Stayed for the Easter weekend of April 19 to 20, 2014.
I got to the hotel at 10:30 am and proceeded to register. A gentleman at the front desk accommodated me and told me to come back at 2 pm or earlier since check in was not until then. I decided to have lunch outside the resort and came back at 1:50 pm. When I got to the front desk, there were 2 guests checking in so I queued behind them because this was the right thing to do. By the time my turn came, two or three other guests who did not bother to line up had gone up to the desk and started talking to the front desk staff. I was a bit irritated that that the front desk staff did not even prioritize guests who were lined up but were instead accommodating people randomly. By 2:05 pm, the reception area was crowded with nearly two dozen people trying to check in. I was finally "noticed" after 10 minutes standing in front of them, so one of the staff asked me for my name. Most of the people at the reception had been in the resort since mid morning and, like me, were told to come back at 2 pm for check in. To our disappointment, almost everyone was told, "the rooms are not yet ready". For the next 30 to 40 minutes, I waited patiently, observing what was going on around me. Initially, there were only 3 or 4 front desk staff. Soon, as the guest started to become impatient, more and more staff came until I finally counted 13 of them. However, nothing seemed to be moving. No one was being check in even as the minutes passed. I was asked my name 2 more times by 2 different staff but then they would never come back to me. I noticed they were manually looking up guest's names in a computer print out that they were passing around to other staff. I was wondering why, in this age of computerization, did they not have a front end software for making check ins smoother and trouble free rather than flipping through pages and pages of print outs. Guest started becoming rowdy and 1 or 2 of them were already screaming at the staff. But the staff seemed to run around like headless chicken. There they were, seeming so busy moving about to and fro but nothing was being accomplished. In the meantime, the lobby was sweltering because the crowd had grown to more than 30 people and there was no air conditioning. I saw one female staff from the front desk crew begin to cry, probably out of frustration and confusion as to what she is supposed to do. It was very obvious that the staff lacked proper training. At 2:50 pm, after 1 hour of waiting, I finally got my room keys. I don't know how long the other people behind me had to wait. By the time I left the lobby, everything was in complete chaos.
When I entered my room, I checked all the cabinets.I noticed that housekeeping failed to empty one of the trash bins which still contained plastic food containers which I assume were from the previous guest. Ok, fine.
For the afternoon, I planned to go kayaking. The procedure was to secure a voucher from the front desk so off i went. It was 3:30 by the time I got to the front desk and there were still people who were not yet checked in. Imagine that, the hotel was 1.5 hours delayed already in check these people in. There was still no queue to speak of so I didn't know where and how to get in touch with staff to get my voucher because staff were just darting back and forth trying to process guest complains, concerns and what not. After waiting another 10 minutes, I chanced upon a staff who was returning probably from accompanying a guest to the room. I was finally able to get my voucher. After my 1 hour kayak session, I asked the water sports staff what time they would open the next morning since I wanted to go kayaking again. He said they will be open by 8 am, so I told him I would be back then.
That evening, back in the hotel room, my wife wanted to heat some water in the hot water pot but noticed the inside of the pot was already rusty. We called housekeeping to request for a replacement. They acknowledged and said they would send someone. After 15 minutes, no one came so we called again to follow up. They apologized and said they would send some one. The short of is is NOBODY ever came. Anyway, we just brushed it off and proceeded to go to sleep.
In the middle of the night, my wife woke up to an stomach cramps and diarrhea. I am a person with a very sensitive stomach so if she was ill I would certainly catch a bum stomach if I had eaten the same food she had gotten sick from. But I was not sick. Looking back, the only food she ate that I did not eat was the melon shake and halo halo by the kumintang cafe by the pool. nothing else could have been the culprit.
The next morning I went to get my kayak voucher again. I noticed i was given a different piece of paper than I was the day before. However, I did not question the staff since I assumed that he knew better than I do. When I got to the kayak rental area, it turns out they were not going to open until 9 am. I double checked what the schedule is supposed to be by looking at the hotel's brochures and it said 8 am, plus i distinctly remember having been told the day before that they would be open at 8. Any way, when I finally turned over my voucher to the person-in-charge, he tells me, "sir mali po ito. hindi po ito yung tamang form". by this time, i was not surprised any more by the staff's inefficiency. Good thing, I was able to convince him not to ask me to go get the correct form as he just accepted it anyway.
By late morning, I got back to my hotel room and discovered that the toilet was not flushing properly. it seemed clogged. in the meantime, my wife was awake and needing some hot water to sooth her tummy. I called front desk to report the toilet and remind them about the hot water pot that I had requested the night before. Again, they said they would send some body. 15 minutes passed, and no one came. I called front desk again to follow up. By this time I was speaking in an agitated voice, saying this was an emergency. they apologized and said they would relay to housekeeping and make sure some one goes. I waited another 30 minutes. NO ONE came to fix the toilet nor replace the hot pot.
With regard to cleanliness, the corners of the ceilings in the room and bathroom are visibly starting to have some cobweb, though barely noticeable to the untrained eye. Looking out at the balcony, I couldn't help but notice the plant box below littered with hundreds of cigarette butts. I know this has everything to do with classless, uneducated guests who know nothing about keeping the environment clean, but if the hotel had any foresight, they would have provided ashtrays in every balcony so that people would not resort to flicking their butts to the plant boxes below, which, unfortunately was right next to "beach front". the printed house rules on site and online declare that pets are not allowed in the resort grounds. however i saw more than 3 different dogs during my stay there being walked around by guests. One of the dogs was in the front desk reception area. What's up with that?!
Guest rooms had no clocks.
There was a cooking range and cupboard but absolutely zero dining utensils or cooking equipment like pots or pans.
The do not disturb sign does not fit on the door knobs.
There's no pen and paper in the room.
Paid Wi Fi is advertised on resort's on line page but is in reality non existent in the hotel rooms.
People are allowed to swim in pools wearing T shirts.
All of the above I can forgive and turn a blind eye to except for the EXTREMELY LOUSY SERVICE. Management is to blame here. It is very poor business practice to not train your people properly. It seems you are just out to get the guest's money and not give back its worth. I was never made to feel so unimportant as a guest as I have been in this resort. What a shame because I think the resort has potential if it were managed by people who understand what being in the hospitality business is all about.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Right on the shores of the world-famous Taal Lake and across from its volcano is a place where you can relax, connect and be with nature. Club Balai Isabel offers an option for an active lifestyle with all the comforts of city living. A mere fifteen minutes from the Tagaytay ridge, it offers an up-close and personal view of the lake and its world-famous volcano. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Club Balai Isabel Hotel Talisay
- Hotel Balai Isabel
- Club Balai Isabel Batangas/Talisay