Old Aug 26, 19, 7:49 am
  #2171  
goldelite8
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: FLL
Programs: United Premier Platinum; Marriott Gold; Starwood Gold; Hilton Honors Diamond; Hertz Pres Circle
Posts: 631
Just finished a stay here and thought I would add my two cents on the property. Happy to answer any questions people have with respect to pricing, logistics, etc.

Villa

Easily the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in. I posted a few weeks ago that they quoted me an upgrade charge of $250/night + 23.2% service charge/tax in order to go from the beach villa booked through points/certificates to a grand overwater villa. This was a great deal, and I was floored with the shear size of the villa along with the outdoor deck, pool area, etc. The room was stocked with every amenity you could imagine, and we were discovering things right until check out, such as a beach bag, sun umbrella, and more. They did a fantastic job on these rooms and if you can get a cheap rate to upgrade to a grand villa, I think it is worth it because having the living room area makes the villa feel much more spacious (and also means a much larger outdoor deck).

Housekeeping did a fantastic job ensuring that our room was in good shape and came multiple times in the day. When they came, their work consisted of a very deep clean, which was nice to see.

Transfer

I recognize that there has been a lot of discussion here with respect to transfer pricing, and, prior to actually enduring the experience, I was in the camp of folks who were of the impression that these prices were simply outrageous. After experiencing the yacht transfer, I actually think the price of $300/pp + 23.2% service charge/tax each way is kind of reasonable. Note that I got them down to this price after complaining about the fact that the "mandatory" aspect of the transfer experience was not disclosed at booking. The yachts we took in both directions were stunning, and the bedroom setup was outrageous. They literally have Waldorf Astoria beds on these things, and, having never really spent any time at sea, I found the experience of flying through the Indian Ocean in my own luxury bedroom to be something quite special. Don't expect much in terms of the food/beverage offerings onboard the yacht. This is a major area of improvement for them, and I already let management know.

Hilton Honors Perks

Gold members are the real winners here. The only difference between Gold and Diamond benefits is that Diamond members get a complimentary 30 minutes tacked onto a 60 minute massage but this is really only worth $20 since that is the difference in cost between a 60 minute and a 90 minute massage. I addressed how absurd this pricing differential was to the spa staff, and they agreed it made no sense, but, alas, these were the prices.

The complimentary breakfast is insane. Easily the best breakfast I have ever had at a hotel -- in terms of both quality and quantity. Usually, you would eat at the buffet and then get a choice of one item off the menu. Here, you could literally get everything off the buffet and then order absolutely everything off the menu. We had the buffet, along with waffles, pancakes, French toast, made-to-order eggs, eggs benedict, and six or seven fresh-pressed juices every morning and nobody even blinked. If you come here later in the morning and eat a huge meal, you can easily make it until dinner.

The daily reception at Peacock Alley was also great in the sense that the free non-alcoholic/alcoholic beverages were also unlimited. You could have six or seven drinks and no one will say anything. The food is not substantial but was generally of a high quality.

The welcome package was quite nice. It included a bottle of champagne, fruit, and cookies.

Upgrades seem to be virtually non-existent here, though I realize some have reported success. They claim they are exempt from the upgrade program given the unique nature of the property.

I was given a 8 PM late check out. Enough said.

Dining

We dined at Li Long, Tangled, The Ledge and Tasting Table. If you steer clear of some of the more expensive items on the menu -- and do not drink -- you can keep costs under control. Of these restaurants, The Ledge and Tasting Table were the highlights. The Ledge had a tremendous meat offering, and we also enjoyed the tapas appetizers (some of which are just $10-$12). Tasting Table is the winner in terms of a bargain. We went on the sunset fishing excursion and caught a couple fish. A few others folks on our trip caught fish, as well, but did not want to eat them. We were informed by the staff that the fish you catch on the excursion can be prepared for a meal at Tasting Table for $65 per person + 23.2% service charge/tax. BUT, once you pay that amount, there is no limit to how much fish you can eat. So, we each caught one fish but then the other folks on our cruise gave us their fish. So for that same $65 per person++, we both shared five full entrees (each with a side). We picked how we wanted each fish prepared, what sauce, etc. and it felt like a steal. So much food we could not finish it and was just $120++.

Li Long and Tangled were great, too. All the food at the resort is very high quality but a lot of the pricing, as discussed already, makes no sense at all. For example, the cheeses you can have on a basically unlimited basis at breakfast go for $68 in room service. Or a single egg costs the same thing as a complete omelette breakfast? Crazy.

And as a FYI, you can get unlimited free water in the gym. You get a few bottles every day in your villa but it's amazing how quickly you go through them. Some restaurants were charging $12 or $13 for one bottle of water so the costs can add up quickly and you should figure out ways to avoid paying it.

Oh, and I have no idea why anyone in their right mind would pay to eat at Terra. The bamboo cages are awkward and, even in daylight, you barely have a view. Li Long and Tasting Table seem to offer the best views.

Personal Concierge

A joke. Our personal concierge, after checking us into the villa, literally disappeared. We were unable to make contact on our first day, and, after many phone calls, we went back to the reception area only to discover that our concierge had left the island. No one informed us of this, reservations we wanted had not been made, and management did not really seem to care. We got a replacement concierge but this kind of left a bad taste in our mouths. When a resort is charging these amounts, they need to be flawless when it comes to this sort of thing. They also need to implement some sort of system that tracks all of your reservations (perhaps accessible on the in-room iPad?) because it was difficult to just remember everything we booked, and, at times, even our concierge was confused as to when things were booked. We also learned that if you want something, expect to ask for it multiple times. Maybe the concierge staff is just overwhelmed but they seemed to often lose track of our requests.

Overall, they need A LOT of help in this area.

Spa

Beautiful. Had a great massage and only complaint is that the pricing makes absolutely no sense. A 60 minute massage is $180 and a 90 minute massage is $200. So the Diamond massage perk amounts to $20.

Watersports

It was dead when we were there so the staff members were incredibly attentive and they have some very cool gadgets that make for a memorable time on the water. Totally worth it, even though it is a bit expensive.

We were blown away by the house reef tour, available for $35 pp + 23.2% service charge/tax. I thought there wouldn't be much action based on what I read here but it was absolutely gorgeous, and we saw tons of fish, an Eagle ray, etc.

Miscellaneous

You get around the resort on bikes (or you can be driven in a buggy). At night time, there are virtually no lights anywhere and the buggies go at exceptionally high speeds. As an attorney, I could never imagine approving this setup from a liability perspective. You need to be VERY careful at all times, especially at night, as the buggies are going quickly and often from hidden turns and, sadly, think it's only a matter of time before someone gets injured. There are not any lights on the bikes. Be careful.

DO NOT leave anything out in the open on your villa deck. Our bikes were stolen from our villa, which means that someone literally went through our front door and onto our deck to retrieve them. There's no way to prevent this as you cannot lock the outside door to the villa area (you can obviously lock the villa itself). Thankfully, there was nothing of high value in the bikes but disconcerting that this happened at all. What was even more alarming was that the staff did not seem particularly upset about this. We spoke with a couple other guests who reported that the same thing happened to them so seems to be a common occurrence and hopefully they figure out a way to prevent this in the future.

Take advantage of the photo shoot. They don't really advertise that you can have a professional 45-minute photo shoot done and then you can keep some of the photos. The book in the room said you could only keep one photo, but we were able to keep more than that and they were REALLY high-quality photos. You'd need to pay hundreds of dollars to have done what we had done for free at the resort.

Overall

It's a beautiful resort but cannot give it more than a 8/10 as a result of the various service issues we encountered, as well as the apathy of staff when it came to very serious issues like someone coming into our villa area and taking our bikes (and the contents therein). Much work to be done but they certainly have a beautiful property to develop.
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