Vrbo - Rented Elite Status Condo to Find Horrible View of Parking Lot, Filthy Carpet, Dirty Furniture
The week of July 30, 2016, my family traveled to Pensacola Beach for vacation. We reserved a condo at Portofino Island Resort through VRBO.com. It was in Tower 3, Unit 1208, There were two major selling points advertised by condo owner on VRBO.com (https://www.vrbo.com/92854):
1. The condo was upgraded to Elite Status: “CONDO HAS JUST BEEN COMPLETELY UPGRADED TO ELITE STATUS (Highest Condo Level)!”
2. Amazing views from the condo: “Our unit faces southeast, is closest to the beach out of the five towers, and the only thing you will see looking out the 40 feet of windows and deck is the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Island. Ten miles of spectacular breathtaking views of sugar-white sand beaches and seashore; no buildings, no high-rises, nothing to block your view. Just sea, sand and beautiful sunrises! The unit offered a gorgeous unobstructed view of the Gulf and of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.”
Check in was at 5 pm. By the time we got the keys and unloaded the car, it was about 5:30. Surprisingly, the unit was not ready. We had to wait by the door for housekeeping to finish for 10-15 minutes. Quickly discovered that tile floors in the unit were sandy and dirty, the carpet was filthy and the furniture was dirty, see included photos. Our socks and feet turned black in a few minutes. We had to call housekeeping back to clean the floor. Given the owner advertised the condo as Elite Status, the cleanliness of the unit did not meet the first selling point and high expectations implied by the condo level or promised by the advertising.
The second major selling was the amazing views from the unit. To our great disappointment, the view came with an eyesore. Directly below the tower was a busy uncovered parking lot, see photo included. During the day the parking was full and unsightly. Whenever my family wanted to relax on the balcony day or night, the parking lot traffic, noise and headlights were very annoying. To make things worse, drivers were shuttled to the parking on a golf cart with a loud air cooled gas engine. Portofino tower balconies are like echo chambers. Guests hear every sound coming from the ground level, including that engine whizzing back and forth. In addition, there was roadway construction in progress right front of the property. The noise of the equipment spoiled to the scene and spoiled our vacation.
I have addressed the above concerns immediately with Portofino Island Resort and with condo owner during the week of 8/1. The resort was cooperative and issued a credit for housekeeping and offered a restaurant gift card. However, the owner refused to accept any responsibility for false advertising and declined requests to issue appropriate compensation or partial refund. Moreover, the owner accused me of blackmailing her with negative condo review on VRBO.com. As a result, my unfavorable review of the condo was removed from VRBO.com and owner got away clean.
Gulf front condos are priced higher due to great views of the Gulf. Owner failed to advise of the parking lot and of the construction right under the condo. Not only the owner provided false advertising and charged premium for condo’s main features ($364.28 per night including taxes), the owner challenged my personal integrity and honesty, ceased all communication and refused to resolve the problem.
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