself is lovely, modern rooms, large outdoor area and close to the beach. Unfortunately all of the positive things about this place are highly outweighed by the negative. I am still waiting, three months, after my stay for a refund on my deposit, 1100$!! Nearly the price of what I payed for a 3 nights stay. There has been no proof whatsoever that there were any damages to the property and nothing given to me in writing explaining any damages. I checked the place thoroughly before leaving (having read other reviews before I stayed there) and there was absolutely nothing wrong with the place when we left. To make matters worse, I have been constantly emailing the place trying to find out what has happened to my money and have been completely ignored, just because I live in Europe does not mean that my email does not work. It worked perfectly fine when I had to book the place and give them money. I was even hung up on when I finally got a hold of the manager of the place, he mumbled something about waiting for a catalogue. Its a real shame because if the deposit would have been given back in 30 days, like the contract clearly says, then the stay would have been lovely. Beautiful rooms, nice fire pit, all ruined by poor communication and withholding money !!! For all the annoyance I am dealing with now, I would not recommend this place to anyone.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Suites at La Palmeraie

Address: 530 S. 2nd St., Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Location: United States > Florida > Jacksonville Beach
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 10 Hotels in Jacksonville Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 289
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Intimate & Private All Suite Boutique Accommodations. The market leader in Service, Design, Comfort & Value. Indulge yourself, you deserve it. ... more   less 

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