Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day Of Arrival - A Horror Story?

First my open letter to the Atlantis, written the night of our arrival. I have added a few explanations in [braces and cursive].
Out of respect to my wife and daughter and their friends I have changed the name of the company they work with to B-Inc.; this is NOT about B-Inc., it is all about the Atlantis Resort.

Paradise Island, The Bahamas, July 7th 2011
Open letter to the management of Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Copy to B-Inc.
For your background: My wife is an B-Inc. consultant who earned double occupancy for the 2011 B-Inc. incentive trip to the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. The very same applies to our daughter, a good friend of my wife's and another lady from their B-Inc. team.
Our group [upon arrival] thus comprised six adults from four families and nine children ages 11 to one year.
Because of the very inconvenient flight schedule from Wisconsin to Nassau we flew in [to Nassau] one day early and stayed one night in another hotel. Shortly past noon we all arrived at the Atlantis where my horror story begins:
  1. Check in upon arrival took two and a half hours! Some of us were waiting in the muggy heat with children to get any information on where and what; that really did not raise our mood at all.

    The five star Atlantis Resort was not able to handle the arrival of a few thousand guests from B-Inc. in a timely manner.

  2. My wife had called ahead and spoken with the reservation desk. We (the grandparents) requested a room next to and with connecting doors for our daughter with four little ones (ages 8 through 1). We had asked for the two families of our friends to be placed on the same floor as we had planned some babysitting for them all. The reservation representative confirmed that all this was noted and would be taken care of upon check-in.

    None of that happened as promised. We got assigned to room #11507 in Royal East and the adjacent room #11509 was not reserved for our daughter and her four kids but for somebody else from our party. After 45 minutes of contentious debates my wife finally managed to get our daughter assigned to the adjacent and connected room #11509. But the two other families got put in Coral tower and in Royal West.

    So much for confirmations from the Atlantis reservations desk.

  3. When we started to separate our luggage the then bell captain on duty refused to let us sort our luggage by family and thus room number.

    He wrote an additional third ticket but as we later discovered he did not mark all pieces with the new number and left the old randomly assigned numbers on many of the pieces. Consequently we had to have the bell captain of Royal towers start a special search for three missing pieces which turned up by about 7PM.

  4. Around 7:30PM we all met in the lobby of Royal Towers to go to dinner together. Because the line for the Marketplace restaurant reached right out into the main lobby [about 400 to 450 feet long!] we ended up in the line of the restaurant on the lower level. [This line appeared to be much shorter.]

    After TWO HOURS 30 minutes patiently waiting we had finally reached the check-in desk only to be told that we would not get in anymore, no chance. My wife had an acute bout of tachycardia and two of the little kids had fallen asleep! And there seemed to be no chance for any food in a reasonable time.

  5. The lady named Nichola who had managed the check-in up to that moment took pity in us, got a shuttle bus and accompanied us to the Beach Tower and into the restaurant [called Seagrapes] where she took care that our key cards would be accepted and we would not get charged separately. BIG applause and thank you Ms. Nichola!

    Finally at 10:30 PM our kids got some dinner!

  6. When we left the Seagrapes restaurant there was no bus in sight. The next shuttle bus driver just shut the door, waved his hand declining and drove off! He is lucky that I have no revolver (not funny, I know) and in the dark could not read the license plate of the vehicle.

  7. I went to the reception/guest services desk of Beach tower but it was completely deserted. There was a telephone on the counter; I used it and dialed the operator Susan who promised a shuttle within ten minutes. And the shuttle actually came, thank you Ms. Susan.

  8. And on a slightly different note: One of our grandsons will turn 1 year later this month. He is active and lively and categorically demands to crawl. So naturally we let him crawl on the carpet floor of the room. And guess what happens: After about one hour of crawling his knees, top of the feet and hands are black!

    That makes me wonder how long ago the floors have last been vacuumed thoroughly, not to talk about a steam cleaning?
What are the lessons that I learned tonight?
The Atlantis is not a place I ever will recommend to anybody, not even my best enemy. Nobody deserves to experience what we went through today. It seems to me that the Atlantis is all about appearances but not about adequate delivery.
Atlantis, please don't try to tell me that your organization was overwhelmed by the sudden influx of a few thousand B-Inc. guests. Go sail with any of the five or seven thousand passenger ships of Royal Caribbean or any other major cruise line and you can experience how and that several thousand guests can be checked in and fed in a timely and pleasant manner! [Any four or five star establishment ought to be prepared for occupancy to capacity or IMHO they don't deserve the stars!}
As far as B-Inc. is concerned I strongly believe that the Atlantis is in no way except exterior appearances adequate to the high standards of the B-Inc. organization. [These standards are exemplified and justified by the exceptional quality of B-Inc. products.]
Dear B-Inc., do these incentive trips only every 18 month and do them with Royal Caribbean as in 2010. That was a memorable and pleasant trip perfectly representing the positive image that B-Inc. otherwise projects .
And, by the way, I would appreciate any comments [from the Atlantis] except excuses. Today I had my fill of the latter for the foreseeable future.
Eike J. Heinze
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