My vacation at Pacifica had major ups and downs. Upon arrival, we checked in - to discover that the all inclusive was optional, which was not what the RCI website said.
During check-in, we were reminded that the loss of our bracelets or towel cards would result in substantial replacement costs. To be expected, perhaps, but not the way we should have been greeted.
After check-in, we were shown to our room, when the bellboy forgot to take my luggage, so I started taking it myself. He realized that and finally took it.
We got to the room and the amenities were nice and our room was prepared with rosepetals, wine and cheese which was a very nice touch.
We returned to the reception bar to have a beverage, where we were soon approached by Eva, who told us that she wanted to invite us to breakfast at El Faro, so that we could give feedback about the service and amenities of the property. She said she would offer us a 500 peso discount on our stay if we would be willing to come to the breakfast and provide this feedback. We agreed. Just before she left, she said that they would also want the opportunity to 'show us the property,' which we figured would have been the catch, but we said OK anyway. This was the only reference to what would obviously become a sales presentation, but we agreed anyway. We realized then that her statement that they wanted our feedback was merely a cover for the pitch, but we certainly didn't know what it would become.
The next day, I woke up and turned on the TV. Green. The only color. That seems like it might have been OK since watching the US Open has been part of our anniversary routine every year, but tennis needs more than green to be good. The ball is yellow, for goodness sake! I called reception and told them and they said they would take care of it. Then, I left the room for the day.
While at the bar, I was waiting in line behind one server, when another came to the bar and inserted himself between me and the first server, without speaking a word - much less an apology. I blew it off, since the resort was beautiful, clean and I wasn't inclined to complain. I spent the afternoon at the reception bar where I got exceptional service from Inocente, and the drinks were well made by Victor, I think. So the afternoon wasn't a bust. I was actually impressed and thought things were turning positive.
I returned home late in the day, only to find that the maids had turned off my AC in the morning, so the room was painfully hot and humid. No big deal, I knew how to prevent that little snag.
Went to dinner at Bugambilias that evening, the food was good and Alder was excellent. If you ever visit, make sure he waits on you. We made reservations at 8 and the night was beautiful. They kicked the kids out of the pool, per the posted sign, and that was good, too. We arrived back at Tulipanes at 9:27 to catch the rest of the show - and it was over! I asked what happened and the waiter said that the show was at 9. They weren't even breaking stage at 9:30, they were gone! What show?
Retired for the evening to watch my tennis. More green. No blue, no white, no red and therefore no other colors. Nice.
The next day was my anniversary. Figured to start well with a nice breakfast at El Faro, where I could share the ups and downs of my stay so far. I met Javier, who proceeded to interview me about my experience so far. I told him that they should give raises to Inocente and Alder but that it was going to be a tough sell on the resort, since my TV was still not fixed. I had gotten over being cut off by the server. Javier got Jorge to hear my concerns, and I soon left with the assurance that things would be fixed promptly and that I would reconsider things after my problems were addressed. They promptly got the TV changed out.
I spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful resort and taking a massage, which was not really deep pressure, as advertised. It was nice, but I didn't walk out with the deeply relaxed feeling that I have had from other massages. No big deal, it would be free anyway with the 500 peso credit, right?
I went to El Faro for dinner and I sat at the best table with the most spectacular view. Until the rain came. The retractable roof was in disrepair. They tried, which I appreciate, but I had to move. Most of the food was good, but my chateaubriand left something to be desired since 'medium' apparently meant 'no pink.' It was my anniversary so I wasn't sending anything back.
The balance of the trip was basically similar. Service was mostly excellent, views were nice and the resort was clean. Since I figured that I needed to hide my AC remotes to keep the room cool and dehumidified, I had no complaints on those things. Overall I was satisfied with my experience notwithstanding the food.
The dinner buffet that day was average. Whatever you do, don't get the chicken 'burger.' The food was lukewarm, which turned out to be the case throughout the whole visit. Not a ton of variety, which also turned out to be the case throughout the visit. Don't look for premium proteins of any variety, chicken, beef or certainly not seafood. In fact, the seafood/fish buffet lunch only had 1 kind of fish! Chicken pieces were very small, 'buffalo wings' by American standards. Beef was always small pieces and shavings and you really have to load up on carbs. The bee problem was ridiculous, considering that bee relocation and/or elimination is a shockingly easy thing to do considering that you need nothing more than an empty milk jug, a hanger and some syrup to create a makeshift bee trap that solves the problem. Enough about the buffets, try them if you're not sure. After several attempts at the lunch and dinner buffets, I decided to take the rest of my meals at Bugambilias.
I went back to see the property with Javier on Thursday. I had already eaten breakfast, so as not to take advantage of their generosity again at El Faro, I just wanted to see the property. We went on tour and I saw 2 versions of the Master Sands suites. They were beautiful, well-appointed and luxurious. I told him that I would visit again next year since our trip had been a bit bumpy this time. I hadn't counted it out, but wasn't prepared to buy now. No big deal.
The trip finished nicely until check-out. Check-out time was 10 AM and we asked for late checkout since our flight was at five. The answer was that it would be 300 pesos per hour. Are you serious? We got our bill and asked about the 500 peso credit that Eva had told us we would receive if we went and gave them our feedback and saw the property. The lady at checkout asked if we had a copy of the invitation with the credit memo on it. No, they took that when we went to the breakfast. I had asked Javier about that when they took it, and he told me not to worry.
The woman told us that she couldn't do anything without that certificate. She sat and looked blankly waiting for my reaction. Imagine my reaction as I stared at a bill for 11,000 pesos for my total visit and she told me that there was nothing she could do. I asked her if my $1,000 spent justified her making a phone call to the people upstairs, and she begrudgingly agreed. She called and, you guessed it, no one was up there! It's Saturday and we're not selling! She told us we could go up there and talk to them and could get it ourselves. Going up there is not easy, since - you guessed it - it's Saturday and the gondola is closed on saturday for maintenance.
I told her that if I had to spend my last day running around chasing down this credit that I would not be back next year. She said there's nothing she could do but that she would try calling again. I told her to do that while I went to breakfast.
I came back after breakfast and my wife went to check on the credit. Turns out, I didn't sit through the money negotiation part of the presentation, so we weren't entitled to it. My wife asked why we weren't told that - get this: she said that they have had problems in the past with people feeling pressured during the sales presentation so they tell them about the service review instead. No kidding. She actually told us that they knowingly tell people that they will get an incentive for giving feedback and seeing the property, but that they have no intention of giving the full value of the incentive unless you sit and talk money - because of the pressure! If that's not dishonesty by action, it's certainly dishonesty by omission.
My wife put down her debit card to pay the balance, at which time she was told she needed to turn in her all-inclusive bracelet. Since we've been to Mexico 7 times and had never been denied AI on our last day, she came to ask me about it. She returned to tell her that we would be staying the afternoon, and was told that she needed to turn in the bracelet now and give back the towels or be charged $50 per towel and would have to pay another day of AI. She returned to tell me what happened and the woman refused to return her debit card while she was talking with me.
Really, you kept my wife's debit card as ransom? Needless to say, she was coming to talk to me because I was so hot I knew I had no business in that office or that I would let loose on this woman. Since new arrivals were checking in, I thought it best not to make a scene.
While this was going on, I was now told by the poor waiter that he couldn't serve me anything else. He was nice enough, he had been given a directive by his boss. I understood, closed out and turned in my bracelet. We finally recovered the hostage debit card, turned in everything and left.
Unique Quality: All I can know is that I hope it was worth it to them. I had already said that I would be back next year, presumably spend another $1000, and if they didn't blow it, I would consider buying. As you may have guessed, that's not going to happen. I also know that my wife and I look at the online reviews of every resort we visit and for every 100 guests who see a review like this one, I suspect the following:
2-5 probably wouldn't go because they can't afford to take the chance on a bad visit. Why would you when there are so many good resorts out there.
Another 4 or so weren't sure, but the debit card held hostage carries extra weight, so they're up to around 9.
Another 2 or 3 don't like the idea of being lied to with the offer of incentive so maybe 12 won't go.
That means that 88 don't care about any of this and they just want to go to Ixtapa. I don't blame them, it's beautiful. If you can afford the dice roll, then go see Alder and Inocente and remind them that an extraordinary level of service goes a long way. Isaac is also very good - he deserves an honorable mention.
But if everyone does the AI and spends the same $1000 I did then they're still losing $12,000 on every 100 and that's just bad business. But hey, I didn't have that last lunch buffet (which I wouldn't have eaten) or those last few Jimador margaritas.
I sincerely hope that Pacifica will adopt the pattern of all of the other AI resorts in Mexico and just don't split hairs over that last day. And hey, if people come and sit and talk with your reps for 30 minutes on 2 separate occasions and they can't close - or at least get you to the deal table, you should still conduct your affairs with integrity and honor your incentives. Mistakes will happen (TV and server cutting in queue), and sensible people don't expect perfection. But be smart and think long-term. Commodities are high and beef is expensive. I get that. I told you I would come back next year. Why did you go and blow that?
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