Stone Tree Tulum, a misrepresented rental property January 14, 2015
My wife and I had the misfortune to rent a house in Tulum, Mexico known as Stone Tree Tulum VBRO 22437. Although advertised as “secluded” and “safe,” this residence is located in a slum-like area replete with barred-up windows, broken down shacks, graffiti covered walls, and garbage strewn sidewalks (see attached photos.) We should have followed our initial instincts and kept driving out of the ramshackle, forbidding neighborhood. We gave it a try, but had to leave after one night, unable to sleep due to the cacophony of traffic and howling dogs that barked incessantly until dawn.
The listing is a misrepresentation in many respects:
1. When we arrived on time, the place was not ready. One caretaker was hauling a mattress up the stairs and the other was apparently out shopping for food items we had ordered, and which were promised to be on site when we arrived, tired and hungry. When she finally showed up, the minimal groceries we ordered in advance were not complete: no coffee, no cream, and no olive oil. They went back out and returned, still not getting it right. This went on for over an hour. It was frustrating, especially with no comfortable place to sit in this odd, dark hodgepodge of a place.
2. The condition of the house was in disrepair and unclean: the floor was dirty and gritty (a few minutes walking on it turned my feet black;) the “couch” was broken down and uncomfortable; the stove had only one operable burner; the cutlery was broken and dull; there were cobwebs in the lampshades and ceiling; bulbs were burnt out; doors did not lock; and the beds did not have blankets, only polyester bedspreads.
3. The upstairs bedrooms can only be accessed by going up an outside staircase, and then one must walk through the master bedroom to access the second bedroom. Apparently privacy is not a concern of the owner.
4. Internet service, which we stressed was extremely important to us to stay connected with our business in the U.S.A., was unavailable except for the outside terrace, which, again was only accessible if one walked into and through the master bedroom, undermining any privacy. The only comfortable chairs out there were of the plastic stacking variety. Although the flowering trees made it quite picturesque, residents of other dwellings could easily be seen and heard at all hours.
5. The upstairs shower was all but unusable. After taking several minutes to warm up, the temperature could not be regulated. Worse, the shower head emitted only a few pinpoint sprays of extremely hot water.
6. Although the front gate to the courtyard can be locked, the doors to the home cannot be locked when leaving, leaving it accessible to any other tenants in the adjoining two residences within the courtyard. This risk, and the questionable surrounding area, did not make for a relaxing evening, nor did we feel safe leaving our valuables, which the owner had told us not to carry but to lock in the bathroom. There was, in fact, no such locking capability.
We had reserved this place for seven days, but after a sleepless night dealing with barking dogs and traffic noise, and an unacceptable “shower,” we packed up and left the next morning, checking into a hotel. We e mailed the owner, Donna Funicello, telling her that the rental was misrepresented, i.e. the noise, dogs, slum-like neighborhood, the condition of the home, and lack of internet signal, advising her that we would pay for two days (even though we stayed for only one) and requesting a refund for five days. She refused, claiming that we did not allow her and her caretakers to “make it right” and saying they normally provided earplugs to guests, and Soco, who, by the way, spoke no English, would get us some. Apparently she figured her caretakers could clean the place, repair the stove, remodel the bedrooms for privacy, replace the couch and other furniture, and perform major plumbing & IT modifications, all within a few hours. Sheesh!
We would not recommend this rental to anyone. Ms. Funicello has misrepresented its condition, its location, its facilities, and its layout.
Michael and Geraldine Buckles
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