The title says it all. My wife and I vacationed to this beautiful island with my three brothers, their wives, and my parents. We stayed for just over a week and got to see the island as a whole, which aesthetically, is breath-taking.
For us though, that is about as far as the "wow" went...Please excuse the ranting like nature of this review, but I feel that people need to know what they are getting into when going to this island, not just with visiting this hotel. But first, the review of the accommodations:
This hotel is great for two things: keeping you out of the rain, and being close to "the Strip" (a string is restaurants and bars shacked together on the beach). The staff, like most natives we encountered on the island, seemed bothered that we were there. The cleaning staff was great however, stocking fresh towels and making sure the linens were changed each day. It didn't matter much though, as our "king" bed was two twin beds on wheels held together with bungee cords (literally...no joke). As stated, the hotel is close to the strip, which is good when you need to grab a bite to eat or snag a taxi to venture somewhere else on the island.
The rant/review of the island as a whole:
This island nation's economy has only been tourism-based for about the last 7 years or so. Prior to that, the island thrived on the sugar-cane industry, but due to the world market price of sugar dropping, and the extensive labor costs of major sugar production, that industry was made not feasible on an island with such limited resources. So, I get that most native people aren't used to waiting on tourists as their main source of revenue. But, if this island doesn't get its act together quick, it is going to become another desolate rock in the string of the West Indies. Being from the midwest, we say "please" and "thank you" on instinct and often. These gestures of good manners were met with blank stares and mumbling. I felt at times that I was almost a bother to the people I was paying for a service. Below are a few brief descriptions of what I am talking about:
---One night we went to eat at a restaurant called Marshall's (mid-upscale...supposedly one of the nicest places to eat on the island). Long story short, the waitress took down my order incorrectly (I order Surf and Turf, she wrote Surf and Surf). We I brought the error to her attention as politely as possible, I was told that I had made the mistake, and she walked off without explanation. I was then forced to pay for the incorrect meal, and was not offered any substitution.
---We spent a whole day on Reggae Beach, drinking and eating. We racked up a $500 bar bill, and when I went to settle the tab, I was informed that I was being charged for beach chairs ($10/piece for 8 people). When I asked why I was being charged for something I had to wipe the previous night rain off of, set up myself, etc., after dropping a bunch of money on drinks and food, I was met with a half-[--] explantation of how the bar owns the chairs, mumbles, and what I could only deduce as insults in the island english dialect.
I could type all day with instances like this...but I think my point is fairly clear. Maybe I am being too judgmental, or maybe I have been spoiled from having previously traveled to places in Central America, where they have embraced the tourism industry as a huge source of income for their nation and understand that god service is key. The only "service" I saw was the extra 10-20% charge on every bill I got, which I would have refused to pay had it been optional, as not one person who "served" me earned it. I will never be going back to this island, and plan to warn everyone thinking of heading in that direction. There are better places with nicer people.
Quick Tips: If you are going, here are some things to get you by:
-Cab fair are negotiable. They will always up charge because they know you don't know any better. Be firm and work them down on price.
-Every price, including things in the grocery store, is negotiable.
-If you want a solid couple of places to eat, Wing & Tings (food shack) and Patsy's (on the Strip) are the places.
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