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What to Do When Someone Else Books Out an Entire Resort in The Maldives? Um, Not Much

Where: Maldives
February 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM | by | ()

Up on the Daily Mail's site last week was a story about a Saudi prince who reportedly booked up all three of the Anantara Resorts in the Maldives from now through the middle of March, effectively kicking out any other guests who had reservations during the same time as his stay.

The story originated on MaldivesFinest.com and was moved along by a TripAdvisor review from a guest whose reservation was cancelled because of the resort buy-out.

The rejected guest wrote on TripAdvisor:

Our reservation was cancelled with NO notice and we were informed only AFTER we contacted them. Back in December we booked the Anantara Veli in an overwater pool villa for a four night stay in early March. Three weeks prior to our departure we emailed the Anantara Veli to confirm our airport pick up and a few other details.

As a result of our email to Anantara and a call to our booking agent we finally learned that the hotel had simply cancelled our reservation and, I assume, those of many others. They did this without apprising us of this cancellation.

Here's what Anantara finally told us: In essence they said they now have a booking for the period including 19 February until March 15 which, after negotiations, developed into a request for total private island buyout of Anantara Veli and Naladhu. Not "I'm sorry", not "we should have notified you", not "how can we make it up to you". Just "this is now the situation".

Apparently, the guest was offered accommodations at a different resort but he turned them down.

Meanwhile, Anantara Resorts gave this statement to the Mail:

At Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, the well-being of our guests is always our primary concern and we consistently seek to address and allay any queries or concerns that are brought to our attention. Whilst we are not at liberty to discuss individual reservations or visits, we would like to share that on the rare occasion that a change occurs in the status of a booking, we try our utmost to ensure the guest's satisfaction throughout the process."

Which is the sort of statement we would expect from Anantara Resorts (we contacted one of their PR agencies but have not heard back yet.) However, what's interesting here is that the Maldives Finest site later pulled their story, citing privacy concerns for the guest. Also, the TripAdvisor review from user Buford33 is gone.

Now, the user could have removed the review on his own or at Anantara's request, but TripAdvisor could have pulled it as well due to the privacy concerns (or also at Anantara's request.) Either way, there's no longer any trace on TripAdvisor about what happened here.

But it probably doesn't even matter. This story has gone global and everyone now knows who is staying at the Anantara resorts in the Maldives for the next few weeks and how other guests were displaced. Indeed, Maldives Finest has posted another story on the situation here. Also staying at the resort is reportedly 100 bodyguards so we don't think the resort has to way too much about security.

The old saying is "Any publicity is good publicity" and that's probably what will work for Anantara in this case. Who doesn't want to stay at the resort that's good enough for a Saudi prince?

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Maldives hotel review that doesn't require being Saudi royalty to stay at!!

[Photo: Irol Trasmonte/Flickr]

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