We love the Ritz Carlton. We really do. And when we plan our travel, we almost always consider the Ritz hotels before any other. Ritz Carlton hotels are not only in some of the best locations in the world, but you can count on a certain kind of experience when you stay there. The Ritz Carlton promises (per their credo) the “finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience,” and “an experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.” Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And in most cases, this is what we have come to enjoy and expect. So when they fall short – it’s more than disappointing. As it was during our stay at their hotel in Palm Beach.
Before arriving at the hotel, my husband made all of the arrangements well in advance; everything from the suites to the cribs to the high chairs our kids would need. We were assured that everything would be perfect upon our arrival. Not so much. While the Ritz was lovely and the staff was friendly, that is where the perks of our 5-star stay ended, and the nickel and diming began.
When we arrived in our suite, we were met with the gear we arranged for – the high chairs and the cribs. We quickly learned that the Ritz rented the highchairs from an outside company and automatically charged them to our card. The charge was $100 for 2 chairs for 6 days ($50 of that was the delivery fee). Our annoyance wasn’t necessarily the cost; it was that we were not informed about this cost beforehand and that our card was charged without our authorization.
As far as the cribs, they were metal with very average linens and no bumpers. Inside each crib was the standard Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo travel pack that we have also received at other Ritz locations. And that was about it for our children’s welcome. Disappointing. Certainly didn’t fill any “unexpressed wishes” that we may have had.
Next, we hit the pool in hopes for some fun in the sun. We rented two poolside cabanas, only to find that were not staffed and only came with fruit and a few bottles of water. Really? No service in the cabanas? We were wondering if we paid all that extra money simply for the shade, and if so it wasn’t worth the cost. And sadly, the pools weren’t very kid-friendly. There was no beach entrance to the pool or children’s pool area, which meant more walking (and more carrying) of our toddlers. When does the relaxing start?
And after a long day in the sun, we were sad to find that there were no kid-friendly restaurants in the hotel either. Room service was our only choice, which was fine – but it would have been wonderful to be able to enjoy a delicious meal at one of their beautiful restaurants rather than be stuck in our room each night.
The final disappointment came at the end of each day. Bottled water at turndown service no longer existed – or didn’t during our stay at least. And at a beach resort?! I guess they were trying to cut corners while they certainly weren’t cutting room rates.
All in all, this Ritz lacked the 5-star experience that we have come to love, and was a far cry from kid-friendly. They were nice enough to comp our suite for two nights of our stay, but sadly, we won’t be going back any time soon.