Over the past 6 months before we traveled reviews were rather confusing with 22 ‘Excellent’ & ‘Very Good Ratings offset by 16 ‘Average’, ‘Terrible’ & ‘Poor’ ratings. Having stayed in 3 different rooms over a 12-day period, here are some reasons why travelers can arrive at very different conclusions about Hideaways.
WEBSITE IMAGES: Images on the site are from the era when the resort was called the ‘Palm Bay Beach Club’. The name ‘Hideaways’ was adopted several years ago, and it’s surprising that the images have not been updated. The first 3 attached images compare Hideaways of today directly to images on Hideaways website. The next 10 images provide more images of Hideaways today.
COTTAGE LOCATIONS: Many ‘cottages’ are wedged into the site and have very different perspectives. Images 14 thru 19 illustrate very different front-porch views from 6 cottages.
WIND: Exuma is a generally breezy island with some periods/days of 20+ MPH winds. Hideaways faces the prevailing wind direction. On calm days, Hideaways is pleasant: on windy days, not so much.
VARIATION IN COTTAGE EQUIPMENT: Our 2-bedroom cottage was generally well equipped with a good size fridge-freezer and an oven & stove-top. Our 1-bedroom cottages had only a microwave oven and a small under-shelf fridge with a tiny freezer section.
INCONSISTENT FRONT DESK SERVICE: Front desk staff’s knowledge of the property varied from comprehensive to virtually non-existent, and the ‘Guest Services’ personnel that corresponded pre-arrival by email were nowhere to be seen during our stay. The so-called ‘Concierge Desk’ was a collection of brochures.
OTHER FACTORS THAT COULD IMPACT YOUR STAY:
• Inconsistent internet service (compared to consistent service at other locations)
• Some aging equipment such as a coffee maker that should have been retired long ago, a fridge with collapsing shelves, windows that wouldn’t open, key cards prone to problems, a non-operational safe and missing ice buckets
• Inconsistent maid service, where maids ask you what to do rather than fulfil a standard list, and where your room may not be serviced if you aren’t around to tell the maid what to do. Also, unfulfilled service requests - for example waiting a day for a toilet to be unblocked
• Unwelcoming breakfast service at the on-site ‘Smash’ restaurant where the server created the impression that she would rather be anywhere else but helping guests at breakfast
• The generally ‘tired’ look of Hideaways noted by so many reviewers, highlighted for us by dead plants in front of our last cottage (Image 20) and the rusting entrance to ‘Smash’ (Image 21)
Given all the above variables and travelers’ different expectations, we now understand why recent reviews are all over the board.
Some reviewers have cited the owners - Ron & Bette - as being absent to uncaring, even poor people managers. We view this as totally unfair. Yes, they seem to be challenged to keep pace with the aging of the resort they built perhaps 20 years ago, but they were very much in evidence during our stay and always very pleasant.
Notwithstanding Ron & Bette’s best efforts, we are rating Hideaways as ‘poor’ because we paid a Holidays rate of over $400 per night for our 13 nights in three rooms (including the resort fee) and experienced many of the service and facility flaws noted above, and by others reviewers.
In closing some advice:
1. Do not place too much reliance on the images on Hideaways website
2. Learn about the layout of the resort’s cottages to get a cottage with a view that is OK for you
3. Research island activities, facilities and restaurants before you go
4. If you are a light sleeper, stay on the north side of the property, away from the adjacent Latitudes restaurant which plays very loud music one or two evenings a week
5. If you are looking for a resort with modern facilities and consistent services, look elsewhere
6. Know that some units are privately owned, so you might get a better deal looking for them
7. Consider renting a private house on a more sheltered beach (like Hooper’s Bay)
And finally, to Trip Advisor: Given the downward average-ratings trend for Hideaways in recent months (3.6 versus the historic 4.4); service and operational deficiencies cited by many reviewers, and the outdated images on its website, the ‘2016 Certificate of Excellence’ displayed at Hideaways is, in our view, no longer deserved and misleading, notwithstanding the best efforts of its owners.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you are planning a trip to the Exumas, look no further than Hideaways at Palm Bay. Our beachfront resort offers you a variety of accommodations, ranging from studio, one & two bedroom cottages to one, two and three bedroom villas. We have it all for you here at Hideaways. Our casual, friendly, and peaceful resort offers you the opportunity to play in the sand on our private beach, or lounge by the pool with a drink in your hand from Splash!, the on site bar and grill. Hideaways was made for you, and our amenities and facilities were designed with you in mind. Offering in suite massage for pampering, complimentary water toys for entertainment, and gorgeous views for enjoying the sunset on our private patio, you will find Hideaways is filled ample opportunity for couples, families, and friends, all to have a great time away from home. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hideaways At Palm Bay Hotel Great Exuma