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“Overall Relaxing Oasis - Marred by a Bug/Roach Issue and Inaction”
Review of Santiago Resort

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Santiago Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Manahawkin, New Jersey
Level Contributor
77 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Overall Relaxing Oasis - Marred by a Bug/Roach Issue and Inaction”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

A late Spring escape to the desert landed my friend and I at the Santiago – an independently owned and operated specialty lodging property in Palm Springs. My friend was almost a regular having visited on many occasions over the past few years. With his recommendation and a quick check of reviews, it seemed like a nice choice.

The overall experience was pleasant and relaxing. During our stay, service from other staff including Sean (no longer employed) and the housekeeping staff was fantastic. The property is a 2-story motel style Inn with a nice sized pool and ample outdoor seating. We arrived around 5 pm, and were pleasantly greeted by Jay, the new Manager. Jay was very welcoming, and took time to catch up with his returning guest, while telling me about the features of the resort. We checked in, unpacked briefly, and then visited with other guest’s poolside. Our suite was 111 on the ground level, near the manager’s apartment.

After an evening out with friends, we returned to indulge in the pool and hot tub. After sitting poolside a bit, my friend returned to the room and found a live cockroach (or water bug) on the sink. He managed to catch, kill and flush it. On Saturday morning, he shared his experience with staff member Marc and a few hours later with Jay (who indicated he had not been advised by Marc). Unfortunately, nothing was done – such as spraying the area / advising us to keep the drain closed / calling pest control professionals; or we thought, checking outdoors behind our room. In fact, to our dismay, Jay seemed ‘surprised’ by our report. A simple Internet search will tell you these critters are a bigger issue in the Palm Springs area than usual.

On Saturday night, after an evening out in Palm Springs, we returned to our suite again to find another live large critter in the same sink location. Unfortunately, I was also in the room this time. Again, we managed to capture, kill and flush the second intruder. With a return visit planned, and another two guest referrals for Santiago, my friend was now extremely concerned for his return prepaid visit in May. On Saturday and Sunday night, we ended up sleeping with the bathroom and room light on to deter further invasion. It’s also important to note, we took note of a week's old dead cockroach in front of the ice machine Saturday night, which was still present Monday morning. In addition, we noticed an old empty tray of mouse poison, long since void of any poison to catch a mouse! This certainly raises questions to the quality or contracting of ongoing pest control services and frequency of visits.

Since we didn’t want it to ruin our Sunday, after Jay's surprised response and non-action, we stuffed a washcloth into the exposed plumbing /tile area behind the sink, where we thought the bugs were gaining entry and kept the drain closed and the sink overflow plugged and the lights on. Then on Monday, a few hours prior to departure, I spoke to Jay and Sean in the lobby area, being respectful to make sure no other guests were present. I explained the second episode on Saturday night. Jay again seemed ‘surprised’ and said that he had called the pest control company. Sean on the other hand was very apologetic, and assured me this was not acceptable. Sean sincerely apologized, and wished I had told them sooner. At that point, I explained we spoke to Jay on Saturday after our first night's incident, and this almost seemed like a surprise as well. Denial of a potential cock roach infestation problem will not resolve it. I told Sean and Jay we couldn’t be certain if they were cockroaches or water bugs, so I took photos the second night. There was no interest in seeing the photos, which I certainly thought would be beneficial to Santiago so they could show their pest control company what was actually found. After several minutes of conversation, I did ask if they could make any adjustment to the bill, and told them they could discuss it as we wouldn’t be checking out for a few hours. It was further indicated that the housekeeping staff does not always throw the trash in the dumpster until the end of the day, which could present an issue – especially since suite 111 is the closest guest room to the trash and recycle containers out back.

A few minutes later, Sean came and spoke with me. He apologized again, and I truly felt his concern was genuine and compassionate. He even acknowledged that regardless of the type of bug, it was unacceptable. He also offered to apply a partial credit to my friend’s next stay at the end of May. Before we departed, Sean spoke with both of us, and considering my friend will have stayed 12 nights himself plus 4 referred nights in just 4 months’ time, a $100 credit was almost an insult. To date, the final offer was a $200 credit, and although we each paid for 50% of our April stay, no offer was made to refund anything to my credit card. The argument that “your stay is already paid for” falls flat, since all one has to do is issue a credit.

We understand that problems arise. Problems related to noise from other guests, or weather are certainly out of control for the resort. However, the issue we had experienced is preventable to some extent! From more active pest control, to better management of trash removal, caulking around plumbing, even laminated courtesy notes posted in the bathroom advising guests to keep the sink drain closed – all of these and more could help prevent cockroaches from entering guest rooms. And most importantly, Jay should have acted after the first night when Mark initially reported the problem – even asking to see specifically where the cockroach was found, spraying the outside and inside perimeter of our unit and contacting pest control on Saturday. Unfortunately, none of these actions were taken.

It’s important to note the positive experiences at the Santiago as well! Aside from the repeated disruptive bug event, everything else was great. From starting the day with breakfast, to enjoying a delicious lunch, to treats served poolside. Sean himself was ever present, checking with guests to see how they were enjoying their stay, and offering suggestions on places to see or go, and making guest introductions. When not interacting with guests, he was usually working with the housekeepers. Our housekeeper Oscar was terrific and though we only asked for him to vacuum, replace the used towels, and clean the bathroom. He instead made up the room completely, including making the beds. This was service above and beyond what was requested! The resort grounds are inviting, and the nursing hummingbird was a wonderful and natural experience to behold. It’s clear the resort has been cared for and well maintained over many years. Side note - Sean no longer works at the Santiago (which is unfortunate).

Unfortunately, an otherwise nice stay was marred by management inaction. I wrote and mailed a letter to the (absentee) owner, and his email response was almost canned. He indicated attempting to reach me by phone several times – and by my count, 1 time does not equal several. He didn’t even provide a call back number.

As I started out, one joy of independent lodging is the pride and care provided by the owner / Innkeeper. Since this owner employs management and staff, it basically is like staying at any franchise, where you are at the mercy of the employees to act accordingly – sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. With so many specialty lodging options in Palm Springs, I would personally not return to Santiago, and would instead choose another option.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank historytraveler27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pspsun, Owner at Santiago Resort, responded to this review, October 31, 2013
Quoted in its entirety (below) is the email sent to this guest on May 23, 2013.

"I have received your letter dated May 13, 2013. I have tried repeatedly to reach you by telephone but our schedules (and the time difference) have apparently made contact difficult, hence this email. Let me begin by offering sincerest apologies for your less than perfect stay with us. We regret any discomfort you have suffered and you can rest assured we have taken all necessary steps to insure no similar problems will reoccur in the future.

As you have noted in your letter, the Palm Springs area is prone to these problems but we have nonetheless managed to avoid them; this is the first such reported incident since our ownership and property remodeling in 2006. Unfortunately that stellar record did not continue for the duration of your own recent stay.

There appears to be a very large miscommunication regarding the consideration for your inconvenience. I have spoken to the manager and he has supplied me with a copy of the credit card refund, in the amount of $XXX (one night's room rate) which was refunded to the Mastercard credit card, ending in -XXXX, at the time of your check out. If this refund has not shown up on the credit card statement please notify me and I will take care of it.

Again, my sincerest apologies for this situation. Let me assure you this is a very unusual problem for Santiago Resort and I hope you will choose to again stay with us in the future.

Very truly yours, ...."

There was no response to this email until his TripAdvisor review some 5 months later where he acknowledges receiving it.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (135)
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English first
Bloomington, Indiana
1 review
Reviewed October 25, 2013

My friend and I spent 4 days at here during the second week in Oct. and had a grand time as usual (our 4th visit). Jay made us feel even more welcome than our previous visits. See ya next year! Snacks and lunches are excellent and included in the price. Staff was friendly and very helpful.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Steve D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2013

My partner and I have stayed at several of the other men's resorts in Palm Springs. After reading the excellent reviews of Santiago, we decided to give it a try and were delighted that we did. We were met by the manager, Jay, who gave us a warm welcome, a tour of the property, and answered any questions we had. Our room was fresh, modern, clean and comfortable. Nothing was out-dated or in need of repair. We used the pool both day and night. It was so warm and inviting. The grounds offer plenty of full sun or shade, depending on your preference.
Since breakfast and lunch are provided, the only decision to make is where to go for dinner. I felt pampered. All the staff and guests are friendly. We returned home to freezing temps and snow flurries. Can't wait to return.

Room Tip: All the rooms are great.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Artofmpls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 21, 2013

I just got back from a second full-week visit to Santiago. The first time I stayed at the resort, in March 2013, the live-in manager had tragically just passed away. I didn't know about that until near the end of my visit and I still had a wonderful time: so much so that it prompted me to visit again here in October. This time I felt the difference - Jay and his team were wonderful and the added attention and assistance through the visit was notable and appreciated. You all can read the reviews and see the posted photos to see that the grounds and pool are great (and well situated). The resort is fun, but not a non-stop party and I got both quiet time and the chance to meet new people that I stay at placed like this for. I really recommend this one.

Jeff C (Seattle)

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jeff C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camarillo, CA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2013

Wow! I enjoyed a perfect birthday getaway weekend at the Santiago Resort in Palm Springs spent with my partner and two friends! From the moment I stepped foot on the property I felt comfortable and welcome. Prior to our arrival I let the management know that we would be arriving late (after the office closes); so upon our arrival we were met with a personalized letter and instructions on how to gain access to the grounds. It was such a nice touch!

The rooms, pool, and hot tub were all clean and well kept. As a previous guest mentioned, the rooms were SO MUCH better in person than in the pictures online. I couldn't get enough of the great views from our 2nd floor room. The landscaping was beatiful and transported us to a relaxing oasis far away from the rest of the world.

The management and staff were A+ as well as one of my favorite parts of the trip. They do an excellent job at making you feel at home and welcome! Jay & Mark were continuously checking on all the guests; but not in a way that was intrusive. When we needed recommendations they were knowledgable and happy to send us to various spots throughout the city. It was top-notch customer service!

Breakfast and lunch service were also a great bonus. Lunch is catered in...fresh and delicious! I'm sad I forgot to order it on our second day there. In the afternoon they also share frozen margarita shots with everyone. SO GOOD!

The other guests were great to chat and mingle with. From what I gathered, a few were regulars who wont stay anwhere else and now I see myself as part of that club! Being that there are no complaints about the price, property, staff, or customer service there is no reason for me to stay anywhere else. I'm already planning my next trip there!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank OhMyJosh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Needing to "Get out of Dodge" for a couple of days I thought Palm Springs. Close enough to home but far enough away to give me the "trip" feel. Friends told me about the Santiago Resort Palm Springs. I one of those that must speak directly with the property, so I telephoned their reservation number and Mark answered. What a delight and easy to complete the reservation-with Mark offering options. Once there I checked in. The GM Jay Rifkin was there greeting guest with such affection and warmth.

My room was lovely and fresh. The bed was a religious experience all its own. I dropped everything due the pool calling me with men enjoying the sun and grounds. Santiago is clothing optional property -I choose to wear cloths -just because I like the mystic. There was an even number of men opting for both . Everyone was friendly and approachable. Lunch is ordered in for the guest -included! The afternoon brought Jay around serving various frozen shots that refreshed and quenched. I will always stay at the Santiago Resort- they aim to please, and do so -in such a charmingly way!

Room Tip: ask for 2nd floor
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mench0256
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2013

Based on a friend's recommendation and other TA reviews I decided to stay at Santiago on a recent trip to Palm Springs. I honestly was a bit hesitant because I thought the rooms looked a bit dated in the pictures. In this case, a picture was not worth 1,000 words. The rooms were fresh, very clean and very pleasant, and the bath looked to be recently remodeled. Jay was an excellent host; answering my initial e-mail questions promptly and gladly responding to requests for recommendations and direction. Mark did a great job making sure everyone was well fed and things were in good order for guests. Oscar and Bob did a great job caring for the rooms. The grounds were beautiful and well cared for as was everything else at the resort. This was my third visit to Palm Springs; and with each i have stayed at a different resort. Santiago has probably changed that trend. It will be my first call the next time I get a chance to visit.

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Austin-WE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Santiago Resort

Property: Santiago Resort
Address: 650 E San Lorenzo Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92264-8108
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > California Desert > Palm Springs
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Palm Springs
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Santiago Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The most recently updated gay boutique hotel in Palm Springs, Santiago offers free breakfast, poolside lunch, and all-day refreshments in the cantina. The wealth of amenities includes the largest pool of any gay resort in Palm Springs. In this swimsuit-optional paradise, guests also enjoy an outdoor spa, meticulously landscaped grounds with two-man rope hammocks, a mist cooling system, fast wi-fi, and incredible mountain views. Santiago's 23 rooms feature flat-screen TVs, luxury bath products, king or queen beds, and tastefully styled furnishings. It all adds up to the perfect luxurious getaway for individuals or groups. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Santiago Hotel Palm Springs

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