Travel Troubleshooter: Construction Sound hammers vacation

  • When Lisa Chiarello’s Sandals vacation is ruined by construction noise, the resort offers two “free” nights. Is she entitled to more? Photo: CHRIS BRANDIS, AP


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If Lisa Chiarello’s Sandals holiday is destroyed by building noise, the resort offers two “free” nights. Is she eligible for more?

If Lisa Chiarello’s Sandals holiday is destroyed by building noise, the resort offers two “free” nights. Is she eligible for more?


Travel Troubleshooter: Construction sound hammers holiday


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Q: I’m writing to you as we have had a poor experience with Sandals Resorts. The week of June 4, my husband and I remained at its resort in Barbados.

Important construction was happening at the resort. The structure was ongoing and was not disclosed to me. It carried out of early in the afternoon until dinner time. There was not a place at the resort at which you could escape the loud sound. We tried to make the very best of this problem; we used ear plugs and finally resorted to having to hear music played really loudly with earphones to attempt and drown out the building noise.


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This was a very stressful holiday. We had a difficult season and were very much looking forward for this respite. We were ready to pay the price to get a Sandals resort to have a quality experience. If we’d known of the building, we’d have chosen an alternative Sandals place.

During our stay we spoke to a client representative who advised us that our complaint will be registered and the director of guest services would contact us within one to two days. We had to follow along with her, and that she told me that the business couldn’t respond to our complaint until after we’d settled the bill and were home.

Once we came home, we followed closely with her and were advised a “ticket” was started on our own behalf. We were offered two free nights if we booked another Sandals holiday within a year.

We already have a U.S. holiday planned for 2018 and might not have the ability to book another Sandals holiday within that time frame.

We have lost faith in the company. We have had three holidays with Sandals Resorts and would have continued to do this later on. We are very concerned with its lack of communication. Any help or guidance you can provide would be greatly valued.

Lisa Chiarello, Clarksboro, N.J.

A: Sandals must have told you about the building prior to you booked your holiday. After all it claims to be the “recognized quality of romantic beach holidays,” and building noise isn’t romantic.

I am troubled by the provider’s preferred resolution process. Did someone really tell you you had to repay the bill and move home before Sandals could help? That is crap. Sandals includes a second resort in Barbados, which may have been able to accommodate you. I always advise attempting to solve a problem similar to this right then and there. It appeared as if Sandals just wished to take your money and send you a halfhearted supply of two “free” nights. (Obviously, they are not really “free” in case you need to pay for airfare and other expenses, but I digress.)

You kept excellent records of your correspondence with Sandals. That is helpful when you’re attempting to negotiate a settlement. Sandals wrote you a nice reply, which seemed to be a form letter, where it apologized to your experience, noting, “it is a real concern to us on rare events despite everyone’s good intentions, conditions arise that lead to the events explained.”

To me, this seems like Sandals believes the terrible holiday you had was no person’s fault. However, it was. The company is directly accountable not only for the construction, but also for failing to inform you of the repairs.

I might have appealed this to somebody higher up at Sandals. When a company sends insincere apologies and halfhearted offers, it is time to escalate your complaint. I list the titles, numbers and email addresses of Sandals executives on my consumer-advocacy site:.

I contacted Sandals for your benefit, and it agreed to repay the two nights you had requested.

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Find travel hints at . Email: Twitter: @elliottdotorg