Shame on Sandals!
Here is a letter I wrote to Sandal's founder, "Butch" Stewart after leaving Sandals Regency in disgust.
Dear Mr. Stewart,
I watched your Sandals Chairman’s video prior to booking my recent vacation at Sandals Regency Resort in St. Lucia. Your testimonial was key to my choosing Sandals as my vacation destination. I now request that you take the time to hear my testimonial after spending a horrifying two days at the Regency Resort.
I booked the Romeo and Juliet Penthouse Suite (Room 895) for the period of January 3 – 10, 2009 at a cost of $6,556.90. We arrived at the airport after our helicopter transfer and were told that no one from Sandals was there to meet us, as had been confirmed prior to departure. We were forced to book a taxi and pay for it ourselves. Mildly unsettling and certainly not a promising start to our luxury all-inclusive vacation.
Within minutes of being shown to our suite my partner and I noticed that the walls had mold growing on them and the room was in terrible disrepair. We asked to speak to the management and the head Butler, whose name we believe is Dipac, explained that he realized the room was in need of renovation and that he was happy to report that the rooms were scheduled for renovation in the near future. However, he also informed us that no other rooms were available until mid-week and that if we wanted to transfer we would have to pay to upgrade to this new room. I made it clear to Dipac that I was not satisfied with this solution and felt that we should be moved immediately. He repeated that there was nothing he could do, but he did acknowledge that our complaints were valid.
We have attached photographs to provide proof of the conditions we encountered.
(1) there was mold growing on the walls,
(2) the window screen and window cranks were broken and there was bird feces on the outside of the windows,
(3) the ceilings were stained with watermarks,
(4) the bathroom floor was chipped and there was mold and dirt packed into edges of the floors,
(5) the tracks of the sliding glass windows were disgustingly dirty and filled with mold,
(6) the furniture showed years of use and wear and the chair fabrics stained.
We spent the night in that room, against our wishes, and awoke to an intense smell of mold and must and with a floor covered with a heavy layer of condensation. I almost fell trying to get out of bed because the floors were so slippery. My partner, who has strong reactions to smell, was in extreme distress. I had made it clear to the resort, prior to our arrival, that we required no scents in the room. There is a note to this effect in our Butler pre arrival log. We had to leave the room immediately to get away form the mold smell.
We quickly made the decision that we could not expose ourselves to the mold in our room After trying to get online to get an immediate flight home, we realized that the promised “in room” internet service did not exist. We had to walk to the main lobby and conduct our business in full view of the management. Our inability to deal with this matter in private caused us concern. The management had made it clear to us the prior day that they were unable or unwilling to accommodate our need for a room without mold. Here we were some three thousand miles from home on an island with no US embassy. We were completely in the power of your resort to meet our safety and health needs.
Due to our fear of potential retribution, we chose to use the excuse of a family emergency to appease the management and obtain their help getting home quickly. In truth, the emergency was that we feared for our own health and safety. Martina, from the main desk, worked diligently to get us a flight home. Unfortunately, the soonest flight available was the next day (Jan 5th) and at a cost $1,800.
Thus, we were forced to stay one more day at the resort. We attempted to make the best of this final 24 hours. We first went to the dive center and learned that, contrary to what is advertised, the scuba was not free and required a $75 lesson fee. Several people waiting in line were upset about this “hidden” fee. While waiting our turn, we realized that the dive staff was completely disorganized and unprofessional. We did not feel comfortable trusting these individuals with our safety in a boat and under water.
We chose, instead, to spend time at the main pool and on the beach. You will see in the attached photos that the pool, which you advertise as a stunning gem on the island, is, in fact, in serious disrepair with cracked tiles and rust stains. The photos that you use in your video show a pool in perfect condition with water fountains flowing. The same fountains that work so well in the video remained off during our entire 3 days stay. During our several hour stay at the pool and on the beach we repeatedly smelled sewage and had to move to new locations. We attempted to get towels and were told there were no clean ones available. Imagine, a “luxury” beach resort with no towels. We visited the Red Lane Spa, advertised as a luxury spa experience, and paid $260 for a couple’s massage. When I tried to shower before my massage, I learned that the spa had no running hot water. I went to the spa attendant and was told I would have had to walk up the Bluff to my room if I wished to shower first. I was not told this when I booked the massage, or even when I entered the spa, but rather after I had disrobed and could not get a refund.
One area of service that I will not go into in great detail, but that certainly deserves your immediate attention was the restaurant service and food quality. We were appalled at the low quality of the meals we received. Suffice to say that even at your most prestigious restaurant, Le Toc, our meals were disappointing, to say the least.
I feel compelled to note the two shining stars of your staff, the head butler (Dipac) and the office manager (Martina). Clearly you have numerous talented and capable staff, if only you would invest in the infrastructure renovations required to bring this resort to the level they, and more importantly the consumers, deserve. Here is one example of what I mean. We were told that you had just arrived at the resort as we were about to leave. This individual divulged to us his hope that your toilet backed up so that you would understand how seriously compromised the infrastructure really was. He was very pessimistic that the management would permit you to see all the problems that existed. He truly loved working at Sandals but felt horrible about how the guests were being “ripped off” and then left with bad feelings about his island. If only you could promote this caring individual to a position where he could make a difference!
One final comment about our safety concerns. As we put our luggage into the taxi for the ride to the airport we noticed that my luggage had been tampered with. We found a large bag of candles packed into one of the compartments. We asked about this and were told that our butler, Shanna, had placed the candles in my bag as a convenience while she carried them to the front desk. She then forgot to remove them. What Shanna did not seem to understand was that she had violated my right to privacy. She had opened my luggage. How do I know what else she put in my bag, or took out. I had to unpack and search for any further “hidden” items to be sure I was not carrying something illegal into customs. You advertise highly trained professional butlers in your video. When I brought this matter to their attention they laughed at me.
Let me end this letter with some information about myself. First, I am an experienced traveler. As a professional biologist, I have traveled to numerous developing countries, including some with very meager accommodations, such as Kenya, Tanzania and the Galapagos Islands. I am not fearful of staying in primitive conditions. I have slept in tents in Africa and in grungy hotel rooms in the Galapagos. In both of those cases, I got exactly what I had been promised – meager accommodations at meager prices. In contrast, at your resort I got dismal, unhealthy accommodations for the price of a luxury resort. In fact, in all of my travels, I have never encountered the lack of concern for my health and safety as I experienced during my brief stay at your resort. It was clear that the management had no interest in providing the “luxury” service you so proudly boast in your video. views
An Excellent jumping point for touring St. Lucia
Sandals is an All Inclusive resort that we first tried in Jamaica. The service at Sandals is outstanding and (almost) everything is included.
The Diving was fantastic, get them to take you to Fantasia if you go.
Food and drink is always great at Sandals, the Japanese restaurant here is a real treat.
Even though Sandals is All Inclusive some things are not included in the price:
Third Party Excursions
Gift Shop or stores
Rental Cars. The huge pool and on-site golf course are probably the biggest attractions of the resort. There are also quite a few bars and restaurants to choose from.
You also can visit the other Sandals resorts and eat at their restaurants as well. The Halcyon is the closest of the two other Sandals.. Because you are south of Castries you can tour most of the island without having to wade through the traffic that jams up Castries during the day.
Sandals Regency, Just Right
The Sandals Regency is an All-Inclusive resort, and in my opinion very high-class. We loved our room. The food and drinks were fantastic and the staff was delightful. There is TONS to do (even though I would have been perfectly fine laying on the beach all day or in one of their many beautiful pools). The staff was helpful in choosing fun "excursions" which are like day or half-day trips to a specific activity. There are 2 other Sandals resorts on the island. You have the ability to travel (FOR FREE!) among all the 3 sandals resorts on the island. There is a shuttle bus that goes to all the resorts on like 15 minute intervals.
We like the Regency the best. It was nicer than the Halcyon, but not as expensive as the Grande. In my mind, the Regency was already super-high class, so I didn't even care that we weren't staying at the Grande.
St Lucia - Sandals Regency
My wife and I just returned from our honeymoon in St Lucia. We stayed at the Sandals Regency Golf & Spa resort. The resort is fantastic - expansive, colorful (both flowers and decor), with no lack of activities. About 95% of all the guests on the resort are newlyweds. If your on your honeymoon, you'll have no problems meeting other couples. We made some friends we look forward to visiting (hi Cindy & Jason!).As far as recommendations: you do not have to stay in the best room to have fun. We stayed in the Waters Edge suite, which was great! But we spent so little time in the room. We could have saved $$$ and had just as much fun; spend at least one day visiting the other Sandals resorts. The Grande is the newest, and it looked to be the most elegant. We regret only having dinner there one night! The beach at the Grande looked far superior to the Regency's, and I hear the Grande's watersports were better; go on Excursions!!! These are the trips Sandals endorses. They do cost extra money, but they are worth it!We went on the Soufrierre (spelling?) Day Adventure which took you on a catamaran around the island, on a bus tour through the drive in Volcano (that smells like rotten eggs!), and snorkeling. It turned out to be a great all day booze cruise!! Then we took the Day Trip to the Grenadines. This was by far and away the high light of our trip. The trip begins with a ride in a 19 passenger airplane that was kinda scary, but not bad. Then a catamaran trip to four or five small islands. They take you to a place called the Tobego Cays. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen!! Blue & Green water, snorkeling, coral, fish, mountains, all in eight feet of water!! Word can;t describe it, so I took 50 pictures...I know this is long. If you have any questions, or want to see any of the 1000 pictures I took, e:mail me at email@example.com.
Best vacation ever
We went to Sandals St. Lucia Golf Resort for our 4 year wedding anniversary and it was the best vacation we have ever taken. The resort staff was so great, the food was good, the drinks were good, and everything exceeded our expectations. We stayed in a standard room and it was more than nice and we even lucked out with a little bit of an ocean view. The beach was very nice and so was the pool. The only thing I missed was room service and drinks being served on the beach.
Defiantly take the free snorkeling trip the resort offers. Our favorite tour we booked with the hotel during our stay was one to Maria Island run by Tom with Trimline tours. I recommend this tour to everyone.
Towels at the pool were hard to come by and the hot tub was broken 2 of our 7 days. The check in procedure took a bit too long as we sat in a library waiting and waiting. The entertainment was good as well. I would defiantly recommend this hotel and this island to everyone.
Our Holiday was a disaster from the start they couldnt find us a room when we arrived at midnight it took them over 2 hours and then it wasnt the one we had paid for eventually they moved us 2 days later. the room was in disrepair and in badly need of a face lift certainley not 5 star. we had cockroaches coming up the plug hole and our plug consisted of a piece of metel with a six inch rusty screw throught it with we photographed in horror. The resort equipment is very old and does need replacing and we found the birds and their dropping in the pavillion dining room very unpleasant, food always being left uncovered attracted cats and birds. Both my husband and I were`nt very well at all for most of our stay. As for the weddings it was like a conveyour belt one in one out and the pavillions they used for them were also in need of repair and cleaning, the chairs were extremely dirty and i am glad we didnt choose to get married their which we nearly did. It may be a couples only resort but the beach is open to the public and was full of children most of the day, and i can honestley say we didnt meet one couple who hadnt complained at least a couple of times with very little being done to rectify any problems, I could go on and on we were at the resort for 2 weeks and after 1 i was desperate to go home and cryed for almost a day because we felt so ill and miserable this was our honeymoon never again and i wouldnt ever recommend this hotel to my worst enemy.
Nice place but we prefered another hotel just around the corner
I have stayed at a lovely 3 star hotel just around the corner from this hotel but thought that I would go up market and stay in a 5 star hotel for a change. I wasted loads of money doing this as the other hotel is by far the best. The entertainment room had no windows at all although it was air conditioned.The food is reasonable but really not much better than the 3 star hotel.The beach at Sandals I must admit is much better as it is lovely white sand not dark volcanic sand like round the corner hotel. I and my husband will return to the 3 star hotel this fall.
Disappointed wish we stayed at the Grand
My husband and I just returned from St. Lucia. We were on a much needed vacation away from our two children for the first time in 7 years. It was our 10th anniversary. We had heard great things about Sandals resort and liked the idea of all-inclusive, and no children. We were disappointed in our experience. The resort is nice, but a bit hoaky. We are 34 and 37 years old, and we were by far the oldest couple there.
Many people on their honeymoon. Which was fine, but it was a little too much like spring break for us. We were looking for a relaxing time.
There was a lot of loud thumping music constantly going on at the main pool with drinking games etc. We usually stayed at the other quieter pool up on the bluff. The beach was a bit disappointing, very small and not the white sand and blue water that they show you in the brochure.
The food was so-so. Don't expect excellent food. Kimonos was great and a really fun time. Arizona's was below mediocre, and the wandering stray cat around while we ate was a bit unappetizing. Le toc was better than most others but not great. Make reservations as soon as you get there because they book quickly. The staff is mostly fun and very friendly. Service is slow and sometimes you may ask for something and never actually get it. I'm not sure if the languae barrier was the problem or if they just forgot-they were very friendly so I can't imagine it was on purpose. One day we visited The Sandals Grande. It seemed much nicer (although we didn't see the rooms) the common areas were beautiful and the beach and water were more like you expect in the Carribean, white sand and clear blue water. If we were to go again we would definitly go to the grande instead. It was not as "spring breaky" as the golf and spa and it also has a nice spa. The golf and spa is great for young couples who want to party. But, if you want a relaxing romantic get away I would steer away from it and look into the Grand.
Overall it was not a horrible experience, but I wish that I had paid closer attention to the reviews. I may have chosen somewhere else. If you do go, the Soufrier tour of the volcano and snorkeling is worth the trip. The golfing is fun. Not a spectacular course but fun and the caddies are great! If you want to play tennis you will probably be disappointed. The surface is weird and they are not kept up very well.
The main tennis building is always closed and you cannot get a beer or drink there after- like it shows in the brochure. The rooms on the bluff are nice and are much more quiet than the others. I can't imagine staying near the main pool. It must be constant noise all night long. I hope your stay is better than ours, but before you book your trip look into the Sandals Grand!
Sandals Regency or Sandals Halcyon?
Just wondering which Sandals resort is nicer? I know the Regency is part of the Signature collection and the Halcyon is not, but which one really has more to offer? I know I can stay at one and play at all three, but I'd really like to stay at a nicer one if I can. (We would stay at the Grande if we could but it's a little too expensive). I think the Regency is a little closer to Castries; does that mean there may be more to do off of the resort and is it not so secluded? I know I've been posting a lot of questions on here, I really appreciate all of the replies! I thank you all for helping make our honeymoon special!
Re: Sandals Regency or Sandals Halcyon?
Sandals Regency is better they offer more restaurants & bars & you have the golf course onsite (if you are into golf=0)and as you say it is closer to town.
Halcyon is a smaller more intimate property, which in turn some consider more romantic.