Friday, January 14, 2011

Warning: All is Not Right in Paradise

One month!

On February 14th (Valentine's Day!), Brad and I will be heading to the airport. Ideally, this mental picture should include inches of snow on the ground, but clear roads and cheerful blue skies. Let's also assume, for now, that the temperature will be hovering somewhere in the single digits. Got it? Because then the two of us--on the commercially most romantic day of the year-- are flying off to an adult-only, all-inclusive Sandals resort in the Bahamas.

I'm more than a little excited.

One month!

We're flying out on a Monday and not coming back until the following Sunday. Our timing is perfect because the day after we return is a federal holiday, so we'll have time to reacclimate. We also have two full weekend days to relax beforehand and get into the vacation mood. (As if that were difficult.)

Do I sound like I'm bragging? Probably. But stay with me, because there's a financial warning hidden in this post.

My first experience with All-inclusive resorts was last year, and I really enjoyed the feeling of eating and drinking whatever I wanted whenever. I know the costs are included in the bill, and non-all-inclusives are cheaper at the outright, and if I stayed in one of them, I could save money by NOT eating at restaurants every day, etc-- but this is VACATION and all-inclusives make me feel pampered and honestly, I'm generally awesome at finding good vacation deals. (Okay, now I'm bragging. But here's the twist.)

This time, I was fooled.

After bopping around the Internet for hours, checking on sites like Expedia and Priceline, I went directly to the Sandals website. "END OF YEAR SALE!" They crooned. "65% off! Companions fly freeeeeee! YAY YOU, BOOK WITH US NOW!" There was even a handy little countdown clock, warning us there was a mere two days left to take advantage of this sale.

By clicking on individual room types, we could instantly see the savings. Like, $4000 worth of savings. We'd already set budgets and new what we were allowing for room and airfaire, and there were deals that fit cozily into these numbers. You know. IF we booked in the next 2 days.

I hadn't been able to find any better deals on the other sites-- Sandals appeared to provide more than what we could afford elsewhere, and we had two friends who had recommended the place. With that stupid little countdown clock ticking away, we both got slightly frenzied and decided to book RIGHT THEN, despite the fact I had yet to secure the days off of work. But damnit, I was saving $4000. I would make this happen.

And we did. We booked. And it was glorious.

That is, until three days later when I revisited the site and saw they reset the countdown clock.

And a week later, when it was reset again.

Go ahead. Look. Check out there site. Once the "Love at Sandals" promo goes away, you'll see it. Counting down to nothing other than when it will be reset.

Those bastards. Is that even LEGAL?

I'm not upset with the amount of money we ended up spending, the place we decided to stay, or the time we chose to go. I am upset that I could have waited and saved myself the stress of worrying something would go wrong with requesting the time off (it didn't.) And I'm upset that I feel tricked.

I didn't get a good deal-- I got a good price. This is fine, I guess. . . but I like deals.

This is one of those first world problems, isn't it? Oh well-- enough complaining. Just learn from me, dear readers. It is NOT the final countdown.


  1. Oh, man! That's INSANE! I'd be pissed too. But at least you got a good price.

    Also, adult only makes it sound dirty, but I'm guessing it's for adults who don't want kids splashing around in their hot tubs. ;) Sounds like heaven to me!

  2. thank you for posting this. i'm thinking about taking a sandals vacation and finding out this kind of fuckery after the fact would have made me lose my ish.

  3. NICE BLOG!!

    follow mine?

  4. That's exactly why they do it, though! To get you feeling rushed, like you have to book the trip RIGHT NOW or you'll pay much more. That's also why they put those "savings" there - so you think you're getting a deal when all you're doing is paying the normal price.

    If you'd had the extra couple days to search and decide, you might not have picked Sandals. That's how they get you!

  5. well the good news is, you're going to love the bahamas! my boyfriend just got back from a vaca there earlier this month. we stayed down the road from sandals at the sheraton. if you're looking for ideas of what to do around the area, let me know!