Ocean Club Review

Jul 10th, 2003, 01:22 PM
  #1  
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Ocean Club Review

Hi all,
Just returned from a long holiday weekend in the Bahamas. My fella and I had stayed at Compass Point on our previous trip to the Bahamas. This was our first trip to the Ocean Club and we were there for a wedding.
First, the positives:
* The beach at the ocean club was quite lovely and the service there was excellent. Great lounges, good food, and, during the week, it was quite empty.
* The room was a standard garden-view room, but was spacious and had a private patio.
* Location: It's nice to have easy access to the bustle of Atlantis while still being able to get away from it.
* Perks: Complimentary Fuji water and fresh tropical fruits every afternoon. Water was refreshed, Godiva chocolates with turndown every evening. Complimentary champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries every afternoon. These were the kind of lovely surprises that it was a pleasure to find waiting for you after a hot day in the sun.

Now, the negatives:
* Gratuity/ Service: A 15% gratuity is built into just about everything and the slow and occasionally rude service reflects this.
* Hidden charges: Some are small like the fee for pool and beach use attached to your bill (whether you use them or not). We were very upset to find that we had been charged over ten dollars as a tip for the bellboy who brought our luggage to our room. This wouldn't have been so bad except that we had tipped him eight dollars. But what was most irritating was that when we asked for a taxi to the airport, a limo was called. Foolishly, we assumed that the charge would be the same. When we arrived at the airport the charge was $80 instead of the usual $30 for a taxi. (And we got none of the perks of a car service-- faulty air conditioning, no water, and we had to wait for the car.)
* Food and Drink. All of it is absurdly overpriced. The pasta and salad we ordered from room service tasted like something you'd get from a high school cafeteria.

General: For the prices charged by the Ocean Club, the food, the service, everything should be superior. Honestly, I was quite disappointed. If you are looking for a resort to splurge on, I recommend looking elsewhere.

Best,
LB
hedgerow is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 05:09 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,189

I'll offer the following alternative perspective:

* service tends to be slow everywhere in the Caribbean, regardless of resort cost. What's known as 'island time'. Not that I like putting up with this, but I've come to accept it.

* the food at Dune and the outdoor restaurant overlooking the beach is excellent. If you had subpar food there then something is wrong in the universe. Those two places are excellent. We did not eat in the courtyrad restaurant. Prices are indeed ridiculous. Welcome to the Caribbean. What island does NOT have ridiculous food prices?

* I always warn people not to get the garden view, very old rooms. The new wing (Crescent Wing) rooms are among the best in the Caribbean. Dark wood polished floors, heavy mahogany louvered floor to ceiling blinds, marble baths, excellent showers, 4 poster beds with excellent mattresses and linens, high quality TV/stereo relative to typical Caribbean offerings.

* The last issue is the most important. People who can't afford to stay someplace, who have to stretch uncomfortably to afford it, tend to have expectations which are unrealistic. I've spent over $1200/night for places not nearly as nice as our stay at the Ocean Club. Is it expensive? You bet. Do they add fees everywhere they can? Yep.
Ever check other islands? It's not rare to see 20-25% added to the bill for "room tax, government tax, tourist tax" whatever they choose to name it.
Sorry, but Ocean Club's not unique on this one.

Overall I think the Caribbean's a poor value compared to Hawaii, Australia, Italy, and Greece. On the other hand, sometimes it's too convenient to pass up.
travleis is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 09:25 AM
  #3  
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traveleis-

You have a good point about expectations. That's why I suggested that if your trip is a splurge, you might be disappointed in the Ocean Club. If money is no issue and this is just another jaunt to the islands...well, then I suspect the Ocean Club would be a convenient option.

(I've never spent $1200 a night on a room, but we've stayed some very nice places that were as or more expensive than the Ocean Club and we felt that they were better value. In other words, we felt that we were getting what we were paying for. To be fair, I don't much like resorts. I prefer more privacy/seclusion.)

As for the "island time" issue, you're absolutely right. We certainly found the service slow at Atlantis and even at our preferred spot, Compass Point. But...again, for the amount we were paying, we felt that the service should have been better. Also, Compass Point doesn't have the same pretensions as the Ocean Club so I suppose we were better primed for the relaxed island pace.

Best,
LB
hedgerow is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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I agree that sometimes food prices are high, but when you realize that everything and I mean everthing has to be imported that ups the price of food. Very little other than some fruit and vegtables are grown in the Bahamas so for example that prices will remain high for food.
wantsomesun is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 10:41 AM
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Robert Wagner, in-between shootings of Austin Powers episodes, doesn't mind spending his time there. Robert
Robert is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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Hedgerow, sorry to hear about your experience at the Ocean Club. If that had been me think I would have written the management a letter or emailed them listing my complaints. Not that they would care or do anything about it, guess they feel there is always the next sucker out there. Maybe that's standard operating procedure to charge the h**l out of the guests.... if you have to ask the price you can't afford it psychology.

It's a darn shame they operate their business that way. I considered booking there but now think I'll look elsewhere. Perhaps you posting your thoughts here is more powerful than any complaining to management anyway.

Lots of people like to go to quiet resorts on vacation with luxury without feeling that they are being taken advantage of. One that comes to mind is the Royal Hideaway in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We had no negative surprises and were treated exceptionally well, a real class act. You didn't feel like you were constantly being ripped off.

If you don't want to go to a resort filled with kids(like Atlantis), you have to find something like Ocean Club. Now my next question is are there any other places that are comparable to Ocean Club in Paradise Island without the problems you had? Suggestions would be appreciated.
I know that the Pink Sands on Harbour Island, Eleuthra, is excellent but am not familiar with the hotels/resorts on Paradise Island other than by reputation from the message boards.
KarenM is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 08:26 AM
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Robert: Yes, many celebs like the Ocean Club. We saw Emeril and Roseann Barr in just the few days we were there.

Wantsomesun: True. We found the same thing on Kauai, but just didn't mind so much. I think that's because there were so many "non resort" options. We could grab a snack or a shave ice with the locals (and the other tourists . That way every meal isn't such a production. Again, this is a personal preference so I can certainly understand differing opinions.
hedgerow is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 08:52 AM
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Karen, I thought it would be easier to reply in a separate post. (I tend to ramble on.)
First. Thank you for the tip on the Royal Hideaway. We've been thinking about a trip to Mexico and I'll put this in my list of possibilities. If you ever venture into Central Mexico, a wonderful stop is the Casa Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende. I haven't been in years but it is easily one of the most exceptional hotels I've ever been to (and a remarkable value).
Now, as to other beach/resort destinations...the truth is that I'm fairly new to this kind of travel as I live in Los Angeles and don't often feel the need for a beach retreat. That said, many years ago I stayed at the Grand Lido in Negrille, Jamaica and I remember thinking that was a pretty exceptional place. But that was a loooong time ago, the resort was brand new, and there were only a few people there so the service was great.
I've heard good things about Pink Sands and we were remarking that, should we return to the Bahamas, we'd like to try staying there.
As I mentioned, we stayed at Compass Point on Paradise Island last year. It's an interesting place. I don't think they get a lot of kids there because it's not your typical resort and there are really no "activities."
CP is very small and there isn't much to do there other than relax. But I didn't mind For a "just back" review, just do a search for "tigerlily" (I used to post under that name).

Sorry I can't be of more help. I'm much better with urban travel, I have to admit.

Please let me know if you've found other resorts you love. We're always looking for that perfect balance-- privacy/seclusion (you know, that hammock and a hut feel) coupled with the convenience of a resort or tourist area. Maybe someplace in Puerto Rico?

still searching,
hedgerow
hedgerow is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 09:29 AM
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Hedgerow, have you looked into Jumby Bay?
If you like lots of privacy and space with a resort backing it up, Jumby Bay is right up your alley.
I thought of that because the hammocks on the beach are virtually never occupied because the ratio of acres to guests is large.
It's on a 300 acre private island (so zero tourism) there are only about 40 hotel rooms and they're scattered across a large area.
The beaches are very nice.
Downside is that it's almost as expensive as Ocean Club (but all food and drinks are included) but it's a super-relaxing getaway.
Check pics at jumbybayresort.com

Also, have you considered Caneel Bay on St. John? I also think you'd like Pink Sands based on your comments. Or be among the first to try the new Four Seasons on Eleuthera.
travleis is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for all of the recommendations! I am very intrigued by Jumby Bay. I don't think price will be a problem if it's comparable to Ocean Club. And the fact that food and drink are included...well, that's actually quite a good deal. I'll have to look into it and the others you mentioned.
I wish I could reciprocate...maybe if you need recommendations in Italy or Spain? Although, it sounds like you've done plenty of traveling there as well.
Thanks again,
LB
hedgerow is offline  

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