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The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia [Master Thread]

The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia [Master Thread]

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Old Apr 19, 06, 1:36 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 726
Abysmal stay at BBN

I have been very hesitant about posting this experience because I have so much wanted my situation to be different. After waiting for responses from the General Manager, Corporate Customer Service, and a "special team" from Corporate Customer Service to resolve this problem, I am left to believe that I have been abandoned by the hotel and Starwood. So this is a warning for anyone considering paying or using their points thinking it will be the "destination of a lifetime"- it's 90% true for most people, but I had a very, very terrible stay.

My husband and I went here with the explicit purpose of relaxing. After all, what else is there to do on a motu?!? This was not to be for a lot of the time. We were completely neglected by room service- never ever received anything we ordered, re-ordered, or called the front desk for. Our bungalow was filthy. We were there 3 nights and for 85% of the time our room was littered with the previous guest's missing contact (ewwww...), long black hair (I have blonde), dirty coffee pots and cups, etc... The front desk was aware of the problems, but they never followed through with fixing any of them. In fact, the very first morning after we arrived, we had a ride on the golf cart by a mid-manager and he said he would take care of it.

Since we couldn't get anything or anyone to come to our bungalow for room service or cleaning, we would scurry up to the bar and ask for food late at night since we were starving. This was an adventure unto itself. All we wanted was salad and pizza- nothing fancy. It took 1 1/2 hours to get it! They would say there was a problem with the order or some other reason. Going to the front desk to talk about the room was like talking to the wind- it just kept flying by them.

Finally, we did find the general manager who said nothing was told to him. He admitted that a lot of things were not up to par because of the HP group that they were focusing on. So he was honest about the problems and realized by talking to various people at the resort that we were completely ignored and neglected, but it was really too late for me to feel better about this experience. He refunded our Starpoints, thankfully, but there is one other issue, and this is what is unresolved.

My husband bought me some gorgeous Tahitian pearls while we were there. I wore them the day we left the hotel, and he thought I was wearing my Tiffany gold heart earrings (retail about $425 or so- longstanding Tiffany customer so they had records of my purchase and faxed them to prove it). These are extremely sentimental to me and very important. They no longer make these same earrings anymore and I have the matching heart necklace.

So, he thought I was wearing them, I thought he packed them.... We leave the hotel on the boat feeling like it was a shame of an anniversary- to spend all that to get there, thinking it was the best Starwood in the chain with the best service on one of the best islands in the world, only to leave feeling sad. Well, we get to the airport and he sees I'm wearing the pearl earrings and says, "you grabbed the heart earrings, right?" I say, "no, you did." Sheer terror on both of our faces. We look at Koko, who escorted us by boat to the airport, and she puts in a call back to the hotel's front desk to asks someone to search our room. The lady returns her call and says they are not there anymore. I can't believe it.

We miss our flight, get back on the boat, and go back. My husband is furious. These are so important to me and now after all we went through this happens. It's true that we left them there, but how could they "disappear"? He scours the room and where I ALWAYS leave my earrings when I go to bed-on the nightstand- is empty.

This is February 1st. We return home late since this adventure was a major delay, and I wait a little while to write to the GM. For the first week or 2, he is encouraging and says he will get to the bottom of this. In fact, while we were at the property he admits that he is suspicious of his staff and in email, he confirms he's watching his female staff. They know exactly who went in the room because the keys are coded and we know at least one front desk person went in since Koko asked them to go.

The emails drop off. My husband writes, then nothing. I continue to wait... finally I call Corporate Customer Service with the issue and follow up with the email chain between us and the GM, and they promise to get back within 5 days. I wait one week and hear nothing. I write back to CCS and they reassure me that someone will get back to me in 24-48 hours. No one calls or emails. I send another email after 3 or 4 days, and she reassures me that a "special team" is assigned to the issue to resolve it... Here I am today.

I guess the biggest thing is that it was our big dream to go here. We've been working hard, earning points, and really needed this time away for an anniversary, and I thought it should be wonderful as a Platinum. It had to be the worst stay of my life anytime, anywhere. The location is wonderful and that made up for all the rest, but I was hungry and in a dirty room the whole time, and still do not have my precious gift. Paradise has its price- I just hadn't considered that I would be paying for it like this.
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Old Apr 19, 06, 4:21 am
  #32  
DCF
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Angry

I'm probably the biggest cheerleader for the Bora Bora Nui on this board, but sadly I had a similar experience on the first of two stays there - albeit less costly.

A minor item of clothing was stolen.

So yes, you need to be careful because there is the odd bad apple.

Last edited by DCF; Jun 14, 14 at 3:08 am
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Old Apr 19, 06, 6:40 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I am surprised to hear that your problems were not resolved to your satisfaction. We had a situation that we brought to management's attention following our stay and it was resolved quickly and we were pleasantly surprised by the attention we received. I am sorry to hear you had a difficult time and an unpleasant stay.
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Old Apr 19, 06, 7:34 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Southern California
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Wow, that is really terrible to hear.

We have been going back and forth over the Nui vs. the new St. Regis... I don't know that anything will be different at the SR, but I certainly don't like to hear about a hotel (especially such a premium hotel with such a premium cost) being "aware of", but still having issues with these occurrences...

For $1k/night, you'd imagine they could probably afford to have a supervisor observe each room's cleaning.

Sorry to hear about your loss, hope the CS Swat Team fixes things for you...
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Old Apr 19, 06, 10:25 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Programs: Starwood Gold née Platinum; AA Plat.
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Originally Posted by wildblueyonder
Wow, that is really terrible to hear.

We have been going back and forth over the Nui vs. the new St. Regis... I don't know that anything will be different at the SR, but I certainly don't like to hear about a hotel (especially such a premium hotel with such a premium cost) being "aware of", but still having issues with these occurrences...

For $1k/night, you'd imagine they could probably afford to have a supervisor observe each room's cleaning.

Sorry to hear about your loss, hope the CS Swat Team fixes things for you...
Also sorry to hear about your experience there. We're currently booked to stay at the BB St. Regis on our honeymoon, beginning on opening day (June 20). Hopefully, the opening will happen as (and when) planned.
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Old Apr 19, 06, 11:03 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 726
Originally Posted by wildblueyonder
Wow, that is really terrible to hear.

We have been going back and forth over the Nui vs. the new St. Regis... I don't know that anything will be different at the SR, but I certainly don't like to hear about a hotel (especially such a premium hotel with such a premium cost) being "aware of", but still having issues with these occurrences...

For $1k/night, you'd imagine they could probably afford to have a supervisor observe each room's cleaning.

Sorry to hear about your loss, hope the CS Swat Team fixes things for you...
Yes, I hope the CS Swat Team arrives soon. I guess the most alarming thing about this whole situation is the continued lack of response I get from everyone involved. Each person has told me how very important this issue is and yet I cannot see anything to make me believe it is true. The dollar value of the earrings and maybe something to make it up to me is so small compared to the goodwill that could be established by such a prestigious property if they took the matter seriously enough to settle it promptly. The GM appeared to genuinely care and get involved, but then it just faded. If anyone has experience with getting something stolen at a Starwood property and would like to share what happened, I'd really appreciate it.
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Old Apr 20, 06, 6:12 am
  #37  
DCF
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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The manager when I was there was Rui Reis, who had previously run El Tamarindo in Mexico.

He struck me as being an excellent manager, who took special care of his clients - he even saw us off onto the yacht when we left. It's not his fault that in French Polynesia it's basically illegal to fire anyone unless you film them in the act of murder, and even then you will provoke a general strike. Staff earn ten times as much as their equivalents in Mexico or Bali, but the cost of living is so high on Bora Bora that the odd one resorts to stealing anything they can get away with.

(Don't forget that the French Polynesians are French citizens. People power in France recently forced the government to overturn its new law allowing employers the very limited right to dismiss employees during two years before the age of 26, because it is considered totally unthinkable that an employee can be fired just because the business is doing badly, or there is no demand for his labor. By and large, French people think that if business is bad it is the boss or the shareholders who should suffer, and that they have no right to pass that suffering onto the staff. So in a hotel context, if all the rooms are empty it is profits which should fall, it is considered unacceptable to lay off the cleaners just because no rooms need cleaning. In this context, you can see why hotels in French overseas possessions in the Caribbean and Pacific struggle to ever attain high quality service, because there is no motivation other than pride for the staff to deliver good service.)

If it wasn't Rui Reis that you dealt with I would suggest getting in touch with him to progress it.

The more fixable problem here is the ill-advised decision to accept huge incentive travel groups, because customer care for people who can't chivvy the staff in French just drops off, e.g. the room service story.

Last edited by DCF; Apr 20, 06 at 6:40 am
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Old Apr 20, 06, 8:28 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Programs: CO; UA; Delta; Hilton Gold; SPG
Posts: 280
Originally Posted by anamaniac
I have been doing some research on our trip to BBN and Sherton Moorea in September. So far, I have found that it is usually about the same price to book the hotel through Starwood than through a travel agent till today...

A (recommended) travel agent recently quoted me a price that was about $500 cheaper for 4 nights @ BBN and $500 cheaper for 3 nights @ Sheraton Moorea (taxes and airport transfers included). I am strongly considering getting this price instead of the original bookings I had.

Quick note: The SPG booking price does not include airport transfer (I don't think) -- not sure if that is free or not, but my guess is its not -- so potentially its more than $500 savings...

Are there any potential pitfalls to booking with the agent rather than SPG? Here are the ones I am aware of:
1. No points (for $1000 total savings, I'd be OK with that -- plus $1000 buys me more points that I would earn for the stays).
2. Cancellations are probably not possible or will come with a big penalty.

Any others?
All SPG award reservations include free R/T transfers; paid rates do not.
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Old Apr 20, 06, 1:01 pm
  #39  
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by DCF
If it wasn't Rui Reis that you dealt with I would suggest getting in touch with him to progress it.

The more fixable problem here is the ill-advised decision to accept huge incentive travel groups, because customer care for people who can't chivvy the staff in French just drops off, e.g. the room service story.
We had a problem with our stay last year, and I dealt with Rui. He went overboard trying to make it up to us.

Something he said, though, makes me wonder about the need for incentive travel groups. Some huge portion of their guests (~50%, I believe) are Japanese, and he indicated that they were coming to the Nui because it was the latest and greatest. With the new (St. Regis, etc) resorts opening, maybe the Nui's business has dropped off, and they're targetting these large groups to fill their rooms.
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Old Apr 20, 06, 4:09 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Originally Posted by jgold
Also sorry to hear about your experience there. We're currently booked to stay at the BB St. Regis on our honeymoon, beginning on opening day (June 20). Hopefully, the opening will happen as (and when) planned.
Sorry, should have been more clear... we're making our first trip to FP for part of our honeymoon in early September. But I'm tapping out my points completely (will have enough for the 5 days at the SR by end of next month), so had figured I'd hold off on booking the SR, just to see the first trip reports and to get some opinions on whether it was actually a better resort than the BBN (room size is obviously bigger, but curious about the facility, the location vs. the Nui, service as it opens, whether the staff steal from you [bad joke] , etc.).

Would love to see your trip report when you get back though...
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Old Apr 20, 06, 5:48 pm
  #41  
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I'm sorry that you had such a terrible time, and that items like housekeeping and room service ruined your stay.

Unfortunately you'll never prove that your jewelry was stolen rather than lost. It's a shame to lose things that are personal and memorable, and it's a shame that the hotel isn't being more responsive. Of course, none of us have seen all of the correspondence. This is clearly an emotional issue and no amount of responsiveness will really fix the stay.

You've already received all your Starpoints back for the stay, though, that seems like it might be as good as it gets?

Originally Posted by spellbound2
thinking it was the best Starwood in the chain with the best service on one of the best islands in the world
Originally Posted by wildblueyonder
For $1k/night, you'd imagine they could probably afford to have a supervisor observe each room's cleaning.
Alas, this is French Polynesia. Most folks assume that spending $600 - $1300/night means that you're going to get 5* service like one of the better Four Seasons or Peninsula properties. But that isn't the case here.

BOB is paradise. But the service is not anything special.
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Old Apr 20, 06, 10:50 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Programs: Starwood Gold née Platinum; AA Plat.
Posts: 465
Originally Posted by wildblueyonder
Sorry, should have been more clear... we're making our first trip to FP for part of our honeymoon in early September. But I'm tapping out my points completely (will have enough for the 5 days at the SR by end of next month), so had figured I'd hold off on booking the SR, just to see the first trip reports and to get some opinions on whether it was actually a better resort than the BBN (room size is obviously bigger, but curious about the facility, the location vs. the Nui, service as it opens, whether the staff steal from you [bad joke] , etc.).

Would love to see your trip report when you get back though...
I'll let you know, assuming it opens on time. Otherwise, you can look forward to my report of the Nui.
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Old Apr 21, 06, 1:42 am
  #43  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Alas, this is French Polynesia. Most folks assume that spending $600 - $1300/night means that you're going to get 5* service like one of the better Four Seasons or Peninsula properties. But that isn't the case here.

BOB is paradise. But the service is not anything special.[/QUOTE]

I fully agree with this comment. The small cafe serving lunch along the road in Bora Bora did impress me more than the expensive resort. I doubt the St Regis will be any different. Rent a bicycle, enjoy the view, have a good swim and don't expect anything from those hotels
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Old Apr 21, 06, 5:19 am
  #44  
Tak
 
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Since I stayed at Bora Bora NUi, I read most articles about the hotel here and there.
My impression was that the hardware is good, location is good, but software, especially general services and room service were fair or poor.
We ordered the room service one day and waited about 2 hours.
Fortunately, there were several Japanese Speaking employees, mainly served Japanese clients, were so helpful and whenever local employees could not satisfy our needs, those Japanese employees came in for all coordination.
I wished they would help not only Japanese customers but also anyone in NUi resort.
Unfortunately, they tend to serve Japanese clients because most Japanese clients can't speak English nor French.
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Old May 31, 06, 2:02 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Bay Area, CA
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Update

Our issues have all been addressed and taken care of and now we are happy to say that we do consider our stay an anomaly and not anything more. Rui Reis, GM for BBN, has helped us so much to resolve this situation, and I feel confident that anyone staying here will have a wonderful time.
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