Bad Rate - Cap Juluca Getting Tired, but at $520 to $1,785 a Night
[Ed. Note: This is the Bad Rate in our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature. The rates quoted here were valid on February 20, 2007 and are subject to change. Enjoy.]
Cap Juluca immediately showed up on all the lists of "the world's most expensive beach resorts" when it opened back in 1988 and it's still in the running today, with rates starting at $520 per night at this time of year for a room with no sea view and going up to $1,785 for a suite. But how long can a hotel go between renovations before the phrase "coasting on its reputation" comes up?
It looks like it might be hitting that point as the negative reviews are starting to become more frequent. According to some guests, while the rates have kept climbing, the tired-looking resort is falling further behind similar places around the world. Take one look at their amateur hour web site and it's obvious that the lack of investment goes beyond grubby fixtures and cheap lounge chairs at the pool. (Hey guys, if money is tight, trade out with a web designer who needs a tropical break. Use your assets!)
Guests complain about the last refurbishment being nine years ago and note that "You will not get Four Seasons service here, but expect to pay the same amount." Most guests would put up with some service transgressions at a $140 room at Rendezvous Bay--this week's Good Rate--but customers get grumpy more easily when the nightly tab with meals easily runs into four figures.
Yeah, we know it still pulls in some celebrities and it still makes some of those predictable annual "best of" hotel lists in magazines. But though old reputations die hard, the raves are tapering off. Of course the place has an undeniable advantage: one of the prettiest stretches of sand on the planet, one where a waiter comes around and brings you drinks and sorbet. That and a big dose of privacy are enough to keep the money crowds coming back.