Beautiful Property - Level of Service needs a lot of work
Submitted on: 01/02/2013
Review of le méridien ile maurice - a starwood property - be careful and clear what you ask for.
we've just completed a nine day stay at the le mé ...
Review of Le Méridien Ile Maurice - a Starwood Property - Be careful and clear what you ask for.
We've just completed a nine day stay at the Le Méridien Ile Maurice (Mauritius). There were nine of us staying in 5 rooms. We arrived on the afternoon of 24 December and departed on the afternoon of 2 January 2013 - perhaps the Property's annual peak busy period. The Property itself is beautiful but the level of consistent quality and service requires a bit of work and more effort especially for a Starwood Property.
Here's some information I hope you find helpful.
Pro 1. Ocean and beach views of the rooms are spectacular. Each of our rooms had a view of the Indian Ocean.
Pro 2. The Beach...the property has approximately 3000 feet of beach although not all of it can be considered as usable. Around the "family" section of the hotel, there's approximately 150 feet of sand from the walks to the water with 300 meters of beach in which to walk, sun and play. It is groomed each morning and you'll find it relatively clean. What you will find is that it does have a mixture of soft sand mixed with quite a bit of small lava rock and coral.
Con 3. There is a cordoned off swimming area in the Indian Ocean but the swimming area is quite rocky and hard on your feet (bring swim shoes!). There is a 2-3 foot drop off from the beach into the water so getting in and out can be a challenge depending on height of the tide.
Neutral 4. Service on the beach - There are waiters and they do make regular rounds for food and drink. You need to be prepared to wait - from the time you order your drinks to the time it is delivered can be as much as 20-30 minutes.
Pro 5. The pools - there are a number of them - were warm and clean but perhaps a bit over-chlorinated (which is much better than being under-chlorinated given the number of people (kids) in the pools). For adults - there is the Nirvana Pool which is a large and beautiful infinity pool - very quiet and peaceful (kids under 12 aren't allowed in Nirvana).
Neutral 6. The restaurants - There are a number of restaurants, coffee shops and bars on the property. Both buffet and Ala Carte service is available. The food was usually good and service at times wonderful - other times not. For the same meal depending on day and time - your wait from order to presentation of food could be 5 minutes or 55 minutes. We were on a full-board/all-inclusive food plan (which included non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks). Room service unless specified IS NOT included. I suggest you run the math when choosing full-board or half-board or no-board. Full-Board was the best option for us given that we took all of our meals at the Property. To dine off property - you'll face a 30 minute automobile ride and unless you're dining at another resort property, I didn't see many mid-to-upper scale options.
Positive 7 Location (for relaxing) Negative 7 (for shopping). The location of the hotel and the cost of taxis to the city centers can be expensive unless you negotiate up-front. Don't be afraid to walk away from the first offer. For example the first "quote" for a one-way into Grand Baie was 2500 Rupees (1 USD = +/-30 Mauritius Rupees at the time of review). We countered with 500 Rupees and soon had a nice comfortable ride into Grand Baie for some local color and shopping (visit the Bazaar for the some of the better deals). Our return trip to the Property was 600 Rupees with a 20 minute stop at a Supply Shop. If you are going into Grand Baie - ask the driver to take the route which borders the ocean. I found that route was faster, safer, and more scenic that the one which winds through several of the villages. On-Property shopping - expensive even for replacement necessities such as sunscreen and after-sun lotions - a friend paid $70US for a bottle of SPF 50 sunscreen and a bottle of Aloe Vera (normally one would pay $10-$15 in the USA). A family member paid $20 for a package of 4 Pampers (diapers) which were needed in a pinch. $5 for one Pamper humpf... at a Family friendly resort - is it me or is that over the top? Any resort needs to consider the shops which they allow on their Properties as the total impression of the Property can be impacted by the shops. Having one shop where the prices are reasonable (or even at a slight premium) would probably influence the Property's Net Promoter Score (NPS) toward the positive. Whereas being gouged certainly influences NPS toward the extreme negative - no one likes to be taken for a ride.
Varies 8 Room Types - From my experience - what I booked wasn't what I received. I requested and followed up with the hotel on my accommodation prior to arriving for our stay (document your conversations with the hotel - it did come in handy). I had booked a family suite on the 1st floor thinking the 1st floor would be at ground level (even after traveling in this part of world for years - I forgot the 1st floor is really the 2nd floor by USA standards) and there are no elevators or lifts and few ramps for those that might have difficulties with stairs. Upon check-in, my room turned out to be a Presidential type suite which I'd normally be over the moon with such an upgrade. My suite was large (entry/formal lounge, bath, bar, dining, informal lounge and large patio downstairs) but the sleeping/dressing/master bath area was up a tight circular staircase which even the helpful Bellman strained to get our luggage up to the 2nd floor of the suite.
Varies 9 Quality of Rooms - the Resort is advertised as a 4 to 5 Star Property depending on the source. The pictures of the rooms you'll find on the web are for the most part accurate especially for the non-suite rooms. The Suites (or at least mine) wasn't up to 5 star and quite frankly not even 4 star hotel levels. As a comparison - you'd find the suites at hotels like an Embassy Suites slightly better perhaps with the exception of the bed linens. The furniture in my Suite at the Property was worn and stained and badly in need of upgrade. The refrigerator didn't cool let alone keep drinks cold. There were three positives about the suite - the bed, the patio/view plus the master shower (fantastic water pressure and plentiful hot water plus a shaving bench with separate shower heads) - I've rarely seen better (except in a master bath I purpose designed for a Family member's home).
Varies 10 - Handling of Guest Concerns - After viewing my assigned accommodations, I was needless to say - "not pleased or happy". I immediately went back down to the front desk to have a chat. - the customer relations representatives took the position that I should be happy with the upgrade they had "given me". When that didn't work - they took the position that I had chosen and booked the suite and that it wasn't what I wanted was my fault. When I pulled out the trusty iPAD to pull up the Property's website along with my documentation and proceeded to prove otherwise - they were at a loss as to how to handle me. Not really wanting to deal or discuss the situation with me, the representatives handed me off to a manager. He first took the same tact - again documentation and iPAD were valuable. He finally offered to move me in 4-5 days when an "all-on-one floor" suite became available. Not acceptable - after all who wants to repack and move 4-5 days into a 9 day stay? He then offered free broadband internet for the duration plus consideration for Room Service. Realizing that it wasn't going to get much better - I elected to stay in the assigned suite and face climbing up and down 3 flights of stairs to get to ground level (i.e beach level) plus climb the tight circular stair case each time I wanted to nap, shower and dress or sleep. In my personal opinion, honesty would have been the best way for the hotel to handle the situation - all they would have had to have done was say... "we're over booked on the type of suite you requested and we promised and for that we apologize. We've given you what most guests usually consider an upgrade. We're sorry, it isn't all you hoped it would be. Here's what we're willing to offer you..."
Negative 11 - Internet Access - While the lobby did offer free internet access via WiFi (DoCoMo) - the service was spotty at best. Internet service in my suite was slightly better although it was difficult to nail up and maintain a VPN access. And, I was not pleased that internet access in my suite was tied to a device (i.e. laptop, iPAD, smart phone). Cell coverage was minimal at best.
Neutral to Negative 12 - Overall service... 80% of the staff try their best to provide good to great service but as with most organizations it is the remaining 20% of the frontline employees which cause disconcertion. It is important to note - I believe the 20% Le MÃ©ridien Ile Maurice staff of have a lack of skill, not will. I found most of them to be willing, but they've not been shown or taught how to provide good service. And as we all know, providing great service and exceeding a client or customer's expectations takes great leadership on the part of management, efficient task organization and a considerable amount of will and skill on the part of the staff. All have to be practiced at every opportunity to remain good to great.
Overall - The Property's location is beautiful, the water is warm and protected from the winds. The beach amenities and actives are plentiful. If you are blessed with 80% of the staff try their best to provide good to great service, you'll want to return again and again to this peaceful and tranquil part of the world. On a scale of 1 to 5 - I'd rate the quality of the stay a 3.25 to 3.5. If you used to the high quality of Starwood Properties, you'll have to be prepared to lower your standards else-wise you'll be disappointed and frustrated.
Value For Money
Staff And Service
Old and not managed
Submitted on: 08/12/2012
What a dissapointment!. nothing like the overview. we were on an all inclusive package but half the menu was at an extra charge anyway!. cleanliness with the food was a ...
What a dissapointment!. Nothing like the overview. We were on an all inclusive package but half the menu was at an extra charge anyway!. Cleanliness with the food was a definite worry, chefs handling food from serving tray to plate with their hands!. Poor service around the pool area. Lunch options was either a margarita pizza or a ham sandwich, anything else was an extra charge. Rooms old and neglected. Our basin and bath plugs did not work, curtains did not close, toilet had to be pumped at least four times before it would flush, pillows were old and lumpy, matress was sagging. Main restaurant did not serve lunch as mentioned, bayview restaurant was closed and had workmen hammering and painting all day. Swimming area very small, only waist high and about five meters in. Only one pool, not two as shown on internet. Pathways lights not replaced in some areas, very dark. Penguin club not safe and secure for the kids, different staff members daily, with all kinds of staff coming in and out all day. Will definitely not recommend le meridien or ever return there.
Value For Money
Staff And Service
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