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Old May 20, 12, 7:57 pm   #1
 
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Aman (or what's the sanskrit for noisy nightclub?) Sveti Stefan

If Aman were doing their job properly, I would not be lying awake right now at 2am in one of their beautifully restored village cottages unable to sleep due to horrendous noise disturbance! Until today, our first Aman experience has been a largely idyllic one: the island has been restored and modernised with painstaking attention to detail and, with a couple of significant exceptions, the service has lived up to the Aman reputation for discretion and almost clairvoyant attentiveness. However, our much-needed peaceful break has rapidly become a holiday disaster of the kind that we are fortunate never to have experienced as yet: we consider ourselves careful and risk-averse in choosing hotels and destinations, researching options extremely thoroughly and preferring not to travel somewhere rather than settle for a compromise in any aspect of our stay, and we have not been disappointed, in almost all cases choosing to return to the same places and to one particular hotel every year. When we first arrived we thought that Aman Sveti Stefan would live up to our expectations and have been only too pleased to pass on our delight to the staff we have encountered and to GM Kevin Brooke. We can still find nothing in English at least online about the event that has turned our holiday into a nightmare and it had never crossed our minds to check ahead of our arrival to ask whether this supposedly enchanting and peaceful resort would turn into Ibiza during our stay!

The overwhelming noise that is keeping us awake is coming from a one-night, .open-air nightclub with live bands slightly down the coast that staff here have referred to as the Montenegrin "spring break". This is admittedly a one-off event beyond the direct control of Aman, but how they have responded to it has left much to be desired, but also, worryingly, resonates with the response to other less than satisfactory situations that have emerged while we were here. In hindsight, the first warning came upon our arrival when the Assistant GM Henry invited us with a recommendation to attend a night of "local live music", a special event not organised by the hotel, although it is unclear whether this was in fact in reference to another only slightly less noisy event taking place in close proximity to the one with the deafening electronic dance music right now. In essence, going might have been the only answer as it is impossible to avoid from our deluxe terrace cottage near the centre/top of the island.

The noise started at midday and staff suggested that it will go on until 5am. Other than a few slightly half-hearted remarks hoping that we might get some sleep from the staff at dinner at the piazza, there has been no formal effort to deal with this huge disturbance which will have gone on for nearly 18 hours and will completely deprive us of any sleep. When we made enquires this afternoon with one of the friendly waitstaff, they initially thought it might be coming from their own cliff bar, but we assured him it was not because we had just been there to brace ourselves for a quick swim in the chilly (unheated) pool (it turns out that the main pool slated to open next year will also be unheated and smaller than planned due to the discovery of a fourth church buried by the communist authorities). He then remembered that this "spring break" event was on, but did not react as if it would be a series night-long problem.

Our phone request for earplugs a couple of hours ago was met with a rather unhelpful and unsympathetic sorry, but there's nothing we can do. The customary knock on the door two minutes after a request has not been forthcoming and a follow-up call a couple of minutes ago to see if they might have some headphones was a little more apologetic and understanding, but still with no offer of any slight attempted remedy.

Personally, we feel that most of the hotel is unfit for purpose tonight, but it doesn't look as if the extent of the problem will be recognised when we speak to the GM in the morning. We appreciate that it is not within Aman's power to stop the event, but management has clearly been aware of this and any other luxury hotel, let alone a chain seeking to retain the reputation that Aman enjoys, would have done something to address the concerns of guests and these are the kinds of risks and eventualities that Aman should be well used to dealing with in a satisfactory way to meet the expectations of its particular client base. .The island and the restaurant seemed deserted tonight, so perhaps other guests had managed to find out about it and avoid tonight or took matters into their own hands earlier when the noise started. The management of other hotels at which we stay would have been in touch as soon as they knew about it, if not known at time of booking, to inform us and discuss the option of rearranging our stay for different dates, which would have been easily possible. At the very least, the matter would have been raised in a transparent way upon arrival perhaps with an offer to accommodate us in a room in a more sheltered location on the far side of the island or perhaps in the Villa Milocer if the sounds travels less around the bay than across the water.

In general, the staff here, despite their warmth and well-meaning intentions, seem unprepared to deal with anything than does not go according to plan. On out first full day here, we returned to our room to find that there was no longer any water. They seemed unaware if any issue when we called to raise it. They agreed to send someone straight away and we left the room and no attempt was made to update us. A couple of hours later, after some time on the beach, we stopped to enquire after the washrooms at Villa Milocer and were escorted there to find used, but unflushed toilets and no running water, but nothing was said until we asked again. At that point the guest assistant admitted sheepishly that the whole of Budva had been cut off, but that water should be restored by mid-evening. We had to recommend they use buckets with sea/bottled water to flush out the toilets. As far we can tell from talking to other guests, no effort was made to notify us of the situation except in response to direct enquiries.

We also feel that it is helpful to add that the island is not yet finished (15 rooms, plus various amenities still to go). This in itself is not a big problem; the noise from ongoing works is minimal and kept out of view. The noise from other local construction is much more problematic: the otherwise charming Queen's Beach, recommended on another thread, is currently spoilt by noisy construction just behind, for example, leaving only one stretch of private sand (well, I should say pretty pink pebbles). The attendant recommended we locate to the end nearest Villa Millocer, but is was still far from tranquil.

There is much to commend Aman Sveti Stefan and, until tonight we were contemplating returning to see the resort fully open. As relatively young travellers, we had also hoped that this would be the start of a lifetime of Aman experiences, but this one has left us cautious and wondering whether it might not be worth the risk. The lovely added touches (that everyone knows your name, housekeeping that comes unseen like a toothfairy to neatly arrange your toner and moisturiser, the extra mile with weighty custom-designed furniture etc.) do not do enough to offset a failure to address much more critical problems. With its recent spate of European properties, Aman should realise that competition is stiffer in this market and its target audience perhaps more discerning.

Here's to hoping we get some sleep soon!

Last edited by valextraofstyle; May 22, 12 at 7:02 am. Reason: typos
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Old May 20, 12, 8:14 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
If Aman were doing their job properly, I would not be lying awake right now at 2am in one of their beautifully restored village cottages unable to sleep due to horrendous noise disturbance! Until today, our first Aman experience has been a largely idyllic one: the island has been restored and modernised with painstaking attention to detail and, with a couple of significant exceptions, the service has lived up to the Aman reputation for discretion and almost clairvoyant attentiveness. However, our much-needed peaceful break has rapidly become a holiday disaster of the kind that we are fortunate never to have experienced as yet: we consider ourselves careful and risk-averse in choosing hotels and destinations, researching options extremely thoroughly and preferring not to travel somewhere rather than settle for a compromise in any aspect of our stay, and we have not been disappointed, in almost all cases choosing to return to the same places and to one particular hotel every year. When we first arrived we thought that Aman Sveti Stefan would live up to our expectations and have been only too pleased to pass on our delight to the staff we have encountered and to GM Kevin Brook. We can still find nothing in English at least online about the event that has turned our holiday into a nightmare and it had never crossed our minds to check ahead of our arrival to ask whether this supposedly enchanting and peaceful resort would turn into Ibiza during our stay!

The overwhelming noise that is keeping us awake is coming from a one-night, .open-air nightclub with live bands slightly down the coast that staff here have referred to as the Montenegrin "spring break". This is admittedly a one-off event beyond the direct control of Aman, but how they have responded to it has left much to be desired, but also, worryingly, resonates with the response to other less than satisfactory situations that have emerged while we were here. In hindsight, the first warning came upon our arrival when the the Assistant GM invited us with a recommendation to attend a night of "local live music", a special event not organised by the hotel, although it is unclear whether this was in fact in reference to another only slightly less noisy event taking place in close proximity to the one with the deafening electronic dance music right now. In essence, going might have been the only answer as it is impossible to avoid from our deluxe terrace cottage near the centre/top of the island.

The noise started at midday and staff suggested that it will go on until 5am. Other than a few slightly half-hearted remarks hoping that we might get some sleep from the staff at dinner at the piazza, there has been no formal effort to deal with this huge disturbance which will have gone on for nearly 18 hours and will completely deprive us of any sleep. When we made enquires this afternoon with one of the friendly waitstaff, they initially thought it might be coming from their own cliff bar, but we assured him it was not because we had just been there to brace ourselves for a quick swim in the chilly (unheated) pool (it turns out that the main pool slated to open next year will also be unheated and smaller than planned due to the discovery of a fourth church buried by the communist authorities). He then remembered that this "spring break" event was on, but did not react as if it would be a series night-long problem.

Our phone request for earplugs a couple of hours ago was met with a rather unhelpful and unsympathetic sorry, but there's nothing we can do. The customary knock on the door two minutes after a request has not been forthcoming and a follow-up call a couple of minutes ago to see if they might have some headphones was a little more apologetic and understanding, but still with no offer of any slight attempted remedy.

Personally, we feel that the hotel is unfit for purpose tonight, but it doesn't look as if the extent of the problem will be recognised when we speak to the GM in the morning. We appreciate that it is not within Aman's power to stop the event, but management has clearly been aware of this and any other luxury hotel, let alone a chain seeking to retain the reputation that Aman enjoys, would have done something to address the concerns of guests and these are the kinds of risks and eventualities that Aman should be well used to dealing with in a satisfactory way to meet the expectations of its particular client base. .The island and the restaurant seemed deserted tonight, so perhaps other guests had managed to find out about it and avoid tonight or took matters into their own hands earlier when the noise started. The management of other hotels at which we stay would have been in touch as soon as they knew about it, if not known at time of booking, to inform us and discuss the option of rearranging our stay for different dates, which would have been easily possible. At the very least, the matter would have been raised in a transparent way upon arrival perhaps with an offer to accommodate us in a room in a more sheltered location on the far side of the island or perhaps in the Villa Milocer if the sounds travels less around the bay than across the water.

In general, the staff here, despite their warmth and well-meaning intentions, seem unprepared to deal with anything than does not go according to plan. On out first full day here, we returned to our room to find that there was no longer any water. They seemed unaware if any issue when we called to raise it. They agreed to send someone straight away and we left the room and no attempt was made to update us. A couple of hours later, after some time on the beach, we stopped to enquire after the washrooms at Villa Milocer and were escorted there to find used, but unflushed toilets and no running water, but nothing was said until we asked again. At that point the guest assistant admitted sheepishly that the whole of Budva had been cut off, but that water should be restored by mid-evening. We had to recommend they use buckets with sea/bottled water to flush out the toilets. As far we can tell from talking to other guests, no effort was made to notify us of the situation except in response to direct enquiries.

We also feel that it is helpful to add that the island is not yet finished (15 rooms, plus various amenities still to go). This in itself is not a big problem; the noise from ongoing works is minimal and kept out of view. The noise from other local construction is much more problematic: the otherwise charming Queen's Beach, recommended on another thread, is currently spoilt by noisy construction just behind, for example, leaving only one stretch of private sand (well, I should say pretty pink pebbles). The attendant recommended we locate to the end nearest Villa Millocer, but is was still far from tranquil.

There is much to commend Aman Sveti Stefan and, until tonight we were contemplating returning to see the resort fully open. As relatively young travellers, we had also hoped that this would be the start of a lifetime of Aman experiences, but this one has left us cautious and wondering whether it might not be worth the risk. The lovely added touches (that everyone knows your name, housekeeping that comes unseen like a toothfairy to neatly arrange your toner and moisturiser, the extra mile with weighty custom-designed furniture etc.) do not do enough to offset a failure to address much more critical problems. With its recent spate of European properties, Aman should realise that competition is stiffer in this market and its target audience perhaps more discerning.

Here's to hoping we get some sleep soon!


And welcome to FT.
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Old May 20, 12, 10:06 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
If Aman were doing their job properly, I would not be lying awake right now at 2am in one of their beautifully restored village cottages unable to sleep due to horrendous noise disturbance! Until today, our first Aman experience has been a largely idyllic one: the island has been restored and modernised with painstaking attention to detail and, with a couple of significant exceptions, the service has lived up to the Aman reputation for discretion and almost clairvoyant attentiveness. However, our much-needed peaceful break has rapidly become a holiday disaster of the kind that we are fortunate never to have experienced as yet: we consider ourselves careful and risk-averse in choosing hotels and destinations, researching options extremely thoroughly and preferring not to travel somewhere rather than settle for a compromise in any aspect of our stay, and we have not been disappointed, in almost all cases choosing to return to the same places and to one particular hotel every year. When we first arrived we thought that Aman Sveti Stefan would live up to our expectations and have been only too pleased to pass on our delight to the staff we have encountered and to GM Kevin Brook. We can still find nothing in English at least online about the event that has turned our holiday into a nightmare and it had never crossed our minds to check ahead of our arrival to ask whether this supposedly enchanting and peaceful resort would turn into Ibiza during our stay!

The overwhelming noise that is keeping us awake is coming from a one-night, .open-air nightclub with live bands slightly down the coast that staff here have referred to as the Montenegrin "spring break". This is admittedly a one-off event beyond the direct control of Aman, but how they have responded to it has left much to be desired, but also, worryingly, resonates with the response to other less than satisfactory situations that have emerged while we were here. In hindsight, the first warning came upon our arrival when the the Assistant GM invited us with a recommendation to attend a night of "local live music", a special event not organised by the hotel, although it is unclear whether this was in fact in reference to another only slightly less noisy event taking place in close proximity to the one with the deafening electronic dance music right now. In essence, going might have been the only answer as it is impossible to avoid from our deluxe terrace cottage near the centre/top of the island.

The noise started at midday and staff suggested that it will go on until 5am. Other than a few slightly half-hearted remarks hoping that we might get some sleep from the staff at dinner at the piazza, there has been no formal effort to deal with this huge disturbance which will have gone on for nearly 18 hours and will completely deprive us of any sleep. When we made enquires this afternoon with one of the friendly waitstaff, they initially thought it might be coming from their own cliff bar, but we assured him it was not because we had just been there to brace ourselves for a quick swim in the chilly (unheated) pool (it turns out that the main pool slated to open next year will also be unheated and smaller than planned due to the discovery of a fourth church buried by the communist authorities). He then remembered that this "spring break" event was on, but did not react as if it would be a series night-long problem.

Our phone request for earplugs a couple of hours ago was met with a rather unhelpful and unsympathetic sorry, but there's nothing we can do. The customary knock on the door two minutes after a request has not been forthcoming and a follow-up call a couple of minutes ago to see if they might have some headphones was a little more apologetic and understanding, but still with no offer of any slight attempted remedy.

Personally, we feel that the hotel is unfit for purpose tonight, but it doesn't look as if the extent of the problem will be recognised when we speak to the GM in the morning. We appreciate that it is not within Aman's power to stop the event, but management has clearly been aware of this and any other luxury hotel, let alone a chain seeking to retain the reputation that Aman enjoys, would have done something to address the concerns of guests and these are the kinds of risks and eventualities that Aman should be well used to dealing with in a satisfactory way to meet the expectations of its particular client base. .The island and the restaurant seemed deserted tonight, so perhaps other guests had managed to find out about it and avoid tonight or took matters into their own hands earlier when the noise started. The management of other hotels at which we stay would have been in touch as soon as they knew about it, if not known at time of booking, to inform us and discuss the option of rearranging our stay for different dates, which would have been easily possible. At the very least, the matter would have been raised in a transparent way upon arrival perhaps with an offer to accommodate us in a room in a more sheltered location on the far side of the island or perhaps in the Villa Milocer if the sounds travels less around the bay than across the water.

In general, the staff here, despite their warmth and well-meaning intentions, seem unprepared to deal with anything than does not go according to plan. On out first full day here, we returned to our room to find that there was no longer any water. They seemed unaware if any issue when we called to raise it. They agreed to send someone straight away and we left the room and no attempt was made to update us. A couple of hours later, after some time on the beach, we stopped to enquire after the washrooms at Villa Milocer and were escorted there to find used, but unflushed toilets and no running water, but nothing was said until we asked again. At that point the guest assistant admitted sheepishly that the whole of Budva had been cut off, but that water should be restored by mid-evening. We had to recommend they use buckets with sea/bottled water to flush out the toilets. As far we can tell from talking to other guests, no effort was made to notify us of the situation except in response to direct enquiries.

We also feel that it is helpful to add that the island is not yet finished (15 rooms, plus various amenities still to go). This in itself is not a big problem; the noise from ongoing works is minimal and kept out of view. The noise from other local construction is much more problematic: the otherwise charming Queen's Beach, recommended on another thread, is currently spoilt by noisy construction just behind, for example, leaving only one stretch of private sand (well, I should say pretty pink pebbles). The attendant recommended we locate to the end nearest Villa Millocer, but is was still far from tranquil.

There is much to commend Aman Sveti Stefan and, until tonight we were contemplating returning to see the resort fully open. As relatively young travellers, we had also hoped that this would be the start of a lifetime of Aman experiences, but this one has left us cautious and wondering whether it might not be worth the risk. The lovely added touches (that everyone knows your name, housekeeping that comes unseen like a toothfairy to neatly arrange your toner and moisturiser, the extra mile with weighty custom-designed furniture etc.) do not do enough to offset a failure to address much more critical problems. With its recent spate of European properties, Aman should realise that competition is stiffer in this market and its target audience perhaps more discerning.

Here's to hoping we get some sleep soon!
I'm curious, what exactly would you like the hotel to do? Shut down a party it has no control over? Completely sound proof the walls for the one night a year when it's a problem? Mention that you don't want to stay here when you book? Your post is long on complaint and short on remedy. . .
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Old May 20, 12, 10:28 pm   #4
 
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I had a lovely (arguably my best luxury-property) stay at the Villa Milocer late last year. I'm surprised to find this post because it sounds like a nightmare. Still, I can empathize and feel concerned because under your circumstances, I'd certainly share in your disappointment.

I think it would have been fair of them to warn you not to stay on that particular date. This was something they did for me when I originally booked on a particularly rainy period.

Also, should you have insisted on pushing through, it's expected of them being Aman (and not "merely" a 4S) to suggest a list of alternative activities or provide you with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.

At any rate, I agree that more is to be expected from an Aman. Please don't be put off though because this sounds more like a fluke. My stays with them have been flawless with "problems" only being that pizza in one is "excellent" while only "almost excellent" in another... happy problems indeed! Once it's done properly, you'll never want to check-in anywhere else.
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Old May 20, 12, 10:54 pm   #5
 
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Old May 21, 12, 12:21 am   #6
 
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Why do posters have to include the complete OP as a quote?
Sounds like a nightmare - sleep in a comfortable bed is one of my main musts when on holiday.
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Old May 21, 12, 3:02 am   #7
 
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I can totally understand why you are upset. Budva is a real party town during the summer so I expect that this event is not particularly unusual. While it is correct that this is not within Aman's control I hope that the GM will offer you a substantial discount for last night as a token of goodwill.
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Old May 21, 12, 3:48 am   #8
 
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Sounds ghastly! Few things make me as grumpy as the incessant boom-boom of a nearby party when I am trying to sleep.

And there are many things staff could have done - starting with a more sympathetic attitude! Why should the guests have to propose the solution? Aman more than anyone should understand that.


Welcome to FT, valextraofstyle! As first time poster the added detail was very helpful in allowing us to understand your perspective.
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Old May 21, 12, 4:14 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fflier_9999 View Post
I'm curious, what exactly would you like the hotel to do? Shut down a party it has no control over? Completely sound proof the walls for the one night a year when it's a problem? Mention that you don't want to stay here when you book? Your post is long on complaint and short on remedy. . .
Welcome to FT valexaofstyle. I hope you will become a regular contributor on more pleasant happenings.

Of course Aman has no control over a decadent loud party, BUT they should have advised the guest BEFORE and offered relocation to a nearby place for a night - I am sure there are options and they could have made of a problem some positive experience.

Not doing so Aman failed, which does not surprise me in these parts of "Europe". Personally I think the Aman concept travels not so well outside Asia.

I would firmly ask the GM the full amount charged for that night to be waived letting politely understand him that this could be your last stay at an Aman.

I will certainly not go there, neither to their properties in Greece, but happily return to any of the 17 Asian Amans I have been. I think Aman should concentrate on locations and cultures where the idea has been born. The actual growth will not lead to any good.
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Old May 21, 12, 5:19 am   #10
 
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Is Kevin aware of your situation yet?

Yes, they should try to find you another room...of course, maybe they have looked into this and the noise is carrying throughout the property.

Yes, they should send someone to the closest 24 hour pharmacy and get you earplugs. They should also try to locate a sound machine.

So sorry about this. We hope the rest of your trip is better.
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Old May 21, 12, 6:44 am   #11
 
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What an unfortunate experience.... we had the opportunity to visit Sveti Stefan (but not the Aman, as the island was closed) last April... it appeared to be a beautiful beautiful place for holiday....

we had a similar experience 2 nights at an Orient Express hotel (albeit not as long, only for 10 PM-1 AM). They were quite apologetic and gave us an across the board discount on our stay and comped our spa treatments. I was quite satisfied with their service recovery.

FDW
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Old May 21, 12, 8:22 am   #12
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event on may 20, 21, ended by rain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
lying awake right now at 2am

island and the restaurant seemed deserted tonight
agree with forum regulars that this would be a service lapse
post does line up to 3:57am at aman
Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
with a couple of significant exceptions, the service has lived up to the Aman reputation for discretion and almost clairvoyant attentiveness
this seems very positive, and does not seem to line up with any other comment
Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
we have not [ever] been disappointed

this one has left us cautious and wondering whether it might not [ever] be worth the risk
overgeneralizations
Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
whole of Budva had been cut off, but that water should be restored by mid-evening

competition is stiffer in this market and its target audience perhaps more discerning

Quote:
Originally Posted by valextraofstyle View Post
unheated) pool (it turns out that the main pool slated to open next year will also be unheated
good info

valextraofstyle interesting
vuittonsofstyle + http://www.valextra.it/Products/Default.aspx

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 22, 12 at 10:10 am.
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Old May 21, 12, 10:18 am   #13
 
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[B
valextraofstyle[/b] interesting
vuittonsofstyle + http://www.valextra.it/Products/Default.aspx
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Old May 21, 12, 11:17 am   #14
 
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If they knew about this in advance, then a note when booking stating that there would be a special event in town that would make the environment noisy until 5:00am would be reasonable.

Beyond that, I am not sure what else they could reasonably be expected to do. Offering to put you up for the night at another hotel (somehow guaranteed to be quiet) seems a bit much to expect.

Also, I don't see what the big deal is, really. One night of a bit of noise outside the room is hardly a vacation-ruiner in my opinion. That said, there is a good chance that if you complain, they will comp the one night.
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Old May 21, 12, 10:28 pm   #15
 
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Does anyone know if the noise/party is a constant issue at Aman Sveti Stefan in the summer?
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