Guest Report

7 room Guest House in Crown Point (listing)
Post Reply
Maya W-R

Guest Report

Post by Maya W-R » Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:45 am

We stayed at Sandy's for a week in August 2006. Our family group included my 87 year old grandmother and a 2 month old baby and 10 others in between so we hired the entire bottom floor which comprised 4 bedrooms and the kitchen and living room.

Positives: Rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable. There are ensuite bathrooms and cable TV in every room. Very good location and reasonably priced (120$TT per adult, 60$TT for children over 5 and younger infants were free). The place was clean and there was plenty of hot water.

Negatives: We never received our welcome drinks or bottled water as promised on the website. The 'complimentary' transfer turned out to be taxi drivers who claimed no knowledge of an agreement so we ended up paying an inflated 70$TT. I later brought this up with Valerie Sandy and she agreed to take it off the bill but otherwise I think we would have ended up paying for it.

Interaction with Mrs Sandy was poor. The first day we were there Mrs Sandy let herself in in the morning, opened up the doors and turned off the lights we had left on in the corridor. When the first person got up, they received a lecture about leaving the lights on. For the rest of the morning, Mrs Sandy came in and out to use the telephone which kept ringing, despite most people sitting around in their pyjamas. She explained that when she was in the backyard washing, she answers the phone downstairs so she didn't have to keep running upstairs. This was communicated as a statement and it was clear we didnt have a choice. The final straw came when the phone rang and it was for a male member of the family, who came inside to use the phone as well instead of going upstairs to where they lived. This made the atmosphere quite uncomfortable as we had expected to have the ground floor to ourselves and we were not dressed and my cousin was breastfeeding her baby.

The rooms were not cleaned or the towels or linens changed until the sixth day, not the third day as promised. We had to request this and immediately Mrs Sandy said it was our fault as we had not asked before.

The property was very hot, despite the fans and it is tackily decorated. Bizarrely, there was a fully decorated plastic Christmas tree in the corner of the living room. Although there were two large fridges, there were not enough cutlery for everyone.

In contrast, interactions with the agent, Glynn Kirpalani from Holiday in Tobago, were pleasant. We made the booking at the last minute from Trinidad and he was very flexible. He allowed himself to be contacted on his cell on Sunday evening to confirm the booking.

In conclusion, Sandy's has a lot of potential but didn't quite live up to what was promised on the website.

User avatar
Glyn Kirpalani
Tobago Fanatic
Tobago Fanatic
Posts: 333
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2003 1:27 pm
Location: Norfolk, UK
Great Britain

Post by Glyn Kirpalani » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:32 pm

Hi Maya

Thanks for your public feedback, glad you enjoyed your stay (somewhat) and our service.

I have looked into your negative issues and would like to pass on the following developments/feedback:

1. Our complaints policy is clearly shown on our website under "enquiries/terms" page - I wish you had followed it and contacted me on my 24hr cell during your stay, as any gripes could easily have been remedied. Reading your issues in this forum is my first opportunity to assist and now you have departed;

2. Your complaint about the failure to get a welcome drink is noted and ihas caused me to speak with Valerie Sandy about this for the second time concerning my guests (for whom this was supposed to be a special perk). The system failed again, hence I have removed this offer from our website. Please accept my apologies for this oversight - it won't happen again to any future guests;

3. Taxi - Valerie says that someone paid for the taxi in error before she could get to the driver to pay him - whatever the reality, she readily refunded you;

4. Lights - I am sorry if you were made to feel scolded about the lights (pse see below);

5. Cleaning - I am sorry you had to ask for room servicing, I have now noted on the website that servicing is done regularly, on request;

6. Kitchen/lounge privacy - these are clearly mentioned on the website as shared areas and staff/owners will always pop in and out for servicing etc. I told you that the rooms would be set aside for you and that no other group would get a room on your floor, but I do not recall telling you that the owners would never enter these communal public area rooms. it is the responsibility of those guests who are sensitive about modesty issues to dress modestly, or breastfeed in the nearby rooms, not of staff (owners) to avoid entering the public areas of the guest house in order to avoid seeing scantily dressed guests, breast-feeding etc. Telephones are all hooked up to the single number and are therefore for guest and owners use - Valerie has not yet discovered the joys of cordless phones (or email, or fax, or even mobile phones) - such older locals are unlikely to do so, a dying breed, and attractive to many first world visitors seeking an old fashioned experience (see below);

7. Tacky decor and xmas tree :) in august - I am afraid this goes with the territory with elderly Tobagonians who had neither the "changing rooms" style interior decoration training to spruce up their homes, nor the money to do so even if they had a clue. There was no extra charge for the xmas tree! Think of the classic British pensioner home (I mean 80 year olds+) and you will get an idea of what I mean - Hilton Tobago it is not, but then again neither are the rates. And most of my clients love the home-stay thing;

8. Cutlery - the booking I made with you was for 9 persons, but it looks as though you brought 12 in total without fore-warning me. Hence I could not have warned Valerie fully about numbers and it would have been down to you to ask Mrs Sandy for extra items in the event that she overlooked this - she would have obliged I am sure. I am sorry they were absent nevertheless.

I have updated our webpage to reflect some of your issues and to mention Valerie's "strong matriarch" style of landlady-ology! She is the Tobagonian equivalent of the stereotypical 1950's British seaside boarding house landlady, most guests love this but some hate it. Even Hugh, her hubby, won't mess with her, although I seem to be able to get through to her sometimes. But she is good natured and humoured for those who care to get to know her, and she takes great care of single girls in particular - although large groups such as yourself obviously have each other to enjoy your reunuions with. I do hope you will book with us again at one of our other properties.
Glyn Kirpalani

Maya W-R

Post by Maya W-R » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:32 pm

Hi Glynn

Thanks for the feedback. I apologise that I haven't replied sooner. I appreciate you taking our comments on board and for adjusting the website. Without wanting to seem like I was nitpicking, I'd like to reply to a couple of points.

1) In terms of the complaints procedure, we discussed phoning you and decided that this wasn't fair until we had spoken to Mrs Sandy. We weren't looking for a refund or anything like that as we'd already paid the bill and so the main issue was Mrs Sandy's behaviour. This got better over the week and we did speak to her about some things, eg the cleaning.

2) Privacy - although we understood that the communal areas were shared, we understood them as being shared between other guests and as we were the only guests, we assumed that we would be the only users. We obviously would have not had a problem if staff were "popping in and out for servicing" but one gripe is that no servicing was actually done. It was also not members of staff but a member of Mrs Sandy's family coming in to answer a phone call as he could not be bothered to walk upstairs to take it!

3) Cutlery - there was not enough for the original booking anyway and so we had already purchased extra cutlery the first night. As for the 3 other guests, they came for the weekend only and I did not know that they were definitely coming at the time of booking. I had agreed to take responsibilty for the main group but not for the extras who were unsure of their plans because of work commitments. I let Mrs Sandy know as soon as they'd confirmed their travel arrangements and I assumed she would proceed with whatever arrangement you had for these type of bookings. The extra guests paid the full 120$TT per person, per night.

Finally, although I have taken your comments on board, I would just like to make the point that our group consisted of mainly Trinidadians who spend a lot of time in Tobago, including my grandmother who grew up in Tobago from a young age. So I am not unfamiliar with the Tobago way of life or people, especially the older locals! We weren't expecting or wanting the Hilton; we have stayed in similar accommodation on a similar budget in the past.

Please understand that I do not want to seem like I am getting at anyone, I just wanted to help improve standards and give an honest opionion. The fact that you have updated the website shows that this has been achieved and shows how valuable the mytobago site is :)

Post Reply

Return to “Sandy's Guest House”