I have stayed at this hotel for over 3 weeks in 2019 so feel pretty well qualified to write a review about it. Firstly, the positives. The front desk staff are very efficient and friendly (especially Daniela, Marlon and Jonattan), the rooms are large and comfortable, and the maids do a great job.
However, if this hotel wants to go from being a good hotel to a great one, as well as attract more international guests, they should address some issues.
Only a few times have I used room service. I don't remember the food arriving that hot when I used it during my stay in March, but on this trip in October I was very disappointed am still upset by what happened with my meal. When the room service waiter came to my room (Carlos I think was his name), I checked the food. The fries were cold, greasy and tasteless. I gave him one and said 'Is this OK, do you like these?' He agreed with me that they were not acceptable and promised to bring me some more straight away. So, I sat there like an idiot for 45 minutes waiting for him to return, not finishing my meal or eating my desert. I eventually went down to the restaurant to complain, and added a note to my receipt at the restaurant that I was not happy to pay for these horrible cold fries ! The same waiter then had the nerve to say to me then when he saw me (An hour later !) 'Oh yes, I have to bring you some more fries'. Over the next few days I asked several times at the restaurant what had happened about this and who was the manager responsible, but was never given a straight answer. On checking the bill at the reception the order was just added normally and my complaint was just totally ignored. They even had the nerve to add a service fee for this substandard meal ! This person Carlos really just doesn't care whatsoever what you think or if you enjoyed your meal, and should think about finding another job. He's also the same person who brought me lukewarm food in March. It wasn't the kitchen's fault, it was him taking half and hour to bring me the meal ! There is no comparison whatsoever between his attitude and the excellent reception staff, for example. I am marking down the hotel service score because of the very poor room service.
When I have spent over 1000 Euro of my own money staying at this hotel, I would expect at least warm fries, or failing that some courtesy in respecting my complaint and removing the amount for them from my bill !
Some other issues the hotel should address. The breakfast is really nice, but 4 times waiters took away my coffee and food while I got up to get something else. One day, the same waiter took away my things 3 times ! Maybe he should pay a little attention to who is there, and not to take away full cups of coffee and plates of food ! Not the end of the world, but really annoying when you're trying to enjoy your breakfast !
Another annoying thing. On the rare occasion I went to my room for a rest during the day, I could always hear some member of staff's 'walkie talkie' radio very loudly in my room, be it from the staff checking the mini-bar, cleaners, or other staff. Just turn down the 'walkie talkie', why would guests want to hear this when they are in their room ?
On my trip in March I didn't notice the following issue. It's not really the fault of the hotel, but on this trip in October guests were often hanging around in the corridors outside my room talking and shouting between rooms. Maybe this is normal in Colombia, but it's really not for international tourists. So, if the hotel wants to encourage more international people to stay, they should ask guests not to do this ! Families with several rooms on my floor would often be just wandering between rooms shouting along the corridor, with no consideration for other guests. Of course, this disturbed me in my room.
The hotel has a lot of functions happening on the 5th floor and I get the impression that they need to decide on whether they want to concentrate on improving the guest experience or on their other revenue streams such as these events. I encountered so many managers and staff here who don't seem to be involved in the hotel or guest side of things. Often Mangers and their guests were often sitting in the restaurant discussing business, at breakfast too, not really aware or considering whether they were disturbing the paying guests ? I often saw the new lady general manager around, discussing with visitors and colleagues, but maybe it would have been nice if she had interacted with the guests and asked them how their stay was going, or if they were happy with the room service !? I certainly wasn't !
Graeme Buick less
Jorge Alberto R, Director de Recepción at Best Western Plus Santa Marta Hotel, responded to this review
Dear Mr.Graeme Buick
It will always be a real pleasure to assist you in every vacation visit you make to the city of Santa Marta, it is a great pleasure to always have you at home as it is a very important guest for us, we are very sorry for the inconvenience you had with the room service requested.
We will review the situation presented to improve the experience of our guests
We always want to be at the forefront, so we appreciate all the time it took to fill out the bill received to leave us all your recommendations for improvement.
Jonattan Tobar Fill
Front Desk Manager