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“It gives me no pleasure to do this, but...”

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Idle Awhile The Villas
Certificate of Excellence
New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“It gives me no pleasure to do this, but...”
Reviewed 25 February 2012

Buyer Beware! I know it’s bizarre to see such a negative review in this sea of positive reviews and overall it’s unlikely to change people’s impression of this place. However, I hope anyone reading will at least give this review a little credence because we are actually repeat visitors and as such, following our first visit, we wholly concurred with what most of the positive reviewers are saying. We first stayed in the Dream Walk 3 bedroom villa for a week in February 2011. We had a fantastic time except for at check-out. Thirty minutes before departure we were presented with the bill (we had elected to ‘pay as you go’ rather than the all-inclusive rate). We were a party of four (2 adults, 2 kids ages 8 and 6) and the food and drink bill came to $1,200. We were a bit taken aback by the high total, particularly because the bill wasn’t itemized in any way. It was simply broken down into four segments: ‘Alcohol’, ‘Meat & Poultry’, ‘Fruit & Veg’ and the vague ‘Groceries’. The groceries portion seemed very high, and we were told it was for whatever the chef needs to prepare meals, plus additional items (maple syrup etc). We asked for an itemized bill but the office said they couldn’t provide one, so with no other options we paid and left. Flash forward to February 2012. Aside from the cost, the vacation had been perfect. After we recovered from the sticker shock we decided to book Dream Walk again. This time we were expecting the cost and although what we paid in 2011 still seemed high, we figured it was the price of staying at a ‘luxury villa’. This time the vacation was just good, not fantastic. There was a lackluster air about the place and the service. We didn’t even meet the concierge (who last year had visited us daily) until 5 days into the trip when I went to check on the whereabouts of the server and the chef who had not turned up at their usual time. As another example, on the first night our 7 year old son was badly bitten by mosquitos and the next morning he was covered in angry oozing bites including all over his face. I pointed this out to the server and asked if there was any mosquito repellent we could spray in the room. She came back with some Raid ant spray which was added to our bill. Two days later, at the suggestion of one of beach staff, we asked our server if we could get any mosquito nets. None were forthcoming but I happened to mention the request to the concierge on the 5th day and two nets were immediately installed in the children’s rooms. They couldn’t find a third for our room. The concierge also expressed surprise that we were not using the vaporizers in our rooms! Apparently there were mosquito repelling vaporizers in each room which our server had not considered it necessary to mention. However, this is a digression and not the real reason for this review. We decided to ask for the bill on Friday afternoon this time, so we would not be blindsided upon departure. We had braced ourselves that it would be the same as last year and we’d agreed we would just pay it because once again, we’d had a good vacation. When we got the bill the total this time was $2,200 – an increase of $1,000 over last year. As last year, the ‘grocery’ portion was disproportionately large. We asked for an itemized bill, a request that was greeted with an air of panic. It took several hours to compile and we unfortunately spent the last evening going through it line by line. The bill was rife with errors. Our children ate only grilled cheese, mac & cheese etc., so the majority of the bill reflected two adults consumption. Some items on the bill were simply extravagantly padded. There was 7lbs of rice for a cup of rice at one meal, 4lbs of fish for a piece of red snapper, 12 oranges PER DAY for one small glass of orange juice, 15lbs of potatoes and on and on. Some of the entries were eye-wateringly audacious. There were also many items that we simply didn’t have any of (3 bags hot dog rolls, 2 bottles chocolate syrup, 3 bags of plastic cups etc). We held in our hands one sheaf of papers that tarnished two wonderful family holidays. I particularly felt like a fool, as just that day I had given the chef, the server and the housekeeper (who was wonderful) an additional pre-tip (separate from the final group staff tip) for ‘taking such good care of us’. You can guess the rest. The general manager was summoned to meet with us on the morning of our departure and chatting with him revealed some sad but not surprising information including: The management was not prepared to provide us with a copy of last years bill, itemized or otherwise, for comparison. Even though our consumption was pretty much identical except a little less because we ate one meal out this year. The chef and the server were the only people authorized to requisition items on our behalf. Most troubling, the villa staff are not required to keep any kind of record on what meals are provided and what extras or drinks are consumed. Food orders are written down on a post-it and then discarded. There is simply no way to reconcile what groceries were used for what meals. There’s not a single check or balance in place to guard against fraud. To the manager’s credit, faced with this morass of information, he allowed us to leave without paying while he attempted to get to the bottom of the situation and provide us a more accurate accounting of what we used. The more I think about it, the more impossible a task it seems. He asked for three days to present us with the final bill and at seven days and counting we’ve still heard nothing from him. The reason I’m sharing all this is, it’s hard to believe this is an isolated incident, pre or post this review. It is not our intention to try to dissuade people from staying here. Nor is it our wish to malign the many good and honest people of Jamaica. However, to stay here at all you have to have a certain amount of disposable income because it’s not cheap. Perhaps in that case, some people simply sign the bill without looking or just consider it to be the cost of doing business. If you do care about whether you’re being charged fairly, we can only believe that the all-inclusive rate is a better safer option. If I had to sum up our experience in three words it would be ‘Familiarity Breeds Contempt’. We will never go back.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
24 Thank MorningThoughts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liz R, Manager at Idle Awhile The Villas, responded to this review, 28 February 2012
We're sorry to hear mosquitoes and the bill for his family's food and beverage marred MorningThoughts' otherwise enjoyable stay at Moon Dance Villas. We aim to provide every guest with the top service and accommodations in Jamaica. We charge the cost price for every food item purchased and served to guests enjoying the European Meal Plan. The cost of imported groceries, such as rice, chocolate syrup, or prepackaged foods like Oreos or potato chips, is much higher than what you would ever see in the United States. Negril is a small town on a small island, and the cost of food reflects our somewhat isolated location. Steps have been taken to ensure that in the future, itemized bills will be readily available to all of our guests, along with copies of their original orders. We have taken steps to ensure communication amongst the staff is better and miscommunications like this don't happen in the future. I hope MorningThoughts and his family will reconsider their decision and join us in Negril again in the future.
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159 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

I would say the location is the best thing - it's perfect, but that isn't the best part.
I could say the villas are the best thing - they're fantastic, but that isn't the best part.

The best part of the Villas is with the people. The location truly is perfect - it's in the middle of the 7 mile stretch. You can walk along the beach in either direction and find vendors, restaurants, bars, etc. However the location itself is set back from the beach, almost hidden away by design. The villas themselves are multi-room facilities, I've stayed in the same one with 9 other friends now twice over the last 6 years, just returning from a trip in Feb 2012. Each villa is different, some are 3 and 4 bedroom, ours was 5 bedroom due to the group we had. If you like traveling with friends, this is absolutely the place to be.

The units themselves are custom crafted, these were built solid and built to last. The design is well thought out. A few bedrooms on the first floor, a few on the second. Each one is pretty insulated from the others. Each room has its own air conditioning controlled by a remote control. The bathrooms are beautiful and spacious.

If you go with the all inclusive package, you get a bartender (we LOVE Wendy!), and you'll get a chef (we are amazed at Sarge!). The drinks are incredible and never stop - and the menu selection and food is out of this world. Couldn't be happier. The security team is top-notch.

A cleaning crew takes care of everything every day and each villa has their own private pool and hot tub. Absolute luxury.

Wensley on the beach will set you up with a kayak, and might have an extra set of snorkel gear to loan out in case you forget yours. The reef nearby offer some of the best snorkeling around. Starfish, conch, puffer fish, coral, eels, stingrays... you name it.

We visited a number of places on the beach, but it was always great to enjoy exactly what we had at the villa. The perfect vacation with the best staff in the world.

Room Tip: There is a bar on the south side of the resort that one night had great jamaican music playing. We...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank chifan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
University Park, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 December 2011

The view of the ocean from our villa was excellent and the service was astounding! Most of the meals were very tasty and delicious but occassionally some of the meals were served room temperature. However, the chef was an excellent cook. The villa was very spacious and well kept. Staff were quite curteous and amicable. The milieu was just perfect for the occassion - rest and relaxation - for my family! I will definitely be back! Unfortunately, we have not developed the gogeous photos taken of our trip.

Room Tip: If your party will need 4 bedrooms, ask for the villa directly in front of the ocean!
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank 34701Victor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bronx, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 October 2011

WOW! How can I explain Paradise. Just landed and ready to go back. This place allows you to relax without a care in the world. The fact of having a chef and bartender on board with you for the day - knowing you don't have to get dressed & go out for your meals is excellent. Our staff was A+, Wendy, who's better then you girl. Our Chef was on point too. You can order anything you wanted and weren't limited to what was just on the menu, it was AWESOME. You'll get a little hassled by the guys on the beach to parasail or jetski with them but once you tell them no it was no, for that day, LOL. The villas are beautiful & spacious with your own pool. Your villa is just a few steps away from the beach & did I mention if you're at the beach your bartender will walk to the beach to check if you need a refill on your drink. MDV goes above and beyond TLC. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank dyjenkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 October 2011

This was our second time vacationing at Moon Dance Villas. It was excellent the first time we visited 5 years ago and excellent again in 2011. We are planning our 3rd trip to this resort. It was worth every dollar. The staff is excellent, the food is excellent and the location is perfect. We requested the same staff and Moon Dance accommodated. I suggest anyone who is looking for a vacation where they want to relax, this is the place. Three full meals everyday, and a bartender ready to serve. I didn’t want to go on any excursions because I didn’t want to miss a meal lol. If you want to hang out they have clubs nearby and have plenty of other activities if you don’t want to relax.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank sclem75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Idle Awhile The Villas

Property: Idle Awhile The Villas
Address: Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril, Jamaica (Formerly Moon Dance Villas)
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 50 Speciality Lodging in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): €€€€
Hotel Class:4 star — Idle Awhile The Villas 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Idle Awhile Villas invites you to experience the finest rental accommodations in all of Negril, Jamaica. Beautifully situated on Negril's spectacular 7-Mile Beach, Idle Awhile Villas is actually six elegant and incredibly comfortable beach homes. Each offers you the services of its own devoted and delightfully attentive staff: chef, bartender, and housekeeper- all committed to making your Jamaican getaway a truly pleasurable adventure in paradise! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moon Dance Villas Hotel Negril

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