A Week (er, Six Days) in Paradise, Sept 2018

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A Week (er, Six Days) in Paradise, Sept 2018

Postby Meet ya on the beach » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:38 am

This was our first trip to Desire Pearl, and we visited 1 - 8 Sep 2018. We will be back.

LOSE A DAY, GAIN AN UPGRADE
Before we left for our trip I had been in correspondence with the resort manager about a few issues (things we’d read about in recent reviews that had us concerned), and so he knew my name. When I lost my passport the day before we were to leave (yup, true story), I let them know we’d be (unfortunately) arriving a day late (fortunately I live in Canada’s capital and so was able to get an emergency passport replacement the next day). When we arrived on Sunday, we were greeted with an upgraded room (newly renovated, with a lovely private plunge pool) in a great spot, and the happiness began. Spoiler alert: the happiness didn’t end.

BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK AT, BEAUTIFUL TO BE AT
The grounds themselves are immaculately kept and very lush and welcoming. The buildings are well-maintained, and the rooms are inviting. The only small knock on the rooms is the shower: it’s a tiny shower with a single standard shower head, and could be more inviting with (at least) a hand-held shower head to reach those hard-to-reach places. The subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) theming throughout sets a classy/fun tone, and that plays consistently from the restaurants to the disco. The pool area is well designed, with lots of room to either socialize energetically or float serenely. The only knock is the current state of the seaweed on the beach (over which the resort has absolutely no control): it’s called Brown Sargassum from the Sargasso Sea, and is invading parts of the Caribbean this season as a result of climate change. I hope it’s seasonal, because I really feel for the tourist industry, it makes the beach unusable, and there’s a pervasive smell. Like living in a town with a pulp mill, you get used to it…but I’d still rather not get used to it. Unfortunately, it’s the new reality in the world, until and unless we come to our senses.

GOOD FOOD, GREAT SERVICE
We’d read some reviews that noted a decline in quality of food at the resort. Frankly I don’t know what those folks experienced, but for our (frequent vacationer) money the food was good to excellent (Unik was our favourite spot, but all the restos did well), and the service was uniformly outstanding. Special attention on my birthday, fun servers, dedicated staff, caring…we couldn’t have asked for anything more. The buffet was better than most, and the a la carte meals were well-prepared and lovingly presented. Absolutely no complaints.

THE PLAYMAKERS MAKE THE PLAY
Desire Pearl has entertainment staff of a very special kind: entertaining! They encourage play, they encourage involvement, they’re respectful, energetic, positive, open, and to a person engaging and interested. They all deserve recognition and reward for the absolutely great job they do, with each one standing out in a different and unique way. From Vincente to Roberto to Shirley, Candice, and Chanel, Kia, Charlie and the rest, the Playmakers did a great job. And not just during the day, but they also really kicked off each night’s fun at the disco with enthusiasm and energy, getting the party started in just the right way. They are a treasure.

YOU WANT ME TO SIGN WHAT NOW?
So, the time came for the membership sales pitch, a staple at many resorts. We wanted to visit the sister resort (Desire RM) and the cost would be covered if we sat and listened to the pitch, so we booked it. And you know what, it was actually going pretty well, my wife and I weren’t completely put off. The presenter was pleasant, polite, not pushy at all, and we were reassured that if we said yes they would love us, and if we said no they would love us. It’s all good. Well, until the end, when we actually didn’t say no, but rather said that we wanted to take time to do our own research, some due diligence, and make our decision later. And can we just take this piece of paper that you wrote numbers down on to further that research? What, no? It actually got tense and testy, and once we didn’t say yes it became quite dismissive and uncomfortable. Absurd, to be frank, and not at all pleasant. If Desire Pearl claims to be a 5-star resort, they should stop doing 3-star things like this.

THE BOTTOM LINE: WE LOVED IT
Fortunately the relatively small negative of the Pitch is easy to avoid (just don’t do the pitch), and didn’t impact the core reason we went. In all other ways this vacation met or far exceeded our expectations, and we will absolutely be returning at our first opportunity. If this type of resort is your type of thing, this is the best example of it we’ve seen and would highly recommend it to anyone. Just do it
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Meet ya on the beach
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Re: A Week (er, Six Days) in Paradise, Sept 2018

Postby Explorer79 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:18 pm

Nice report, glad you had a great trip!

Well, until the end, when we actually didn’t say no, but rather said that we wanted to take time to do our own research, some due diligence, and make our decision later. And can we just take this piece of paper that you wrote numbers down on to further that research? What, no? It actually got tense and testy, and once we didn’t say yes it became quite dismissive and uncomfortable. Absurd, to be frank, and not at all pleasant.


They really continue to build the trust, I see. I'm sure you came out of that with a warm and fuzzy "I'm ready to spend lots of money" kinda feeling. Not. Foot shooting at its finest. It actually says a lot about the whole thing if you unpack all that and really think about it.
\m/
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Re: A Week (er, Six Days) in Paradise, Sept 2018

Postby Meet ya on the beach » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:33 pm

Explorer79 wrote:They really continue to build the trust, I see. I'm sure you came out of that with a warm and fuzzy "I'm ready to spend lots of money" kinda feeling. Not. Foot shooting at its finest. It actually says a lot about the whole thing if you unpack all that and really think about it.


Yeah, it's a problem, but I see that the last few reviews on TripAdvisor also call it out (as I did in my direct note to management post-trip), and so perhaps they'll consider going softer on their sell. Or not. We just have to be better and saying 'no thanks' and going back to the pool bar. :)
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Re: A Week (er, Six Days) in Paradise, Sept 2018

Postby FunVancouverCouple » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:55 pm

Was great to meet you guys there...we thought the food was improved compared to our January and May trips though beach was a disaster...

Hope the rest of your week was fun.

Tim and Cris
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Re: A Week (er, Six Days) in Paradise, Sept 2018

Postby Meet ya on the beach » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:01 pm

FunVancouverCouple wrote:Was great to meet you guys there...we thought the food was improved compared to our January and May trips though beach was a disaster...

Hope the rest of your week was fun.

Tim and Cris


Hey guys, it was great meeting you as well! The rest of the week was great (except the beach, as you note), but too short. So we went to Hedo for 4 days last week. There was no seaweed there, and we got to swim. :)

Cheers, John and Mary
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