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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    612

    Default Cranky People....Couples Barbados

    I get that people are upset, worried, maybe even angry about the Couples Barbados transfer to Sandals. But honestly, I don't get the sometimes rude, "all about me" tone of some of the questions....Given the seemingly last minute nature of the sale to Sandals, I think Couples has done a remarkably good job at getting the info out to its loyalists, and according to one of the threads, Sandals will soon be contacting each one of the upcoming reservations directly.

    So really, I wish some people would tone down the rhetoric and read through the threads carefully before demanding compensation or fretting that they can't get their favorite Jamaican Couples resort at the time of their vacation.

    I've stayed at a Sandals resort, and while they're no Couples, they're a very solid brand, and you can bet they'll do their utmost to convert any Couples loyalists to the Sandals brand....I mean they have a captive audience, so why wouldn't they do all they can to provide an outstanding vacation experience to a group of people (many of whom) have proven to be repeat guests of their chosen resort brand....

    I'm sorry for those who have had their dreams of a Couples vacation denied, and hope they can somehow make do with the (IMO) generous alternatives provided by Couples.

    And no, I didn't drink the Couples kool-aid.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    259

    Default

    I agree with gonegril. If you have a reservation at Barbados, you can still go and it appears you'll still receive all of the things you expected. The only difference will be the name of the resort. Having visited CB in July, I'm delighted to hear that the staff will remain. Yes, it's disappointing to hear your vacation is changing, but more disappointing if you hear you've lost your job.

    From what I've read, people have been informed as quickly as possible about this change and it appears that the Couples team have made a generous offer to compensate those affected by this.

    We really liked Barbados, thought Couples had done a great job, and had hoped to return at some point. We love Jamaica, and are returning to CSS in a couple of weeks, but it's exciting to visit new places but have the reassurance of the Couples brand. We applaud Couples for branching out of Jamaica and hope that they can focus on all that they learned from the Barbados venture and will continue to explore other locations throughout the Caribbean at the appropriate time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    186

    Default

    Nice tone of perspective there gonegril!

    I know I'd be spitting feathers too if I was booked in to CB in the next few months - worried about my hard earned expenditure - but the rest of us can surely see this is just business. I bet the Issas and colleagues mind the hard work going up the spout but stuff happens and you occasionally do lose one as well as win most if you're lucky and hardworking.

  4. #4

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    We have stayed at Sandals a couple times and Couples 9 times. We definitely prefer Couples but know that we will have a good time no matter where we are as long as we are together and there are no screaming kids doing cannon balls into the pool. That being said I feel bad for Couples as well as those disappointed by this change. This was their first venture off Jamaica and they spent a lot of money that they probably will not get back, as well as losing money on bookings as most trips only required a deposit with final payment closer to the trip. That money will now go to Sandals I would assume? Hopefully this will not sour Couples on trying to expand our favorite resort company on to other islands through the Caribbean. Couples knows how to do all inclusive and we look forward to getting that treatment while seeing new and exciting places down the road.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    64

    Default

    Hmmm, I agree and disagree with your post all at once....

    I share your opinion that Couples has done a great job at handling this. I read an article online that, if I understood it correctly, suggested that the government was involved in the deal as well. I think some people are getting confused thinking that Couples negotiated this sale with Sandals. I don't think that was the case at all. I am disappointed to not get to try CB as CB but life goes on. I have had this happen before just a couple weeks prior to travel and it worked out ok. So, no worries....

    I did post on the board - politely - to ask Randy about switching our travel dates so that we could take advantage of the offer and still stay at our favorite Jamaican Couples. I guess you can then categorize me as fretting about getting my resort of choice. I don't think it is wrong to try to get a resort you really want to travel to versus one you aren't that interested in. This is where I disagree I suppose. I don't think that people should necessarily go happily to Sandals... Been there several times in the past...I think their product has developed into an experience I equate to attending somebody's bachelorette party every night... yuck.... I would much rather switch over to Jamaica to stay at couples. In our opinion there is no comparison. I am gladly willing to change my week to get that experience if I can. I don't know that people should be scolded for "fretting that they can't get their favorite Jamaican Couples resort." Vacations are expensive and unfortunately most people don't get a lot of vacation time. I think it is important to make the changes that will assure you the best experience for your time and $$$.

    That said, I absolutely agree that Couples has been generous with their offer. I find it to be very fair and I am pleased with how this is being executed. Much better than the last time this happened to us (with a different resort)... It helps that I use a really good agency... I know they will make it easy for me and assist me to utilize the offer from Couples. I agree that people should be more polite but I do think it is reasonable to expect that people are stressed.

  6. #6

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    I have to say I agree. Sorry the presidents of both companies did not personally call you immediately after finalizing the deal.

    I have to say that I feel Couples is handling this less than ideal situation in the best possible way. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of reservations affected and it takes time to get everyone contacted. I think posting the announcement on the board to give people the earliest possible heads up was a great thing to do. I also think both resorts are being very gracious in terms of working things out.

    This sort of thing happened to me about 6 years ago. I was booked on a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda (my favorite cruiseline). A month before the trip, I get an email from my travel agent telling me that Royal Caribbean (who owns Celebrity) was rolling out a new, luxury cruiseline, Azamara, and my sailing was changed to Azamara. I was offered absolutely no opportunity to change cruises. In their eyes, since I was getting upgraded from a premium cruiseline to a luxury cruiseline, I should just shut up and go. Well, we were only the second trip on that ship, which was newly and hastily converted to a different line. There were broken things in the cabins, the crew was all new and didn't know what they were doing, and the excursions we had booked were all cancelled. In short, this "luxury" line fell WAY short of Celebrity for us. We even complained afterward about one particular incident that was awful (involving unsanitary conditions) and not a single person even followed up with us or sent us a "we're sorry about that" email.
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    208

    Default

    Good take. I think we forget the nature of the business and these things happen all the time.

    It might be a great opportunity for the sandals crew to try to impress. Also I would imagine most of the staff would still be on board. They might even elevate the level of service????

    I also think the $500 offer to change is a pretty generious offer. I read that resorts are doing very well and properties are a going for a premium. Given that Couples has only one resort outside of Jamiacia their model might not fit paying a premium for the property.

    I think if if I were to be trying something "New" outside of Jamaica then it would still hold true to try the resort.

    It might serve the guests well to ask sandals if they can match the $500 if you "Stay" or perhaps at the very least get an upgrade or a "spa" package as an incentive.

    At the same time, if its "couples" and its brand that first and foremost drew you to the resort and you can switch, I can understand that priority.

  8. #8

    Default

    Well said....Thanks!

    Just in case you are wondering, we have bought and paid for a week in early December so we are just as concerned as most people. And yes, very disappointed that Couples will no longer have a Barbados offering.

    Although this change is affects many people and is very important.....the change is not life threatening! It will all work out someway We truly hope all parties can work this out to everyone's satisfaction!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197

    Default

    From what I've read, people are confused, uncertain, worried, etc. And that's fair. Let's face it, when you book a vacation (especially at Couples), you're looking for a stress-free process. Now, folks have stress -- some more than others, depending on when they booked, how they booked, etc.

    IMHO, Couples has been quite generous in their approach to compensation -- much more so than, say, cruise lines who have analogous issues (i.e., an entire ship is chartered or the ship is unable to sail).

    That said, if I were impacted, I would have angst. And I would be more worried about me than I would about Couples or . . . whomever. I think in a week or so when folks have figured out what to do, the anxiety will die down.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,518

    Default

    I think all the other threads on this being locked might be a hint...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    534

    Default

    I totally agree. I am one of those people that had booked CB. We decided to switch to Couples Swept Away, and very grateful of Couples generous offer. We are thrilled that they were so gracious and fast to accommodate us. I am sure if we had stayed with Sandals our vacation would have been fine, but it worked for us to switch, and thankfully our dates were available.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,303

    Default

    "So really, I wish some people would tone down the rhetoric and read through the threads carefully before demanding compensation or fretting that they can't get their favorite Jamaican Couples resort at the time of their vacation."

    Well said gonegril. I am sure this is not what Couples wanted to happen or how they would of like things to happen. They seem to be trying to make everyone happy and deal with a situation that is out of their control.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    976

    Default

    I understand the peoples concerns, especially those who are very loyal to the Couples Brand as I am, but it certainly sounds to me, like Couples got completely hosed in this deal.

    Sure we will lease it to you, let you fix it up and then BANG a miracle happens and another resort executes a clause in the contract with Couples and buys it, AFTER Couples has done the renovations, training and fixing it up.

    May not be like that at all, but that is the way I read this thing.

  14. #14

    Default

    Well said Gonegril! I have been shocked by some of the nasty replies that I have read. I too understand being upset, but people seem to be forgetting that Couples got the shaft on this deal as well. I believe that Couples has handled it with the utmost of class and respect to their guests.
    Bonnie & Jon

  15. #15

    Default

    Well said, gonegril! I too don't care to see all the complaints.

    I think Couples has done a great job considering the situation. It's too bad it ended so quickly, I would have liked to go to Couples Barbados too. Couples has a rare offering. Finding another couples only, all inclusive resort that doesn't include meal plans or vouchers, added costs for special club privileges, or designated adults only areas, is limited in the Caribbean and Mexico, especially for the Couples price. I hope Couples will continue looking for places to expand their brand's offerings.

    If it's Barbados that one wants to see, I think those who are already booked should go. It will be the closest thing to a Couples vacation that one can find outside of Jamaica.

  16. #16

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    We are arriving on Nov 1st and anticipate a wonderful time, just as we've always had at their Jamaica properties. And you're absolutely right about sandals bending over backwards to please during the transition. After all, it's an opportunity to get people to change their brand. I post again when we get back.

  17. #17

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    While Couples have ensured alternative bookings and refunds, I just feel that Couples should have told folks before they booked CB that it was a lease option to buy property- at least folks could have made a more informed decision knowing that it could get bought out by another resort and if they wanted to risk it, so be it and if they chose not to do so, all good too. At least they could have known upfront about a business deal that could effect their travel, flight plans, etc.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    24

    Default

    I had just counted down to 20 days before my trip to Couples Barbados and then saw the announcement on the Main Board. I was shocked and upset. I think, like most people when I read that Sandals would honor bookings up til Nov 6th and my vacation started on the 7th I was very confused. Did that mean that my vacation was canceled? I am not a travel agent and did not understand that meant you could book up until then.

    The only reason we were going to Barbados was because of Couples. I can not get a direct flight like I can going to Jamacia. I do not like flying but I figured I would try a new place because it was Couples. It will take an additional 5 hours of time to get to Barbados than it would have to go to Jamacia. Since our first trip to Couples Ocho Rios. (now CTI) we have compared every trip to that one.

    We have been to Mexico (twice). We have been to Hawaii. We have been to Las Vegas. We have been to Sandals Montego Bay. We have traveled up and down the East Coast of the USA. But we ALWAYS compare any vacation to the way we are treated at Couples.

    Couples has contacted me several times since the announcement and for that I am truly grateful. I do believe they have tried to handle a very difficult situation with as much class as possible. I have not yet heard from Sandals on my upcoming vacation. (Now less than 17 days) I am nervous about showing up to Barbados and living in the airport all week. With my wife's job we can only go on vacation the same time every year and we chose one of those dates to go to Couples and the suddeness of the news has caught us off guard. So with all this taken into account. I guess this does make me a 'cranky person'.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default

    This may not be Facebook but I just hit the "Like" button!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    152

    Default

    I agree people should not be nasty. This is not Couples' fault. However, I see nothing wrong with people being upset and disappointed with that has happened. We travel for 2 weeks on Dec. 9th, and we are disappointed. We wanted another Couples experience. We did not book a Sandals resort and we do not want a Sandals resort. Sandals states they are starting reno's immediately, yet guarantee travellers the reno's will not interfere with their holiday. I am not sure I believe Sandals. We have been to one Sandals resort and the whole 2 weeks we were there, we had to listen to construction/jackhammers by the quiet pool each and every day. We waited to book Couples Barbados when all their construction was complete. Now, we are going to a Sandals (which we do not want) and going when there could be noise and construction around us. Yes, we are happy to go to Barbados. We were there once over 20 years ago and it is beautiful. We cannot change our booking to Couples in Jamaica without losing all our airfare with airmiles, so we are "stuck" going to Sandals. Again, not Couples fault. Again, we are disappointed and upset.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    14

    Default

    We are booked for "Couples Barbados" in January and are definitely disappointed by the news. We have stayed at two different Sandals and felt like the service and "vibe" was no where close to what we experience at Couples. I booked through a TA and unfortunately, my first news of the sale was from this message board last night. We are paid in full and are hoping to switch to one of the Jamaica resorts, but I am worried about the reseort availablility and definitely the switching of the flights. I understand business but it was disppointed to have something booked, paid for, and looked forward to, just kind of disappear. Hopefully we will be able to switch back "home" and have no worries! :-)

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    81

    Default

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth -- it also seems obvious to me that Couples got shafted in this deal. Their grand opening was just recently wasn't it?

    I suppose the lesson learned in all this is to never lease a property without ironclad guarantees it can't be sold out from under you for at least a couple of years.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Everything good at CB. Not hearing any complaints. All good. Staff who are most affected are 100%.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    564

    Default

    maybe couples can take over SANDALS in Grenada LOL

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