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Mr D S's complaint against Voyage Privé
Mr D S Dixon
Think twice before booking with Voyage Privé
Complaint against Voyage Prive
Those considering booking with Voyage Privé should be meticulous about checking all aspects of destinations and accommodation that might interest them to ensure suitability for their taste and preferences. You should not rely on Voyage Privé’s own description. My wife and I travelled on a package with them outbound in April 2019 to Thailand, initially spending 3 days, two nights at the Grand Fourwings hotel in Bangkok, before flying down to Kao Lak and staying at the newly opened Kalima hotel for 11 days, 10 nights. We spent a night flying out and return too. For verification purposes, our booking reference was: 100254007VPUK. We had a number of issues before and during our holiday. Repeatedly encouraged by VP via email to give them feedback, I spent an hour or so entering constructive comments onto their weblink in the hope that they might learn by their mistakes and not repeat them with other customers. The weblink malfunctioned and lost my entire report. I patiently wrote another report as a separate document, duly referenced, and sent this to VP on a standalone basis. This was acknowledged and a reply promised within 48 hours. I heard nothing. A week later I chased and complained, given the courtesy of my efforts to respond. At this point, nearly 6 months later, I have heard nothing back. The issues we experienced and notified VP about were: • At the point of booking there was a problem with the payment system on the VP website meaning that, along with several others, payment was taken twice. This was rectified by VP the next morning with an apology and the overpayment refunded within a couple of days. • I suffer from acrophobia (the correct name for fear of heights). Having realised from website photos that the Bangkok hotel was about 25 storeys high, I contacted them requesting a room at lower level. Having had no reply, I asked VP to chase and received a reply that the hotel would willingly do this, but would not guarantee a lower level room. Two days before departure I checked this, the hotel confirmed the requested, but only then pointed out that rooms only started at the eleventh floor upwards. By this time it was impossible to make any changes. Should VP have known about the height issue given I told them about it? • The Grand Fourwings is located relatively close to the airport, but is a long distance from the tourist area in Bangkok. In a sense it was like being booked into a hotel in Windsor or Slough, fairly close to Heathrow, but most unsuitable for easy access to the visitor sites in central London. Furthermore, there had been major roadworks outside the hotel and for a considerable distance up the road to the main highway that have been ongoing for many months as a new railway line is being constructed. This meant that a taxi ride (fortunately inexpensive) to the tourist areas we wanted to see took a minimum of one and a half hours each way and once two and a half hours. This limited our activities and took up a lot of our time that would have been reduced if we had been hotelled more appropriately. • Despite apparent official rankings, the Kalima hotel is not “five star”, but more like a four star or good three star, based on my experience of hundreds of hotels around the world. It was five months old when we stayed. Some aspects were good – service was exceptional and the rooms were lovely. However, the design of the hotel is quirky with a “remote” reception, not so easy to access. Fronts of some rooms face the backs of others. There is a manmade beach as the hotel is situated on a river mouth, as is not on the sea shore. Access to the beach was only by walking over a precarious pontoon and then a short way down the river estuary. Some residents braved the pontoon, we did once, but most avoided it. There is, however, a very nice beach about 10 minutes’ walk along the road. Perhaps the hotel do not like promoting this though, as it takes trade away from their bars and restaurants. There were several empty shop units on site and one was vacated during our stay. Breakfast at the Kalima was good, but dinner lacked choice and rotation and was of a mixed standard. The mattress on the bed was exceptionally hard. When we mentioned this, the hotel promptly placed a “topper” on the bed, resolving the issue. We would be unlikely to stay here again, given other choices in the area. • We had a pretty mixed opinion of the ground handlers, Cel Tours, who were appointed by VP. Their representative at the Kalima was good and helpful. We saw her twice and had text contact with her too, once to remind her that we had not had confirmation of collection time for our inbound flights. We had to chase similarly in Bangkok and had differing replies with different times. They had no representative at the Grand Four Wings Hotel and provided no information for us. Despite checking-in online for all flights, Cel Tours still insisted on making their airport pick-up collections ridiculously early. In Bangkok we had to get up far too early for collection 3.5+ hours before the departure time (airport about 30 minutes away, if that). At Phuket we arrived at the airport nearly 3.5 hours before departure. • The lack of any response from VP to considered feedback is ungracious at best. We suggest that they are not genuinely interested in what their customers have to say and would therefore discourage anyone from bothering from commenting as this appears of little value. Remember, no matter how hard you try (and, as seasoned travellers, we did), it is not always possible to check local conditions, transport connections, facilities etc. before travelling. One relies on the tour operator for that. It is not great when they let you down. Please remember other travel brands are available and some have comparable and probably more accurately described packages. I have now unsubscribed from Voyage Privé and don’t imagine I will ever trust them again.
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