Tourism

Worse than a motel: The Farm at San Benito gets bad rap for poor service, ‘ripping off’ guests

One-star hotel service for a five-star resort price?

One-star hotel service for a five-star resort price?

A number of guests who stayed at The Farm at San Benito resort in Batangas are complaining about the poor service they got despite paying a premium for what was supposed to be a relaxing stay.

Three guests who stayed at the posh wellness hub left one-star reviews for The Farm on Trip Advisor and advised the public to look for other resorts where they can get their money’s worth.

Guest Jonald N said he paid P50,000 for a stay at The Farm’s Mahogany pool villa for a hospitality that’s “worse than a motel.”

“Some power interruption at night…no water in the morning. They will give you pail to fetch your own water in the swimming pool for your toilet needs. -that is the service you will get as an ordinary people. But i guess the service would be different if you will declare that you are a celebrity or a vlogger,” he said.

The response of The Farm General Manager Preet Singh offers little comfort: “I’m sorry to hear about your experience. Rest assured we will also relay your feedback to all departments involved.”

A Tan said she originally wanted to rebook her stay at The Farm sometime in March due to the rising COVID-19 cases but was told she can no longer do so five days from the date of reservation. The guest said she was told that their stay will not be affected by quarantine restrictions because the resort was a “wellness facility.”

However, two days before her visit, A Tan said she received a Viber message from The Farm’s staff saying their stay had been cancelled and they would have to rebook to a later date due to travel restrictions.

“They said that we can push thru with our booking provided that we stay there until April 4 which is the end of the NCR bubble, and that we won’t post anything on social media,” the guest said.

A Tan said she asked for a refund instead of rebooking her stay, but was told the process would take at least 14 banking days.

“Visiting The Farm has been our #vacationgoals since the first time we laid eyes on it on Instagram. But with the way they treated us, we’re better off staying at a 1-star budget hotel,” she said.

Singh apologized to A Tan in the comments section, saying the resort is “taking the necessary steps” to avoid a repeat of her experience in the future.

Meanwhile, Ricci U was dismayed at The Farm for requiring guests to have their saliva COVID-19 test at the resort for P3,000.

“When we asked them, if we can get it from PRC (Philippine Red Cross), they insisted that it must be done at their hotel. I know they want to protect their customers from Covid but even if we’re all healthy, we don’t wanna be ripped off by this hotel…,” the guest said.

Ricci U said he tried to cancel his reservation but was told that 75 percent of the payment won’t be returned. He said the online booking platform Agoda was able to process his request for a refund but his money won’t be returned anytime soon.

“Today, when I checked my credit card, it was still charged because this hotel took the money. Why should I wait for 30 days to get my refunds? It was not the customers fault at all!!! We will never book this hotel ever again!!!” Ricci U fumed.

As a private company, Singh said The Farm has the discretion to require negative COVID-19 antigen test results from guests upon entry. He said the resoirt can accept RT-PCR test results from facilities done outside the property within 24 hours.

Singh also said The Farm has no control over Agoda’s refund policy. The resort advised Ricci U to directly contact its staff for future bookings.

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