The following is a letter my wife and I sent to our travel agent descriping our vacation. Please feel free to email me if you have further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you know we recently returned from our vacation in Negril, Jamaica at the Sandals “Ultra All-Inclusive” resort. Our travel dates were April 10th through the 16th. The following summarizes our unforgettable experience.
We arrived at the airport in Jamaica at 1:00 p.m., with the expectation our bus would be waiting to pick us up and we would continue on our one and one-half hour journey to the resort. (Apparently this additional travel time would “be worth it,” as Negril is Sandals premier resort.) Instead, we waited an hour in the sun, with our luggage and temperatures in the nineties, for our bus to even arrive at the airport. While this was uncomfortable, our aggravation was mostly a result of not one employee, despite the many hanging around, offered us any information about when our bus would arrive.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were escorted to the concierge upstairs for check-in, despite the fact that we had a pre-check in arranged by our travel agent. Nevertheless, we were happy our day at the beach was about to begin. Unfortunately, the concierge interrupted our check-in to make dinner reservations for an inebriated guest that burst into the office. So, we waited for the concierge to turn his attention back to us, only to be told our room was not ready. We were told we should have lunch at the buffet while we waited for our room. This was our first encounter with Sandals cuisine and it only confirmed our experience until this point – unprofessional, unsophisticated and sloppy.
When we finally got to our room (only after going back to the concierge to inquire about when our room would be ready – they never sought us out) we were thrilled, finally we could go to the beach. We were ready to turn this experience around – but Sandals was not going to let that happen. It was another thirty minutes until our luggage made it to our room. Despite our disappointment, we remained optimistic. At least we were in our room and finally we could use a private toilet (remember, we have been traveling since 4 a.m. eastern time, at this point it is 3 p.m. central). Much to our dismay, we soon discovered our bathroom was filthier than the public facilities we used all day. So, we cleaned the bathroom while we waited for our luggage.
It was very apparent, by 4 p.m. central time, the service at Sandals would be difficult to endure. What we had not anticipated at this point, was that every single meal would be absolute torture.
The food was terrible, even inedible. The following are a few choice examples: the salad at the “white glove” restaurant is shredded lettuce on a plate – it is also the same lettuce served as a garnish with the burger; the burgers are not even edible if you smother it in ketchup; the bread is stale and damp; the desserts are strangely familiar – they are something you would pull off of a school cafeteria line; the ice cream is too airy, too sweet and frost bitten. One restaurant is worse than the next. Likewise, room service food was disgusting. We ordered three dishes and not even half of what we ordered was edible. Needless to say, a “suite” with room service was a complete and total waste.
Every afternoon and evening, when our bellies growled, we looked to each other for the motivation to begin the hunt for edible, albeit unsatisfying food. We set out to each and every restaurant each night in attempts to piece together some semblance of meal. By Tuesday evening we found a couple of things to eat: mangos, pita bread, hummus and a chicken and couscous dish at the Four Cs restaurant. Unfortunately, on Wednesday when we set out to repeat our meal – we discovered they had “run out” of our staple selections, namely Mangos. It is surprising to say the least that it is possible to run out of mango in Jamaica.
In addition to the food, the drinks were disgusting. There was not a decent glass of wine to be found. Apparently, the staff believes chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are the same and they were perfectly happy to tell me they serve a “mixture” of these two wines. The frozen drinks are equally as repulsive; too sweet, too watered down and prepared with little to no knowledge of the chemistry of bartending. The staff was even incapable of adding the appropriate amount of rum to a daiquiri prepared by a machine.
Perhaps this seems a bit harsh, but the drink problem had many layers. Maybe the actually beverage was ok, and the problem was only that the plastic cups they are served in are not properly washed. Therefore, every drink tastes like the previous beverage it contained. It is also very possible that they have rum in the soda gun behind the bar and they never clean the lines. Therefore, every drink (soda, coke, ginger ale) tastes like rum. We will never know and I will never return to find out.
We told ourselves it was just “an island thing.” Perhaps it was us, we were not adapting – but then we took the bus to Margarita Ville. Good food is possible in Jamaica. However, it will not be included in your ultra all-inclusive vacation. Margarita Ville was our oasis in the desert. Finally, a good drink and a decent meal. We decided we would take the free bus to Margarita Ville every night, we were that hungry. Unfortunately, the free bus was only available on Tuesday nights. If we wanted to eat at Margarita Ville, the concierge said we had to take a cab down the road for $10 a person one way. So much for all-inclusive. We toyed with the idea of spending $100 a night for dinner and 3 frozen margaritas – but decided we would wait and celebrate at home.
With all hope lost for a decent drink and a satisfying meal, I made a spa appointment for manicure and a pedicure. I arrived on time, only to have to wait until the technician set up her station (I was the first appointment, 9 a.m., and the technicians were hanging out at the reception desk when I arrived). I sat down and the technician began to file my fingernails. I informed I had on nail polish, she may want to remove it before filing. When she returned to filing my nails, she took the regular nail file (not a buffer) and began filing the top of my fingernails. I asked her to please not do that on my nails. So, she began filing my nails straight across when one of her co-workers began talking to her and rather then stop filing, she filed the flesh on my fingertip until I yanked it away in pain. I proceeded to get up, tell her not to worry about the rest of the manicure and to please cancel my pedicure. I thought it wiser to relax on the beach.
At first I thought the beach was going to be saving grace of this vacation experience, until we realized for the next six days, every day, while we sat on the beach trying to relax, we would be solicited for drugs, sex, braids and crafts. I could forgive the braid ladies and the craft guys, but Sandals should keep drug dealers off their property. It was not relaxing at all to be approached several times daily with marijuana and cocaine.
As if this was not bad enough, on the third day the craft fair set up shop on property, on the path to our room. The stands were there for the next three days. If we chose to walk to and from our room along the beach, we would also have to endure the “calls” from the crafters. Needless to say, we went around the front of the resort for the next three days.
Overall, this was by far my worst vacation experience. Frankly, not even the beach redeemed Sandals. The beach is narrow and the resort is right on top of the water. In addition, every day there was garbage floating in the water (plastic plates and paper cups).
I will never recommend any Sandals resort, nor will I ever return to any of their properties. They should be embarrassed by their shoddy service, lack of sophistication and less than mediocre quality cuisine. It is almost impossible for me to fully communicate my disappointment. It was outrageously unpleasant. We are extremely hard-working people and our vacations are very special to us. I am devastated we wasted our money, $4,500 for a six night stay, and our time at Sandals.
Very truly yours,
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Negril's pristine 7-mile white sand beach•Phenomenal bedroom oceanfront suites set upon a relaxing crystal lagoon•Ultra luxurious one-bedroom millionaire honeymoon suites with private plunge pool•Seven exquisite dining options•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Voted Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa “Jamaica's Leading Hotel” (2nd consecutive year)•Five Star Diamond Resort, American Academy of Hospitality Science ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Negril Beach Hotel Negril
- Sandals Negril Beach Resort And Spa
- Sandals Jamaica
- Sandals Negril Jamaica
- Sandals Resort