We travelled to Margarita Island on January 16th, for two weeks at this resort. We were here 20 years ago, but having read recent reviews, our expectations were low. I cannot begin to describe how bad our experience was. One member of our group was Venezuelan and I'd like to point out that the issues I describe as unacceptable are not just based on my North America standards.
We attempted to check in early, and after a long wait, took 30 minutes to fill out the paperwork (nothing is prepared in advance here). We were told to return at 2:30 or 3pm, which we did. After waiting in line again, we were told to return at 4pm. Given the long wait times, why have everyone show up at 4pm to check in? We learned later in the week that there are currently huge vacancies at this property. At 4pm, we waited in line for 45 minutes to check in...a process which still took 20 minutes. We learned throughout our stay here that the front desk is seriously understaffed. (Also, no one answers the phone if we called, so we had to come to the lobby and wait in line for any issues that arose during our stay).
Our room didn't look very clean, and the furnishings were painfully worn and broken. The security lock on the door had been pulled off - the screw holes still visible. This turned out to be a problem, as twice over the first 48 hours, staff entered out unit, without knocking, despite the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. We ended up propping a chair under the doorknob when in the room to secure the door.
The suite had a safe in the closet, but no locking cylinder. Thankfully, our Spanish speaker was our lifeline when communicating with the front desk, as we were unable to find anyone at the hotel who speaks English. We learned that the cylinders need to be rented from the front desk for a cost of $3. We didn't know if this was for the entire stay or per day, but we had to get one at the front desk. So, back down to wait in line. It was 50 minutes until it was our turn. Sadly, the hotel is out of cylinders to rent out, but were "lucky" that we have a safe at all, apparently. The "solution" provided to us was to lock all of our valuables up in the hotel safe, and whenever we want anything, we could just ask one of the staff to open it for us. Of course, we'd have to stand in line every time we want access to their safe.... Otherwise, we could check back daily with the desk to see if anyone checking out turned in a cylinder. (In the 6 days we were here, no cylinders became available).
We also had two tv's in the unit, but only one remote. We asked for a second one but were told that the hotel was "out of batteries".
A few other details:
Info - no info given to us about the resort when checking in, such as restaurant or pool hours, ice, laundry facilities, wifi,etc... This includes no emergency information, such as the location of the fire exits.
Ice - we had to call the front desk and ask, and were told that there was an ice machine on 6th floor. (We were on 5). When that one quit working, we called again and were directed to a machine on 11. We alternated looking for ice at both of those spots on most days. When neither was working, we got a bucket of ice from the bar. On our last day, the front desk directed us to a machine on 9th floor. Every day it was like a treasure hunt.....
Kitchen - our sad little kitchen contained a variety of mismatched pots with broken and loose handles, a badly dented frying pan that everything stuck to, three coffee mugs, one glass, chipped plates, etc. For some reason, a hotel staff member had to personally attend and go over the inventory with us - there was nothing worth stealing.... The fridge had a lean to the rear but that helped keep the door shut. It actually worked okay. The cooktop was a mystery...three out of four burners worked (only two hot enough to boil water) and the knobs were completely illegible. We had to guess which knob worked which burner, and which way to turn the knob for high or low heat. The plastic garbage was covered in dirty splashes from previous inhabitants.
Bathroom - yuk. Taps and fixtures were all water stained and corroded. The bidet was rusty. The toilet ran continuously. We asked the front desk to have someone attend to fix it as it was quite loud. Someone came and the toilet worked until the first flush. Bathroom door was badly delaminated..pieces fell off the bottom of the door. Mildew on the shower curtain. No towels, ever. We had to call daily for towels to be dropped off, and we'd receive sometimes one set, or three, often no bath mat...different every day.
Bedroom - the rattan headboard was fuzzy with mould. A leg fell off the bed one night and when we called to have it fixed, it was obvious from the number of holes in the frame that this has happened before. The extra sheets for the fold out couch were mildews, and contained a stain that we hate to think might have been blood. Black mould inside the fabric lampshade. I have dozens of photos of our suite...
Furnishings - this unit is rated for occupancy of four people, yet there were only three deck chairs. Deck chairs were missing the plastic bottoms in the legs, and as a result, anyone moving chairs creates a screeching across the deck tiles. The chair webbing is dirty and containers many holes. The table was similarly dirty and had cigarette burns in it. The entire balcony was dirty, and the exterior covered in mould. The patio doors didn't close.
Pool - the pool is absolutely beautiful. If this resort has spent any effort on maintenance, it's in this area. The landscaping is very nice too
Beach - small and not maintained. Beach furniture was all dirty and broken.
Staff - this place is horribly understaffed and there is no apology for the long lines, insufficient furnishings, or any other problems encountered.
There was no gym, even though the website states that there is (it's "under renovation" and has been for many months...no one working on it). Same with the guest laundry facilities, but there is laundry service. Wifi, when available, is accessible only around the pool and lobby.
Power outages are not uncommon in Venezuela so we learned to live with these. The lack of water after the 5th day was the final straw for us ...running down to the pool with garbage bins to get water to flush the toilets. Again, no apology from the staff and no suggestions or ideas about resolution. They just don't care. If it were just a few of these problems, we could have made the best of it. But given the safety issues (lack or locks, safe, etc), filth, lack of water - this was not the vacation we paid for.