#SantaBarbaraOfTheFlies (SANTA BARBARA ECO-BEACH Resort in Ribeira Grande – Sao Miguel – PT) [Travel Review]

A corner of paradise indeed but in the hands of children (junior staff) and very disrespectful restaurant manager.
Average customer rating: 4.5 stars
Real Rating: 3 stars

I.C.O.N. LevelC
Location: A
Structure & Tech: B
Staff & Customer Care: D
Cleanliness: C
GayFriendly: C

I know this review is going to be censored on google because I have the direct experience of bad reviews canceled, so don’t really trust the average reviews, look and read a lot more to try understanding what it true. This time as an expert in Customer Care and Inner Customer Communication I have a few things I have to say to the staff.

First: the place is absolutely amazing, and the details in interior design are just wonderful and original, I loved the wood everywhere, but, and I’m gonna file a complaint soon, a 4 star resort should mean an almost perfect experience for the customer. Ours was so far from that I will ask for a review of their standards because I think maybe a 3 star is more than enough for Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort.
First day at the reception everything was low key, we were guests n° 23489348, no names, no feelings, just polite. It’s not bad, but that’s not a great welcome either. The room (Deluxe Villa) was indeed clean apparently, but if outside the weather was perfect, inside the room we had tropical weather, high humidity and 20-30 flies roaring around. Air conditioning was a total joke, it began to work after 5 hours at the max power programmed by the reception guy at the max power… so absolutely un-functional, and for an ECO resort a low-level AC is a real pain for environment…

The second day we found at the reception the only member of the staff that was absolutely 4 or 5 star hotel material, she was smiling, effective, fast, nice, and kind, I’m sorry I didn’t get her name because until that moment things were going almost fine so I didn’t have the need of making distinction or thinking about a bad review. The same afternoon though not only the room cleaning staff didn’t pass in our room but the “flies” situation was totally out of control. We couldn’t stay in the room, imagine how we could take a nap or have some intimacy during our honeymoon with flies coming at us from everywhere. The odd part is that outside the building there were no flies! Only in the hotel…

You can see pictures and a video too.

Going back to us: at that moment, afternoon, in our room (the “deluxe” villa…) I was beginning to get a little unease so I called the reception. There was the nice girl from before, she was really kind, she finally could send cleaning service (of course we didn’t take a nap nor anything else that afternoon though….), but about the flies her answer was “we have it everywhere in the reception and the restaurant, thery’re unavoidable”… Ok… Sticks and stones can’t break my bones, but “unavoidables” in 4 star hotels do break any quality standard.

I played nice at that moment… I honestly just wanted to enjoy the place, I asked for something I could use at least to free our room ourselves. Of course they told us they would bring something, and they didn’t. So I just accepted the flies situation and enjoy the beautiful view, but what happened that night with the restaurant manager was just so low I needed to post it on my blog.

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In the pictures you can see only 5-7 flies but it’s just because with a bigger view it was impossibile to see on the pic… you can “feel” them in the video below…

First I met her trying to kill (guess what?) flies at the bar with a towel, then I asked for a mohito and she called a waitress to do it. After 10+ minutes waiting (I was the only customer at the bar…), the girl “making the cocktail” (actually she was there in front of me making time mixing for 3 or 4 times the same ingredients totally lost, I took the phone and start scrolling down instagram to try not to put pressure on her but it seemed like a hidden camera show…) told me with a sorry smile she couldn’t make the right ice because the machine was broken. She asked me if I wanted the mohito with ice cubes and I told her I preferred to change it with something else, but her eyes were so “they’re going to take it from my paycheck” that I gave her the green light to the “fake mohito”. At that moment the girl-manager got in trying to play cool and she told me like a joke, or something that was supposed to be a joke: “You should consider yourself lucky we couldn’t make the ice because that’s the real mohito from Cuba with ice cubes”… I half-smiled… I was quite sure the original one was with ice “shards”, not “cubes” but I just told her “I’m not sure about that… but it’s no problem, I’m sure it will be ok”. That made her super angry becaues she wasn’t joking… I was supposed to believe that… and it was odd, I should have been angry of having an half made mojito that they obviously made me pay for after 15 minutes of wait being the only customer and i just wanted my drink and go back to my husband, I just didn’t care about it. On the contrary she felt it personal.

At this point I have a confession to make, as I didn’t really like conflicts on my honeymoon I just didn’t take a good look at the bar manager, and I suppose she was the same manager of the restaurant because that night she was completely mad at us for some reason. Both this manager in the afternoon and the restaurant manager that night had no name tag so i’m pretty sure they are the same person, if not, they have two bar/restaurant manager with bad temper and awful customer care skills. The problem is that if they were the same person this manager had to be the “avanger” type and apparently treating me like a fool with the “original mojito theory” only because I’m a good guy wasn’t enough so that night she or her coworker manager had to ruin our honey moon first dinner that the super nice girl at the reception prepared for us in the morning. In the case they are two different persons I can’t really understand why the second one treated us so badly… but let’s see what happened.

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In the end they made me half ice cubes, half smashed ice mohito… you can see the mix here, and a part from the original and nice bamboo stick, it was all water… #epicfail

At this point you have to understand we are a gay couple fresh of marriage, coming from a place where people treats you differently for that, so in a 4 star hotel we don’t want hate, especially on our honeymoon after fighting for a year against homophones to have our documents. So when we went at the restaurant we were just happy, we didn’t care about the flies, we didn’t care about the mohito, we were happy because the 5star reception-girl booked us “the best table as that was a special night for us” and we went to the hotel restaurant with the mind at ease. The restaurant was half empty and just 60 seconds before, 4 couples got in and got their tables in a matter of seconds. But when we arrived She was there. The Avenger Manager. She looked at us from distance and without even looking us in the eyes she stopped us with a blatant and almost theatrical hand gesture “you have to wait… back there” (always with gestures and from distance), you can imagine the face she had… We looked at each other my husband and I, and stepped back. Now, if you can imagine a scene like this in a smooth environment with low music and romantic lights, the restaurant only half empty you should understand that this way of treating us waked every eye in the room that began to stare at us wondering why we were the only ones rejected… it was not a good feeling I can tell you that… She let us wait standing at the door for a long few minutes with people staring at us. Then she came back. I have a special smile I use in this occasions, I don’t like conflicts, so I just began to say “hi, we have a reservation room number XYZ for a window table, you know it’s a special day for us and at the reception for our honeym……..” she stopped me harshly “ok, that table” and with half the restaurant empty she put us in the darkest corner, the one closest to the exit and not only that, the table was ready since the beginning, so there was no need to make us wait in the first place. That made the waiters feel uncomfortable for the awkward situation the manager created and that meant they treated us like “extra nice” making it even worse (although we appreciate the effort) as they made us feel even more out of place, something we normally don’t feel as we’re a totally normal couple perfectly fit in our community, even in Italy.

That was the last drop, the action that make me post this review with all the details, and I’m going to write it on every social media. There’s no ECO in this resort and just a few “friendly people”. They refill the “body cream shower” bottles (maybe that’s ECO?), but they didn’t clean it between one customer and the other as you can see from the sand I found in the one in the picture.

So I’m wondering: is this a 275+ euros/night for this unclean and unprofessional environment? And, just to be clear, the answer is no: we went to another 4 star hotel in the island and even if they were near the vulcan they had 0 flies in the rooms and their policy was “We tried our best to keep the bugs out even if the thermal pools made this a strong fight, but if you see just 1, we’re taking care of it for you”… that’s 4 star material, not any “unavoidable”.

I have the luck and maybe I choose a wise man as life partner that helped me enjoy even the restaurant night, but be sure this time I won’t let this pass unperceived because we’re going toward a world with no clear quality standards and that makes any “smart-a**” make you pay more than you should only because he can sell it nicely and he can erase bad user reviews. I’m going to put my voice to change what I can about this.

LPdLH

Dr. Luca Povoleri
Communication Management
+34 664 35 40 95
+39 347 09 60 79 4

2 thoughts on “#SantaBarbaraOfTheFlies (SANTA BARBARA ECO-BEACH Resort in Ribeira Grande – Sao Miguel – PT) [Travel Review]

  1. You should know in the first place that north coast is much more windy and cooler than the south coast (Vila Franca, Caloura)

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    1. That’s great to know, maybe the ill tempered manager was ice cold for the wind! Btw the weather was fantastic those days, and we loved rain. Here in Madrid it’s usually so sunny we miss rainy days.
      Unfortunately the problem wasn’t the weather there, but some seriously unresolved anger issues from the woman and some inefficient bug control. The place was a paradise… it’s a pity they run the place so poorly.
      So if you have the chance find another resort, there are so better places nearby.
      Thank you for writing have a great day! 💪🏻🌛☀️🌜❤

      Like

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