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Trip Report Avoid "Kauai Country Inn"

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Pros:
1. The rooms and the inn itself are really nice and well maintained with all the necessary amenities like kitchen appliances, cookware, TV, DVD collection, etc.
2. The location is good for honeymooning couples as it is secluded and away from the huge crowds.
3. The guy that works there is very friendly and helpful.
4. The minister, photographer and wedding singer were all great. They made our ceremony memorable.

Cons:
1. Poor customer service and lack of professionalism from the owners
2. There is a distinct lack of a personal touch
3. Shoddy organization, particularly with the wedding planning.
4. If you’re staying in a downstairs room or suite, you will hear every single noise from above –footsteps, doors shutting, bathroom faucets, shower, etc.
5. There are dogs in the neighborhood that bark incessantly through the night (including dogs from adjacent houses) – this is not the fault of the owners as there is no regulation on the island to enforce the dog owners to maintain peace and quiet. So this will ensure your sleep is interrupted during your stay.
6. The complimentary breakfast is a sham – the cheapest motels have better breakfast. They have no milk, juice, bread, cereal, fruit…instead, they have 1-2 croissants, 1-2 muffins, 1-2 Danishes and a few pastries. You can ask them for yogurt and milk. This is for the entire inn!!

We reserved our wedding package (wedding services and lodging) with the Kauai Country Inn in October 2011 to stay at the Plumeria Suite for a week in May 2012. In the weeks leading up to our booking, any time we called or e-mailed to get additional information, we got prompt responses from the husband and wife that own the property. Once we put down our deposit, responses were not as timely as one would like. It’s understandable that people are busy so if they are not able to get back to you right away, you can chalk it down to a busy schedule, and in the case of a business, having to deal with a large number of customers. However, you shouldn’t have to bombard them with phone calls and e-mails just to get answers to simple questions, especially in this hi-tech era. If business owners are not able to get back to customers in a reasonable amount of time, it makes you wonder if they are biting off more than they can chew.

The Plumeria Suite comes with the option to add an extra bedroom for an additional $10 per day. My wife is a light sleeper so she requested the extra bedroom, to which the husband mentioned that a surprising number of couples request it for the same reason; we even called to confirm it after the initial conversation. Our biggest mistake throughout these discussions was not having anything confirmed in e-mails for future reference.

Imagine our surprise after 3 flights, 4 airports and 19 hours of traveling, when we discovered we had only one room. When we called the husband, he put us on hold for several minutes and then nonchalantly said “We don’t have you down for the 2 rooms. Besides, the second room has been freshly painted so you won’t be able to move into it.” At this point, we were really exasperated. He showed up and proceeded to make the daybed for us, all the while neither expressing any regret nor owning up to a huge oversight on his part. When we told him that we’d specifically requested the extra room, he dismissed it with a curt “I talk to so many brides everyday” – that statement right there sums them up. It implies:
1. They deal with a substantial number of couples but obviously do not document every conversation.
2. Every couple is not special but merely making up the numbers.
3. If you’ve been inconvenienced in any way because of them, it’s unfortunate for you, and they won’t do anything to make it up to you.

His cavalier attitude irked us but as he left, he said we could have the second room the next day if we wanted. I spent the night on the daybed. The next day when we got back from exploring the island, we discovered they had given us the extra room…and sent us a revised bill reflecting the extra $10 per day (total of $60 for 6 days). As a goodwill gesture, the least he could have done was waive the $10 per day fee as it was a mistake on his part. But we didn’t dwell on it and focused on our impending nuptials.
The day before the wedding, my wife called the husband to see when she could pick up a white orchid hairpiece she’d ordered over the phone several weeks before arriving in Kauai. Again, his response was "We don't have you down for an orchid but I can get you one".

Prior to arriving in Kauai, my wife had a phone conversation with the wife regarding her wedding bouquet and leis, in which she asked if they can add blue flowers to the two leis and the bouquet. The wife said they could and we received an updated invoice via e-mail that indicated an upgraded leis and bouquet. Imagine our surprise when we saw that our leis were in fact only yellow. I called the husband before we left the island to ask about the bill and was told that there was a misunderstanding between his wife and my wife when we placed the order for the leis because leis cannot be modified. We were utterly baffled - if the flowers couldn't be modified, why were we told they could be and charged an upgrade fee? The husband explained the $30 upgrade fee was for specific flowers on the bouquet - flowers that we never actually ordered. He even had the gall to say “it was an oversight…but it was not on our part”.

So overall, this experience left a bad taste in our mouths. You will see many positive reviews about them – it is easy to offer great service when everything is going smoothly. A measure of a business is how they respond when things don’t go well. If you look at the negative reviews that this place has received, they all say the same thing – poor customer service, lack of personal touch, the husband’s arrogant attitude. For every negative review, the business owner is well within his rights to produce a counter-argument but in their case, they resort to personal attacks and discrediting the customers. There is never any acknowledgement of mistakes on their part. To counter one of our reviews, the husband and wife violated the website’s privacy policy by using our names throughout their response. They were forced to take it down but came back with a vengeance by typing up a longer, more critical response. As part of their response, they even mentioned that we were given 1000 photos instead of the 300 we were promised at no additional cost. With all due respect to the photographers (who were great, by the way), they set the camera to Burst Mode/Continuous Shooting Mode which means for each click we got 6 photos. That means, if they clicked 200 photos, we would end up with 1200 (if set for 6 shots per click). It’s not like they actually took 1000+ photos (so the actual effort was for 150-200 photos, if you were to break it down that way) or as if they used film (it’s all digital – there is no additional overhead for 200 photos compared to 20 photos, unlike film)

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