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.
- 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