Service: We were assigned the "Sunset Suite". We arrived at the property in the evening of a holiday weekend. As per the instructions there was no one there to greet us. This did not pose too much of a problem other than the lighting outside the property is poor and it is hard to see the entryway to the units. We had to search around for some time and still were not sure that the unit that was left open "windows and sliding glass doors" was actually assigned to us. It would be helpful for the owners to post welcome sings for guests arriving, particularly since they have a very skeletal staff and apparently, from what I've read of the reviews, are frequently not onsite. The unit we rented seemed clean and very well appointed on the surface, until we entered the bathroom. The shower floor and bathroom perimeter were infested with carpenter ants. This naturally left me with the feeling that the property had superficial decorating appointments but lacked attention to maintenance which is crucial to property management protocols. There were also "ghost ants" crawling over the kitchen counters and sinks. Nonetheless we decided to make the best of it and place a maintenance call for a quick extermination. We called the numbers provided for help and left messages at both the reservation line and the on the cell phone number provided by Rhonda and Phil. Our calls went unanswered until the next day.
What was more appealing was the discovery that the unit had no running water. We discovered this while waiting on a return call and after using the facilities (toilet). It would not flush. We then realized this property was attempting to pass itself as a 4-5 star luxury resort but our experience was quickly shaping up to be very disappointing and bordering on breach of contract based on the website description and rental agreement provided. My fiance has manages a multi-million dollar catering company with corporate clients and has directed hundreds of functions, including lavish weddings and private parties for wealthy clients for over 35 years. He is adept at the hospitality industry and we understand that mishaps can occur. What we will not accept is the disdain and lack of regard in which we were treated. We called the property owners numerous times (per the rental agreement Phil "lives upstairs" but the upstairs unit was not occupied and no one was around to assist us. We had to drive to town to use the bathroom. We could not shower, wash dishes or any other function that requires water. This would NEVER happen at the Peabody, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, J.W. Marriott or any other true luxury properties.
Further, to add insulting to injury, Phil finally called us the next day with a combative and defensive posture. He did not apologize initially but instead made excuses such as (this is an island, there are ants everywhere, good luck with getting rid of them or my cleaning lady accidentally turned the water off to the unit, you guys got a good deal on this through Groupon didn't you, etc...). He argued with us rather than presenting a sincere and humble apology and offer of corrective measures. Phil did not seem to be familiar with the terms of his own rental agreement which stipulates that guest are required to launder the sheets upon departure. He argued with us that a washer and dryer were not included in rental, yet sent us a rental agreement instructing us to wash, dry and fold his sheets! He seemed to imply that we wanted launder our own garments. Nothing could be so absurd. We intend to spend the weekend relaxing and enjoying what was advertised as a "luxury property". We had no intention of washing bedding, exterminating, sanitizing kitchen counters and dishes nor being confronted by a belligerent and ungraceful owner. When I asked for the property licenses to report the incident to the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants to file an incident report, I was told all the information was on their website. This was not true at the time and Phil refused to cooperate with me in providing the license information which may be a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Consumer Protection Requirements.
The saving grace for our otherwise spoiled holiday weekend was the fact that Christy the cleaning lady, came and explained the situation the next day. She was apologetic, kind, sincere and asked us how she could make it right. She offered to move us to another unit and we obliged. She placed us in the "Sand Castle Suite". She was attentive, professional and honest. We ended up staying the remaining weekend only due to her attempts to turn a horrid experience into a positive one. Going forward we will be renting from Christy when visiting Fort Myers Beach for holiday.
Value:Under the terms of the Groupon agreement and the property agreement this would have been a good value. Given the severe shortcomings and lack of regard for paying guests I would say the value is not commensurate with the overall experience, despite the discounted rate offered by Groupon. The property is advertised as luxury, and it is apparent that great pride and investment was made by the owner in the decor and furnishings, yet I also noticed places where they skipped on items such as the scratches and dents in most of the stainless steel appliances (likely obtained from a scratch and dent reseller), the sofa in the "Sand Castle" was advertised as high-end but it was hard and I could feel the frame in the center of it when seated. This appears to be a DIY special remodeled and updated in very good taste but falling in disrepair in numerous areas. The pool was dirty and unusable, the BBQ appears to be a yard sale relic, rusted and filled with old used charcoals. The fire pit had discarded cigarette butts and the spa that is advertised was unusable. Apparently it has been in need of repair for sometime based on the reviews I have read. Finally, on our last day of vacation there was a power outage yet we never received a call from the owners to find out if we were okay. I certainly recognize they cannot control a transformer power outage, but a simple call or email checking on us would have demonstrated their level of hospitality professionalism and prowess. The cleaning lady did come over after a bit to check on us.
Cleanliness: Infested with ants, some dishes in the cabinets were visibly dirty. Otherwise the linens and bedding appeared to be clean.
Overall: Due to the lack of adherence to rental agreement and deviation from published process for check-in, maintenance emergency, and epic failure to present as a professional hotelier and hospitality professional I cannot recommend this property.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Your luxury home away from home. A great weekend getaway to relax on our white sugar soft sand. #1 Island Hideaway has just been remodeled inside and out. Each suite has a king size pillow top bed with linens used only at 5 Star Resorts, spa like bathrooms, fully stocked gourmet kitchens, flat screen TV's, cable, wireless internet. Several outdoor sitting areas to relax in with waterfalls, fire pits, tiki torches and beautiful tropical landscaping. New pool and spa coming summer 2010. Just bring your clothes and food and toiletries. Come spoil yourself. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Island Hideaway Hotel Fort Myers Beach