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“Where do I start...an honest review”

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Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Lowlands
Reviewed April 6, 2013

I was a little concerned about the reviews of this hotel before I came, they seem to be either fantastic or horrible, I couldn't work it out but now after five days here (yes I'm still here) I think I understand what's happening.

First of all the good points:

- The location of the hotel is great, right on the beach, with palm trees and fine white sand.

- The food is generally excellent, especially the local buffets in the main restaurant

- The rooms are of a good standard for the Caribbean (not world class five star) but clean and well enough equipped

- The staff are generally friendly, especially Hans the "mixologist" and Lennox the barman.

The bad points:

- The sea here is generally too rough to swim so you have to get the bus to Pigeon Point which is an idyllic beach.

- There is something fundamentally wrong with the customer service at this hotel starting with the check in process and going on to food and beverage service.

- At check in we were not greeted by any staff, we waited in the reception area, then finally approached someone behind the main desk who took our details and told us to check in at a little desk hidden away by the doors. The check in process seemed chaotic at best and they did not take the right documents from us and then chased us for three days to get them from us.

- It is not unusual for bars either not to be open or not staffed at the times they should be.

- The wait for service at restaurants is excessive, especially at lunch. You can wait for 15 minutes just for your order to be taken, then another 15 minutes for drinks and still another 15 minutes for food. This happens every day!

- the South wing is right next to the main service area and vehicles come and go all night so all you hear is trucks reversing all night.

- Last night at 2.14 my wife was woken up by a workman somewhere close by using a circular saw!

- There are no leisure activities for kids...the advertised football and beach cricket do not happen and they cannot enter the sea.

- The swimming pools are not very large.

- Luckily for us there only seem to be about fifty guests here (although we have been told the hotel is full) since if it was full I can't imagine how long the waiting would be for food and drink.


It is a real shame that this hotel is run so badly since it could be excellent. What can be done?

Get some processes in place to ensure the basics of customer service are met. The staff need to be trained to deal quickly and efficiently with customers.

The other day after being on the beach all day my family came back thirsty and hungry. They sat down and ordered drinks and food. I had time to go to the room, have a shower and change before the drinks had come. I sat down with my family and waited another 15 minutes....still no drinks. I actually went across to the pool bar to get drinks which we drank before the ones we had ordered arrived! The food finally came after 45 minutes...well half the food came. Two of us ate then another 15-20 minutes later the rest of the food came. We thought about ordering more drinks or dessert but lost the will by this time and went to sunbathe.
Surely one of the first basics of serving a meal is that orders are taken quickly and drinks provided while waiting for food which should be delivered for all diners together, is this so difficult?

Another story will illustrate the problem. At the beach grill they have a fantastic pizza oven...real flames promise a crispy and delicious slice of Italy which with a cold beer should be heaven. I ordered a pizza and saw it being made, it looked great. I then watched as it was taken away to the kitchen to wait for the rest of the meal to be prepared (just sandwiches and wraps so no cooking required). 10-15 minutes later I was presented with a cold soggy mess that previously had been a delicious fresh pizza.

Whoever is in charge of this hotel needs to seriously make some changes very quickly otherwise an great opportunity will be lost.

As to a rating...that is really tricky, some things deserve 4 stars but others deserve zero. I could not possibly recommend this hotel to anyone. I can't believe it is the best that Tobago has to offer but if it is than it is a real shame since the island is beautiful. Overall I will rate it as 2 stars and that is probably generous.

Fix the service problems and stop trucks moving in and out between 10pm and 7am in the morning and it could easily be a great place to stay.

Don't trust any reviews that say this place is fantastic, at the moment it certainly is not!

Room Tip: Go for the North Wing away from the main hotel
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank johnofwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear Guest,
We appreciate guest feedback and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to outline in detail your experiences, disappointments and recommendations. We are currently investigating each of your items and will certainly put in place corrective measures.
Regrettably we had a water leak one night which had to be repaired, electrical tools are not permitted after 5 pm. We have an extensive kids program however the advertised beach football and cricket are designed for guest participation, if no one signs up the event does not take place. Thank you for the recommendation for the pizza. We are rescheduling the one delivery truck that you mentioned. We take note of service experiences and will incorporate your views in our training and coaching programs.
With respect to the occupancy comment we were full over the Easter period and currently have 150 guests in house. It would appear that you are still at the hotel, if this is so, we would like to meet with you personally to discuss the issues and offer our apologies for not living up to your expectations. Please contact Hollis Moore at the front desk as I am currently traveling.
Once again, thank you for your time.

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1,176 - 1,182 of 1,461 reviews

Reviewed April 5, 2013

We were excited to see that Magdalena Grand Beach Resort were offering an Easter Egg Hunt to non guests in Tobago on Easter Sunday for a small fee. My sons thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they searched for eggs around the resort grounds and then afterwards enjoyed a slushy and cookie around the pool.
Well done to Anna and her staff for organizing such a great event!

Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
Thank Juliet W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear Guests,
We were pleased to learn that you and your family had a great time attending our Easter Egg Hunt. It is important for us to be a part of the community of Tobago.
I gladly pass your compliments on to Anna and her team and we are all looking forward to welcoming you soon again at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.

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Reviewed April 5, 2013

I love everything about the Magdelena Grand Beach Resort! The rooms, pools, sauna, gym, food and the awesome staff was always friendly and helpful. All the rooms has an ocean view! How cool is that! I've been to the Magdelena in January this year and I'm absolutely going back again.

Room Tip: All the rooms are good but the ones with the hot tubs are the best! For early mornings walks on the...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Sabrina M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear Guests,

Thank you for your review on your recent stay at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.
We all are thrilled to see that you rated us with five out of five. I am happy to learn that you enjoyed all aspects of your holidays. I particularly thank you for your comments on our staff; it is great to see that our team did make your vacation a great experience.
Please let me know, when you know more about the dates for your return visit, I shall personally ensure that your reservation is done and that everything is in place to give you a grand welcome back.

Once again, thank you for your time.

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Reviewed April 4, 2013

I visited this hotel for two weeks in March, the first week as a solo traveller, with my friend meeting me the second week. I was on the all inclusive package - which I would recommend.

I had read some of the previous reviews, so was a little worried, had I booked the right place?
Well all I can say is a resounding yes, and here is my review:

I found all the staff to be friendly, kind and courteous, I never once saw them be rude to any guest. They went above and beyond at some points, for example cooking and presenting us with baked potatoes one night, because my friend had casually said she missed them.

The pool area is very clean, and I saw the chap clean it every morning.
There are some lovely walks around the hotel, whether you go up the beach, or around the roads / golf course.

For breakfast, the staff give you water pistols, if you sit outside, to help chase off the birds.

Lunch, I tended to go to Salaka the outside grill, where the portions are large and the food well cooked and tasty.

Dinner, I was lucky enough to eat 4 times in Kalina's, the premium restaurant, again the food portions were large and delicious. One point I would make, it would be nice to have a copy of the menu outside the restaurant so you can peruse throughout the day and decide if you want to eat there.
The main buffet - the choice was large and varied. The chefs would interact and make me smile, the waiting staff always prompt with drinks and cheerful.

The bars - oh how I miss them, the staff: Zsa Zsa, Stephanie, Lennox, Hans, Franklyn - they all make amazing cocktails, laugh and joke with you, and make you feel warmly welcome. Big 5 stars for these people.

My room was always clean, and housekeeping very discreet.

Management - I find it hard to believe other reviews where they say they could never find management, Vince the hotel manager was always very visible and more than open for a chat, as was the food and beverage manager. They regularly checked all was ok and that I was having a good holiday and asked if there was anything else I wanted.

This was the perfect holiday for just relaxing and unwinding.

If you are looking for a hectic holiday with plenty of night life - don't come here.

I came home feeling absolutely relaxed and chilled.

So why not 5 stars.... Just at the end you let yourselves down. I paid the extra to keep my room until 3pm - I don't mind that cost, but my transport pick up was still not for another 3 hours, so I thought I would get some snacks and a drink or two. After 2 weeks of being on the all inclusive package, I was suddenly told, as I had checked out, I now needed to pay for anything I had. Really - can you not extend your courtesy for the last few hours! This is something I honestly feel you need to change.

Apart from that, a wonderful time. And I can't forget to mention the staff behind reception who were friendly and helpful, Anna - director of fun (what a job title) who again always stopped and had time for me, Mofina and Darius who would make me smile every time I saw them.
Grand Magdalena - you have some great staff, thank you to them all.

Room Tip: All rooms face the sea
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank 8DianeW8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Dear Guests,

Thank you for your detailed review on your recent stay at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.
I particularly thank you for your comments on our staff; it is wonderful to see that our team did make an impact and created a truly relaxing vacation experience. We share your review with all our employees and I specifically forward your compliments to Zsa Zsa, Stephanie, Lennox, Hans, Franklyn as well as our Front Office Team & Anna and her team members Mofina and Darius.
I have taken note of your comment to post the Kali’na Menu outside the restaurant, I believe this is a great idea and we work on the implementation. Also your second observation on the charges for your consumptions on your departing day is of great interest to us. I fully understand your situation and we are evaluating right now possibilities to enhance this.
Thank you again for taking the time and we look forward to welcoming you soon again.

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Reviewed April 3, 2013

Although I was not staying at this hotel, I had two very good experiences of it.
One was to go to their Sunday evening jazz in the bar and the other was to have breakfast in their buffet breakfast room the following day. Both were great treats and highly to be recommended.
It would be hard to beat the breakfast for range, taste and service. It includes normal English breakfast items as well as Caribbean and American food, sitting outside and inside, with views over the swimming pool and out to sea.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank 333GK10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2013

Dear Guests,

Thank you for the time to post a review of your visits at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort. All of us are thrilled to see that we succeeded in making these visits such a success and I share your comments with all employees.

We are looking forward to welcoming you and your friends soon again and once more; thank you.

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Reviewed April 2, 2013

My room was broken into while my husband and I were asleep.
No one actually came in buy the chain was broke. And when we said people are in the room they left. It was dark so we could not see who it was since the power was out.
Nothing has been done!
This is supposed to be a high end resort and safe but it was not!

  • Stayed: March 2013
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5  Thank Krystalr26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2013

Dear guests,

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention again. The hotel night staff, security and management were aware of this unfortunate incident when it happened; it was not a break –in situation but a mistake by our staff. I am happy that no access actually occurred. We sincerely apologise for this miss-step and fully understand the guest concerns: Guest Safety and Security is of critical importance to the resort management and staff and we have put in place the appropriate measures to prevent this type of incident ever happening again.

Once again, thank you for your time

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Reviewed April 1, 2013

We loved our stay at Magdalena which gave us all we were after. Of course not everything was perfect but if you want perfection then stay in a 5*+ hotel and pay for the privilege. I have read a lot of the reviews and was amazed by some of the prices quoted. The answer of course is to do your homework and research on the internet and not accept the first price offered but shop around. The other piece of advice in the Carribean is to get as high a meal plan as you can because drinks and meals in hotels are not cheap. We shopped around and went all inclusive and for 14 nights had superb value for money.

The island is very unspoilt and beautiful and security outside the hotel isn't an issue like in some other Carribean islands. We hired a car and had a great time.

Our deluxe room was large with a very big bed which was very comfortable (important for bad back sufferers) and the bathroom had both a bath tub and seperate shower cubicle. The first negative point is the cleanliness in the bathroom, although it was cleaned every day they need a deep clean once a month to make the shower door and the surfaces look much better. One excellent thing was the quality of the towels, no threadbare, rough or hard towels to be seen.

The standard of food was excellent overall and we heard no complaints from any of the other guests. The hotel was quiet and so queuing for anything at the buffet wasn't an issue. The Salaka Grill did some great lunch meals, prawn cocktail with king prawns and prawn wrap were among our favorites and in the evening when it was open the sirloin steak was delicious. The Kalina fine dining was very good with a high standard of food and service.

The bars in the evenings were very quiet, our favourite was the Tavaco (piano) Bar which would definitely benefit from a pianist and I think bring in more drinkers. The jazz on Sunday evenings was fantastic and should be on twice per week. The Nylon Pool bar could have done with more than one barperson on duty. Even though the hotel was quiet it could take a considerable amount of time to get served but the drinks were always excellent.

The pool area and beaches were very nice. There should be more sunshades around the pool since they were few and far between although there was shade from palm trees. The breeze that is virtually 24/7 was very welcome since it meant the climate was never too hot. We were staying when the 'dead cows' incident happened and our balcony looked out over that piece of beech and although the smell was very unpleasant it was not the fault of the hotel and they were not allowed to touch them by the public health department. This certainly did not spoil our holiday.

I played golf a few times and certainly the course could do with some attention on the tees and fairways but I found it enjoyable and dodging the sprinklers on some of the greens was all part of the fun. Make sure you take plenty of balls though.

The service from staff in general was excellent and I agree with the reviewer who said that you get back what you give. Some people will never be happy and will always find fault. If you are on holiday you are there to relax and not rush and understand that some cultures are different and more laid back. Having said this there were some times when the service was not up to standard and I think some more training would help particularly around the lunches at the buffet restaurant which changed to a la carte which the staff could not cope with. There were some staff who I want to mention who stood out for their great customer service. First Valerie who worked in the buffet restaurant for breakfasts and lunches. She is an absolute gem who was always smiling, courteous and willing to help and serve and made those meals a pleasure. Second Hans who could not have been nicer. He works mainly in the Tavaco bar although he did move around to cover the others. Nothing was too much for him including showing us how to mix cocktails form scratch and filling us in on the history and geography of the island, a real font of knowledge. The bar being so quiet was an advantage for our conversations with Hans.

Overall a great holiday with one or two hiccups which is only to be expected and did not spoil it in anyway. We would recommend the hotel and the island.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank Hugh L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joerg W, General Manager at Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2013

Dear Guests,

Thank you for your detailed review on your recent stay at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.
It was an absolute pleasure to receive your Trip Advisor posting. I am happy to see that you enjoyed your overall vacation and liked in particularly to see your compliments on the towels and our cuisine. Your remarks concerning the bathrooms are highly appreciated and they will be immediately incorporated in our on-going Training & Coaching program. The same applies to your observations on the a la carte lunch. I thank you for these feedbacks as it gives us a unique opportunity to respond to guest’s needs and expectations without further interruption.

I gladly forward your kind comments on Valerie and Hans; it seems that they really made your vacation a little bit more perfect.

Once again, thank you for your time and please let me know, when you would like to return.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort

Address: Tobago Plantations Estate, Lowlands, Tobago
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Lowlands
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Lowlands
Price Range: $206 - $472 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 144
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The new, 4 Star, Magdalena Grand Beach Resort is located on Tobago Plantations Estate, a 750 acre gated community, and offers 178 Deluxe OceanFront Rooms and 22 One and Two Bedroom Suites. All accommodations are Ocean Front with private balconies. This beachfront resort offers an 18-hole PGA Golf Course, its own Dive Center, Spa, and the largest amount of banquet & meeting space on Tobago. Complimentary wireless internet is available throughout the resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vhl Tobago Golf And Spa Resort
Vhl Tobago Golf Hotel Lowlands
Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort Tobago/Lowlands

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