I agree with everything the other reviewers said regarding the upgrade to the cottages. It is nothing short of remarkable and the new owners should be complemented on more or less saving the facility.
On the other hand, the reviewers must not care about food or peacefulness as much as I do. One must remember that when your guests are captive on a beautiful island you have a responsibility to make sure the food is as memorable as the locale.
While some of the meals were fantastic, by and large the food was not properly prepared and it was uncreative. For example the market vegetables associated with our dinners for six days running were broccoli, green beans and carrots. We also saw the same vegetables at breakfast in the fish stew. Clearly, the beach bar was an effort to attract boaters to the island and it shows. The beach bar is only open for lunch and the menu, while nice, is limited. This is not a problem if you are having lunch there once or twice, but if you are there for two weeks you will be having lunch 14 times and the menu becomes repetitive. The food at the beach bar was well prepared and we enjoyed the food there. However it required leaving the beach for an hour and a half or more in the middle of the day. You cannot get food from the beach bar using room service.
The lunch buffet at the old restaurant, which made for a wonderful, quick lunch, is gone. If you want to eat at the old restaurant or order room service for lunch, the menu is extremely limited to sandwiches, burgers and fries (frozen) tomato soup and the like. Last year when we were here for two weeks, we didn’t eat one sandwich, nor spend more than an hour walking to/from lunch and eating. It seemed to us that once they had us there, they didn’t seem interested in the food they were serving us, since our food was included in our fee. On the other hand, the beach restaurant was trying to get people to pay for a meal off the “street” (boaters) so that they were more interested in making sure that they were serving quality food there. It was a terrible decision to make every day. Do we want to have a good lunch and give up a few hours of beach time or get quick, boring food from room service?
Dinners were a mess. It’s like playing roulette. While some of the dinners were good (keeping in mind the vegetable issues} at times the dinners were just horrible. My partner ordered fried shrimp one evening and the shrimp were perfect. Then the chef put them in a sauce, which made them soggy and paired them with four steamed, plain broccoli florets arranged around a lump of plain steamed rice. It was impossible to guess what might be good from day to day, so if you ordered the wrong thing you lost at roulette. (Sometimes the spectacular food was on the same plate as the awful food.) Often there would be no starch served with the entrée. In the main the fish was over cooked. I could really go on and on about the food, but the main thing you should know is that the food is a significant downgrade from the past. Last year, we raved about how wonderful the food was and couldn’t wait to see the dinner menu. This year we raved about how awful it was.
The wine list is limited and expensive. Drinks are priced on par with a hotel in the US, which is fine if you are spending $200-300 an night for a room. When you are paying $900-1400 a night however, and are captive, it seems to us that this is borderline price gouging. (Speaking of price gouging, free laundry is gone and replaced with the most expensive laundry service I have ever seen this side of the Ritz Carlton. $10 for a pair of pants.)
The staff is stellar as always and made our stay so enjoyable, even as we were complaining about the food to each other. They are really a remarkable group. They make you feel like you are the most important person on earth. We did not have one negative encounter with any of them.
Finally, the construction continued throughout our stay, primarily related to building the owners house. There was also significant heavy construction on the west end. It was very difficult to take walks around the island, because it was so torn up and the sound of bulldozers, beeping trucks and such really detracted from the peacefulness. For those of you that have been to PSV before you should know that a significant amount of the foliage there is being removed. Some may think this is an improvement, others may not. I just think you should know that the wild, natural feeling is changing to a more sanitized version of paradise. We started to say they were Disneyfying the place.
In summary, even though we were returning guests it is unlikely we will be going back. We felt somewhat exploited in that it seemed as though once they had our money, they were no longer concerned about making sure that the food was good, that the drinks were reasonable and that we had a nice peaceful stay, free of noise, busyness and inconveniences from construction.
Maybe we are just too fussy but at this price point I believe we are entitled to be a little fussy. I really want PSV to succeed. It is a wonderful place. The original owners had such a vision for the place. I was hesitant about writing this review but I am a long time user of trip advisor and I rely on the honesty of my fellow reviewers. I believe I owe it to my fellow travelers to be honest as well.
Apropos of nothing we walked all over the island when we were there and neither saw, heard or smelled a chicken. Coming from a rural area it is hard not to see 200 chickens. BTW the chef is Swiss not Belgian. Just FYI.
They are all unique and all good.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC