Aruba is truly a paradise but the experience at the holiday inn was terrible. Do not stay there especially if you have young children.
-As a family with young children we booked an all inclusive package with prior experiences where “all inclusive” actually meant including everything. When we arrived to the resort exhausted from the flight we stayed almost an hour in line trying to check in. Whether insufficient staff or an old system, checking in took too long. Once we did check in, we were not provided any information about what the resort had to offer from the front desk (any restaurants, entertainment, map, ect).
-As a result we tried to get that information from other guests. We slowly found out drinking water bottles were not included, bottled beverages, beach umbrellas, certain food items, and restrictions on two drinks per person for all inclusive guests. All of these things did not square with what an all inclusive resort package is supposed to offer such as Riu resorts.
- The room we had was very old, there was a hole in the wall, dirty carpet and dirty sheets.
- When we went to the very few restaurants on the property. (There is one option for food for breakfast, bar food and one restaurant for lunch, and two restaurants for dinner). If you don't make a reservation at these restaurants you have no place to eat there even though you paid for an all inclusive package. An all inclusive resort cannot have two options of restaurant for a seven day stay. When we went to the restaurants or bar we were required to sign a bill totaled $0. In 2023 it seems antiquated to have people which your computer system has in the all inclusive package to sign check that say $0 dollars over and over and over again. The hotel may be doing it to track how much all inclusive guests but it is a nuisance. It also basically requires you to look at a bill that has all the prices of the food you ate and then a total of zero to make you feel cheap if you do not leave 18-20% for tip.
- Given there were only two restaurants, they were full and one meal seating would take no less than 3 hours. No one would apologize for any delay while the kids fell asleep at the table. No one ever apologized for a delay of food or service. As someone with an all inclusive package, I felt like a second class citizen at the resort. Most of the staff seemed like they did not want to be there either and had an attitude. You cannot call a hotel family friendly and families with young kids an attitude. The model just doesn’t work. It is either an all inclusive or it isn't.
- To top off the whole experience jet blue cancelled our flight and sent us back to the holiday inn for one more night. Jet blue gave us dinner vouchers $35 each person. We went back to the one of two restaurants available on the property “DaVinci”. Each person did not exceed their $35 dollar allotment. However, the bill came with a “$42” dollar service charge. We explained to the restaurant manager that we were not informed prior to dinner there would be a “service charge.” Instead of verifying with her staff whether they had informed us as a group with now airline vouchers that there would be a service fee and apologizing for not doing so, she proceeded to insult our intelligence by stating “didn't you see there was a service fee on the bill the other 6 days you were here.” I explained to her when I was asked to sign the bill throughout my all inclusive stay it was a $0 charge and I was not reviewing a $0 bill line by line to study the charges. Not once did she apologize. I proceeded to go to the “manager on Duty” to complain about the unprofessional experience at the restaurant. Instead of apologizing the manager was extremely condescending. I explained to him what caused a negative interaction at the restaurant and the feedback I had for the resort. Not once did he used the word sorry in the interaction.
- My mother also informed the manager that a bag was stolen when she forgot it at one of the two restaurants from dinner the night before. He simply said they did not have cameras in that area and did not apologize or care. It comes from the top. When the manager does not care about the customer experience and gives an attitude nothing else can be expected of the staff he has hired. There is no reason to have managers on staff who have zero respect for the guests or whether the guest is having a negative experience. This experience has made it clear to me that I will not feel comfortable in any holiday inn or IHG location.