From being on the resort, I ran into people who were used to the old style of running things and the old restaurant items and were disappointed that their expectations were not met. I understand their criticisms because many of them made their reservations before Hyatt took over the property and they were expecting something different. It looks like a lot of them took those concerns to TripAdvisor.
While I was there, one of the restaurants changed from a Mexican restaurant to a Caribbean one. A server told me that they went back to the original feel of the restaurant due to popular demand, so it also looks like they are listening to feedback.
Unfortunately, it looks like people who were disappointed took their reviews to disproportionate levels on TripAdvisor. I’ve had people ask me if I think they should cancel. I can’t make that decision for you, but I seriously loved my time there. So I’m going to post some common threads in negative reviews from TripAdvisor, and let you know what I thought of those things.
1. No specialty cocktails of the day.
This is true. But the reviews expressed people would have liked to have had cocktails and got wine/beer instead. Even though they don’t have specialty cocktails of the day, they still have cocktails! (edit: “specialty cocktail of the day” is like saying, Mondays are mojito Mondays, so on that day, people order the specialty and get mojitos.)
I was impressed by the bartenders, and one day I was feeling indecisive and said, “surprise me!” They asked a series of questions that resulted in an amazing cocktail that hit the spot that I wouldn’t have thought to order. “Sour, sweet, creamy?” “”Vodka, tequila or rum?” If you need help knowing what to order, I’ll put together a list of cocktails that bartenders in Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean tend to know.
2. Fake Orange Juice
I seriously have no idea where this came from. I had a lot of mimosas, and was very happy. There is a tap in the club room with nectars (not intended to be juice), but there was also a separate jug of OJ. So I really don’t know.
3. No premium alcohol
What people seem to mean by this is the really high end stuff. I had no problem getting nicer alcohols that I wanted, and I’m a picky former bartender. Once you hit 1800, there is an upcharge, but I could get great tequilas (and definitely not just cuervo) just fine. All of the alcohols in my room were name brands. I did have to go to the lounge for something nicer, but you can always snag a to-go cup of higher end tequila. At the bars, they give well/rail alcohol by default, so always name the liquor you want (this is common practice).
4. Hard to Get Reservations
I couldn’t for the first days of my reservation (though I didn’t try the Italian place, which didn’t look crowded when I walked past). I could for the rest, but I learned the Japanese restaurant is only reservations IF you want the Hibatchi grill. Otherwise you should have no problem. Chef’s Plate is only for premium rooms but is no big loss. (It was good, but not amazing). I enjoyed the non-reservation places, especially the Tapas restaurant, and I’ll get into that more later.
5. The Food was Cold
We never had this… except when we ordered sushi 😉
6. There’s Construction Going On
Yes, but it was not disruptive. They were doing minor projects and some of it was entertaining to watch. (Then again, we watch planes land, so…) I didn’t hear anything, just saw it. The tennis courts had some construction, but for our tennis reservations, they moved everything out and covered up anything that could be disruptive before we went in.
7. They Downgraded the Chocolates on the Pillow
This is true. They are Hershey kisses now instead of truffles.
8. Service was bad/slow
We saw the opposite. Service was good and pleasant. Sometimes I was a little high maintenance with my requests and they accommodated with a smile. (For example, a few times we ordered cocktails through room service even though we had the mixers in our room, and they said no problem and were cheerful on delivery).
There’s a man who walks around the pool polishing people’s sunglasses. And while he does it, he cheerfully chats with everyone and gives tips about things they can do at the resort. It was awesome.
Our server at the Asiana Hibachi grill never let my sake-tini go empty.
9. Food was bad
This could have been true, but I can’t tell you. While I was there, the menus were changing, and the servers were telling us it was back to the way things were. I saw some reviews saying they were disappointed by the food but then it “changed back.” I think Hyatt listened to feedback on things.
I talked to some people who were there before it was a Hyatt and booked before it was a Hyatt. I completely understand their disappointment at not getting exactly what they were expecting. But I don’t think this applies to new reservations. The place was great, and I’ve stayed at other All-Inclusives before. They added some things that weren’t at the old brand (a grab and go counter in the coffee shop), and the lounge was a really nice touch. I absolutely enjoyed my stay.
I’ve been slow on my posting due to getting a house (I still can’t believe I did that!) but I should have all the rest of my Zilara posts out soon!