My girlfriend and I stayed at Peter Island for 5 days / 4 nights during the second week of November 2008. Overall, the experience was quite nice, but somehow fell just a bit shy of expectations.
Most of what has been said on previous reviews is quite accurate. The island itself is incredibly beautiful and Deadman's Beach is absolutely spectacular; probably one of the best in the Caribbean. We stayed in a 2nd floor Beachfront Suite which was very nice. The bathroom especially was very well done with dual showerheads and a very nice 2-person jacuzzi. The view from the balcony could not have been better.
In talking about the room, yes, there were a few bugs (roaches, ants, mosquitos) but that is to be expected on a tropical island. The trick is to not leave food laying out and it will minimize this problem. Anyway, a few quick sprays of the Raid they supply takes care of the roaches. Any ants and mosquitos in the room, you basically just deal with. No bid deal. Maid service was actually quite good and each day the room was thoroughly cleaned and new towels supplied. Each night there was a turndown service and a couple bottles of water were left.
The spa was fantastic. We had a deep tissue couples massage in the seaside bohio which was really great. This spa far surpassed a very expensive spa here in Manhattan which we go to on rare occassions. I could not have been happier with the atmosphere or the quality of the staff. Definitely worth every penny.
The Sunset at the Loop was ok, without being spectacular. The view is amazing, and the resort itself can only do so much, the rest is up to Mother Nature. In the end, if more than 2-3 couples go, you get pretty crowded into the van which drives you up there. We had 5 total, plus the driver and, to be honest, it wasn't very luxurious sitting on the small side-seats in the van getting bounced around on the road up there. Not complaining, as it was well worth it, but it is definitely not the epitome of luxury they would have you believe.
The staff, as a whole was very nice and attentive, sometimes a little too much so. Generally, they smile and are usually quite pleasant, with only the occassional person making you feel as though they are being inconvenienced by doing their job. The problem is, they just don't have that luxury "polish" to their level of service. You can tell that they are genuinely trying but sometimes just come off as being a bit "clumsy or unfinished" with their demeanor. It's difficult to properly explain what I mean, it really just depends upon your expecations. In the end, the level of services was definitely much better than I have seen in any other Caribbean resort, so they should definitely be priased for that.
During the Monday "manager's reception," we met the Keanan, the Peter Island Resort Villa Manager. He was really a great guy and was definitely on top of his job. He offered to take us on a tour of the Falcon's Nest Villa the next day, which we promptly took him up on. He picked us up for a private tour just after breakfast on Tuesday and drove us to the Villa, and gave us a 30-45 minute private tour. He really had nothing to gain by doing so and I'm sure there were other things he could have been attending to, so I really take my hat off to him spending his time with us. He was extremely knowledgeable about the villas, and I must say I was very impressed with what they have done there. It's quite spectacular and, short of renting out the entiretly of Necker Island, this is the way to go "all-out" in the Caribbean.
So overall, things were really quite nice there. No major complaints, no service disasters, no major problems with the rooms. As I have said, the beach was gorgeous, the spa rivaled anything I have experinced before, the beachfront junior suite was well done, if not perfectly brand new (they just partially renovated the ocean view rooms this year, FYI), and overall the staff was above average for a Caribbean resort. Rather than go on an on about what we did and what all of the great options are, I will just refer you to many of the previous reviews which I think more than adequately describe the best Peter Island has to offer.
Now, the downsides. Again, nothing terrible, just the little things that put it at a high 3 / low 4-star rating for me.
I. The food. Not spectacular. Maybe my expecatations were too high, but it just wasn't that great. The "fresh" fish was anything but. I have found out that most resorts there won't serve local fish as they eat smaller fish which feed off the coral and can pass some sort of disease onto humans. The fish must be brought in from elsewhere and you just won't get something truely spectacular. The breakfast at Tradewinds was really quite good and even the lunch at Deadmans Grill was a solid half-step above typical bar & grill type of food. The problem was the dinners. As it turns out, only one of Tradewinds or Deadman's is open on any given night. Two of the nights we were there, they had buffets (once at Tradewinds and once at Deadman's) which were definitely not gourmet affairs. It wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't quite as good as I had expected based on the reviews here and the resort's own description.
Not having a choice of which restaurant to go to is actually a bit of a pain. 3 nights we were there, we were essentially "forced" to go to Tradewinds since Deadman's was closed. This didn't bother us much, as we probably would have chosen to go there anyway, but I can see how this could be a problem for some people. I will say that the two al-a-carte evenings at Tradewinds were quite good, but just not comparable to what you will get at a high-end restaurant in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. I guess I wasn't really expecting that it would be, but I suppose I was hoping for something a little better than it was.
Final point on the food, was the need to make reservations each night. It seems sort of strange to have to remember by 1pm to call the restaurant and make reservations each night, when only one restaurant was open. Basically, they just make you call and let them know what time you'll be going to eat. Not a terrible thing to have to do, but just a little bit of an inconvenience at times.
II. The pool. I'm not a big pool user at resorts when there are beautiful beaches a few steps away. Why go to the Caribbean to swim in a pool? Despite this, it is nice to have the option. Unfortunately, the pool at Peter Island was closed for repairs/maintenance the entire time we were there, with bright yellow "caution" tape surrounding the entire area. This being right outside of Tradewinds was more than a slight distraction during meals there. When we arrived on Saturday, we were told it would be open by Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't until we were leaving on Wednesday that the crew of 3-4 workers looked to be finished and had begun filling the pool. Now, I realize that maintenence such as this is necessary, but the resort should do one of two things, 1) let people know in advance when this will be taking place so they can book their stay around it, or 2) refund a portion of the room rate to account for the fact that part of the resort is unavailable for guest enjoyment. It is totally unacceptable to charge a full room rate and then when people show up say, "Oh, and by the way, you won't be able to use the pool or the area around it." They did say that people who wanted a pool could be shuttled to the Spa pool, but given the inconvenience of doing so and the relatively small size of that pool, it was not much consolation. Another downside of doing that is it somewhat detracts from the atmosphere around the Spa which is set aside for those getting treatments. Again, this isn't a major issue for me, but was enough to cause me to think twice about my rating here.
III. Work on the outside of our room. The morning we were to check out, a crew of workers began performing some sort of maintainence outside of our room. They were literally up on ladders and scaffolding at 9:30am sanding, sawing, and painting right outside of our windows both near the bed, the bathroom, and even jumping onto our balcony. The workers were rather loud, not only with their work but talking as well, and their cigarette smoke drifted into our room. I called the front desk to ask them if they could perhaps stop until we checked out, and the work halted for about an hour and then started up again. We ended up with our windows closed and blinds drawn the entire morning. Again, this actually wasn't a major problem for me, but just shows the slight mistakes the management makes at this place. You would never see something like this in a high-end hotel or resort in the U.S. or Europe. I just expected something a little better from the other reviews here and the PIR website.
IV. The staff. Don't get me wrong...the staff was significantly better than any I have encountered in the Caribbean. They are friendly, helpful, and appear eager to please. The only problem is the lack of a certain sophistication I would expect at a place that bills itself as a luxury resort. I understand the desire to keep things low-key and relaxed, but some things were just a little off. For example, one of the food service managers stops by in the middle of each meal and somewhat obtrousively asks how things are going. It certainly doesn't sound strange in writing it as I have, but it definitely gives a somewhat weird vibe that is difficult to explain. Another example is the gentlman (I have know idea who he was or his role there) who stepped up to our dinner table and, while I was in mid-bite with fork in hand, stuck out his hand as if he wanted me to shake it. I politely did so, and he muttered something about my enjoying my meal, but I really have no clue what the point of our interaction was. Again, everyone is very nice and it clearly trying quite hard, it can just feel a little misguided at times.
One other point about the staff, is that, contrary to some other reviews here, they definitely had no idea who we were throughout our stay. At each meal the hostess would ask your last name and room number, somewhat sheepish that she didn't remember it after the 3 previous breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. This doesn't bother me a bit, but I definitely didn't get the feeling of personal service that others have described. Furthermore, don't expect a welcome bottle of Champagne. I never saw one. Perhaps it is just for newlyweds, which we were not, but they seemed to think that is exactly what we were based on a welcome note left in our room made out to Mr. and Mrs. ----. Anyway, this also didn't really bother me as then never explicitly say on the website to expect this. If some people get it as an extra gift, all the better. It is a nice thing for them to do, although it seems somewhat uneven to give or not give this little extra based on some unknown factor.
One final point that I will address that worried me a bit in my research of Peter Island, is the Amway-factor. Yes, this island and resort is owned by the same people who own and run Amway. No, I don't see any decrease in quality and I don't think this fact has any significant impact on the operations at Peter Island. There was never any association at all with Amway visible at Peter Island.
That is about the most even handed, thorough review I can give. For a state of reference, my girlfriend and I are in our mid-20s and travel quite frequently, staying in both local, low-key establishments as well as very high end hotels. I have stayed in very cheap places as a college student and while enlisted in the military, and now have a career which affords me the ability to enjoy the best hotels in the world; in essence, I have pretty much seen it all. Peter Island, while stunningly beautiful, and generally well done, has a few flaws and may not be quite the ultra-luxury stay some people may expect. Overally, I would recommend it, with the caveat that expectations should not be quite so high as some of these reviews would imply.
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- Also Known As:
- Peter Island Hotel Peter Island
- Peter Island Resort And Spa British Virgin Islands