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Caneel Bay 10/11/01
Reviewers Rating: Fair
Let me say that I've been lucky enough to have stayed in most of the world's greatest properties, from the Peninsula in Hong Kong to the Amanpuri. Thus, I was really curious if Caneel would hold its own. It didn't. Actually, Caneel turned out to be the worst experience I've had. My impressions are extremely negative for one reason: The service and attitude of the staff alone managed to destroy the experience of being on an island with some of the nicest beaches I've ever seen. I heard that the staff was rudeÖbut I didn't expect as bad as it was. If I were to fully describe, with the telling of an incident or two, how bad it is, I would need to go into detailed prose in order for you to completely get the impression one is left with. In such instances, what is said, the look on one's face, one's tone-of-voice, etc. all come into play. You'll just have to trust me here. To say that the service is unacceptable in one of the most expensive hotels in the world is a travesty. There is a bitterness had among the staff - every last one of them -for their well-to-do guests. You'll feel this immediately. If you have experience in Phuket, Bali, etc. - where the staff will seemingly take a bullet for you - you will not be able to stand one night at Caneel Bay. Again, I would go into incident details, but behavior between people sometimes is very subtle - and this is subtle, but clear and deeply felt. As for the rest of the resort: It's filthy. I had one of the top, beachfront rooms. It was so grimy that I dreaded heading back to bed at night. I felt I had this film of grime on me the whole time I was in my room. I had gotten advice prior to bring some Raid. I needed it. Make sure you get the kind that kills both cockroaches and ants. I used it on the first night to kill a cockroach the size of a small child. Although the maid had come, it was still lying where I killed it on the floor until I checked-out. The shower and bathroom were ok - but it had one of those tiny tubs. My room had great a/c. Thank god for that. The food is terrible. Breakfast for two ran me no less than $40 and consisted of the frozen stuff I get from the supermarket. How do I know? I buy the same brand of hash-browns they used. Salsa for the chips was the kind out of the jar. Avoid the fruit plate: my strawberries were laced with mold. Dinner ran me no less than $160 for two (with wine). Beaches are gorgeous. Land of Caneel Bay is breathtaking. Activities provided at the hotel are just fine. However, the filthy-dirtiness of the place, along with the most offensive staff I've ever encountered made me wish I'd spent my Labor Day elsewhere - far, far away from Caneel Bay.

Chris Cooper

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