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Exclusive Room Categories that Restrict Riff-Raff ::)

There seems to be lots of chatter as of late, on TA, about resorts that have restricted categories and areas for additional prices above and beyond the regular rooms. While some enforce and restrict access to the Upgraded areas, others seem to be having some more difficulty in doing so (IE, just recently).

We were contemplating returning to Iberostar Ensenachos shortly after it changed hands. After noticing the large price difference from the Park area and the Spa area, we were contemplating booking the cheaper room, and using the “adult only” Spa pool area. At the time, we didn’t read any information restricting the “adult only” area strictly for Spa Guests. I’m not even sure if there is anything on their website regarding this at this time, either.

We didn’t end up booking after all, however, friends of ours did do this exact thing in Punta Cana. They booked the GBP Esmeralda (family oriented), and used the GBP Ambar facilities, although they did know upfront that it was permissable.

Just to verify, we wouldn’t resent anyone who’ve decided for themselves, what they want out of their vacation. We just want to know up front, that the staff show exceptional service and hospitality, with efficiency and courtesy, to every guest regardless of room category… However, if we were to pay the extra $$$ for the added features, we think we too would feel upset if others were to just pay the lower category prices and “strain the borders” using the added amenities/facilities of the exclusive areas.

What are others thoughts regarding this.

I was there last winter, for the third time, and they had restrictions for the Spa area and it was our best vacation there. A lot of people were sceptical about allowing kids on the other side but I didn’t see any kids on the Spa side the whole trip. Kids don’t really bother me but even on the beach there was no issue. I’m not sure if there are kid restrictions on the beach or not. Great resort and two of the nicest beaches I’ve ever been on, and the service was first class as usual

To speak to that specific hotel, I didn’t find it at all clear whether the pool/snack bar in the Spa section was off limits to Park guests. It is adults only, so obviously people with kids aren’t going to be there. Since Spa guests can use the snack bar in the Park section, one would hope for reciprocal access, but it isn’t spelled out. In any event, the price difference is not huge…maybe $80 over the week…a lot less than my single supplement, so I sure didn’t feel guilty using the Spa snack bar!

Different “exclusive” sections at the same resort is problematic. If it isn’t enforced, obviously there are going to be abuses. But to me the extra $80 in that particular case would be more about not having to listen to screaming kids at 4 a.m.!

I have to say that we have booked the Spa Suites for our upcoming trip - specifically because we didn’t want kids around. Our TA was very clear that by booking the Spa Suites we had access to the Park Suites area and the Spa Suites - no access to the Grand Village (which is fine because I wasn’t spening $700 more per person). We were advised that both beaches are for the use of the entire resort. We knew what we were getting when we booked. Have read various reviews on TA that there are now signs at the entrance to the Spa suites restricting access.

Agree.

At the Paradisus Rio do Oro, all the beaches were open to every guest until just last year. When the Royal Service area was built, there was no clear policy whether that beach was off limits to the rest of the guests, so those who paid for the lowest category room still ended up using the upgraded beach area. Which didn’t end up sitting well with the folks who paid premium prices to share that small beach with people who didn’t pay the extra $$$. It was then decided that the Royal Service Guests would have the exclusive amenities offered at the RS caletica/playa, restricting all other guests.

It was a new policy, that was enforced. And it created quite a stir for many repeaters who had used that area for years, to now be told that they were no longer allowed on the beach, use the loungers or the small bar there.

Looks as though IE is in that same predictament now.

I was one of those who spoke up on TA about having restrictions placed on the use of the beach. Since all beaches in Cuba are public, it would be hypocritical of the gov’t to allow a resort to deny access to the public or other ‘cheaper’ guests. I got slammed. If I want to walk the shoreline, that should be public.

Believe it or not, that’s the case in Ontario, last I checked when we were looking at buying land on a beach. There is a certain depth from the water line that is considered public and people cannot be restricted. The only exception to this has been certain areas that are Native Reserve areas. I have heard of boaters being handed a charge for ‘parking’ their boats on those areas.

My suspicion is that the resort backtracked on denying access to certain beach areas.

[quote=@dax]

Believe it or not, that’s the case in Ontario[/quote]
Ontario is tricky. Having owned property on a lake in Ontario, I know that not all lakes are regulated the same. Where I lived (on Trout Lake, North Bay) there was a specified distance from the high water mark that was public. And people actually had the right of access, so they could get to it by walking on private property (in practice, maybe not so much. Fences, etc.) On Lake Nipissing, however, there were a few “water lots” where property owners actually owned right out into the lake. Nobody ever got charged with trespassing if they infringed by boat, as far as I know, but those people did actually own the beach in front of their houses.

Normally I believe you cannot prohibit people from landing on your shore from navigable waterways, or from walking the beach, but there are exceptions.

In Cuba, however, it’s my understanding that all beaches are designated as public. Access to them by land may not be possible, but if you swim to the beach I don’t think the resorts can keep you off of it whether or not you are a guest of the hotel.

[a href=“http://www.ontariorealestatesource.com/images/Waterfront%20Property~%20Do%20You%20Own%20It.pdf”]property rights in Ontario[/a]

After so many negatives happening in the Villa section and the Spa section with people who book Parks section coming in the other sections, the hotel has ordered new signage to reflect who can go where. The GM as well as Customer service will be going into the two section checking for Park section bracelets(and Spa if you head to the Villas) and asking them to leave. The hotel is very aware that some customers pay the lesser price for Parks and use the Spa and Villa section. Hopefully this will all be clear with the newer signage and upon check in they will also be told what is available to them.

The beaches are public on Cayo Ensenachos and anyone can use both beaches and you can get drink served to you at the Villa beach bar. If you choose to sit yourself down at the Villa end of the beach using the lounger and there is no room for Villa guest, you will be asked to leave.

Part of the reason for the confusion about who can use what facilities can be found here:
[a href=“http://s11.photobucket.com/user/eeeefarm/media/Et%20cetera/ieguests-1.jpg.html”][img src=“http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a179/eeeefarm/Et%20cetera/ieguests-1.jpg” style=“max-width:100%;”][/a]

Until the brochure for the hotel is amended, people who have booked Park suites in the belief they are entitled to use Spa facilities are not going to be happy if they are denied same.

I know when I was there it wasn’t at all clear from the information available in the IE brochure placed in my room, e.g. the Megano snack bar by the Spa swimming pool was labelled “adults only”, not Spa guests only.

sunlover and I had an unfortunate disagreement about people using facilities they hadn’t paid for on another forum. I was not happy about how that conversation went, and I did get a little testy after it seemed nobody was accurately interpreting the point I was trying to get across. For clarity, I have posted an actual picture from the brochure, which I was of course unable to do on that other forum. Hopefully we can move on from here with no hard feelings.

[quote=@eeeefarm]Until the brochure for the hotel is amended, people who have booked Park suites in the belief they are entitled to use Spa facilities are not going to be happy if they are denied same.

I know when I was there it wasn’t at all clear from the information available in the IE brochure placed in my room, e.g. the Megano snack bar by the Spa swimming pool was labelled “adults only”, not Spa guests only. [/quote]
As mentioned, friends of ours stayed at the family resort Luxury GBP Esmeralda (Punta Cana), saving major $$$ (500-1000) over staying at the adjacent adult only resort, the Luxury GBP Ambar. They had complete access to all the Ambar facilities, except I think, the Buffet restaurant.

Totally permissable behaviour that is in the brochures and online information.

Agree with eeeefarm, as long as tour operators indicate this is part of the vacation package, it should be allowed. If we were heading there, we would print this information out to verify… 

Otherwise, wouldn’t it be considered “False Advertising?”

I think this is a case of the tour operator putting misleading info in the brochure. The information in the brochure is their responsibility, not the resort’s. I recall one time going to a resort where a client was just furious that her room did not have a coffee Maker in it, as was stated in her tour operator’s brochure listing. Only thing was, this resort had never had coffee makers in their rooms and rightly told the client that that they were not responsible for the faulty info in the brochure. Perhaps people should be bringing the issue up with their travel agent or tour operator for corrections to be made to their listing as well as to the resort for appropriate signage. People sometimes pay a hefty chunk of change to stay in exclusive sections and would have every right to be upset at those who use their services without paying for it.

[quote=@rosiart]I think this is a case of the tour operator putting misleading info in the brochure. The information in the brochure is their responsibility, not the resort’s… Perhaps people should be bringing the issue up with their travel agent or tour operator for corrections to be made to their listing as well as to the resort for appropriate signage. People sometimes pay a hefty chunk of change to stay in exclusive sections and would have every right to be upset at those who use their services without paying for it.
[/quote]

Just found this at the bottom of the page of SunWing’s brochure of The Iberostar Ensenachos:

Sunwing makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein and cannot be held responsible for changes, errors or omissions

So, that statement says it all.

If we were to go to IE, we would definitely book the Spa Section. No need to bring any print-outs, don’t need any hassles ~ never want to be “that” tourist! :slight_smile:

We’ve always paid up front for what we want on our vacations, we don’t play games and never rely on free upgrades. We decide ahead of time what we need from each vacation, and book accordingly.

I think a big part of the problem is that management didn’t fully think this out when they took over the resort and changed it from adults only. When they first divided it I believe the rules were as stated in the brochure…Spa section facilities were open to all adults. Why they changed this policy I don’t know, perhaps complaints from Spa guests? But either way, it has spawned confusion. The reason these threads on the subject get heated is that people who believed what they read don’t like to be accused of going where they should not, or trying for a “freebee” upgrade. It’s been clear from the get go that the Villas facilities were for guests of that section only, the other sections not so much. If staff had been instructed to explain the policy, as apparently they now have been, it would have been fair ball to accuse people I suppose. But when your bracelet is in plain view and staff come and ask you what you want to drink and if you would like to see a menu, well it doesn’t exactly send the message that you are out of bounds!

BTW, I see posts in that “other” forum objecting to Spa and Park guests at the Villas end of Ensenachos beach. Absolutely no way this can be banned, but obviously they are not supposed to use the chairs or the bar, just as you can’t at a neighbouring resort anywhere else. Being on the beach is your right, as beaches in Cuba are public.

[quote=@gardengal]
Just found this at the bottom of the page of SunWing’s brochure of The Iberostar Ensenachos:

Sunwing makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein and cannot be held responsible for changes, errors or omissions

So, that statement says it all.[/quote]

All the tour operators say something similar. However, people do have expectations based on the brochures, and sometimes even receive compensation when they don’t receive what was advertised.

We are hoping to go there in April for a milestone birthday for hubby. ( hoping the prices come down some)

How was the snorkelling, eeeefarm? Where did you find the more interesting fish?

[quote=@rosiart]We are hoping to go there in April for a milestone birthday for hubby. ( hoping the prices come down some)

How was the snorkelling, eeeefarm? Where did you find the more interesting fish?[/quote]
I unfortunately managed to take my short trip…three nights…when a cold front was going through, so instead of the Cuban sunshine I had hoped for, I got mostly cloudy, cool, and windy. I did manage to go sailing and snorkelling, but it certainly wasn’t the best. The water was stirred up and visibility wasn’t great, plus because of the cold front the wind was on the beach and it was a tad rough. I did get out to the sunken boat off the lagoon end of Megano, and there were many Sergeantmajorfish to be seen there, also grey snappers, yellow tailed snappers, blue striped grunts, the usual suspects.

There is coral to be found close to shore at the snack bar end of Megano, and if you follow the shoreline around to Ensenachos I think it would be quite good between the two beaches, but I did only minimal exploring due to conditions. I’d like to go back to have another look.

Here’s hoping the price comes down for both of us so we can explore those possibilities! :slight_smile:

We have been many times and always that first week of April and we have been always able to snorkel every year but one as there had been a storm off shore the day before we arrived and the sea was a mess with sand so visibility was nil. Every other year we saw so many lovey things. Many star fish and conch toward the channel at the far right of Megano. It’s great to be able to just go from shore.

Have faith, the prices usually always drop for the later part of April.

As to the ongoing conversation regarding people paying for Park and using the Spa area pool. The hotel is doing their best to keep this at bay. As with all brochures, everyone has a different way of interpreting them. For me, I know I booked the Spa so I will keep myself to the Spa area, same goes if I booked the Park area which we always did until the change over. We never once felt the need to head into the Spa area as I didn’t pay for that area so I felt that I was not entitled to use it. There has always been a hefty difference between the cost of the two areas and for a bit you could pay the same during a promotion. Not anymore. As I had stated before on another forum…the Spa area can only handle so many people. People are getting annoyed because they paid for that area and are not getting to use the pool because it over flowing. This is what has caused so many to be upset and rightfully so. Hopefully the “new signs” and communication at check-in and letting the tour operators know this will be fixed.

As to your comment eeeefarm, everyone is entitles to their opinions but for you to single me out because I have a different moral attitude than you. My comment was this: “I would never consider venturing into an area I didn’t pay for”. To which you replied: " Good for you gold star!(yup that’s sarcasm. I do find the moral outrage a tad precious). Not sure why it was my comments that took you to this step after so many other were saying basically the same thing. Perhaps I hit a nerve with you not sure. However, I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge so no harm done. I just hope that next time you feel the need to be that way you sign out and come back at a later time when you are more a willing to understand that not all share your opinions. Have a wonderful day and happy travels. :slight_smile:

[quote=@sunlover]
As to your comment eeeefarm, everyone is entitles to their opinions but for you to single me out because I have a different moral attitude than you. My comment was this: “I would never consider venturing into an area I didn’t pay for”. To which you replied: " Good for you gold star!(yup that’s sarcasm. I do find the moral outrage a tad precious). Not sure why it was my comments that took you to this step after so many other were saying basically the same thing. Perhaps I hit a nerve with you not sure. However, I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge so no harm done. I just hope that next time you feel the need to be that way you sign out and come back at a later time when you are more a willing to understand that not all share your opinions. Have a wonderful day and happy travels. :)[/quote]
Just to clarify and clear the air about that comment. I made it because previously in the thread I had stated that I had used the snack bar in the Spa area, and I mentioned several times that I felt it was unclear who was entitled to do so. This was not a matter of opinion, and I was certainly not the only one who was under the impression the Spa area was open to Park adult guests. I took your remark as a shot at me for venturing into an area I had not paid for. My perception was that that area was open to adults, regardless of where they were staying, and I considered your remark to be implying that I would deliberately use facilities that I knew I was not entitled to use. Yes, it ruffled my feathers. You appeared to be questioning my integrity, and I didn’t like that. My response could have been taken more than one way, so I identified it as sarcasm to be clear that is how it was meant. I later apologized on the thread, at which point I considered it water under the bridge. Since this dispute was on another forum, I hope we are done with it. I’m not into holding grudges either.

eeeefarm, you are incorrect when you say that the Park and Spa guests cannot use the bar at the end of Ensenachos Beach. Everyone is welcome to walk Ensenachos Beach and when you finally come to the end, a refreshing drink certainly is a treat. The bar serves that purpose. (I believe GM Brenda even made a comment about this on T.A.) However, that is where the hospitality ends for the P&S guests–the Grand Village and its facilities are to be enjoyed only by its guests. There are sunloungers at both ends of Ensenachos Beach, and it would seem logical that those nearest the Villas should be utilized first by the “Village People”. :wink:

I really don’t see the need for this topic to have been brought over here to Debbies. Surely it has been discussed ad nauseum over at T.A. with negative comments/barbs being hurled at fellow member(s).  It would be lovely if all the strum und drang could be dropped and this topic (Ensenachos) left behind: it’s a horse that’s been beaten to death, imo.   ::)   I hope I won’t be slammed by a certain person here who seems to want the last word…but I doubt it.  

If I might make a humble suggestion, It seems that it would be better to try not to worry about what was said on “that other forum”. I really didn’t follow the conversation too closely over there, but it seems to me that some of the confusion over what the rules really are has contributed to some misunderstandings among some good people that just want to get at the truth.
I think we are a smaller group over here than at “that other forum”, so maybe it will be easier to reach a common ground, find out the truth and keep the peace.

I have been in on some of those discussions that sometimes get heated, and it’s usually not fun. Let’s just try to keep the discussions spirited, but not heated.

Regards,
Jack