Q: I booked four rooms for my family at Iberostar Selection Rose Hall Suites in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We chose the Suites for its family-friendly reputation — specifically, because they had a kids’ water park and kids’ club, which we thought would be the perfect speed for our toddler.
About a week before our arrival, I read some reviews that stated that the water park was under construction and the kids’ club was closed. I was hopeful that it was a quick maintenance closure of just a few days.
I immediately reached out to my travel agent and the resort. My agent said he hadn’t heard anything about construction. I didn’t receive a response from the resort for over eight days. They confirmed that the water park was under construction. But by then, we had arrived.
To make matters worse, our room was directly above the construction of the water park. My toddler saw this view from our balcony, which made it difficult to explain why we couldn’t use it. The construction noise was very disturbing and happened all day.
We understand that construction and remodels happen, but we would have chosen a different resort or different time had the resort made us aware. I reached out to the concierge while we were on-site to see about some type of concession or credit, but none was available. Can you help?
A: Your travel agent should have known that you were booking the Iberostar Selection Rose Hall Suites for the water park and monitored the property. Once it became clear that the water park was out of service, your agent should have negotiated with the hotel for a transfer to a different property that met your expectations.
But it appears that both your agent and the hotel waited until you’d arrived to start addressing your grievance. That’s too late.
Something tells me that a quick phone call to Iberostar Suites letting it know that you were interested in a room near the water park would have tipped them off that there might be a problem.
Yet the hotel’s site continued to promote the amenities. “The younger guests will delight in facilities specially adapted for children,” it said. “The kids’ pool, water park, and playground provide plenty of fun under the sun.”
Yes, they do — when they’re open.
I think you could argue that these amenities were part of the “all-inclusive” resort offering at the Iberostar Selection Rose Hall Suites. If that’s true, then the hotel should compensate you for these missing amenities.
Your travel agent could have acted as your advocate to help you secure a refund. And that’s exactly what happened. I reached out to your agent, who contacted the hotel. Iberostar was “sorry to learn about the inconveniences” and offered a $624 refund.
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Read more tips on his blog, elliott.org, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.