I booked a holiday for myself and my family with Virgin Holidays, bound for Tobago (21st Dec 2006), for 14 nights all inclusive at Rex Turtle Beach (described on your web page as a “Very Hot Deal”, cited as a 3* establishment, ideal for children etc.). It turns out that the Rex Hotel Turtle Beach struggled to reach 2* in terms of quality and service. I requested a quiet room with a view and two double beds minimum and was told by Virgin and by Rex that we were to be located on the top floor of the hotel away from the swimming pool area. These details were confirmed by Virgin and by Rex Group prior to our departure. My partner underwent major surgery in November 2006 therefore this holiday was also designed to help her recuperate and relax. I have listed below the problems/issues that arose for your attention:
01.Virgin Flight VS059 delayed by 1.45 hours on 21st Dec 2006 (left at 11:45am as opposed to 8:55am)
02.Two of the three in-flight entertainment systems allocated to our seating arrangements were not working for the duration of the flight (9.5 hours)
03.Upon arriving at Tobago airport, we had to wait 2 hours to retrieve our luggage and were then met in a very unfriendly manner by two female Virgin representatives at the airport. We were told that our luggage was to travel separately to us on our transfer, when we asked how long the luggage would take to arrive at the hotel (concerned as we had just spent 2 hours trying to retrieve it and it contained vital bathroom freshen up accessories) the reply given was: “how would we know, can you board the last coach outside the airport as the driver has been waiting a long time to take you and others to their hotels”.
04.When we arrived at the hotel, 8pm Tobago time (12 midnight GMT) we were shown to a room that had one double bed, one single, was on the ground floor, next to the swimming pool and absolutely reeked of dampness and bleach and was frankly uninhabitable.
05.We showed the hotel manager, a Mr Amedee, our booking confirmation slip which clearly indicated Two Double Beds. Mr Amedee went on to show us another 3 rooms, none of them with two double beds and all way below 3* quality. We finally had to settle for a room (number 244) with a Queen Size bed (which all three of us had to sleep in) under the promise that we would have a large family room (such as room 127) for the final week of our holiday.
06.The hotel backs onto a main road meaning that we could hear cars zooming past at all hours
07.We had to wait a further 1.5 hours for our cases to arrive therefore could not change into night clothes/access bathroom utilities until 10:30pm (2:30am GMT) – baring in mind that we were travelling with a small boy (7 years old) this made things extremely stressful.
08.The room we were allocated suffered with the following unacceptable problems:
A.Noisy air condition unit unable to use at night therefore we slept in a boiling hot room. Some of the other rooms had brand new air conditioning units that were quiet and could thus be kept on throughout the night.
B.Bathroom faucets that leaked over the basin work top when turned on – constantly moping up excess water
C.Shower fittings that were out of date and hard to co-ordinate correct temperature
D.Damp & rust around the bath tub (picture enclosed)
E.Wardrobes/chest of drawers that were dust ridden
F.From 24th December to 27 December 2006 we had no hot water from 5pm onwards which meant that when we returned from a day at the pool/beach we could not shower down. I reported this countless times to the Hotel Manager, Kwesi (Virgin Rep) and Mark Steel (Virgin Area Rep Tobago) who said they would sort out the issues, but, sadly they never did, in fact they were not helpful at all!
G.We were promised, by Mr Amedee, that our fridge would be stocked with soft drinks and water everyday by way of compensating for the room situation, this did not happen and on the times the fridge was stocked up the hotel staff put alcohol in the fridge as opposed to soft drinks which then meant we had to call reception yet again and ask for replacement drinks.
H.The soft drinks that were put in the fridge exploded, with broken glass in the fridge, I had to make 3 phone calls, 48 hours later they finally cleaned out the fridge
I.We could hear other residents flushing loo’s/taking showers at all hours
J.We also had to listen to other inappropriate noises that were particularly disturbing for a 7 year old to hear.
09.The restaurant where we ate breakfast, lunch and supper would, without fail, every breakfast time and lunchtime had birds flying around the space, landing on one’s table, eating food on display Etc. This would justify a health and safety issue, one lady was forced to have her food taken to her room due to her phobia around birds. Again we complained to the hotel who did nothing.
10.The general mood of 80% of the hotel staff was one of grumpiness, arrogance and unfriendliness. This completely contradicted Virgin’s description of Tobago peoples as warm and friendly.
11.70% of the sun-lounges were broken (picture attached)
12.The Kids Club room was a disgrace…it was dismal, deserted and had only a broken table tennis table and giant TV. This was not a Virgin Kids club and under no circumstances would my partner or I consider leaving out child there. *NOTE: part of the reason we booked this particular resort was to use the Kids Club as my partner was recovering from major surgery however she was too distressed to leave our son there and we also noted that none of the other parents left their children there either!
13.Myself and my partner wanted to play tennis…until we saw the tennis courts, which were worn out and had not been tendered to for years! (please check out [-] for example of tennis courts)
14.The swimming pool was not cleaned out properly on a daily basis leaving a thin layer of greasy slime on the surface (picture attached). On one occasion they had to close the pool down for one day as someone had gone to the toilet in the pool.
*We all came out in rashes after using the pool and often had to stop our son from swimming in the pool because of the condition of the pool in terms of cleanliness.
15.The area around the pool was not cleaned from the day before (empty bottles/glasses/ashtrays etc.) and on several occasions we found broken glass on the floor (health and safety)
16.28th Dec 2006: we approached Mr Amedee to ask if he had a family room to move us into as he had previously promised us, the response was, “No!” He said he had one room that he was going to offer us but had now decided that due to the state of the bathroom he was going to make the room off limits! So we were lied to yet again. We asked Mr Amedee to remove the sofa in our room and replace with a double bed….an hour later a single bed (not a double as promised) had been put in our room with the sofa bed (no space at all now); my partner, at this point, had had enough of this gross incompetence and called the reception asking them to come an remove the single bed.
17.30.12.06 – We experienced a power cut for 5 hours meaning no bar etc. When we returned to our room at 6pm we had no towels to shower with (the towel problem occurred 7 out of the 14 days we were onsite).
18.31.12.06 – A vomit smell started to appear in our bathroom…we could only assume it was coming from the sewer/drainage…we complained but nothing was done to address the issue.
19.Beach Towels: this was chaotic. There were only a limited number or towels available each day at 9:30-10:00am. Given out on a first come first served basis which meant that you had to make sure you were in a queue. On at least 4 days there were no beach towels available at all!
20.Plane delayed for another 2 hours on departing. This time all in-flight entertainment was not working at all. VS 060 4th January 2007. Within hours of landing all three of us became violently ill with gastric flu/stomach problems, we had to take out son to A&E at St. Mary’s hospital London on the following day as he was vomiting every hour.
The positives were: great island, lovely beaches/sun, food OK-ish in hotel and we made some excellent friends.
Unfortunately I am astonished at the way this package has been oversold to us folk in the UK and that Virgin can put their name/brand to such a product. Virgin Holidays boast a British Travel Awards 2005 accreditation on your website which does not live up to its value where this resort is concerned or the state of the Virgin Plane going out and returning home.
I am personally sending an email to Richard Branson at his Nekker Island email address asking him to spend a week there then tell me in all honesty if this hotel justifies a relaxing 3* break or indeed, as described on the Virgin Holidays website “A Very Hot Deal”.
SUNDAY TIMES 4th Feb 2007 (Travel Supplement):
Sunday Times Travel Supplement, 4th February 2007, (page 3 NEWS, 4th article down on right hand side of page) that details more issues at the Turtle Beach Rex Resorts hotel whereyby 60 British Tourists have gone down with Gastroenteritis (what my family and I suffered with on the day of departure) and that the Tobago Health authorities are now considering closing down the kitchens. This is the 4th outbreak of the disease at this hotel in recent years.
Need I say anymore....if you go to Courland Bay stay at the next bay down, Grafton Bay, or stay in anywhere other than Turtle Beach...it is a shambles and apparently has been on the decline for years......David Power, London.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "best beach resort experience in Tobago" ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Turtle Beach By Rex Hotel Scarborough
- Turtle Beach Tobago
- Turtle Beach Rex Resorts
- Turtle Beach Hotel Tobago