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Urunao

Urunao, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya…

I was recently invited to spend the day at a fabulous day resort on the beautiful Urunao Beach and was all set to write a glowing review. It is the perfect place to play tourist for a day on Guam. But as I began to gather information about the resort, I wasn’t able to get very far because I couldn’t find them in the phonebook. I called 411 but the operator could not find a single listing for the resort. I looked them up in the GHRA directory. Nothing. I called Resort’s parent company. No answer. I had Google translate their japanese-only website into english to find the contact info. Still nothing. After all that I came to this conclusion: The Resort is not interested in doing business with Guam residents. Boo. So I am not going to write that glowing review because I’d rather recommend businesses who welcome everyone (and don’t make me work so hard to spend my money).
I’d like to ask businesses on Guam that don’t offer resident incentives or even care about the local dollar–what will you do when the next typhoon hits or something else happens that keeps tourists away for an extended period of time? When all the tourists are gone, who’s left? The people who LIVE here, that’s who. It really irks me to walk into a shop or restaurant in my hometown and find that EVERYTHING is written in japanese. I understand the desire to make our visitors feel comfortable when they come to Guam, but there is a fine line between catering to tourists and catering exclusively to tourists and you can bet I won’t be going back to the place that doesn’t even have an english menu. By the way, aside from the airport and train stations I was hard pressed to find anything written in ENGLISH when I visited japan, but I was not put out or discouraged from visiting again. Only the ignorant and arrogant traveller expects every country to speak his language. I’m just saying.
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(I wonder if our korean and chinese tourists are as irked as I am when they stumble into one of those japanese-only places.)
Anyway, about Urunao. It is gorgeous. White sand that goes on forever. It’s all private property so you shouldn’t just drive in and park anywhere. What you can do is park at Ritidian and walk along the beach from there. Or maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ducks who receive an invite to a certain solar-powered ranch that is down the beach from the Resort.

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22 Responses

  1. Michelle says:

    Oh wow, it sounds beautiful and very … tucked away. Is this the eco-tourist resort owned by that Japanese businessman Mike Baba?
    Anyway I understand that us-them frustration. Why not make it we?
    P.S. DFS used to be like that until their customer service guidelines changed when they realize that locals do buy from them!

  2. Michelle says:

    Oh grammar geek correction: ” … when they realized that locals do buy from them!”
    (that’s what i get trying to type with a half-eaten apple in one hand)

  3. Donovan says:

    Seriously, I hate businesses that cater only to the tourists. It’s not that they give preferential treatment to tourists, it’s that you get sub-standard as a local. Hell, when I go home nowadays, I feel like more of a tourist than a local, and I notice even more the craptastic service these establishments give you as a local.
    Michelle: My thoughts exactly about DFS. I can’t say that I’ve ever walked out of a DFS without being pissed off at being treated like some kind of unwanted thief. I get tailed the entire I’m in the store. Either I’m being paranoid, or they’re being EXTREMELY proactive with their customer service CONSTANTLY asking me if I need help. But somehow I think it’s the former.

  4. fabmimi says:

    When Donovan and I went home and tried to go to Coco’s Island resort after a typhoon threat…we were saddened and angered to be turned away because they were only open to “tourists”. Granted we were only visiting for a short time and were actually tourists but they did not want our business. I never felt so aggravated while visiting. Too Bad! Per your blog, Urunao was on my to-do list for our next visit in December. I didn’t know that it was an exclusive invite. I think locals would “love” their island more if they weren’t given the sub-standard like what boyfriend said.

  5. Josie says:

    You might be surprised to know that Cocos Island regularly advertises a local/military special in the PDN now.
    Urunao is worth a long walk from Ritidian. You just won’t have access to all the Resort amenities, i.e. equipment/restaurant/shower. 🙁
    P.S. Would LOVE to meet you & Boyfriend when you come out in December!

  6. Patti says:

    I’ve been wondering about this myself. In Hawaii, they have the kamaina rate and all you have to do is show your Hawaii driver’s license. I thought Guam would have the same thing but so far there’ve been only a handful of places which give a local/military discount. Like you said, not a wise “long term” business decision.

  7. Jesse says:

    To me one of the things that makes Hawaii such a great place is how stongly they hold on to their own culture and commnuity. In the time I’ve spent there, I’ve always felt welcome, but I was definitely a visitor. From the perspective of a fairly new resident on Guam it seems we might have tried a little too hard to recreate the comercial success of Hawaii’s tourism.

  8. fabmimi says:

    It’s a good thing Coco’s has local specials these days. I think at that time it was already open to everyone but they preferred only “tourists” for the day since it was post-typhoon condition 2 and they were only partially open.
    Afterward…guess what we opted for? We hiked to Double Reef Beach (from Dave Lot’s book!) not too far from the aforementioned Ritidian. We started late, got lost, then got diverted on the looOOong path to the site. But when we got there it was heavenly! We practically raced with the sunset to make it back.
    Another thought comes to mind is that if only the rest of our island’s shores could be as pristine as those along this coast….then we wouldn’t need to “get away”. Even when we went snorkelling at the Piti Bomb Holes…it was not as abundant and colorful as how Donovan remembers. Spanish Steps is another beautiful untouched site that we will surely hit up in December. The lovely George Bush had a sumbarine parked there 2 summers ago and it was restricted.
    Oh honey, you’re already on my “to-do” list in December. LOL. “Meet Josie Moyer”.

  9. donna says:

    Sigh…locals aren’t allowed to bask in the beauty of their island. Pretty greedy, if you ask me!

  10. Joie says:

    I guess I’ll have to prepare to be irked when we go home in May/June. I’ve started a to-do list and am excited to take Joshie around. I don’t think he’ll ever want to leave Guam.
    I know I haven’t been home in awhile but I remember the name Urunao because I swear I went there twice in 1992 as one of my classmate’s family (may have been Artero) owned some property there. I remember driving down pass NCS then making a left after the big bunny rabbit sign at Hatsuho and entering through what was then Military property. We went for a Pacific Studies picnic and was invited back for another time I think for a senior bbq. The beach was beautiful and serene and I felt like I was somewhere else. I may have pictures from there and will have to dig through my crap to find it.

  11. christine says:

    hehe. i recognize this place. its what i park in front of when i want jerk ribs. lol.
    i’m sure the non-japanese toursits feel a little annoyed.

  12. christine says:

    toursits. damn my lisp.

  13. vanilla ice says:

    look, i agree with you guys, but let’s face the facts. the actions these firms take are all well founded. if you were dfs and found out that 85% of all locals coming into your store were either stealing or just window shopping (you lose money and locals bother your real customers), wouldn’t you also take measures to reduce local traffic? when is the last time any of you bought something from dfs? practically every tourists that comes from japan goes to dfs. i haven’t bought anything from dfs in my life, but I’ve probably been there 20 times.
    Lets take urunao, how many of you are really willing to pay 60-100 dollars per head to go and hang out at the beach? They’ll give you a sandwich…. that’s right as soon as you hear the price, you all back off.
    so before we all criticize these businesses for their actions, let’s look at the reason why they do what they do.

  14. Josie says:

    Is it a fact that tourists never steal or window shop? In my experience in working in a retail shop in Tumon, I’d say no.
    The last time I bought something at DFS was a week ago at Godiva. Before that it was cosmetics at MAC. I guess that puts me in the remaining 15% bracket.
    Whether I’m willing to pay $60 & up to spend the day at a beach resort is beside the point. Having the choice to do or not is the point. Buy a pass to PIC for the day or just look around the Hilton & Hyatt pools on a weekend and you’ll see there are many locals who would pay good money to spend the day at the beach or a nice resort. It’s a good thing, too, otherwise 85% of us would be out stealing or something.

  15. mother f*cking agerstrand says:

    now i have to be a regular on your website, so i can keep myself guammy.
    i dont wnat to start dressing and sounding like these people. these dirty sick perverts.
    josh

  16. Josie says:

    You’ll never be like them. They’ll want to be like you!

  17. Sablan says:

    Its a beautiful place that belongs to my dad, his brother and sisters. We leased it out to COCO Palm Garden Beach Resort a few years back. I apologize that it took alot of effort to find it as I do believe they also would welcome local customers. Thanks for your patience and we hope that in the future we can see much more local customers enjoying a piece of our comfort and solace, our property.
    Thanks many and enjoy the rest of your stay!

  18. Donovan says:

    look, i agree with you guys, but let’s face the facts. the actions these firms take are all well founded. if you were dfs and found out that 85% of all locals coming into your store were either stealing or just window shopping (you lose money and locals bother your real customers), wouldn’t you also take measures to reduce local traffic? when is the last time any of you bought something from dfs? practically every tourists that comes from japan goes to dfs. i haven’t bought anything from dfs in my life, but I’ve probably been there 20 times.
    Lets take urunao, how many of you are really willing to pay 60-100 dollars per head to go and hang out at the beach? They’ll give you a sandwich…. that’s right as soon as you hear the price, you all back off.
    so before we all criticize these businesses for their actions, let’s look at the reason why they do what they do.
    Flip it, twist it, turn it inside-out; it’s still discrimination. Replace the word “local” with “gay”, “black”, “white”, “Chinese”, etc. and tell me that it doesn’t sound racist or discriminatory.

  19. vanilla ice says:

    “Is it a fact that tourists never steal or window shop? In my experience in working in a retail shop in Tumon, I’d say no.
    The last time I bought something at DFS was a week ago at Godiva. Before that it was cosmetics at MAC. I guess that puts me in the remaining 15% bracket.
    Whether I’m willing to pay $60 & up to spend the day at a beach resort is beside the point. Having the choice to do or not is the point. Buy a pass to PIC for the day or just look around the Hilton & Hyatt pools on a weekend and you’ll see there are many locals who would pay good money to spend the day at the beach or a nice resort. It’s a good thing, too, otherwise 85% of us would be out stealing or something.”- Josie
    Josie, I would say yes, you are in that 15%. You do things differently. You use macs, have a half-finder. Enjoy nature walks… You buy from DFS.
    I’m not saying tourist are perfect shoppers. There are gangs that come to guam just to use stolen credit cards at DFS.. But let’s call a spade, a spade.
    Yes some locals do use the hotels on the weekends. I myself have been guilt of that in the past, but most locals are just too darn cheap (or price savvy) to fork out $40 USD for a couple hours in the sun, when ypao and gun beach are next door.
    I pulled out those numbers on DFS from by behind. I could be really off, but somehow knowing retailing, i think not.
    “Flip it, twist it, turn it inside-out; it’s still discrimination. Replace the word “local” with “gay”, “black”, “white”, “Chinese”, etc. and tell me that it doesn’t sound racist or discriminatory”.- Donovan
    First let’s define local, to be a local simply means that you live in guam. If josie walked into DFS wearing a Payless Kick the Fat tee and some old dirty sneakers, i’m sure they would say local. If a single white guy in jeans and boots walked in he’d be classified as a local. however if either person walked in with a bad case of sunburn, a big browed hat and a wrist band from a water park, they would be classified as a customer. race is not a matter here(DFS matter only), it’s appearance.
    Racist no. Discrimination, well that’s complex. from the DFS point of view yes. From the beach resort, I’d have to say no.
    Would it be fair to say McDonalds deiscriminates against vegterians? Do economy airline seats, mean the airlines discriminate against really fat people? Does Denneys discriminate agianst Japanese tourists becuase they don’t have an shop in Toumon?
    Remember it takes money to advertise and make people know you are even out there. these beach guys simply said, to themselves that the local market wasn’t as profitable as the japanese market. they are concentrating on the market that will make them money. they are not banning locals, after all josie and her friends where there. no discrimination , no racism, just good business sense… Would you sell ketchup popicles to ladies with white gloves on in the sun? Neither would the beach company…
    Anyways You do have the choice, you can still buy your way into there, just walk up to a tour desk at any hotel and they’ll sell you the package for $60-100. How’s your japanese? Just becuase they didn’t make an english website doesn’t mean they don’t want your business.
    i’m only posting this not becuase i side with corporations , which i do not. But because if i don’t oppose a incorrect view, it morphs into the way people think.

  20. Donovan says:

    Racist no. Discrimination, well that’s complex.
    that’s a real fine line there, but i concede the point. racist was not the correct word to use.
    Would it be fair to say McDonalds deiscriminates against vegterians? Do economy airline seats, mean the airlines discriminate against really fat people? Does Denneys discriminate agianst Japanese tourists becuase they don’t have an shop in Toumon?
    or victoria’s secret is discriminating against men… or the men’s warehouse is discriminating against women…
    the difference here is that someone is actively doing something to reduce local traffic and degrade my service as a customer. i’ve never been tailed at victoria’s secret, and my girlfriend has no problems with service at the men’s wearhouse. mcdonalds sells salads. airlines are taking measures to accomodate excessively overweight passengers, and maybe denny’s would like to open up in tumon, but finds the price of rental property cost-prohibitive.
    i understand that there is a cost associated with running a business, and that businesses do have a target market, but when someone not in the target market walks in, you shouldn’t give substandard service.
    i’m only posting this not becuase i side with corporations , which i do not. But because if i don’t oppose a incorrect view, it morphs into the way people think.
    my view is not “incorrect”.
    my whole point with this is that i believe it is inexcusable to receive degraded service when i’m paying the same amount for the same goods or services, regardless of my appearance, gender, etc.

  21. vanilla ice says:

    donovan, I agree with you about the way DFS handles their business. I don’t think it is the way they should do business.
    All I was trying to show is that the beach company is not discriminating against locals, because they don’t have active local outlet.
    ps. you auctually pay more than tourists… think about who paid for that nice new road to their store….

  22. Hey Josie!!! I found some time to check out this interesting site! Anyways…about Urunao…just up the cliff from that resort is my Dad’s sister’s (Rivera married to an Artero) ranch. I made it a point to go there every weekend when I was on Guam in July to go fishing. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself there. BTW…about a mile or two further, you’ll find some kind of latte stone village or something. Pretty cool!
    Joy

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