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★☆☆☆☆

“Treated Like Criminals”

Written on: 31/07/2013 by MaHill27 (1 review written)

My partner and I had an absolutely horrific experience at this resort and I implore others to read this review and take it at face value. This is the first time I've written a review as I simply do not want others to have to experience what we did. It was an absolute sin!

Travelling from Toronto, 10 nights were booked at Samsara June 23 - July 3rd, 2013. As my partner is originally from Jamaica, our trip was both a vacation for us as a couple as well as an opportunity to re-connect with family and friends throughout our stay. Unfortunately from the first night, things did not go well.

During the first evening of our stay as we were engaged in a game of pool with other guests, my partner was told that it was 'time for him to leave' because visitors had to leave the premises by 11pm. The staff did not ask him if he was a guest first but assumed he was a local who had been invited onto the resort and it was after hours. At first, my partner understood why there could be confusion given his accent and the exchange in Patois, however even after he validated that he was indeed a registered guest, the staff repeatedly asked him to leave. I had to engage in the conversation to advise that we were travelling together and that we were both registered, paying guests. This was a very embarrassing scenario to have take place in front of other guests and it also put into question the resort's treatment of local Jamaicans - including staff - given that their website states "all are welcome."

On the third day of our stay, we opted to purchase the breakfast plan for the duration of our stay. My partner was not with me at the time of purchase and so I was advised to have him pick up the arm band at his convenience. When he went to do so, even after presenting identification and validating once again that he was a registered guest, I was called in the room and was asked to 'vouch' for him. I went to the front desk to validate that he was a guest and asked them to pull up the booking so that they could see his name was on it. We matched that against his identification as a means to not have to go through this scenario again and to ensure that everyone was clear that he was a registered guest. At this point I felt that we were all on the same page and could move forward without incident. Unfortunately this was not the case.

A few days later, after spending Saturday morning in the pool, we decided to go out for lunch. I returned to our room to get ready and my partner stayed down by the pool/bar area as we had been with other guests. Shortly after I left, my partner was chatting with a female guest when the resort owner abruptly approach them and proceeded to tell my partner in a very hostile manner that he had to leave. When they both asked why, the owner accused my partner of 'picking up' the female guest and behaving inappropriately. Both were speechless! My partner then re-affirmed that he was a guest, explained that they were simply having a conversation as most guests do and at this, the owner told my partner to 'go to his room' and that he wasn't supposed to be talking to other guests. Needless to say, this was completely embarrassing and extremely offensive. Even as the other guest tried to explain to the owner that there was nothing inappropriate taking place, she was abruptly 'dismissed.'
In order to mitigate any escalation, my partner chose to cooperate and began walking to the room. The owner followed him and began cursing at him using Jamaican expressions and he was extremely offensive. Finally my partner had had enough and responded in kind and that's when the owner became physical with him bumping up against him and pushing him. The incident then escalated further into physical scuffle when other staff broke them up. At this point the owner then would not let my partner return to the room, forced him to the front lobby and told him he was evicted effective immediately!

Following this exchange (unbeknownst to me), while I was in our room showering, someone came to the door and was violently knocking but when I asked who was there, the person did not identify themselves. This happened twice and then it stopped. When I stepped out of the shower, the knocking resumed. As I was asking who was at the door, I heard a set keys jingle outside the door, the door being unlocked and an unidentified man came barging into my room and walked the full length and back and stood outside the bathroom door. I slammed the bathroom door shut and locked it and asked him to identify himself repeatedly. He would not and simply was shouting that he needed to speak to me. I told him he needed to leave the room immediately or I would contact the police for breaking and entering. Finally the housekeeper who was working in a room next door took him out of the room.
Once dressed, I was able to speak with the man. He identified himself as the owner of the resort. He immediately told me that my partner could no longer stay at the resort because he was accusing him of assault. I asked him to validate that it was in fact my partner. He had a difficult time describing him - simply saying that he was a black man with black hair. I asked him what he was wearing and he could not describe and had to call reception. The owner went on to tell me that my partner was speaking to other guests - female guests and trying to 'pick them up' so he approached him and asked him to leave. When I asked him how he identified this behaviour over simply having a conversation, he could not provide specific details to support his claim. I then asked him if the female guest lodged a complaint and he stated that no she had not. I asked if anyone else had lodged a complaint and he said no. I then asked him what he observed specifically that would have prompted him to approach them both and ultimately ask my partner to leave and he did not have a response. Instead, obviously frustrated with my line of questioning, he threatened to call the police. I said that I would support that so that all sides of the story could be told - by the owner, my partner, and myself regarding the illegal entry of my room while I was there alone in a vulnerable position, his refusal to identify himself or leave when asked thus posing a threat to my personal safety.

Following this exchange I was able to locate the female guest (onsite) as well as my partner (off the premises) to obtain their version of events. After this, I met with the General Manager and wife of the owner. I was notified by her that not only was my partner no longer welcome but I too was being asked to leave the hotel. We still had 4 days remaining on the trip. She then presented me with a letter notifying me of the request to vacate. She did allow me to present my partner's version of events as well as what took place re: the exchange in the hotel room (which seemed to have been a missing part of the owner's explanation based on her reaction) and when I asked the same question - what prompted her husband to approach my partner in that manner in the first place, she simply said it was 'instinct' from 35 years of experience. In addition, I was told that there would be no refund of any kind and that a police report had been filed!
However, when I asked for the file number, she could not find it. Even after we settled into another resort (White Sands Negril - most welcoming and unbelievably kind and caring staff), when I continued to contact Mrs. Absera for this elusive file number she could never locate it and then simply stopped taking my calls.

Please be assured, there is no embellishment in this account of events. This is what happened and as gobsmacked as you are reading this, we also were experiencing this. I especially am a seasoned traveller and have never, ever experienced/been witness to anything of this kind. It truly does make you stop and check your value system. We will continue to work with our local and provincial agencies to resolve this matter but if I can have fellow travellers pause before supporting an operation such as this, to stand up for fair and equal treatment of guests and staff alike, then that's a start. It boggles my mind why someone would do business in a country for 35 years and yet treat the countrymen as lesser people.

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