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Do you expect full services in low season?

I’m wearing a flame-proof suit today. :slight_smile:

This came up on TA, where a member mentioned that her son was torqued beyond belief because his hotel had no entertainment and both pools were closed. I had the nerve to suggest that it was sort of to be expected, and that he probably paid a lot less than he would have in high season, when everything would have been all systems go.

What do you think? I travel in low to lower season because I’m a misanthrope, so am not really suprised or dismayed to find not all services are available, ESPECIALLY if it’s my first time at a place and I’m clueless as to what’s normally on offer anyway. I pay less and there are less lineups, so I’m a happy camper.

Discuss.

I agree with you, I travel in the low seasons as well and don’t expect to find everything available. Not all the bars and restaurants will be open, sometimes no entertainment staff or shows. None of that is an issue as they are things that I don’t care about.

Sometimes I’m at resorts that are nearly empty. Such as once at Costasur near Trinidad. There were only about twenty people in total for that week. The only place to eat was the a la carte, it wasn’t worth it for them to serve trays of food at the buffet, so the chef just cooked what ever we wanted for meals.

I think I would win if a contest involved the smallest number of guests at a hotel where one was staying. When I visited Los Galeones in 2007, I was one of exactly three guests at the hotel for the first part of my week. Staff outnumbered the guests, of course, and the personal service was great. On one occasion they even sent a security guard to the beach with me to watch me swim! The chefs were vying with one another in their efforts to turn out the best vegetarian dish for my approval. Bring on low season!! (of course, it isn’t always that way, but I do appreciate low season with no line ups and a quiet resort to enjoy. I can live without all the amenities, as the location is the same and that is why I am there.)

Oh yeah, no line ups, no waiting, no crowding, no stress and lower prices to boot.

Although some people like a resort when its full. They like the activity and the buzz.

I wasn’t sure what months are considered low season in Cuba so looked it up on a couple of sites;

high season: December to March, July to August
low season: May to June, September to October
shoulder season: November, April

[b]We like to travel in low season… however we do a lot of research and make sure we know what’s offered and what’s not available, before we book… especially if it’s a new location.
Right now, we’re researching a possible foray to Cayo Guillermo or Cayo Coco… not sure which hotel at this time… too early to decide. However, what we’ve found so far is that the Sol Cayo Guillermo will be under some construction and/or refurbishment at the times we are looking at. The thing is, out of 4 tour operators, only two ~ WestJet and AirCanada ~ are telling people this news and two aren’t (SunWing/Signature and AirTransat/HolaSun):

Important notes
Please be advised that with the objective of improving the services and facilities at the hotel, effective as of June 05, 2014 and until November 05, 2014; the hotel will be carrying out renovation & construction works including but not limited to;
• Refurbishment of 46 rooms
• Construction of a new Beach Restaurant
All services and facilities will be operational. The hotel does not anticipate disturbance to the clients during the duration of these projects

This won’t bother us at all, if we decide to go.
However (a big HOWEVER), if pools, and restaurants are closed up and other things are not available… after all this research… I don’t know how I’d react, or whether I’d be a happy camper![/b]

I like no lineups idea :slight_smile: but in other hand travelers should be informed that it is low season and because of that price is lower but some services will not be available. Tourist and travelers should have right to know that. I guess if they come to the forum before they buy trip they would know.

[quote=@flygt5150]I wasn’t sure what months are considered low season in Cuba so looked it up on a couple of sites;

high season: December to March, July to August
low season: May to June, September to October
shoulder season: November, April[/quote]

I would agree with your research!

I wouldn’t expect the animation team in the off season but I would expect the pool to be open unless specifically told otherwise. Since I hang around the beach I would hope the beach bar would be open or a bar quite close to the beach at least.

I have stayed at the resort that the poster on the other site is talking about, and it was during shoulder season.

It was pretty empty, but i had no issues with it. I do not expect the full services during this time at all.

Now their claim that ALL pools were closed, i had a hard time beleiving to be honest. And they were offered to be moved to a different resort they said, but didn’t cause it was no better. Sounds to me like one of those “typical” reviewr’s we see on the other site…lol.

I am defn ok with a resort not being packed full and a wait for everything, everywhere I go!

[quote=@desmei]I’m wearing a flame-proof suit today. :)[/quote][b]You know, the more I think about it, the more I get where you’re coming from.
We aren’t looking to make new friends, either, on a vacation ~ it’s about spending quality time with eachother. And we especially don’t miss the long line-ups either and of course, expect some services won’t be available.

We wouldn’t miss the animation team antics/games during the day, or even the evening shows/entertainment… except musicians!!! We would really miss live cuban music if it wasn’t available… we go for the Cuban Ambiance.

One summer, at the RHE there was only the Buffet & Spa Pool restaurant open for lunch. The Seafood restaurant building was closed, but they moved it to the area beside the Buffet above the Italian & Asian restaurant (of those, only one available every other day). The Hideaway Pool bar was open as usual, but we basically had the place to ourselves between 12-2pm after spending the morning at the beach. We’d cool down in the pool, have a couple cocktails, head to our bungalow (only #41&42 open) and freshened up before heading off to lunch.

Pure Bliss![/b]

Whether you will enjoy low season or not depends a lot on priorities. They can close all the pools and I likely won’t even notice, as I seldom make use of them. (Red flag days at the beach being a possible exception). They can close the a la cartes, as I often don’t even bother to book one. And as long as there is a bar somewhere where I can grab a Cristal, I’m good. (failing that, a store with Cristal in the fridge will suffice). I do require basic sustenance, and have yet to find a buffet that won’t answer my requirements for a week. If I can be on the beach enjoying snorkelling, beach walking, and hopefully sailing, I’m a happy camper. Bonus if the A/C in the room actually works, the water pressure is decent, and there is enough hot water available to avoid cold showers.

As far as making friends in Cuba, that is something that may or may not happen. Some trips, I encounter people that I enjoy spending time with (I have close friends that I met at Jibacoa in 2006), other trips I enjoy my own company. Either way, I’m happy. Have not had a bad trip yet, and it’s a bonus if I get it for $500/week all in!

Maybe that’s the difference. I’m there for the beach, to spend time with either my honey or my family, and to just BE. I don’t need (or even like) animation teams, multiple restaurants, or even bars (well, one is good), so to find these things missing is a win in my books.

However, for those that DO like those things…how is it fair to expect a hotel to run at full staff and facilities when the guests are so few and paying so little? I was just looking at 7 days at Villas Jibacoa. It was $215, people, plus the tax. The FLIGHT ITSELF should cost more than that… (yeah, I’m a bit bitter. :wink: Too bad I can’t take advantage of it!)

We seem to be a pretty mellow bunch of travellers here at Debbie’s :slight_smile:
Not much fazes us and we know what to expect.

Personally I would never expect full services in low season. That’s when we prefer to travel because the prices are lower, the resort is less crowded and for us, it’s all about the R&R, quality time spent with the significant other, the beach and snorkeling. Given that we also prefer 3 star resorts which usually have fewer “bells & whistles” to begin with, we don’t feel we’re missing out if some a la cartes are closed or on rotation as the buffet works just fine for us. Ditto for us what the others have said! - BUT and this is a big one, we are older (as in age!) and experienced travellers.

I can see a 20 something guest being very disappointed to find a resort half closed and too quiet. Seems that many “youngsters” these days need to be constantly entertained and are rather “demanding” when things don’t go as they had imagined it would. Being resourceful and making your own fun is a skill that seems to be lacking with this spoiled, sheltered, demanding generation. I was not surprised at the mother’s comments in defence of her son’s disappointment at the other forum. I honestly feel that as the parent, she missed a perfect “teaching moment”.

We like shoulder or low season also…as much for the low volume at the hotel but even more so the airport madness in YYZ is manageable. You could roll a bowling-ball rethought the airport and not hit anyone (but uncertain if bowling balls are on the ‘no-go’ list :slight_smile: )

We have seen in June a shift of certain restaurants being open not as frequently almost a rotation of availability rather than every night for certain a la carts. (no biggie - you can only eat one dinner a night). Some of the core staff seem a bit more tired…either for coming off high season or for extra duties when they let staff go, so they are not as visible for a chat or espresso some days. But for us the overall advantage of having what seems at some times like our own private resort is worth any minor inconvenience. I guess the only time we were truly disappointed was MCG was actually closed one year because of the low numbers and ,…I think taking advantage of that they were doing some repairs.

We did go low season with my brother & family. They love their daughter and really enjoy having fun with her so again it was great… If you are wanting other kids to be your child’s entertainment then low season may be more of a challenge.

I think your observation is spot on. When I was that age…and for that matter when I was a child…I could amuse myself endlessly just being on the beach, or in the woods, or anywhere natural where I could observe birds or critters or fish doing what they do. Still enjoy it and I don’t find it boring. Partying, OTOH, gets old really fast unless there is stimulating conversation, another vanishingly rare thing to find these days!

[quote=@yvrck]We seem to be a pretty mellow bunch of travellers here at Debbie’s :slight_smile:
Not much fazes us and we know what to expect.[/quote]It’s unfortunate that Travel Agents selling packages to the “unaware public” don’t just let those people know that during this time of year, a few things might not be available, though…  :-S

[quote=@desmei]
However, for those that DO like those things…how is it fair to expect a hotel to run at full staff and facilities when the guests are so few and paying so little?[/quote][b]Personally, if a Travel Agent doesn’t let someone know… really… how fair is that?
Yes, all of us here know… but as mentioned most of us have “been around the block” a few times :stuck_out_tongue:

And also as mentioned, the young kids today won’t listen to their mothers… think they know it all… and with all of them connected to the internet and their phones with umbilical cords… you’d think they’d have a clue… but don’t. They’ve been spoonfed, coddled and taken care of all their lives. The “helicopter mom” in question really should’ve seen this coming… but maybe her son wanted to make a decision on his own for once.

At least the “kid” in question didn’t spend mega$$$'s to learn this lesson :-/[/b]

[quote=@yvrck]
I can see a 20 something guest being very disappointed to find a resort half closed and too quiet. Seems that many “youngsters” these days need to be constantly entertained and are rather “demanding” when things don’t go as they had imagined it would. Being resourceful and making your own fun is a skill that seems to be lacking with this spoiled, sheltered, demanding generation. I was not surprised at the mother’s comments in defence of her son’s disappointment at the other forum. I honestly feel that as the parent, she missed a perfect “teaching moment”.
[/quote]Oooh, you’re really on to something here. My trip in April sort of went askew. I was supposed to stay at Kawama, as were about 8 other people on the bus. Kawama was full, so we’d all been moved to Barlovento, but nobody had informed the greeter guy so we actually stopped at Kawama, unloaded all the luggage, etc. Well, when we got in there and were turned away…I was disappointed. Some youngsters (in their early to mid 20s maybe? I’m really bad with guessing ages) had to start swearing and demanding to stay there, blah blah blah (“this is bullshit. We booked 3 weeks ago!” Well sweetie, I booked 3 MONTHS ago. How do you think I feel?) While they were giving the front desk a hard time, I just said sadly to an employee standing by that I’d really been looking forward to staying there and she immediately patted me and told me that I could use the facilities any time, just see the person at PR, etc. This info was NOT shared with the pissy group (who were STILL beaking off when we got to Barlovento), and I did not feel it necessary to share it with them myself.  ;) I left them at Barlovento and enjoyed Kawama’s beach and bars. 

BTW, when they said I’d be staying at Barlovento, my blood ran cold. I had it mixed up with Barcelo!! LOL I thought they were putting me at party central when all I wanted was to AVOID party central! Barlovento was not to my liking, but I made the best of the situation. :slight_smile:

[quote=@gardengal][quote=@desmei]However, for those that DO like those things…how is it fair to expect a hotel to run at full staff and facilities when the guests are so few and paying so little?[/quote][b]Personally, if a Travel Agent doesn’t let someone know… really… how fair is that?
Yes, all of us here know… but as mentioned most of us have “been around the block” a few times :stuck_out_tongue:

[/b][/quote]Hey, I totally agree! And it’s a big reason I don’t actually USE a travel agent. I think they’re not as useful as most claim. I found most travel booking sites will state that not all facilities will be open in lower season. Sunwing does NOT, but Noli’s got it in the hotel information. I’m pretty sure that Air Canada Vacations is good for this too, as I recall they had a blurb about ongoing construction when I booked for Sept 2011. 

I just find it crazy that people will plonk down $$$ without doing some due diligence, looking into hotels online. I’m thinking of Kawama for August, and my favourite part of the hotel is the west (?) end where there’s like a separate little hotel with pool, restaurant and bar….but it closed down for low season while I was there. I’ve asked some regulars if it’ll be open in the summer and they’ve said no. Great! Now I know. It will not prevent me from booking, but I won’t go in EXPECTING it to be open and then have a strop when it’s not. :slight_smile: Also knowing that not everything will be open will help me with a price point. Right now it’s overpriced, but not by much.