Letter to Mr. Stewart and The Sandals Family
Dear Mr. Butch Stewart and the Sandals Family,
You have created memories for couples throughout the world for decades. I’m sure that your resorts hold quintessential thoughts of love, anxiety, and hope around every corner. I was one of those couples. 10 years ago, I married by husband and honeymooned at the Royal Plantation property in Jamaica. At that time, I knew that I wanted to see the world, but I didn’t know where to start or which resort to trust. My parents paid for my honeymoon to a Sandals resort in Jamaica because they trusted the Sandals brand to provide their child with a honeymoon that they never had.
Mr. Stewart, I was at Royal Plantation the same week that your daughter married her husband. One night, my husband and I came back to the Royal Plantation very late in the evening because we were enjoying the entertainment at the Sandals Grande. When we arrived, we were so hungry, but we knew that dinner was over and we thought we would probably have to go to bed hungry. We happened to tell one of the staff members that we hadn’t eaten, and he quickly went to talk to the chef. The chef came out and asked what we would like to eat. We didn’t want to trouble him, but he was more than eager to prepare a meal that would satisfy us. We decided on lobster and fries. My husband and I waited at the table and we saw several employees start to buzz around a nearby table with urgency. They placed new linen on the table, brought out a full table setting, and made the table look so beautiful. I just knew that your daughter was on her way down for a late-night dinner with her new husband. My husband and I agreed on the obvious theory and we were excited to meet her. However, we were shocked when one of the employees pulled out a chair at the table, looked at us and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Service, your table is ready.” We couldn’t believe that the staff would go through so much trouble for us.
At the Royal Plantation, I felt like I was a princess even to the point that I was treated how I thought that your daughter would be treated. Those memories, that feeling, never left me. Over the last ten years, my husband and I have enjoyed many other luxury resorts like Iberostar, Secrets, Excellence, LeBlanc, and Live AQUA. For our ten-year anniversary, my husband and I felt a sentimental attachment to the Sandals family since we had spent our honeymoon with you. So, we decided to stay at Sandals La Toc St. Lucia.
To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had tricked us by painting the name of your brand all over the resort. I say that in jest because I felt like I was at a much lower quality brand resort. And I knew that this couldn’t be the same resort that blew me away before. The service was very disappointing and inconsistent. Some places and some employees offered stellar service and other locations and staff members dropped the ball several times. Room service was late and cold on more than one occasion, the butlers were not very helpful at times, we would go long periods of time without anyone asking if we would like a drink, and these problems spread to the Sandals St. Lucia Grande as well. I was also disappointed to see the old-fashioned rooms that are being sold at full price. My husband and I had to do a room downgrade to get a refurbished room. On the night of our ten year anniversary, we waited so long to be served at the French restaurant, La Toc. We ended up leaving the restaurant before our server could take our order. The following day, on the sunset cruise, all the other couples discussed the inconsistent service being offered to them as well.
I get it. You’re Sandals and people will always visit your resort. But, do you get it? Just like ten years ago, people just like me have families that work hard for their child to have the honeymoon of a lifetime and couples save and sacrifice other luxuries in their life to come to your resort. For the Sandals family to charge more and provide less service than your other luxury competitors is a shame. I don’t know how long the Sandals brand will hold up against competitors and reviews on Trip Advisor if it continues to go down this road of service.
I write this letter as someone who once felt like I was treated like your daughter. Don’t forget why people fell in love with your brand and told their friends about their experience. Now is not the time to cut back and skimp corners. I truly hope that you make a turnaround because there are more memories to be made.
A disappointed, yet hopeful customer,
The Florida Palate