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Puerto Vallarta
Beautiful venue, irresponsible unprofessional owner
This is a review of:

Martoca Beach Garden

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By megan8217, · 1,702 Views · 0 Comments

Pros: great ocean view
Cons: lack of accountability and professionalism
My husband and I recently were married at Martoca Beach Garden in Bucerias, Nayarit on October 25th last week. We had signed a contract with the owner, James Basanez, over a year ago. The property was rented to us for $6500 USD for venue only with no other vendors/additions included as the owner could not give me direct pricing on any items. We decided to contract our own wedding planner (Kelley Kahrhoff with Younique Vallarta Weddings) and vendors and rent strictly the use of Martoca and it's facilities for our event.
Flash forward to our wedding week. Kelley keep me informed of every small detail including the possibility of having to use a tent cover due to weather. We had an open tent structure with lights and chandeliers rented but Sr. Basanez also was requesting the use of a clear cover to not only protect his lawn in the event of a storm, but also to help dry out the grass from the previous weekends intense rain. On the afternoon of Oct 24th, Kelley informed me that the chance of rain had dropped to 20% chance of rain with a 0.1 accumulation and James gave the verbal it was okay to go without the tent cover. She informed me they had begun setting up and there was concern there was a small hole in the tent cover so we ultimately opted to go without it. I mention all of this not only to demonstrate Kelley's attention to detail and constant communication, but to illustrate why setup of the venue began earlier than the morning of my wedding. 
Wedding day arrives and we don't hear about any issues at Martoca. We arrived at Martoca ahead of time at approximately 2 pm with our families and the crew was still setting up. My hair and makeup was still intact and Adam and I began our first look photos. In between short photo sessions, I would dip back into the bridal suite to cool. off. About 4 pm, the lights and A/C went out in the bridal suite. It got very hot in there very fast, but I was able to step out for fresh air. The power continued to flicker on and off with electric only available in short increments. At 4:30 pm, my guests boarded the charter buses in PV and I was to remain in the bridal suite so I would not be seen before the ceremony. I was sweating profusely to the point where my hair actually became wet and my makeup started running.
When guests arrived at 5 pm, there was supposed to be music playing in the background from my DJ. Instead they arrived to a beautiful but quiet venue. Luckily, power returned so we were able to have music and microphone use for the ceremony before 6 pm. However, during cocktail hour the electricity started to fail again. It was very noticeable even from the beach where my husband and I were taking sunset photos with the photographer (as Sr. Basanez stood on his property next door videotaping us instead of stepping into action). We remained without power until a large generator arrived at 9:15pm which was coordinated by our wedding planner. It took a long time to arrive as we had nobody on standby (not anticipating issues) and because it had to arrive by truck. 
During dinner time, I stepped away to speak to the bartender about preparing trays of drinks to just hand out. I ra into Sr. Basanez by the back bar. By this point I had been informed by one of my guests that she heard from staff during the venue setup that an electrician had been out there earlier replacing a breaker. When Sr. Basanez mentioned the power failure to me, I mentioned I knew it had been an issue before we had arrived earlier that day as it had been overheard already by staff. He responded by telling me that yes they have been having issues for the past four days. FOUR DAYS. I was floored. When he apologized that this was taking so long to get a generator here, I asked why he did not have one of his own in case of this situation. He told me he does not own one as this has never been an issue and then told me, "If you wanted a generator, you should have asked for one in the contract and paid for it up front. That is not my responsibility." Obviously this upset me very much and I told him the a venue's responsibility was to provide power. He then stated that was my planners problem. I asked if he had informed our planner of this problem and he stated he did. (Not only did I tell my planner this later and she maintains she knew nothing of it, but I trust her character. She has informed me of every small detail, she would not hide this from me or not prepare for it.) I stated my disbelief in the owners story to him and he said he was pilling to pay half the cost of the generator and was trying to secure other entertainment to pass the time until power was restored. However he was having a hard time finding someone and I informed him that it was because it's a Friday night in PV during wedding season and this is unplanned. He agreed. I told him I was returning to my guests and we would talk when my wedding day has passed. This was the end of my communication with him for the day.
By the time the power returned at 9:15, my guests had eaten dinner by candlelight in complete silence and surrounded by darkness. My catering company had to prepare our meal in the dark with the help of flashlights. The bathrooms/bridal suite were completely dark and hot, with no running water to wash your hands or flushing toilets. I had several guests trip over wires in the dark on their way to the bathroom or the bar. Photography had to use a very bright artificial flash or have dark grainy pictures. My videographer shot in the dark. Late night churros and tacos were prepared ahead of time to keep giving guests something to do and keep the timeline moving. Our speeches were supposed to be given during the dinner hour when in reality one person gave it by candlelight without a microphone due to dead space needing to be filled. The other waited until the generator arrived. Our first dance and fireworks were delayed. it upset the entire timeline and by the time power returned, everyone was tired from sitting in the quiet candlelit  space and having nothing to do but just keep eating. The owner eventually found a guitarist (which I told him we didn't want anyways) who arrived at the same time as the generator and I told our planner that they can be dismissed as there was no want or need for them. Sr Basanez offered to give us the venue free of charge for an extra hour but our transportation back to the marina area was already in place for midnight.
I was contacted by Sr Basanez via text message the following morning, stating he will cover the generator cost ($400 USD) and reimbursing me $200 USD for a giant "LOVE" sign we were not able to light up until the photographer was gone. The sign cost $225. He also stated he paid $200 for the guitarist I didn't want (although he did videotape him playing a private session for him outside my venue and posted it on his instagram for his own personal use and publicity), and that the value of staying open late was $1000 USD (we were on the last shuttle and the crew was breaking down my wedding before 12:30 am). He also offered to treat us to a nice dinner, boat tour, or trash the dress session of our choice to make up for the "lost hour of electricity". He told me to follow up with our planner for these comps and rebates.
I sent him an email the following day (to which I can forward you all of our email communication if needed), stating that cost of things paid for that did not go as planned due to his failure to provide power during a known electrical problem. $400 on hair and makeup that was ruined by hiding in a closed bridal suite without air, $500 for a DJ who couldn't play music, $2150 for a tent structure and lights that would not light up, the $225 "LOVE" sign, $4750 total between photo and video for dark shooting conditions between sunset and 9:15 pm. (I don't want to leave my all inclusive stay at Mousai for a dinner, I already had lined up a post wedding photoshoot, and I've been here over 40 times to PV. I'm not interested in a boat tour). I communicated what I wanted was a portion of the $6500 rental fee back as power in included in venue rental and he failed to provide that for a large portion of the event. I know his only cost he has to pay out of my fee is the electric, to which he doesn't have to pay any since I didnt have power.
We went back and forth twice, essentially with his lowball offer to refund me approx a couple hundred USD that he would send via check to my house in the USA instead of giving to my planner in cash as I had asked. at this point, he had also blocked me on social media. I told him $2000 would be fair since I paid $6500 directly to him and a grand total of over $25000 USD for the event. I stated that unfortunately his lowball offer did not make things right and would be reflected in my reviews online if he cannot remedy the situation. I forwarded the final email to my planner to keep her informed. She sent me a text saying Sr Basanez had already written her at 7 am (before my response email was even drafted) that  I "had responded and all was good". He told her I was asking for a refund in the US and he would send it there. Another lie by him. I am unfortunately led to believe at this point that this man had no intention of ever sending me any kind of refund. 
After my final email, he claimed that he has hundreds of good reviews online and a good relationship with his brides and he is not worried. That threats to "smear" him will go unanswered. My best friend wrote a negative review on his facebook page to which he has responded that I am trying to ruin him and extort him.  He is filling up social media with lies and nonsense and posting screenshots of conversations with upcoming brides, laughing about this situation and saying he will have a generator to use but "only as a table for beers because you have nothing to worry about and it won't be needed". He sent me a text saying he is also canceling my planners two upcoming weddings at his venue "thanks to you". Very mature and professional. This is all because he refuses to take responsibility to provide working power or issue me a small refund that is not even a third of what I paid to him let alone a fraction of what I paid for the entire day. 


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