As a writer covering the world of luxury excursions it is my duty to shed light on those that take advantage of the unwitting traveler. By design a vacation is supposed to be a reprieve, a necessary reset, a welcomed escape from the monotony of the work week. It is a reward for putting in the hours, retribution for the years of slaving away, a celebration of finally being in a position to go on a vacation. There is a valid reason why vacation time increases with tenure, it is to be earned and by the time it is earned, it is needed! The art of the vacation is truly a sacred destresser and is to be respected. Unfortunately there has been instances of gross negligence on the part of some Villa management teams, taking advantage of the oblivious nomad. The following is a horrific first hand account of a freshly engaged couple and their friends’ ‘experience’ at Casa Bali, located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Imagine you and your friends get organized for once in your lives, pooling resources you scrape together $30K USD to enjoy New Years in scenic Costa Rica. When spending that kind of money on accommodations you would expect whoever is managing the property to do a walk through of the amenities. The average Airbnb user has the common decency to do a quick overview. Unfortunately, logic and quality control isn’t in abundance at Casa Bali. An eight bedroom villa that upon arrival doesn’t have running water or electricity! After dealing with that reality for two days, two of the couples who slept in two separate cabins mentioned the mosquitos had got them pretty bad. For the first time in human history they wished it was mosquitos; after the lights returned and revealed the source of their bites… bed bugs started literally coming out of the woodwork. The pillows, bedding, mattresses were infested with bed bugs. This discovery led to two couples being unceremoniously displaced from the property. If this was not enough already, it just so happens that bed bugs have a proclivity for fine garments. Ruining a number of designer items and adding the mental anxiety of creepy crawlies stowing away in their luggage and personal items. After the great insect exodus of 2020 it was high time to request a discount of some form, since 2 of the 8 bedrooms would not pass the laxest health inspection. For you math wizzes out there that is 25% of the occupancy, an equitable compensation would be 25%. Originally this was an acceptable recourse for Casa Bali management Brian Bratton who runs the company Tamarindo Luxury Villas . However, the plot thickens, after a noise complaint on New Years Eve (warning was provided in advance, it was New Years afterall), Casa Bali management Brian Bratton took the opportunity to recant their promise citing the noise complaint as the justification. Regardless of how unprofessional and childish that reasoning is, it is not comparable to the plague, blackout and drought of biblical proportions they were already subjected to. They came for sun and good times and instead they got lyme disease and lies (they didn’t actually get lyme disease, yet). If they had Villa Oscars Casa Bali would take home the best horror show without a doubt.
Many things in a tropical paradise are forgivable, you can have amenities that don’t work (the Spartans weren’t big on them, they did fine). Understandable that nature is hard to control in a jungle, a few bugs won’t kill you (as long as the bites are small right?). Stuff happens, entropy attacks everything (in retrospect maybe it was foolish to bring their Sunday best). As much as it is unacceptable, the reality is humans lie (after enough years on this planet we have gotten used to being lied to, ample time to see a few political debates). Keep all the money paid (money will be re-earned… eventually). But if you’re going to tell the customer they are wrong, if you’re going to tell them to put their opinion where the sun doesn’t shine, at least don’t be a snivelling coward and add insult to injury by not telling them to their face. That level of disrespect, unprofessionalism and cowardice isn’t to be expected when venturing into the realm of luxury price point villas. The manager, who I will name, Brian Bratton, refused to discuss an equitable resolution in person. It is easier to hide behind a screen when doing something you know is unethical. Failure to address or acknowledge the clients well founded grievances is truly a travesty of the highest pedigree, a shame the memories that were forged there have been tarnished by what boils down apathetic ownership and immature management. Here is a video link for proof: