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Hedonism III, Runaway Bay, JamaicaAuthor: Louden (More Trip Reviews by Louden)
Date of Trip: May 2009
Hedo III Trip Report 28 May - 8 June 09
This is our third visit to Hedo III. Comments made here are specific to this visit and reports of other visits may be found in other trip reports I have posted.
My wife and I arrived on an Air Canada flight from Toronto about 1:00 pm after pleasant 4 hour flight on an A319. Unlike the previous visit, processing through Immigration and Customs was very quick and we departed on the Superclubs coach within 15 minutes of checking in with the Superclubs office at the airport.
We arrived at Hedo 3 about 3:30pm after a very comfortable bus journey with only one stop at Breezes. We were the only passengers for Hedo so check in was prompt and we were assigned a room in the building we had previously requested (415). During check-in we received a warm welcome back by Christine, Guest Services Manager. She assisted in resolving a problem later in our stay.
Our room was a pool side room on the Quad which we find very convenient to all facilities. The room was spotless and everything worked. Antoinette, our assigned housekeeper, made sure it stayed that way and that we had all the supplies we needed. We learned that the hotel was only at about 30% occupancy. Painters worked almost daily on the shutters on the side of the building facing the quad pool. Although discreet, their presence nevertheless inhibited the fun around the quad.
We returned to this property primarily to take advantage of the scuba diving offered. Despite being Scuba qualified the hotel charged $200 to upgrade my wife to Open Water certification. This involved about 1:30 minutes of dedicated instructor time. In my opinion this is an excessive charge since diving is included in the package. I attempted to obtain individual Adventure dives but could not arrange this. Despite arriving with the Advanced diver training material the dive center was insistent on charging the full $290 for the standard course. The dive centre was unwilling or unable to state a price for individual "Adventure" dives. The dive boat had a broken entry ladder which made re-boarding dangerous. Much of the dive equipment is worn and in my opinion potentially dangerous. (Regulator malfunctioned, mouthpieces with "grips" badly torn, weight belts with very frayed edges which makes an emergency release very difficult). We observed that air bottles varied in pressure from 2100 to 3800 psi. Surely it's possible to be more accurate on the target of 3000 psi. By the end of our stay the boarding ladder was repaired but we didn't use the boat because the resort elected to group Breezes & Hedo divers together because of small numbers. I intend to write to PADI about the Resort’s 4 star rating. The dive team of Alroy- boat captain, Ryan – dive instructor, Roger – dive master was outstanding and did their best with the equipment and policies at hand. Barrington, the other water sports team member was always welcoming and helpful. Regarding the other water sports, only one of three Hobie cats is functional if barely so. The resort's new policy is to require a staff member aboard so you can no longer sail solo. The water sports manager stated this was an insurance requirement. What nonsense! How come other resorts can provide this? We did not participate or use the other sports facilities.
The resort still suffers from many annoying deficiencies. Walkway lights burnt out, hot tubs not to appropriate temperatures. Waterslide operated at irregular hours. My particular peeve is the failure of the bars to have proper CO2 facilities for the soda dispensers. All bars frequently dispensed "flat" drinks because “mix” is brought over in gallon jugs and potentially sits for hours before being served. This results in un-touched drinks left throughout the property. Additionally, if a rum and coke was requested a rum and diet coke was sometimes prepared. Since I have an aversion to Aspartame this was not appreciated. It would be appreciated if stocked items were available at all bars. Martini Rossi Red was unavailable at the main bar for the last five days of our visit yet available elsewhere. The bar staff was always attentive and very friendly. Special mention should be made of Annika, Kidiane, Marlon and “Showtime”/Earl. We suggest that a bench, table or wall hooks be placed adjacent to the nude steam room and sauna so there is a place to put your suit or wrap rather than dropping them on the ground.
The Resort has introduced a towel exchange program since we were last there. You are given two coupons on check–in and either return coupons or towels on check-out. I think the system works well and results in a tidier resort and better availability of towels.
If you are walking the grounds, which are glorious at the moment, you will likely encounter Delroy. He is a very unobtrusive individual that you will see cleaning up the grounds and doing odd jobs. One of the many largely “invisible” people that make the place run smoothly. In his case he always takes pains to say hello and wish you well. We nominated him as the one employee to be recognized on our comment card.
The entertainment staff was energetic and sexy as usual. Their boundless energy and talent sets Hedo III apart from other resorts. No complaints there. The Pussycat review and the sultry fashion shows were outstanding. Led by Diva, the ladies Shaquie, Melody, Cassy and Anita were provocative and fun. Thrill, Dyce, Bombastic and the other men were wild and crazy.
The restaurants still require reservations despite being virtually empty. Food in the buffet restaurant was elaborate and in my opinion better than that of the specialty restaurants. Ricardo’s service and attention during several evenings was much above the standard of the other waiters. The buffet has better seats and the resident band plays during dinner. We would suggest that a minimum dress code be established for the evening Buffet. We think that except for Toga night, a towel or bathing suit is inappropriate. Dress “hot” not sloppy! John, the chef at the Nude pool, took his usual pride in all his preparations. The food and service were very good at Scotch Bonnet/Reggae Café.
Sunday night, our last, we again ate at the Buffet. There was a great selection and wonderful dinner music. The entertainment theme was well executed by the ET. We went up to the piano bar to enjoy John's musical antics. At 10:30 we left with the intention of using the disco spa and the water slide. The slide was not in operation and the spa temperature was about equal to the air temperature (75F). An attendant stated that the slide did not open until 11:00 and just shrugged about the spa temp. I stated that the sign adjacent the slide entrance indicated 10:00 as a start time. Later checking of the activity sheet showed that 11:00 was the correct start time. Why the discrepancy? In actuality, water started flowing at 11:18. These are the type of annoyances that put a downer on an otherwise good vacation.
During checkout no offer of a critique form was made. We had obtained one the previous day. The form is mainly a rating scale for the various facilities and activities. There is little room for serious comment. It appears that the resort only wants positive comments.
To summarize, the entertainment is outstanding and sets Hedo III apart. The accommodation is good and very clean and the food is varied and of high quality. The frequent evidence of poor maintenance, broken equipment, poor bar drinks, inconsistent spa temps between spas and time of day, make a stay here disappointing.
In this economy I believe that we may choose to spend our vacation dollars elsewhere.
Dennis & Louise
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