I hate to write a really bad review but unfortunately I am compelled to do so after a stay at Chez Carole.
On first impressions the hotel has huge potential. Yes the rooms are dark, a little dirty, the toilet door doesn't close and is not enclosed (hope you're comfortable taking a dump with you girl/boyfriend in the room) but the setting and the awesome swimming pool allayed my initial worries.
A walk down the very picturesque beach filled me with confidence. I turned a blind eye to the trail of rubbish a little further down the beach and tried to ignore the member of hotel staff dumping a bag full of trash just beyond the boundaries of the hotel. This is Vietnam after all.
"Geck-OOO" I heard, so loud it left a ringing in my ears as I lay in bed at 2AM on the first night, "GECKOOO" it went again. I explained to my girlfriend that we were near the jungle and that these things happen, we'd let the hotel know in the morning and they could hopefully clear it out so we could sleep.
So began a three day battle with the local wild life, who it seemed, were very keen on sharing our room with us.
Three large geckos (about 30 cm in length) were caught and killed inside our room. Two lost their tails in the bloody hunt to capture them. It turned out they were living on top of the air conditioning unit.
If we weren't being woken by the lizards mating cries above our heads it was the gentle pitter patter of a family of mice scuttling backwards and forward across the roof all the way through the night. We thought that they might be birds but a member of staff assured us they were in fact mice. Terrific!
Of course no room would be complete without Jurassic Park sized cockroaches flying around at night.
We slept very little those first three/four nights.
We booked a beach side room but were given a room next to the entrance (a 'seaview' - if using a series of mirrors and step ladders to see a smidgen of water). A number of other residents complained that they too had booked different rooms to the ones they got. I believe some were moved but overall it felt very disorganised. In fact the hotel has no beach side rooms. It has one room directly on the sea, one very close to the sea and then a number of other rooms further back which have a view of the sea. Whilst we were there they were in the middle of building more rooms behind the rooms with the sea view.
Most of the staff were polite but their lack of English makes communication difficult. Those that did speak English, such as the French assistant manager, were actually less help than those that didn't. No apology was offered about our situation and after three sleepless nights and no solution offered the assistant manager put me on the phone to the owner (a vietnamese lady who lives locally). He explained before hand that she "wouldn't care about our problems," and that we should have seen how bad it was when he started there 3 months ago. All very bizarre.
She claimed she couldn't help us with our situation without her Mother's permission. Completely mind boggling to be passed up the chain of command to find out that we needed the permission of the mother of the owner before we could be moved from the mouse/lizard den.
We ultimately negotiated a discount getting our room for $80 per night. Once the hotel emptied we were told we could move from our room to a room with less animals. The Assistant Manager explained to us that he would put Asians in the room we were in originally as they didn't mind the animals as much. Again, completely bizarre and completely unacceptable.
On the plus side the assistant manager felt happy enough to come and knock back a bottle of wine with us whilst we sat in the bar. As it got late the bar lady decided to go to sleep under the bar. Undeterred the assistant manager continued to pour himself large glasses of wine.
Here are some of the other 'highlights':
The beach does not have enough loungers for all of the guests. Whilst we were there people came to the hotel beach who were not staying in the hotel filling up the few loungers that were there. Quite frustrating that members of the public can use the facilities when the biggest sell of the hotel is its private location!
Food at the hotel is acceptable (though not as good as Mango Bay down the road). However, do not be surprised if the food you order is not what ends up on the table. Also be careful to check the price that you pay for food. The menus they hand out have different prices on them. Bizarre.
If you read the material they have about the hotel in the lobby it says they offer a free shuttle to the airport. This is not true. Other reports online suggest that they offer a bus into town each evening (a 30-40 minute drive). This however is not the case. Nobody at the hotel could explain why they have changed the policy but now they charge for the shuttle to town. Again, bizarrely, the price you pay for the hotel taxi/shuttle is not shared with other guests. It's a flat fee of $25 regardless of whether you take the taxi on your own or if it is filled with guests. This meant there was no reason for us to ever try to sensibly organise a group of us going in to town at the same time.
There were some plus points. The location is stunning and the potential for the hotel to become a stunning boutique resort is definitely there. The shallow sea was calm and clear, there are a number of free kayaks and we also enjoyed wind surfing which was all free. They also offer reasonably cheap scooters to rent (about $10). We had a great day driving around the island.
The location is amazing but the management is without doubt the worst I have ever experienced.
Unless you are a holiday masochist do yourself a favour and avoid!
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