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The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

Old Jan 25, 11, 8:44 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by sc flier View Post
I fail to comprehend once-per-stay amenities that are covered by a daily fee.
This...and resort fees that are a percentage of the room rate...are two of the biggest mysteries on earth.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 7:05 am
  #47  
 
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great place but....

I just returned from the St Regis Bahia Beach and I would urge people to not take the very negative reviews too seriously.
The resort is in a beautiful setting, it is like being in a bubble.

I am a plat and I was upgraded to an ocean view suite that was amazing, one of the better rooms I've ever stayed in, the rooms were large and comfortable, I loved my large terrace which had a couch and a dinner table for 4. the room had 2 bathrooms and a wet bar like area, one thing they should consider is putting a microwave in the room.

As for the negatives I've seen mentioned, I agree with what has been posted the staff is very tentative, however the staff is numerous and eager to please.

Some have complained about the beach and I wonder what they are whining over? yes the beach is course brown sand, not a white powdery beach, I say so what! the beach is fairly clean, it is wide, very long and private. The water is a bit choppy but that is what you get on the ocean. It isn't good for the weakest of swimmers but if you are in decent shape and can swim the water is fine.

Another complaint I saw was that the pool is not heated, I think that while the pool was a bit cool, it surely wasn't too cold to be in, it isn't a bath tub!
The is also a decent sized hot tub.

A valid complaint posted a lot was the housekeeping, I agree they are weak, one day I had to call the front at 3pm because the room hadn't been attended to, in addition they missed one turn down. The bose ipod dock in the living room didn't work and the TV service is lacking.
The butlers are not on a par with other St Regis properties and maybe the hotel should train them better, maybe bring someone from NY in to show them how to do it.
We were never greeted by the butler on arrival and never had the complimentary Mojito he was supposed to offer us.

As for the food, this is a big weakness, fern is pretty good for dinner, and is the only choice for breakfast, we never had the breakfast there so I cannot comment.
Seagrapes is open for lunch and dinner but the food is so-so. We thought the turkey and chicken sandwiches were the best choices, one night we ordered the cold seafood appetizer as a dinner which was a great choice food and value wise.
Molasses at the golf club is ok for lunch, almost the same menu as sea grapes and while I didn't have dinner there I heard some negative stories from other guests. be sure to check the hours of operation because the places are not always open for every meal. prices are high but not outrageous for the food.
wine beer and liquor is another story, the prices are very high. I bought a bottle of wine in Ralph's for $ 8 and the hotel room service menu had the same bottle for $68, that is a world class markup!
One last warning an 18% tip is added to the food checks so don't double tip!

The boat house will give you bicycles and riding around the nature trails is a nice way to spend some time, be sure to check the equipment before leaving because the bikes are a bit beaten up and things like the seats can be loose.
the also have kayaks, paddle and small sail boats and stand up paddle surf boards. the fellow there offered to give me a sailing lesson but I didn't take him up on it.

I don't golf but the course seems to be in good shape and if you play I am sure that you'll enjoy it, there is also a range and a short practice course.

As for renting a car, that can go either way, if you are adventurous and unafraid of driving in unfamiliar places I would rent. taxis are about $65 + tip each way and you can rent a small car for around $30 a day. The hotel charges $22 a day for parking so do the math and see what works for you. In addition the hotel will arrange for a "limo" to transport you to and from the airport for $120 +tip each way. I prefer having the car, we went to El Yunque rain forest,(tip: if you visit the rain forest get a map from the concierge and skip the parks visitor center)
Having a car makes getting supplies for room easy and you'll save considerable money on things, I would get beer, wine, sodas, milk, breakfast stuff and other snacks, the food stores in Rio Grande are fine, Ralph's is across 3 is newer, cleaner and like a place you'd find at home, econo is a bit closer in rio grande but more "native", both will suit your needs.
We went to the food kiosks in loquillo for a dinner, you can go for lunch as well, it is out of the bubble so if dealing with the locals is ok with you then try La Parilla in stall #2 which is a good place to go, good food, fairly clean and an english speaking staff. Tapas 13 also got good buzz. I am sure that there are some restaurants around worth visiting but the concierge staff is weak on this.

As for the directions for getting to the hotel being bad, if you have any sense of direction it really ins't too hard to get to the resort.
Here is the short version. from the airport find rt 26 east towards carolina, which will take you to rt 66 which is a toll road, $1.50, (warning, you will see a sign for RT 3 here, while you can take RT 3 east here it is slower but you do save the toll, I would use Rt 66) Take 66 to it's end here you turn onto Rt 3 east and follow it until you see the sign for R187, it is a left lane turn so move over when you see the sign. Going through hectic Rio Grande can confuse you but just remember to turn left towards loiza at the end of the street you are on, you will see another 187 sign, ignore it and go towards the right. go on 187 a few miles, once you go over the bridge the resort will be on your right look for the big metal leaf and you are there.

alternate routing, to save the $1.50 toll you can take rt 3 off of rt 26 and it will take you there, just a bit slower, you could also take 187 all the way from the airport to the resort, just be aware that this road can be slow just ignore all the above directions.

speaking of venturing outside the bubble, the concierge staff is ok for very basic info but is clueless on things like recommending restaurants. I noticed they brought in a new guy, but while he may be a pro, the regular staff are not, he really doesn't know the area or the island, this is a huge weakness.

All in all I'd give the resort a b+ and with a bit of tweaking the place can become an A, aside from dinner at fern the level of the food service needs to be addressed as well.

So all in all if you are not a high maintenance person who can deal with some lapses or flaws in service I would urge you to visit the resort, I think you'll be glad that you did.

if you have any questions please feel free to ask, I am sure I missed something
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Old Jan 26, 11, 8:58 am
  #48  
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Welcome to FlyerTalk apvbguy and thanks for the detailed report.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 9:22 am
  #49  
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Question

Reviews seem to be good so far, but is it worth the heavy $800 a night + $60 resort fee / 20000 points a night + $60 resort fee price tag?
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Old Jan 26, 11, 9:55 am
  #50  
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Originally Posted by apvbguy View Post
The hotel charges $22 a day for parking
Outrageous. Really unbelievable. So, with the resort fee, that is $82 per day in bogus add-on charges. Let me repeat that. The resort fee plus parking is $82 per day.

Remember, this isn't Manhattan or London or LA. This is a plot of land in the middle of nowhere (formerly a swamp, basically). They built a resort and have an uncovered lot where they leave cars. How is that $22 per day?

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Old Jan 26, 11, 10:30 am
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Remember, this isn't Manhattan or London or LA. This is a plot of land in the middle of nowhere (formerly a swamp, basically). They built a resort and have an uncovered lot where they leave cars. How is that $22 per day?
Well, it is "24-hour valet parking." So what's the labor cost to provide valet service at a SR with 139 rooms? Now why can't they just include that in the room cost?

(It's also not the SR San Francisco where the covered parking is $50/day + tax.)
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Old Jan 26, 11, 5:34 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by BlissWorld View Post
Reviews seem to be good so far, but is it worth the heavy $800 a night + $60 resort fee / 20000 points a night + $60 resort fee price tag?
20K points? Probably.

$800 per night? Hmm...

Update, Day whatever-it-is: Eagerness of staff to please continues to get better. We are barely able to carry a bag ourselves. Due to everything being included in the resort fee, I have lightened the tipping in some areas where I would normally tip at another hotel (pool set-up, for instance). No one seems to care or, if they do, they don't show it.

Eagerness of staff is also an area of trouble: The departments don't seem to talk to each other, which is why our housekeeping never got done on time. I had a nice chat with the manager about the issue and he promised to clear it up. Indeed, this morning, when we asked for early housekeeping, we got it. But they didn't come for turn-down during the requested time.

We also found out yesterday that our phone hasn't been working for three days. We weren't getting any of our incoming calls, and the butler promised to have the engineer call us. The engineer never called. The phone also started ringing randomly in the middle of the night. This morning, we weren't able to call out, either, so I walked over to the Plantation House to request service. I think the phone is working now.

On the plus side, the valet one of our car seats, so we had to get a loaner from the hotel. So when my two-year old threw up in it, it was the hotel's car seat. Sorry guys.

The resort is incredible, though, and the employees really do try so hard. We have yet to meet one that hasn't smiled at us or greeted us. I do think there are some kinks in the butler service, but most of the problems that I have seen will eventually get worked out.

Funny story: My two-year old son likes to greet everyone who comes through the door, so when the housekeeper came in, we tried to teach him to say "hola," instead of "hi!" So now, whenever the housekeepers come in, he says, "Hi Hola!." Sorry, Daniel, Hola isn't her name, but we appreciate the effort.

Mike

ETA: I'm not really a beach person, but I thought the beach was beautiful. The pool isn't heated but is still quite warm.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 2:11 pm
  #53  
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The grand finale...

Finished up at the hotel on Friday and flew home to snowy Boston. We had lunch at Sea Grapes (mediocre) and dinner at Fern (outstanding). Neither was particularly expensive, although I always forget to check before ordering a $5 bottle of Diet Coke. And $8 for a PB&J sandwich? Our friends were joking about running over to Ralph's, buying some supplies and setting up a PB&J stand by the pool.

Service remained eager to please, if a bit inconsistent. They did manage to get the housekeeping done in the morning but not do turn down when we requested. We asked for directions back to the car rental place by the airport which took the front desk clerk 30 minutes to find, since nobody could agree on the right directions. After waiting the half hour, she brought me the directions to Dollar Car Rental (pre-printed) and told me Enterprise was right next door. You couldn't have told me this a half hour ago?

Okay, overall: Outstanding hotel with some teething issues. Certain issues weren't followed up on (We never did get our room phones fixed.), such as a few requests for the room and having services performed around certain times, but I couldn't get over how eager to please everyone was. 80% of the issues we had did have something to do with our kids (such as housekeeping times), but I also expect a hotel of this magnitude to be able to handle them. In time, it will come.

A note about kids: Someone made a comment about the number of kids at the resort earlier in this thread, so I'll follow up: If you do not like kids, do not come to this resort. The fact that they have a designated kids' club and target families should be a clue, but in case you didn't read the website before booking, read it here: the majority of people here were with their families and the kids ranged from six months to eighteen years. The kids' center was outstanding and the people who worked there were wonderful. There were books, toys, games, videos, etc., as well as a small playground and it was a wonderful activity for the kids in the afternoon.

Checkout was smooth and easy. I did mention my dissatisfaction with the resort fee and the agent promised to pass it up the line. Probably won't do much good, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Anyway, a good time was had by all. I'm happy to answer specific questions.

Mike
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Old Jan 31, 11, 2:29 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
In time, it will come.
Having vacationed in Puerto Rico over 40 times in my life, I wouldn't be so sure.

Excellent reviews. Thank you. And, I am sure the people were nice. But, as I have said countless times, the nicest and most incompetent people on planet Earth are in Puerto Rico. "Breathtakingly incompetent" would be a kind description. Your many reviews back-up my opinion. (If you return to the St. Regis in a year and get the same room, I would bet the phone will still be broken.)
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Old Jan 31, 11, 6:26 pm
  #55  
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Having vacationed in Puerto Rico over 40 times in my life, I wouldn't be so sure.
+1
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Old Feb 1, 11, 2:57 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Having vacationed in Puerto Rico over 40 times in my life, I wouldn't be so sure.

Excellent reviews. Thank you. And, I am sure the people were nice. But, as I have said countless times, the nicest and most incompetent people on planet Earth are in Puerto Rico. "Breathtakingly incompetent" would be a kind description. Your many reviews back-up my opinion. (If you return to the St. Regis in a year and get the same room, I would bet the phone will still be broken.)
The biggest frustration seemed to be that departments didn't talk to each other.

But they really were sooooo nice.

Mike
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Old Feb 2, 11, 11:00 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
The biggest frustration seemed to be that departments didn't talk to each other.

But they really were sooooo nice.
You just succinctly summarized my experience from 30+ years of travel to Puerto Rico.

I stayed this past holiday at the Four Points Palmas (yes, a different hotel but another good example). I needed a copy of my final bill emailed to me after I left. It took three weeks, about 15 emails to the property, and I still had to call Corporate Customer Service (yes, an actual file was created) for the bill to be emailed to me. But, one day after the file was created, the bill was emailed to me.

Why did such a simple request take so long to be processed? Easy, it is Puerto Rico. There is simply no other reason.

About 10 years ago, I stayed at the Ritz Carlton in San Juan for three nights. After I checked out, again I asked the property to send me a copy of my final bill. Weeks and weeks went by and nothing. Each week I called the billing department with the request. After a month, I disputed the charge with my credit card company. The credit card company temporarily took the charge off my bill until the property sent me a bill. After six months, the credit card company made the conditional credit permanent because the property couldn't stick the bill in an envelope and mail it to me.

Why did this happen? Easy, it is Puerto Rico. There is simply no other reason.
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Old Feb 3, 11, 2:17 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
You just succinctly summarized my experience from 30+ years of travel to Puerto Rico.

I stayed this past holiday at the Four Points Palmas (yes, a different hotel but another good example). I needed a copy of my final bill emailed to me after I left. It took three weeks, about 15 emails to the property, and I still had to call Corporate Customer Service (yes, an actual file was created) for the bill to be emailed to me. But, one day after the file was created, the bill was emailed to me.

Why did such a simple request take so long to be processed? Easy, it is Puerto Rico. There is simply no other reason.

About 10 years ago, I stayed at the Ritz Carlton in San Juan for three nights. After I checked out, again I asked the property to send me a copy of my final bill. Weeks and weeks went by and nothing. Each week I called the billing department with the request. After a month, I disputed the charge with my credit card company. The credit card company temporarily took the charge off my bill until the property sent me a bill. After six months, the credit card company made the conditional credit permanent because the property couldn't stick the bill in an envelope and mail it to me.

Why did this happen? Easy, it is Puerto Rico. There is simply no other reason.
Interesting story. PR aside, I would have much higher expectations at the Ritz (or St. Regis) than at the Four Points. Of course, you still should have gotten your bill from either place.

Mike
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Old Feb 3, 11, 3:53 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by mikeef View Post

PR aside
That's the whole point. There is no "PR aside."

That concept doesn't exist (unless you import literally every worker from elsewhere).
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Old Feb 5, 11, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by JFKSFOLAX_friend View Post
Having vacationed in Puerto Rico over 40 times in my life, I wouldn't be so sure.

Excellent reviews. Thank you. And, I am sure the people were nice. But, as I have said countless times, the nicest and most incompetent people on planet Earth are in Puerto Rico. "Breathtakingly incompetent" would be a kind description. Your many reviews back-up my opinion. (If you return to the St. Regis in a year and get the same room, I would bet the phone will still be broken.)
I have to say this has been my experience as well. Not just in PR though, but Bahamas and BVI as well. Wonderful, friendly, eager people who just can't seem to deliver on the basics, such as housekeeping (we once found our door left wide open hours after our room was cleaned), room service (once told resort didn't have menus in the room, but I could call room service and they would "read" it to me), pool towels service (sorry, we're all out at 9 am?), Casinos (tiny one at the former Rio Grande - 60% of the slots were out of service during our stay, yet one machine paid out a jackpot for one lucky lady every 20 minutes! She never left her spot all night, surprise, surprise) and my favorite PR moment at the Rio, showed up for confirmed dinner reservations at one of their on property restaurants - and it was closed!

Still, we keep coming back!

Cheers,
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