Our stay, whilst wonderful, was disappointing. Too many ups and downs to give an all out 'love you lots review' which I would have liked to do. The villa was wonderful, the staff were wonderful...even when they made mistakes...they apologised, and tried to fix them. Kudos for that.
Firstly I have to say I cannot fault the staff, who bent over backwards to make our wedding day, and stay, with them special, HOWEVER, the resort and restaurant are seriously understaffed and a resort of this calibre, you expect much more.
There was a general lack of wedding planning, or experience, with the overstretched staff which interfered somewhat with our special day. Tiny niggling things that all added up over time.
We were only a small party of 6 (my husband and I, and our combined four children) and we felt forgotten, almost overlooked at times, as though we were an after thought. Really?? When our manager/ wedding contact went off duty, everything fell apart...
I cannot imagine how a wedding might have been on a larger scale...they only needed to please 6 people on this wedding....a wedding is very special to a couple/family. A lot of time, effort, and money goes into it. We EXPECT people we pay to make it as perfect as possible. Its a celebration of a new start together, of so many things...and so, despite the problems, we focused on us, the meaning of our vows, the event behind the wedding itself, and we went along with mistakes that could have so easily been avoided, which is a pity, because all the errors were solvable, and unnecessary.
Examples....For goodness sakes, a wedding meal for 6 isn't too much to ask for...one persons meal wasn't delivered, and we were left alone, in the upstairs restaurant...completely isolated, and unattended for long periods of time, as the staff, one brand new '2nd day of work', waiter, did his best to serve us.
The food, and drink, orders were messed up, and the general catering staff were too busy serving 'walk in' and other guests at the bar and restaurant downstairs. We waited an interminable amount of time between courses, and served our own drinks from the champagne and water bottle. One of the children broke a glass, which we had to clear up, and we went int the kitchens and all around the restaurant calling and looking for staff to help us. In the end we wrapped the broken glass in a napkin and cleaned the table ourselves. I actually thought at the time we should have all marched downstairs and eaten in the bar, in our wedding finery and all. The wedding luncheon was $480. We had the same meal as served and prepared by the chef, from the menu downstairs, which they got for approx $20-30 a meal. So they are marked down in my review for this.
Wedding ceremony aftermath. The chairs put out for our wedding ceremony at the villa, were left scattered on the grounds of our villa and remained there for the duration of our remaining stay. It would have taken five minutes to clear away, whilst we were eating the wedding meal....but no, the waiter was required, upstairs, and downstairs, in the restaurants. He must have been run ragged, and him being new too!!
We had to wait for champagne to arrive after the wedding ceremony, as the waiter wasn't there with Champagne ready for the post wedding toasts. He could have turned up during the ceremony and prepared them ready for the moment we finished...but instead, the same waiter was needed in the main restaurant...as I said....they are seriously understaffed.
It all fell apart when the guy handling our wedding went off duty..(he tried his best and was/is a really nice guy, we felt bad even complaining to him). But everything fell apart, because he wasn't there to guide them, or rather 'him', the brand new untrained, waiter. We saw few other staff there.
We took the elopement package and could not get a photographer for our special day, and so we used throwaway cameras, but our wedding was on the villa lawn and the sun changed position, which we wouldn't know about, not having been there before at that time, meaning when it came to taking pictures, we were all plunged into dappled / and full shade resulting in that a lot of photos came out with us as silhouettes against a fabulous scenic backdrop, however this is a hotel review not the review of the scenery which is faultless, and amazingly beautiful.
Our key cards didn't work for either the villa or the gym/pool on numerous occasions and in the end, we just left the villa back door open so we could get in and out. Apparently it didnt help that we asked for an express checkout the day before we left, meaning the computer system automatically checked us out, even though we were still staying there, and that in itself cancelled the key cards from operating (all of them) and so we left the villa back door open (again).
We had the same problem, the none working room key card, for our honeymoon suite...which is basically a small (more expensive) room right by the waterfall...which whilst romantic during the day, at night sounds like a continually loud flushing toilet all night. But as a honeymoon couple I guess they don't expect you to sleep anyway. Also, funnily enough, there was no bottled water in the room.
Oh, and no room service....meaning my husband had to contemplate dressing to go down to the bar to buy some. Luckily, the brand new waiter, thought outside the box, had heard the telephone conversation with the bar man and grabbed a bottle and raced to our honeymoon suite. KUDOS!
The wedding cake, supplied by the local bakery was perfect, my wedding bouquet from a local florist, also wonderful.
The makeup artiste was too slow, when she had finished I had fifteen minutes to get ready myself before the ceremony and still had both my daughters to help prepare as well. That involves getting into the dress, jewellery, and shoes, and helping them with final preparations. I felt I was racing, rushed and stressed. So allow for extra time for hair and makeup...
The lady that did my hair, whilst a lovely lady, and did a lovely style, (which was not me), meant I ended up styling my own hair after she left. This also took way too long. They should have put the hair in rollers, done the makeup whilst waiting, and then style the hair...as they do on professional photo shoots.
The minister was wonderful, and her warmth, and humour guided us through the ceremony seamlessly. She knew where to position us (for our laptop computer which was streaming the event online live). She was a lovely lady, who calmed us both down.
The villa cleaning staff, YES THE CLEANING STAFF, arranged for me to have a steamer delivered to steam iron my wedding dress and they also arranged for me to have a full length mirror brought to the room. They saw me hang my dress the day before the wedding and also took initiative to help. So a massive thanks to their unexpected foresight and kindness...but this should have all been thought out in advance by the hotel as part of any wedding package. Another niggling (almost) oversight on their part.
I love this resort, my husband and I sail here and moor our yacht here and have done so many times over the years, and this is why we wanted to marry here, as it has such special memories for us.
All I wish is that they had many more staff, and better training, because at the moment their fabulous staff, and they are very hard working, friendly people, are wearing too many hats and expected to work far too hard and cover too many things at once....leaving them open, through no fault of their own, to making mistakes. Without them, this review would have been very different.
A kick up the backside for the owners, who aren't pulling their weight and making this resort, all that it can be (and used to be) and a pat on the back for the current staff trying so very hard to make everything, within their powers, as good as possible under very trying times.
We got married and enjoyed ourselves despite everything. We are a laid back couple/family, but goodness knows how a 'bridezilla' would handle this place...they might have let it run their entire day...and life...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Poets Cove Resort & Spa is the Gulf Islands' premier luxury resort. Tucked away in Bedwell Harbour on Pender Island, there is a luxurious combination of 22 Lodge Rooms, 9 Villas and 15 Cottages. We offer a full-service 110-slip deep-moorage marina and a Canadian point of entry customs office for CanPass users. Our stunning Aurora Restaurant and casual Syrens Lounge serves the best local fresh ingredients and our activities range from exciting kayaking adventures to rejuvenating spa treatments in our award winning 'Susurrus' Spa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Poets Cove Hotel Pender Island
- Poets Cove Resort And Spa
- Poets Cove Pender Island