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!
- 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