I realize this is a long post. What you see below is a letter I wrote to the head of the Fiesta Group Hotel chain which owns the Grand Palladium. I really don't have time to write such long letters and reviews, which should provide you with some insight into how upset I am about this property and our vacation there.
In summary, don't stay here. Like others, we read all of the reviews, many of which were glowing and positive. I realize that travel is sometimes hit and miss. We honestly were not looking for anything fancy just a few relaxing days in the sun. Well, if you miss at this property, you miss big. It's just not worth it, regardless of "how much of a deal you get".
You can read the letter below and decide for yourselves. However, don't miss the photos, as they speak a thousand words. Of course, there are no photos of the broken television or the wasted money we spent.
Do yourself a favor - there are so many other resorts to choose from - pick another one. Try the Bahia Principe in Akumal - much better!
I hope this helps!
Dear Mr. Abel Matutes Prats,
I am writing this letter to share a recent experience that my wife and I had at one of your properties; the Grand Palladium Resort and Spa in Jamaica.
We stayed at this property between January 17 and January 21, 2009 to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We booked our trip through BookIt. Com.
We both agreed that as business owners/managers we would like to be informed when the quality of our products or services fall short of our standards and therefore felt compelled to write a letter to you, a fellow businessman.
I think it may be helpful to share with you that we are seasoned travelers. We travel extensively for business and pleasure. We travel both domestically (in the United States) and throughout the world. Some examples of international places we recently visited are:
• Paris, France
• Rouen, France
• Honfluer, France
• Le Havre, France
• Hong Kong
• Guangzhou, China
• Bologna, Italy
• Florence, Italy
• Almalfi, Italy
• Genoa, Italy
• Santa Margherita, Italy
• Nassau, Bahamas
• Cancun, Mexico
• US Virgin Islands
• Puerto Rico
• Montreal, Canada
• Quebec City, Canada
I point this out to assure you that we understand the different standards and customs associated with international travel. My wife and I are both professionals in our late 40’s.
Based on our experience with staying at hotels and resorts throughout the world, we would rate our satisfaction with our recent stay at the Grand Palladium as one of the worst we ever experienced.
This resort characterizes and advertises itself as a five star property (as an example, we recently stayed at the Ritz Carlton and Marriott Casa Magna resorts in Cancun – true five star resorts). By no measurable standard was this resort anywhere near close to earning five stars.
Prior to our arrival I sent an email explaining that this was a special occasion; our wedding anniversary. I requested a waterfront room. I recognize that there is no guarantee of receiving one and that many guests are celebrating special events. We were not given a waterfront room, but did have a partial view of the water.
We did receive a “red wristband” which we were told was to denote that we were “VIPs”.
When we booked our trip we chose to pay for an upgrade to a one-bedroom suite instead of the normal junior suite. This was predominantly because of two televisions.
We arrived in our room, which we found spacious. Once the bellman left, we began unpacking only to notice that the room had not been properly cleaned. We found a used Q-tip swab on the floor, a dirty diaper in the trashcan, a rotten plum on the floor and a crumpled magazine on the balcony (please see photos). While we recognize that any one of these items could be missed when the room was cleaned, having them all missed was very disconcerting. We also learned that the mini bar was not stocked as promised and that the television in the bedroom did not work.
We called the operator and kindly requested that they rectify these situations and were told “no problem mon”, our first of many such offhand, insincere responses. After touring the resort for several hours we returned to the room and learned that nothing had changed. We headed out for dinner, and my wife stopped by the front desk believing that addressing the problems in person might help get them rectified. The gentleman at the front desk was very polite and wrote down the issues my wife shared with him, promising that they would be resolved promptly.
After dinner and some evening entertainment (several hours later), we returned to the room to find that none of the issues (including the dirty diaper in the waste basket) had been resolved.
My wife telephoned the front desk and firmly asked that someone help us now! We were greeted 30 minutes later by an obviously angry man who removed the diaper and Q-tip. The other issues were not fixed. I asked the man for the name of the manager on duty. I then phoned Mr. Roger Clark and set up an appointment to meet with him the following morning at 10:00 a.m., thinking that professionally addressing the outstanding issues might provide an expedited level of resolution and help us to enjoy the remaining days of our short vacation.
I arrived promptly at 10:00 a.m. and walked to the reception desk. I informed the ladies at the desk that I had an appointment with Mr. Clark. They said he had yet to arrive for the day and that I should have a seat. I sat down and waited 20 minutes before I proceed to the guest relation’s desk. I explained that I was waiting for my appointment with Mr. Clark. She radioed Mr. Clark and informed me that he would arrive shortly. I again took a seat and waited for Mr. Clark who arrived about ten minutes later. By this time, I learned that my wife and I had missed breakfast.
I calmly explained what had happened the day/night before and that the television in the bedroom still did not work. Mr. Clark said he understood, but there really was not much he could do for us except to have the television fixed right away. He said he was disappointed that he did not have any other rooms available to upgrade/move us to, but the resort was quite full, with some rooms undergoing repairs. He then told me that it is his intent to WOW his guests and that he would deliver that WOW factor to us many times over before our trip ended.
He certainly did earn a WOW from us; that is WOW how could any property, let alone a five star resort be so insensitive to service, quality and the needs of its guests! WOW, how could management of a five star resort totally disregard legitimate complaints of its guests?
While a filthy room (I think a dirty used diaper, rotten fruit and a crumpled magazine qualify as filthy), an empty mini bar and broken television might not bother some, the responses to the requests for repair and service should bother you and your entire hotel family. We recognize that good help is hard to get and that things can and often are overlooked, however, when one makes repeated requests, including wasting vacation time by seeking out a manager, who appears 30 minutes late for a meeting and resolves nothing, then it is impossible to overlook. It certainly puts a black cloud over the whole vacation.
Mr. Clark did indeed try to WOW us; he sent a bottle of cheap champagne to our room. We bumped into him later during our stay and he asked my wife how it was going and what he could do to make her vacation memorable. She said a bottle of white wine in the room would be nice touch. He complemented her, saying he appreciated her "humility". A bottle of red wine showed up in the room that evening; there was no corkscrew. I called the desk and asked for an opener; none ever arrived. The bottle remained in the room unopened when we left; as did the broken television and the crumpled magazine on the balcony (see photos).
Granted, this is an all-inclusive, so the wine he provided and the champagne are already included in the cost of the vacation, so this was not too big of a request from my wife and not too big of a gesture from Mr. Clark.
The television was never fixed despite requests every day and evening to have it repaired. A workman did arrive one evening at 9:30 when my wife was asleep. Against my better judgment I let him into the bedroom to complete the repair. He said he would be quiet. He could not fix the television and needed my help in putting the monitor back on the wall. One of the primary reasons we upgraded to a one bedroom suite was to have two televisions as there were quite a few important events occurring, including the Presidential Inauguration (and all the associated events) and the NFL playoff games. We love to watch television in bed together when away and were unable to for the entirety of our vacation.
On our third night, the floor above us began to leak into our bathroom. We used our towels to clean up the mess from the dripping ceiling (see photo). We explained what happened and requested new towels, but none ever arrived, so we could not shower the following day. Additionally, I informed Mr. Clark (as the hotel’s brochure requested that we do to conserve water) that the sink would not shut off and continued to drip. The maintenance man left a to-do list and a part in the bathroom, but nothing was fixed (see photos).
A few other items we thought you might be interested in your quest to implement “action systems based on the principles of Total Quality” (as we learned from your web site was your goal).
The entire resort ran out of beer one day we were there. It appears that they purchased some bottled beer to replace the empty kegs, but the supply kept running out.
The Sunset Cove bar ran out of Rum one afternoon. How does an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean run out of rum?
Various bars ran out champagne, ice, rum punch and bananas (again, a Caribbean resort running out of bananas?)!
The food at the buffet was consistently cold. I waited for over 45 minutes to get an omelet one morning. There was no bacon on two different days. The wait for the ala carte restaurants was over an hour and the wait to get a drink often was twenty minutes or longer.
None of the food service staff wore gloves. I was anxiously waiting to get a fresh piece of pizza, when the lady bringing it from the kitchen to the buffet took every piece off of her tray with her bare hands and put it onto the chafing dish. We witnessed similar uncleanliness and a lack of basic restaurant hygiene throughout the resort.
As you can imagine, we had a less than satisfying stay at this property. We believe that management could have reacted differently, solving our problems in a number of ways. If they could not fix the television, they could have offered to move us to another room. There seems like a variety of small ways to WOW us was available, but never used. Certainly, the resort and Mr. Clark could have provided an better/different room, a fruit basket (instead of rotting fruit on the floor), a corkscrew with the wine (or at least after we requested one), free pillows from the “Pillow Bar”, a romantic dinner on the beach, flowers, or any variety of other amenities at his disposal, but none was ever proffered or delivered. Mr. Clark’s wanting to WOW us was just lip service, the standard, empty “no problem, mon we received throughout our stay. Never did anyone we met sincerely try to resolve our problems, which were really their problems, caused by the lack of attention to detail and actually caring about the guests’ experience. We were not looking for or expecting anything fancy; just a clean resort where the television and plumbing worked and you could get a drink without a hassle. We felt that they were just trying to process as many guests through with as few problems as possible. I asked a cashier for one dollar bills so we could give them as tips, she said, “crap, you took my last ones”, as she angrily counted them out. We consistently heard complaints from the staff about how busy they were, again, not what you really want your guests to hear (or what we want to hear as guests). It was very clear to us that the resort was nowhere near capacity, which leads us to believe that they are terribly understaffed and/or not managed very well. Of course, we can attest to the latter, first hand.
We asked numerous employees what the red wristbands were for and they consistently explained they were for VIP guests. When we asked what VIP guests received that others did not, none, including Mr. Clark could answer. That seems very insincere to us.
We feel cheated. We have precious little time to vacation and spent close to $2,000 for a few days in the sun.
We thought you would want to know. We intend to post this review on several web sites including BookIt.com and TripAdvisor. In fairness, we promise to post your response once it is received.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort And Spa
- Grand Palladium Jamaica Hotel Lucea
- Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa Lucea