We spent the last three days in the Intercontinental hotel in Papeete. Two things struck us right away. First, Tahiti is truly a breathtaking country. The second thing that will take your breath away are the prices. Holy cow! It begins with the $40 buffet breakfast and just goes up from there.
The service in the hotel was quite consistently good throughout our visit. It was an interesting blend of traditional island speed (slower than most city folks are used to), but a genuine desire to get things right. They really were making some great efforts to look after their guests.
The same held true as we ventured into the capital city, Papeete. Extremely friendly people. Very different from the more aggressive selling style in most Asian countries, but not the passively aggressive, laid-back, “don’t push me” attitude that can be found in the Caribbean.
The only dark customer service spot in an otherwise wonderful three days came as we were trying to get a taxi from our hotel to the ship. A delightful young porter had come out to arrange for our taxi. An older porter – presumably the boss – decided to step in and order people around. Not only did he separate us from our friends to put us into two separate cabs (our friends ended up sharing with complete strangers, and we went alone in a cab – costing us 2x the cab fare), but he mixed and matched the luggage between the cabs. When we tried to talk to him, he just got annoyed and ignored us. We then watched him be tremendously rude to another passenger who had a simple question. When my wife intervened to translate into French, it did no good. All of the other porters were visibly uncomfortable with his behaviour, but he really didn’t care.
Somewhere in the gafuffle – likely in the cab – my wife lost her gold watch. Combined with my cell phone that was lost on the Hawaiian Air flight, this is getting to be quite an expensive tour!