Discussion in 'Desire Pearl' started by hot_2_trot, Feb 24, 2015.
You did have a coupon.
sorry to hear that you guys did not have the best time...we had a totally different experience at our trip, but it could be bcuz of the crowd and we never tipped $20 to anyone and no one ever asked us to empty a chair.
Thank you so much for the review. We have been going to TTR for a few years. We were contemplating trying Desire pearl, but couldn't justify the price.
Ryan's addendum #1
OK, so this is Ryan, Hot_2_Trot’s tagalong. Like I said, I think she was right on for the most part but I wanted to add a few things from my perspective.
A quick note about us to help you maybe compare our perspective on things to your own to see if you want to listen or blow us off: As Jess mentioned in a reply, we’re fans of the whole spectrum of slum-to-swank. We live in downtown Chicago with no kids so we go out all the time, sometimes to dive bars and occasionally to 3* Michelin restaurants, and a whole lot of everything in between. We’ve stayed in $14 hotels (shout out, Nowhere, Wyoming in 1999!) and splurged on a phenomenal Santorini cave hotel overlooking the cauldron that rivaled Pearl rack rates pricewise and was none-inclusive. We’ve found things we thought were great values everywhere in between.
Bottom line for me: From a purely resort perspective, ignoring the party aspect, Pearl did not provide a good value and at times was downright infuriating.
Grounds: Other than the beach I thought the grounds were beautiful. From the open-air lobby where (sorry Jess!) they did greet us with glasses of sparkling wine, with registration subtly off to the side and sightlines opening onto the tropical gardens, nothing about arrival dampened my excitement. Check-in was just minutes sitting in a chair with a drink, then we were escorted to our room with a very quick tour of the property.
Room: We were in the basic oceanview room (my understanding is that's the base level). The rooms are nicer than TTR for sure, but as Jess noted they aren’t on par with newer Vegas hotels in terms of finishes in the rooms. The bed was nice, and a thatched-roof patio overlooking the pool was cool too. But the bathroom was pretty basic and there weren’t enough drawers. I liked the kinda polynesian feel to the rooms but they needed some screws tightened, so paint in corners touched up, little things like that that have a cumulative effect of making things feel - not cheap, but just in need of some care. Overall good but not great rooms. Like most rooms, "oceanview" was true, but looking out over a decent chunk of the hotel first, if that matters to you.
Food: I’m not sure if I was more excited about the food or the giant hot tub, but I was pumped about both. We love us some good food. My verdict: overall the food was better than TTR, but not always and maybe not even the majority of the things I ate. Breakfast: TTR every time. Give me a made to order omelet and crispy bacon every day over just premade buffet only. Having espresso/cappuccino available at Pearl was a nice plus to me. Lunch: All buffet, not any more memorable than breakfast. One day out of 3 they set up a grill outside which was great but not as good as the poolside grill day at TTR. Dinner: Mixed bag. Some dishes were legitimately great, like the gnocchi on Italian night and the seared duck-breast salad on French night. But most dishes were forgettable or, in the case of both the filet and the pork tenderloin on French night, very disappointing. Dry, bland, bleh. Better meat ON THE BUFFET at both places. Very big letdown.
Room service: I have to separate this from “Food” because it was awesome. The food we got from room service was good, but I mean having room service available was awesome. Wake up shaking off the hangover, order room service, hit the balcony or stay in bed and 30 min later you’ve got a cooked-to-order breakfast. $10 flat charge regardless how much you order. Should it be included? I say hell yeah but at TTR it’s not available at any price so it gets a shout out.
Drinks: I would pay about $10/day extra vs TTR for the “upgraded” liquor at Pearl and I’m a pretty big liquor geek. For the most part the brands Pearl has that TTR doesn’t are the ones that are famous because they advertise well. Grey Goose, Don Julio, Patron are what everybody gets excited about. Please take the blind challenge: Stoli vs. Goose and Milagro vs. Don or Patron. Stoli = Goose and Milagro >> Don or Patron. I was hoping for a good scotch or bourbon or two. Shout out for having Maker’s which I do think is >> Beam (top shelf bourbon at TTR.) It’s not like that broke the bank to provide Maker’s, but that’s why I said I’ll throw them $10/day. If you don't call your liquor at TTR and drink the rotgut in the well, then yeah, this is a lot better but c'mon man, call your liquor, there's some good stuff there.
OK, gonna cut this off and post the rest in a few minutes...
Sheesh, if I had a dollar for every time someone has said "wish we'd just stayed at TTR", I would be one rich bitch!!
You know when I heard a great time is to travel to TTR to get in a 'fix' for your addiction????.... June.... June 12-19, BTW... ;-) ;-) ;-)
Amy, we'd love to, especially since that's Ryan's birthday. But that's the best time of year in Chicago and we would miss some of our fave things--the naked ride, several of our fave street fests, EDM festival....we wait through all this shitty snow and wind for that time of year here! You guys will tear it up in June, tho.
Ryan's addendum #2
We got in a little late and fairly drunk the first day. During dinner the evening entertainment started (something happens in the open-air lobby every night around 10). It was opera singers. They seemed good to me but they weren’t keeping our party rolling at all. We fought drink+opera-induced sleep through dinner long enough to get a 5 minute peek at the disco and that was all she wrote for our first night.
Day 2 is the first time we see everything in the daylight. We head down, have some forgettable buffet breakfast and walk out about noon to settle in to one of the ⅓ of the pool chairs that are open - nothing in them. Towel guy sees us and I’m assuming he’s going to escort us to the nearest pair of chairs and hand us towels. Instead he informs us that every chair at the pool is full. Cue incredulous look as I scan all the empty seats and think about what I’m paying and he says let me look again. That day he did decide that a couple of the prema-reserved Premiere seats could be un-reserved, way down at the far end of the pool, and he set us up. OK, not ideal location but we’re sitting.
It was windy that day - 20mph winds with 30mph gusts - a little cloudy and about 70-72 degrees most of the day. So we’re comfortable but a lot of people are wrapped in towels etc. Obviously nothing the resort can do about the weather! But MAN we’re all looking forward to 4PM when the giant hot tub (holds… 50? 75? comfortably) opens. So we head over at 4PM and everybody is bracing as they get in. They didn’t start heating the tub nearly early enough. Sad effort. So that was a pretty lame party. Met a few hardy souls but mostly people were shivering and not looking to stay too long.
Next day I’m up at the ungodly hour of 9AM. I head to the balcony and look down at all the open chairs and settle in to wait for Jess to wake up. 10:00 as I’m thinking I’ll go ahead and go claim one of the 80% open chairs, a short monsoon rolls through and they clear everything out of the pool. By the time the rain ends we’re at breakfast and we come out as they are still putting covers back on the chairs from the rain. I plop down, wait for my towel. Attendant comes by, I smile expectantly, and he says “Sir all these chairs are reserved.” “OK, which chairs are not reserved” “I’m sorry sir, every chair at the pool is reserved” “So where can I sit?” I ask, bc there is sand blowing 20mph in your eyes on the beach and there’s only one pool which is too cold to hang out in bc they won’t heat it. “I’m sorry sir.” Stare. “Well, if you would like to sit here until someone returns that will be OK. I will let you know and you will need to move at that time” Steam out my ears. That’s when I said to Jess that for what they charge and for what they claim to be, there should be a chair at the pool for everybody that wants one, any time they want one.
That day the hot tub was hot in the afternoon and at night. Afternoon party was fun-ish. Met some fun people, but no music and mostly pretty low-key despite our best efforts. As Jess said, most people were far less outgoing that at TTR. People we talked to were friendly, a few were awesome (trying to get them to TTR next year) but we did all the initiating. Nobody we didn’t already know started a conversaion with us.
Disco: I love that it’s air con’d. The sound system is great. 20’ square cool dance floor stayed pretty full, but that’s not a ton of people. Overall it was a fun place to dance but there was nothing like the shitshow shinanigans.
Back out for the late-night hot tub. As Jess mentioned, no music so pretty mellow. Everybody’s been drinking and feeling a little flirty so it’s OK, but overall I was disappointed with the hot-tub parties that I thought were going to be the highlight.
OK, I started rushing bc this took far longer than I wanted to spend but lemme know if there’s anything you want to know that Jess or I didn’t cover.
Shitshow 2016 here we come!!
Ryan's most frequent comment by the second day was "FUCK this place." I thought that was kinda funny, in a sad, crying while smiling kinda way.
As someone who regularly frequents both, let me just point out a few things.
First, there are a few options for staying a considerable amount cheaper than you paid. If you would like details, PM me.
Secondly, just as you have learned the 'ins and outs' of TTR in the visits you have made, the same applies to Desire Pearl and RM. There is certainly no need to pay for pool chairs, the bar service in both the restaurants and hot tub are really wonderful once you become acclimated, etc.
I know that Desire is not for everyone, just as TTR is not. All I am saying is that it is not uncommon for first time visitors of TTR to post here with complaints we all know can be avoided with a little know how. The same goes for Desire, and considering there really is no other place like Desire in all of the NW hemisphere, it is certainly worth learning the 'ins and outs'.
I am sorry you had a negative experience, I hope you decide to visit again with some repeat guests who can show you the ropes!
Scottydog, I think that is a great summation. Different strokes for different folks. We love Desire for specific reasons and love TTR for other reasons, many very different.
Jess & Ryan, feel horrible that you had such a bad experience. Hate that you had such a bad time and that the resort didn't come close to meeting expectations. Reading some of those experiences just made me cringe. Very clearly on many of the things you listed the resort dropped the ball. On others I think it was bad luck or timing was just off. Either way shame on the resort for not making it right as you gave them the opportunity to step up and they didn't.
Some thoughts on the experiences you listed, not to minimize what you experienced, as it is very clear you shouldn't have to play games like you had to play to get basic things like a chair or a hot hot tub but the purpose is to instead help others who want to give it a try as there are some methods/options to get what you all didn't out of Pearl
Going in order of events...
- yes, drinks always provided in the lobby as you sit down to check-in so not sure what happened there. If you ask for one I am sure they would bring it. We never had to ask.
- breakfast is a la carte in addition to the buffet. You can order anything you want. They should of told you this but if you ask in our experience they will cook you anything, I wanted a crab eggs benedict and they cooked it for me.
- lunch grill. stinks they only had it 1 out of 3 days. for us they had it every day and was one of my favorite things.
- chairs by the pool. the game stinks but just like the getting up really early first come first serve system at TTR, Pearl has its own system / game for chairs. Yes it sucks at the rate you pay but if you tip $20 on day one (and never again) and tell the attendant where you want to sit he will either sit you there or explain it is taken and will move you to that area when it becomes available. The reason it is taken is someone has already reserved it for the time they are there and it will open up when they depart. If your area requested is not available day 1 then tell the attendant that you want to be moved to that area as soon as it is available and still give him the $20. He will likely then find you 2 chairs for the day and move you when it is available. I know, it stinks when you pay as much as you do but we prefer it over waking up at 6am first come first serve approach.
- Price. So the key with Pearl is they always run buy 3 get the 4th day free specials. Since you were not staying 4 days I guess you couldn't take advantage of this. Last trip we used that special plus 20% off on cheap tickets to get a room for $333 a night. Then paid $225 a night to upgrade to the penthouse. The point is I agree $700 is too much to pay but better rates are available. Likely not as good as what we got last year in Feb but likely better. Might have been easier to swallow some of the deficiencies at a better rate.
- Heated pool. Yeah, we don't go back to TTR in feb anymore as the Mexico weather on our two trips stunk. And Pearls pool even had a chill to it in October (although a refreshing one as the weather was ridiculously hot). I wouldn't enjoy the cold pool either. Definitely is way better in May and October.
- Hot tub comments. Re it not being heated day 1. That sucks. I actually thought it was too hot in May and October. They clearly dropped the ball there. On the music something must of broke. They normally have trance / edm type music playing. You guys would of loved it. Music definitely effects the party. I am going to PM you the General Managers contact info in case you want to share your feedback by the way.
- Party / People. 100% agree. That is in our opinion the biggest difference even in our trips which clearly were more of a hit than yours. As you know we are pretty outgoing, but I think of you guys as outgoing too, so we have met people really easily and created a pretty good party scene. The key is obviously what you have to work with and it sounds like you didn't have much. Just like the people make TTR, the right people make Pearl. In our opinion it is a higher risk, higher reward since it is a much smaller resort. Risk being that people that are not outgoing or fun are there the week you are there since there are much less people.
Again, feel bad about your experience and that Pearl didn't deliver. You are great, fun people that I know can have fun anywhere and if Pearl didn't allow for the party and fun to happen then shame on them. I really do believe that they care way more than the TTR management which is why I highly suggest you email them when I PM the contact info. Not sure they will do anything but I think it is worth sharing. We shared with them that the pool party would be better if they take a request list for the pool dj and they had that when we returned in October. Maybe just a coincidence, who knows, but we like to think they were listening (did they still have that by the way?).
Hope to see you at TTR again some day. When is the TTR version of the trip report coming?
Kyle - thanks for your comments. We knew you two would be disappointed we didn't like it. I'll respond more tomorrow, I'm on the computer all day and writing that up put me way over my screen time limit for the day
Similar to Ryan's comment, too tired tonight to rant anymore, but we are super fucking pissed that we had such a bad experience and it's probably over for us there regardless. If they're owned by the same company and they treated us like that then f them.
Thanks for the review we have been on the fence about Desire but found your review to be what we have generally heard from others. We will stay at our happy place TTR as I had never disappointed us ever!
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We haven't been to Pearl, only Riviera Maya. In fact, we have been to Desire RM many times and love it. But we are excited to experience the TTR party for the first time in April.
I don't think anyone would tell you to go to Pearl for the party.....Everything I hear is it is the quieter resort. I also think $700/night is crazy. We paid close to that for a passion suite, not a regular room (at RM).
Sorry to hear your experience was negative.
Jen, fill in me on the tricks at Pearl. We are going to TTR and then headed to Pearl for 4 days. To think I have to tip to get a chair by the pool just pisses me off to end. I don't want my trip to end up like Hot to trot's. I have no problem tipping as long as I get service. Wondering if I should change to RM. help me out please. Thanks
I don't want to hijack the thread so pm me any specific questions you have but regarding your chair question see my response on the last page. More details... Look for Jarrod. Shake his hand, say hello, tell him it is your first time at pearl and you want to be near the action at the fun end of the pool. Hand him $20 and tell him ideally he sets you up at the fun end until the day you depart telling him the day. He will then either take you to where you want to go if it is available or tell you they are reserved by other guests and take you to two that are available. If it is the latter tell him that you would like to be moved when they become available. The next day find Jarrod and he will remember you and take you to the best option based on your preferences. I agree it sucks to pay $20. But it sucks more to not have prime chairs or have to get up at 6:30am to reserve them like at many places or have no chairs at all. Although both of our trips never was there no chairs available but maybe there are more people in feb than may or october. It was just a matter of chairs at the busy end vs quiet end. Clearly different than Jess and Ryan's experience.
Thanks Jess and Ryan for sharing the experience! So, Desire is off the list as TTR alternatives during remodeling. The next on that list could be Caliente Tampa - looks like they have many parties going on - Parties at Caliente Tampa. Have anyone stayed at Caliente ?
Lol I can just hear him saying that too, now waiting to see Jeff & Lori's TR
Lenni, you guys would hate Pearl.
Kyle, it pisses me off to NO END that there was an fn menu in the buffet that includes items such as crab eggs Benedict. WTF? I don't remember a menu ever being given in the buffet. Capt, do you?
As for complaining to management, that's not our style and is a huge hassle. And all they usually want to do is offer for you to come back at a cheaper rate. I'm madder than ever after hearing that our experience was so below what others have had. We know a lot of ppl from TTR and Pearl should know that we have influenced quite a few people to avoid this resort. That's what they get.
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