Hidden Beach Trip Report by D & S

Trip Report by D & SMarch 2013 – D & S

This report reflects one primary issue during the week of March 9-16, 2013 that Hidden Beach guests had with the resort regarding heating the pool and to a lesser extent, the hot tub. Castaways was in contact during the week with the resort’s General Manager about the issue: The statement from management in response was: “The pool at Hidden Beach is heated for the months of December, January and February. The heating equipment was dismantled in March” just prior to the arrival of this group for March 9-16.

Going forward the best we can offer is “current policies indicate the pools should be heated certain winter months… but this is subject to change without notice.”

Resort recap:

All aspects of the resort were well maintained and of the quality we expected from Hidden Beach Resort with the quite notable exception of the pool (extremely cold) and hot-tub heat (tepid to cool). Please see below where we have included the inset directly from the HBR website in their description of the “heated pools”.

The resort is trying to be “green”, which creates a large lack of communication of activities other than someone making an occasional “morning announcement” by the pool or making a handwritten sign and carrying it around to see (beach folks are not included). We would suggest they place an “activities board” near the outside grill for people to refer to (as they do on the Eldorado side). They tried to create a “Naay Spa” event, but due to this lack of communication and only one announcement, was not well attended.

There was also a young man, apparently staff, wearing a name tag “Hermenes” who was told to tell people he was 18, but is quite a few years younger. He was working around the pool area, but most often was just staring/watching the guests, making them feel uncomfortable. We should note that the Entertainment Team worked extremely hard and were trying to come up with some sort of alternate activities as they too agreed with the issues of the pool temp. Regardless of the situation, they had smiles and a positive energy. The cuisine and service on the HBR side by the food/beverage staff was wonderful and most appreciated by all.

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Pool / Hot tub issue:

Within two hours of our arrival, we were approached by other HBR guests (not our group) hoping we could “do something as leaders of a group”. We were inundated with complaints about both the pool and hot tub and the “explanations” that were given by HBR staff over the past 7-10 days. They included, “the pool is broken”, “we use a contract service and they don’t heat it these months”, “the portable heater is broken”, “your travel agent should have known so complain to them” and more. Now, as newly dubbed “guest advocates” we did take the lead for many days in trying to get some form of resolution with Miguel (new manager of three weeks, formerly with Azul resort) and/or Manuel. Miguel was aware of the previous complaints and did state he had a “meeting with the managers” and asked to have the pool heated for six months (he is really hoping for four). He also mentioned more than once, “Spring is next week” – which must mean that they are using this as their “hope it gets warm soon” Mayan prayer?!

We mentioned to Miguel that those playing volleyball were leaving the pool so cold, they have leg cramps (liability) and suggested to Miguel that the resort consider “roof solar panels” as they are quite effective in the cool Pacific Northwest. We also conveyed to Miguel that he needs to “control what he can control” in keeping the hot tubs warmer and not just turn on the heat for a few minutes. By the last three days, the hot tubs were warm and people were happy to finally have one thing positive, and we didn’t have to walk the resort to find someone to keep the heaters going on both tubs! In the final days, the staff was taking the pool temperature in the mid-afternoon, by the tile edge in 10″ of water (shallow end) – not an acceptable or accurate reading location.

It should be noted that the staff advised all guests to voice their complaints to both their travel agent and on Trip Advisor, which we felt was a direct message that the guests were absolutely right in their complaints, but the HBR team had no authority to handle or resolve. Miguel had many names and room numbers and asked us what he should do. We stated that he “should do what is right and appropriate” for the guests, but we do not have authority to recommend any actions as we are not familiar with their company/corporate policy. For those guests in our group – nothing was done.

As we discussed, we do not want this reflected as a Castaways Travel issue, but is in fact a Hidden Beach Resort/El Dorado/Karisma properties problem, and sincerely hope it is resolved for all guests going forward.