Ultra Luxury, Not !
Auto Club of Southern California (AAA) Customer ServicesDear Auto Club,First of all, I want to thank you for your recent travel assistance but would also like to take the opportunity to provide some feedback.On September 1, 2002 my fiancée and I departed Los Angeles Airport and arrived in Montego Bay Jamaica for a seven-night stay at Sandals Ocho Rios. In our opinion the flight and service were what we expected. Upon arrival and after clearing Customs, we were greeted by Apple Vacations representatives at the airport and then conveniently guided directly to a waiting Sky Cap to handle our baggage. The representatives presented these Sky Caps as if they were supplied by Apple Vacations or the Sandals resort to assist us with our bags. We soon discovered that they were independent employees after they practically begged for a tip. Our transportation to the resort was waiting directly outside the airport doors, which was a very short walk for us as well as the Sky Cap. The bus ride from the airport to the resort was long and bumpy but this was to be expected.We arrived at the resort at about nine in the morning with no idea of what to do next. We immediately approached the registration counter to get our room. It was at this time that a Sandals host sat us down where we completed some registration paperwork. It appeared that we had arrived too early for any rooms to be ready so the hosts guided us towards breakfast and told us to check back in an hour for our room. Although we were exhausted, we were also hungry. It turned-out later that the host should have also informed us about the resort?s orientation that was also occurring just about the same time. It happens that we were not able to attend another orientation until later in the week. Following breakfast, we returned to the front desk and received the key to our room. Even though our room was ready, it appeared that the bellmen were not. It was not busy but we patiently waited for about ten to fifteen minutes to be escorted to our room and only until I asked for directions to our room so we could take the bags ourselves, did we get some attention.Upon entering our room, we immediately realized that this was not a ?Luxury Resort.? The furniture was old with chipping paint. Additionally, our ?No Smoking? room had cigarette burns all over the counter tops and dressers and the carpet was stained in many places. I don?t believe I?ve ever stayed in a more neglected room in all my travels. It was obvious that they had done very little in maintaining their rooms besides providing the normal housekeeping services. Upon inquiring, we discovered that moving to a new room would cost us additional money and valuable vacation time. We also quickly returned some of the provided critique forms but also noticed that the box to place them in was over stuffed making it obvious that no one was paying attention to them either. In addition to this, we never saw an Apple Vacations representative at the resort. It would have been nice to speak to one.Unlike our room, the grounds of the resort were very well kept, although, the set-up and location of facilities we found were a little odd. There was only one main swimming pool and it was not user friendly. It was a lot smaller compared to the other resorts and didn?t allow for guest participation in games or social activities. We spent most of our time at the Beaches resort next door. We also found ourselves taking the shuttle to Sandals Dunn?s River resort to enjoy those facilities. We enjoyed social activities at Dunn?s River so much more we even inquired into moving over but the cost was substantial. However, the beach area at Ocho Rios was small but very nice.Being that we aren?t picky eaters, the restaurants turned out to be average. A little more selection and the ability to accommodate more than a couple people a sitting would have been more enjoyable. As you know it is widely advertised that the rules to these resorts were that no gratuities were to be offered or accepted. This apparently didn?t include the bars. We soon discovered that tipping was a normal practice and almost blatantly expected by some of the bar tenders. Even though they attempted to conceal it, it was obviously dictating the quality of service that was provided. The selection was also very limited; I enjoy drinking beer, so when I discovered that there was only one type of beer being offered I was surprised. Additionally, this one type of beer was only offered from the tap, which caused it to be flat. If I wanted to drink another type of beer, I would have to purchase it from the resort store. At one point, I saw other guests with bottled beer and requested some but was told that they were supplied this through their rooms at an additional cost.Entertainment at the resort was very amateur. We only attended because there were no other activities offered. Additionally, at Ocho Rios, the planned beach parties, contests and afternoon music was enjoyable, but only lasted for what seemed like a few minutes. They spent more time setting up and taking down the equipment then providing the actual entertainment. We enjoyed the one included tour to the Falls and inquired about going on some others but didn?t because they were way too expensive.We have traveled to Mexico a few times and have been on a few Cruises. We very much enjoy resort travel especially carefree ?All Inclusive,? resorts where there is little to worry about and allot of opportunity to relax. As you can tell by our experience, we came away from this vacation very unsatisfied in almost every aspect. Although the services provided by the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) were great, I believe that it is only fair that both Apple Vacations along with the Auto Club be aware of initiating customer interest in these poorly run resorts. It is my belief that our money could have been better spent at a true ?Ultra Inclusive? Resort.Again, thank you for the opportunity to provide my opinion and I hope that it assists you in future business interests and the way you provide customer service.It should be noted that this letter was directed to the Auto Club, Apple Vacations and Sandals Resorts. Only the Auto Club and Apple Vacations responded back.