Pix say a thousand words:
Look out for two properties on Grand Turk, marketed by the owner as "Palm Grove Villas". All locals, including Tourism Board reps, know these as "the brown houses", having been trashed by hurricane Ike in 2008 and sleezing in the sun ever since! Owner markets these via VRBO and web site featuring pre-hurricane photos and descriptions! Compare: OUR photos s1051.photobucket.com/albums/s435/lsmith17s/
to HIS photos and descriptions (below): http://www.vrbo.com/310849#comments
Our brief tale: Our systems went on alert when we arrived at the airport on GT and were left high and dry, with no ride. This after I had called the "property manager" two days previously to remind him of our flight arrival day and time. A Salt Cay resident on the same flight kindly came to our rescue, using a cell phone to ring the "property manager", who was awakened and professed he had "forgotten all about it."
An hour later the "property manager" showed up in a pickup truck. Two of us squeezed into the cab with the driver for the ride to the "villa".
As we drove up to the property, we looked at each other with increasing alarm. From the outside, the view of the weathered exterior of the "villa" and the large, rusted container/dumpster out front were not encouraging. The Tom Sawyer fence with a rusty screw that tagged our backpacks as we squeezed through the broken gate and the view from the deck of the piles of badly weathered lumber and debris that once was the pool area, added to our dismay.
Once inside, we noticed little touches like jalousie panes that wouldn't close (by hand even!), shuttered windows lacking any screens, chairs with uniformly blown-out seats, a torn and sagging leather couch that had seen better days, and AC units that blew no cold air but roared and clanked, leaving us in no doubt as to sleepless nights with mosquitos nipping. Further inconveniences awaited, with no water supply to the house (the PM was working on that one), and no linens on the stained beds in damp bedrooms strongly smelling of mildew. A couple of frayed, tattered sheets and a towel were all we could locate, tossed haphazardly on a bedroom closet shelf.
Our dismay turned to concern as we noticed hazards such as exposed wiring, splintered deck boards jutting up in several places, and a staircase step edge waiting to tear a bare foot or toe.
Our overall impression was of a neglected property badly in need of repair; the peeling paint and weathered, water-logged and splintered wood of the exterior, added to the broken fixtures, worn-out furniture, and musty, mildewed interior simply left us in a state of shock and disbelief.
For this, we had paid over $1k US well in advance of our arrival. In spite of the potential loss of that money, we decided to move immediately to another, reputable property. Our year of savings and careful planning for a vacation on Grand Turk turned into an expensive mistake. Clearly, we were misled, which was confirmed as we spoke with a rep at the Tourism Board office on Front Street and resort/guesthouse owners, taxi drivers, and others we met throughout the week, including the lawyer whose services we secured to attempt to recoup some of our losses. We hope forum readers will look upon our example as a warning!