Style over substance or just bad luck?
on Jan 21, 2020
If I had written this review straight after checkout it would be a 1 star, but I thought we would move onto our next hotel, then get home and reflect. We spent 6 nights here over New Year.
Firstly, if you look at any of my other reviews, you will see that I am not someone who is critical. We all read reviews and look and think how petty some people can be, so I try and be balanced. So here we go......
Check in - Very smooth, within 5 minutes we were in the room having been served a nice cool drink. 5/5
Rooms - We had a terrace room which was top floor with a large balcony having Bath, Sun loungers and table/chairs. The room was very nicely furnished and styled in a modern fashion. 5/5
Room Cleaning - Poor, cleaned once in the first 3 days and by the time we came back from the beach it was just a case of have housekeeping deliver new towels, re-stock the mini bar and bring some toilet paper. I did go to reception that night and had a polite but firm conversation about the standards that they set out on a daily basis, but do not adhere to. I suspect a lazy house keeper. I have never failed to leave a tip for the housekeeping, until this trip. 1/5
Food & Drink Quality/choice - Overall very nice, good choice on the main menu which I felt catered well for most tastes. A well stocked bar serving both international and local drinks at reasonable hotel prices.4/5
General hotel appearance - It is obvious that a fair chunk of money has been spent to make this an attractive boutique hotel, credit to the owners, very nice. 5/5
Pool - Decent size and well maintained, perhaps a few more sun loungers needed, we could not get one on the couple of occasions we went down, but this was after 10am. 5/5
Beach - Obviously not part of the hotel, but it is connected so lets say that the beach is a flat deep beach with golden sands and very little activity, if you compare this to the north it is a ghost town, which is nice. I am delighted to say that when we visited the shacks (there are 3 or 4 with 100 yards) I was not offered a pedicure or manicure by anyone, very relaxing 5/5
Service within hotel - This is limited to waiters and excludes security and gardeners etc. Very poor. Service was extremely slow and when you consider there seems an abundance of staff this is surprising. Echoing the thoughts of another review I read, staff just seem happy to stand around talking or trying to look busy. I feel there are two issues here, some staff just have a training need, some staff need replacing, they are just lazy (before you think this is harsh, read the Gala dinner bit further down) Let me make the point that there is a compulsory service charge on all food and drinks bills, about 10% I think.1/5
Front desk staff - I would like to mention Michelle who is a duty manager, she is excellent and when she said something would be done, she got it done and took the time to check things were fine. Very polite. 5/5
The New Year Gala Dinner - Blimey, where do I start! First off this is a compulsory add on purchase. No problem with that, we did one at the CSM in Baga 2 years ago and it was a night I will always remember.
Here goes - On the 30th we asked front desk and beach bar staff what time the event started, one said 7:30pm another said 8:00pm. Not a major difference and we were told there would be postings around the hotel in the morning, if they were I did not see them. (we found out after that we should have had a note through our door, but if you recall the housekeeping comments earlier, it may be connected, as that never happened) We hit the beach area at 7:45pm and I was stunned that the table I said I would like to sit at was indeed held for us.
First things first, lets order some wine! Well after 20 minutes waiting for someone to ask me if I wanted a drink, I went and ordered a bottle of wine at the bar, this turned up about 15 minutes later.
Starters was a selection of 6 or 7 starters that were brought round on hot trays, they were nice. Delivery of these was all over the place, I must have been offered 1 starter 6 times. The problem here is that there was no real plan of where each room would have a table, so you had people asking to sit at a table and being told it was reserved, then moving tables, so the staff could not really have a clue of who they had served or not.
Main buffet - this started at 9:30pm and apparently people were lining up from 9:15pm. (Now I do not know if they were lining up early, someone told me the next day.) We did not know that the buffet was open until 10 when a waiter told us, simply put we were facing the other way and just did not notice, I guess the mythical card through the door would have told us. Once we got the food, which, by the way was varied, we were feeling better.
Entertainment - Fire dancer, Dancers, Band, Disco & Magician, sounds great yes? It should have been, but I do think the entertainment compere did his very best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, here are a few examples......Come on everybody, get up and dance - We are all being served starters....Give the dancers a round of applause - Everyone is at the buffet which faces away from the stage, they did not even know dancers were on stage......Everybody take your lanterns to the beach and light them - 5 mins later with only about a third set off..come back from the beach, the fire dancer is on! I think you get the idea. The problem was it all felt a bit for kids and all very Butlins, what a shame. I could have written a hell of a lot more but we all have a life to live. A night I will certainly forget 1/5.
Check out - As you go through your stay you sign everything to your room and pay on check out, straightforward enough. We did not really run up much of a bill, the gala was paid in advance so it really was just food and drink, but we were out most days. SO on departure we were presented our receipts which I totalled to about 18,500 Rupees, gave my approval and asked for the bill, this was about 23,000 rupees. I questioned the difference and was told that there were some receipts were missing, I suggested that there were none missing as I had actively chased down waiters to get my bills before leaving a table. The lady advised me that there were 2 extra bottles of wine that we had at the gala dinner and the staff were trying to find the bills, I told her politely that there were no bills as there was no extra wine. She said the staff would look for the bills and they would not keep me more than 15 mins. I step aside and give them a few minutes to have a ciggie, come back and make the point that I would like to get going. When told it would not take much longer I suggested that this was their problem, someone was maybe slipping drink out the back door? They finally agreed to settle the bill against the receipts only, the correct bill. Lesson, do not ask someone to check their receipts and try and charge them 25% more. 1/5
Conclusion - Would I stay again? maybe, but not over Xmas or New Year, When they were busy they seemed stretched, despite seeming to have plenty of staff. Was it good value, based on the accommodation yes, but based on the service it was not. We moved on to The Radisson in Candolim for the second part of the trip and the difference in service was crazy. I urge team@beleze to read my review of that hotel and maybe send some staff there for training.