In January 2011, I decided to book my vacation at the Riu Guanacaste Hotel in Costa Rica through Apple Vacations. According to Apple Vacations it is a 5 star hotel. Unfortunately this hotel deserves 3 stars at most.
On January 16th, 2011, my boyfriend and I arrived at that hotel. We brought our luggage to our room and left to spend the day outside. In the evening, as I was showering, my boyfriend turned the lights off in the bedroom and fell asleep. Due to this, I slept without observing the bed sheets.
When I got up the next morning, I was shocked to find a huge red spot which appears to be blood on my pillowcase,
about the size of an orange. There were also traces of small black spots on the other side of the pillowcase. I immediately took pictures of these findings, wrote a complaint, and brought the pillowcase and my complaint to the attention of Mr. Santamaria Cerdes (public relations department) and Mr. Ricardo Alfaro Rojas (sub-director of the hotel).
Unfortunately this event completely ruined our vacation due to the following:
1. I was uncertain of whether or not I contracted any infections. Some of the diseases such as HIV, can be seen only after six months pass.
2. It was difficult for us to fall asleep because of the discomfort we felt after spotting the pillowcase.
3. Every time we ate, we felt afraid that we would end up in the emergency room with a food poising infection.
4. We had doubts about the sanitary conditions of the pools and bars.
5. The stress I felt because of these circumstances gave me palpitations.
It is easy to explain why we worried about the food and pools. If the hotel couldnt even provide clean sheets, we became skeptical of the level of cleanliness everything else had. On January 22nd, 2011 we wrote a second complaint to the attention of Mr. Ricardo Alfaro Rojas ,sub-director of Rui Guanacaste, in which we included everything that was mentioned above.
We are also very angry about the fact that the hotel keeps horses on the beach within a few meters from the place where people want to spend their day near the ocean and in the shade. The hotel doesnt provide beach umbrellas, and the only place to remain in the shade lying down on the beach chairs under the trees was by the horses. We had
to smell these horses and watch people take horseback riding tours. We often saw remains of the horses poop on the beach and in the ocean. It is known that if a person gets an infection from the horse poop, it can lead to tetanus and
may be fatal. We chose the Riu Guanacaste hotel because we were hoping to enjoy the ocean beach. Because of the horses poop, we didnt swim at all.
In addition there were issues with optional dining (reservations required in advance).
"La Toscana" Italian restaurant (main course with table service; buffet starters and dessert)"Furama" Asian restaurant (buffet) Grill. The food in the Italian restaurant was salty and offered only a small variety of dishes each day which were practically the same ones, and the Asian restaurant had poor quality of the food. These can me graded for a 3 star hotel. You expect much better food at 5 star hotel. The liquor was also very cheap branded.
Bedding was minimal at best and the blankets have never been cleaned. The bathrooms had no shampoo, conditioner, or a vanity kit (as a 5 star hotel should have).
The beach has no service. There is no washroom or drinks. They provide chaise loungers which you have to carry by yourself and no umbrellas. For a 5 star hotel, this seems unacceptable and a true rip-off.
There's no music in the hotel, only in the shows. The Spa was very far away from the rooms and pool area, and
the TV only had a few channels. In the pool they give each person only one towel. If you want to put it on a beach chair, you do not have any to dry your body up after you swim.
When we came back home we sent a complaint to Apple Vacations demanding a full compensation for the ruined vacation. First of all, when you send a complaint via e-mail to Applevacations.com at the link that they provide for complaints, you should not expect your e-mail to be received. When I tried to find out why it was not sent out, a customer service representative told me that I have to email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I received a response in a few days telling me that Apple Vacations are going to investigate my complaint within 35 to 45 business days. In 52 business days, Apple vacation offered us a 3 day and 3 nights free stay at this hotel as compensation. This offer is not satisfactory to us because we have no desire to return to the same hotel that
we are completely upset with.
This was truly the worst vacation we have experienced. This is at best a 3 star hotel. I think Apple Vacations who rated this hotel as a 5 star hotel should be accountable for deceiving people. I think it is a fraud to recommend this hotel as 5 stars, which is why we demand reimbursement for all our expenses for this vacation. We were very disappointed with such unfairness and sent them another complaint. In the answer we were offered to wait again for another 35 to 45 business days for their decision.