When is a 5 star hotel not a 5 star hotel?. When it really is a 3 star! We booked a week at the Rixos Libertas and paid extra for balcony, sea view and half board. It was not cheap but boasting 5 stars we went ahead being used to paying for balcony suites on cruise ships( it was on a cruise ship visit we discovered dubrovnik and liked what we saw). First mistake, all the rooms seemed to have balconies and sea views! So no need to pay extra.
We arrived late in the evening but check-in was seemless and we were cheered by the welcoming quality award from Tripadvisor displayed on the front desk of 4 stars out of 5 for 2013. 2013? we arrived on Sept 11th with still over 3 months of the year to go! Our review, which has been seen by the hotel's Guest Relations Manager follows:
Staff: Generally polite and good humoured but lacking in polish. A few seasoned professionals augmented by mainly further education students who were willing but lacked ' waiting-on experience and skills'. So there were constant requests for knives, spoons, napkins, side plates, milk etc. Numbers were low and on one night 5 waiters had to look after 200 guests in the dining area.
Facilities: Good pool and sunbathing area in very good location. No beach but 'safe' sea bathing from steps to ocean.Big open spaces inside hotel (looked as though it was designed for conferences rather than holiday makers) but no library or games room. The guests were of the mature type so the the Gym was under used (I never saw more than 3-4 people in it at any one time). For a hotel of this supposed stature, the range of entertainment was poor. One very good guitarist played 3 out of 7 nights in the bar but packed up at 10pm just when the later diners were leaving the restaurant.
Bars & Restaurants: One hotel bar and one pool bar. One 'general' buffet restaurant and separate a la carte meat and fish restaurants which offered 25% off menu prices for half board guests who wanted to 'upgrade'. Not many took advantage of this having already paid for their dinner and on one occasion when we ate in the steak restaurant (see below for reason) we dined alone from 7.30 to 9.30pm! Not many used the bars either as prices were very high and on none music nights nothing to encourage guests to use them.
Food: Half board guests generally ate in the buffet restaurant (see above). There was the usual selection of 'hot' and cold dishes. The restaurant closed at 9.30pm and guests (who had already paid for their dinner) were invited to attend the a la carte reastaurants where they had to pay again at exhorbitant prices (less 25% discount of course).
Generally the cold food was of an acceptable standard but the majority of the 'hot' dishes were poorly presented, indifferently cooked and more often than not inadequately heated to keep them warm. Cold plates due to the high turnover and again inadequate heating added to the problem so one invariable ended up eating cold food that should have been hot.There was also a lack of fish choices on the menu.
On our second night we complained about the temperature of the food to the Maitre D' and Head Chef. Other guests joined in but the only consolation we received was to sample the a la carte restaurant the next night (free of course). It was here that we ate for 2 hours in solitary confinement (see above), no other guest used the facilities during that time. The food was decidedly ordinary and for a bottle of wine (which was not free) and 3 courses (the crepe for dessert was inedible) we would have had to pay £170 (less 25%0. No wonder the place was empty! The only really hot meal we had all week was a lunchtime pizza from a small cafe near the Port. They did manage one night to produce hot plates but unfortunately they ended up on the cold counter! We think the restaurants were a shambles.
Rooms: Fraying carpet, lack of clothes hangers, no drawer space, lack of wardrobe space, unfinished wiring on balcony, partition between balconies missing so lack of privacy, no kettle in room.Size of room was good with settee, sitting area and plenty of electrical points but 1 change of bedding in 7 days?
Summary: Compared to the major holiday destinations around Europe, we would put this in the 3 star category, definitely not 4 or 5. A cruise ship offering this level of service and amenities for comparable price would not last very long. Croatia is a lovely country but they are deluding themselves with their hotel category star system. Prices in Dubrovnik are being kept artificially high but eventually the savvy tourist will go elsewhere. This would be a pity because it has a lot to offer but I am afraid for us not at this level of service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A landmark of exceptional Croatian hospitality, the waterfront Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik has been reborn as the ultimate contemporary design hotel with luxurious facilities for discerning travelers. Home to 254 guest rooms that combine panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea with pampering facilities that indulge and inspire, it is conveniently located only 15 minutes away from Dubrovnik Old Town and 25 minutes away from the Dubrovnik International airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rixos Hotel Dubrovnik