Service Needs Improvement
We stayed at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach, Florida from July 23 - 27, 2009. We were impressed with the resort's decor, grounds, facilities and environment, which are spectacularly beautiful. Clearwater Beach had been in great need of a resort and spa of this category for many years.
Unfortunately, aside from the initial registration process, the service we experienced was seriously lacking. Most staff we encountered in all areas of the resort seemed rather aloof and uncaring about guests' needs and requests. For example, while at dinner at the beach grill, a family member requested candles because it was my birthday. In response to their request, the waiter simply stated "I don't think we have any" as he walked away. He did not even attempt to make our experience a pleasant one. That same lovely and clear night, we asked staff the reason why the bonfire was not lit but we were told there was a "possibility of rain". Despite our requests in light of the fact it was a birthday celebration, the same obsurd excuse was provided to us in an uncaring manner and without apology by a lady who claimed to be a manager. The bonfire was later lit after the beach bar /grill staff received several complaints from guests. Another example occured when at the beach bar /grill we observed a guest request a certain liquor. He was told by bar staff that they were out of it. When the guest complained and threatened to leave, the bartender pulled out the bottle the guest had requested claiming he had just found it. Yet another example of poor service was that the beach staff removes umbrellas at a certain time each day (much too early for summer) regardless of whether guests are still enjoying the beach. One day, we went to the water and returned to find our umbrellas gone. Moreover, one huge flaw is that there is no drink or food wait service directly on the beach requiring guests to get up and walk across the hot sand in order to get a drink or lunch at the grill. This is something we would have never expected at a hotel of this category and price, as we have never experienced this at any hotel we've stayed. We experienced poor service once again at the Caretta Restaurant bar one evening when staff decided to close the bar more that 15 minutes early. Guests were practically forced to guzzle down their drinks as the staff hastily turned the lights up and started closing down. There were at least 10 guests still at the bar and sitting at the surrounding tables. I had to leave my drink half full.
In general, during our entire stay at the Sandpearl Resort we felt a sense of disinterest on the part of staff in making guests feel welcome. Most staff members we encountered gave the impression that they were not happy to serve guests and continuously provided minimal effort. The Sandpearl Resort promotes itself as an upscale resort, and the spa and hotel facilities as well as its decor and environment certainly match that description. However, if the Sandpearl expects to compete with the likes of The Ritz Carlton, for example, it is extremely important that all staff members receive additional, extensive guest services training and management should make service the utmost priority.