This is what I wrote to the manager of White Gate Court after our 6 night, $1000 stay. Had I been able to get my money back, I would have checked out after our first night, but with the no refund policy we really didn't have a choice but to endure. I sent this letter via email and by fax to the manager over 4 weeks ago and have not recieved any response. In addition to the information in the letter, please know that the "office" smelled very badly of smoke.
I wanted to let you know what my perceptions were regarding my recent stay at your facility. My husband and I made a trip to the Florida Keys area to celebrate our 30th anniversary and stayed with you from November 10th - November 15th, 2011. My purpose in contacting you directly is that our stay did not meet even our most basic expectations.
I have traveled extensively and my standards are not high - however, the experience we had with you was just awful.
Prior to our booking a stay with you, I had reviewed Trip Advisor comments and was expecting that there would be no one to check us in. We found the note on the door and went to our room, and we were happy with it at first glance. Once I read your "welcome" letter telling me that I had better not use the towels for taking off my makeup and that everything in the room would be charged to us if it were damaged, was, well, a little over the top. I chalked it up to you having a bad experience in the past, however, my spouse and I are in our 50's and are not accustomed to ruining things either intentionally or unintentionally when we travel. After a sweaty and fitful night on your plastic mattress pad, in a king sized bed that was pushed up against the wall, I was not in the best mood come next morning. We were greeted by the service person who asked us "do you want service?"
I was surprised by this...I am on vacation, and I don't expect to make my own bed while staying in a motel on vacation....but I got the distinct impression that she didn't want to service our room just by the way that she asked the question. Anyhow, I asked her if she could do 4 things for me to make my stay more comfortable. I asked if she could leave me a washcloth that I would be allowed to take my make up off with as I had used toilet paper that morning to remove my mascara. I also asked for a roll of paper towels and a box of kleenex, and was told that "we don't provide those", and I asked her to please make up the bed with a mattress pad that did not have plastic in it. She told me that she didn't have anything else to put on the bed, so I asked her to just leave it off and we'd make do. This first interaction with your staff sent the message that there would be no effort made to make our stay comfortable and that we were on our own.
The "rag" that was left for me to remove my makeup was not exchanged the whole time I was there. (I have a picture of it if you would like to see it) In fact, after the third day the brown stained areas on the rag that were present when she left it for me began to disintegrate. The top sheet on our bed had some tattered areas on it (almost like it had been sliced with a sharp object) and it was not changed until I finally couldn't take it anymore and asked to have someone change the bed on our 5th night. On nice thick sheets, I can go a week without a changing but the sheets were so threadbare and without a mattress pad, it was just gross. We ran out of dishwashing soap after our 3rd night because it was watered down so much, and it remained empty until we asked to have it refilled after our 5th night. On a positive note, the service person did do our dishes since we were not able to because we had no soap. By the 6th night we were down to one thin bar of hand soap left in the shower and had no soap for the sink. We conserved that bar our last morning and there was nothing left of it when we checked out. It's a good thing we had purchased our own paper towels because we had to mop up the hundreds of little ants who invaded the kitchen our last night. I think they were after the crumbs from under the toaster. Had we not had paper towels, we might have had to use one of the hand towels or the kitchen towel to clean them up. On our 4th morning, I couldn't stand walking across the floor because of all the sand and debris on the floor. I did leave a note with a $5 tip asking to sweep or to leave me a broom so I could do so.
The icing on the cake happened on our 5th day, which was November 15th. My husband and I had planned to spend the afternoon kayaking on the bay in front of the property.
The office hours posted said that the office would be open until 4 pm, so we didn't think there would be a problem getting the lifejackets and paddles. We returned to our room at 2:45 and packed up an afternoon picnic to take with us, and as were were putting the food into our pack, we watched you zoom past in your little gray car at 3:00 pm. We walked up to the office, and of course the office was locked up tight. It totally derailed our plans for the afternoon, and again, service as advertised fell short again.
You may think I'm being very nit picky, but I am writing to you because the entire experience set a tone of being really defensive. From the fact that you are worried about damage to your linens to the watered down soap, poor service, and the lack of responsiveness to simple service requests, well, it just sets a tone of you expecting the very worst from your guests. I felt as though once you got the reservation and our money, you were not going to do anything to help us have an enjoyable time. have no interest in ruining or stealing anything from the places I stay. For $149 per night, I expect basic services and for the office to be open when it says it's going to be open.
I write to you today to solicit your response to my experience. I usually write a trip advisor review anytime I stay out of town, but with our horrible stay, I thought I should allow you a chance to respond to me personally before I post my review. Perhaps there is a good explaination for why things fell so short during our stay."
Lastly, White Gate Court caters to clients who have dogs. We love dogs, and it was one of the things that attracted us to book at the property as I always miss my own dog when travelling. While we were there, a couple with 5 - 75 pound basset hounds checked in to a cabin on the property, and we listened to those hounds bay inside the cabin for hours. I would never leave my dogs to bark like that, EVER. It was very disturbing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A quiet, secluded getaway, where pets are welcome. Only 7 units on 3 acres of tropical beauty, with old time charm and modern comfort. 220 feet of private white-sanded beach area, free dockage, great snorkeling and night fishing, complementary beach towels, free use of paddle-boats and bicycles. BBQ grills for each unit, filtered water supplied for each refrigerator, fully equipped kitchens and more. Personalized attention, great hospitality. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- White Gate Court Hotel Islamorada