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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

An Open Letter to AMResorts

Five days ago, while still on vacation, I took the time to email AMResorts.  They are the parent company of Secrets.  I wasn't expecting anything to come from it, but I should have at least gotten a token response.  

It's been five days and I've have not received a response,

The following email was sent to :

Why do I get the feeling that as soon as you saw the subject line to this email, you shuddered a little? :)

I don't have to tell you what it's like down here.  No doubt you've been monitoring most of the travel sites and cringing at the reviews.

I haven't seen a review yet that honestly detailed what it's like to vacation here.  My wife and I are half way through our "unlimited luxury".  The experience has been bad enough to forever sour our opinion of Secrets.  I didn't think that was possible before coming here.  I even saw the reviews and thought I was prepared.  It's hard to express how disappointed we are.

I won't go into a lot of details.  I already cataloged them on my travel blog.  There are a few that I have to point out, because I feel they are shockingly bad.

Check in was the worst travel experience of my adult life.  The only travel experience that was worse was when I was a kid and was involved in an accident while on vacation.  All my front teeth were knocked out back then.   This experience comes right behind that.  At least back then someone cared about what happened.

A month or so ago, my credit card was compromised and automatically blocked and reissued.  I thought nothing of it.  It's not the first time I've been through that.  It's never been an issue before.  Can you guess what happened when I went to check in?  I don't feel like writing it again, so here is an excerpt from by blog:

Everything goes well until they ask to see the credit card I booked the room with.  I pull out the card that is tied into that account.  Not good enough.  They need to see the ACTUAL card.  That poses a problem.  That ACTUAL card was compromised and automatically blocked by the bank to prevent fraud.  I explain that.  They don't care.

I try to get pull up my statement on my phone.  Too bad!  I had never accessed my account on that phone.  Even with Wifi, I can't get in.  Being in a foreign country, I can't text the security code back without inuring an expense.  They don't care.

I ask if they can call the bank.  They do.  It takes the lady a while but she manages to connect to my bank.  They tell her that it's the same card and that they see the charge on the account.  Guess what...they don't care.  They want to see something physical.

At this point my wife asks if there is anything that can be done,  The lady shrugs.  What kind of a reply is that?  Guess what my wife did?  She went into dragon mode and demanded to speak to someone else.

I pull up my Tripit Confirmation!  That would work right?   Nope.  Not good enough!

Before I go further, let me outline what Secrets has in their hand:

1. Both our Passports.
2. A rep from the bank saying that it's the same account and that they see the charge paid.
3. The confirmation email that shows the total amount paid.
4.  The credit card assigned to that account.

Two different supervisors come over and hem and haw over it.  Their offer is to put a hold on our card for the full amount of the room (not the deal amount we paid for it) and then see if the booking office can do anything in a couple days when they are open again.  That would involve us putting our vacation on hold when Monday hit.

Thankfully, the girl at the bank broke the rules for us and emailed us the credit card statement that showed the transaction.

Check in time - 1hr.  Annoyance level - considering writing off Secrets for life.  At the very least we totally wrote off going to the spa or the private dinner.  We were not spending a single extra dollar after putting us through that nonsense.

So we get to the room.  I think it's easier to say what's working than whats broken.  It really looks like our room was in the process of getting renovated when someone stopped, cleaned up, and checked us in.

Our phone is the biggest issue.  It's broken.  We've reported it three times and not a single person has come to look at it.  Every time we want to order room service, we have to go to the front desk.  For breakfast, we have to ask for a card at the front desk.  That's worked two out of three times.

I'm not going to go into the service.  It's not possible that you do not know how bad it is.  People are complaining about it everywhere.  I'd rather take the time to single out two employees.  In five days, I've found only two employees who are Secrets level employees.  Balbino is a server who works in the Market Cafe and often in a supportive role at the other restaurants.  Anjimara is a waitress we've run into at Bordeaux.  Those are the only two who have been good.

The front desk, so far, hast been the worst of the batch.  They never smile and when I have to approach them, I feel like an inmate asking for an exemption.

You know an experience is bad when someone stops in the middle of their vacation to write a letter like this.

I fully expect that you will send a token response before filing this away.  If I email you, maybe a couple of people find out.   To date, my review of Secrets St. James has over 23,000 views.  On average it grows by six hundred per month.  My room and resort review of Playa Bonita is going up right next to it.

I know in the grand scope that 23,000 isn't a whole lot, but it makes me feel better knowing that I can warn so many people about this place.

To be honest, after my experience here, I can't imagine traveling to another Secrets.  It's too risky.  This place has devalued the Secrets name to such a degree that it's become almost meaningless.  I can't justify picking Secrets over Sandals, Club Med, or another chain.

Five days is more than enough to get a response back.

If I ever hear anything back, I'll let everyone know.

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