Myself and my husband took our two boys (aged 2 and 5) here recently on the recommendation of a friend and we were certainly not disappointed. The staff are all very welcoming and friendly and always took the time to engage with the children. A small niggle was that our room was not ready when we arrived (late afternoon, early evening) so we had to wait in the reception area for about an hour (we had drinks but it was really hot and we had 2 very tired travel-worn children).
On check in, Caroline and the other staff from the kids club came to meet us and introduce themselves (they even knew the childrens names). The kids club is really nice - a large room with plenty of toys, computers, outside play area, wii, etc... and there is a daily plan of activities. Personally, I'm not one for leaving the kids in a kids club all day but having the option of an hour or two during the hottest part of the day is great and frankly my children would have stayed all day if they could! We booked a babysitter - Marina - to look after our youngest every now and again and she was great. Just a point to note - we were told by the travel agent that we could pay for the babysitter as part of our overall bill at the end of the holiday but when you are there you are asked to pay in cash - not a big deal but we hadn't factored this when changing currency.
The food is really good and we were never disappointed with the choice and quality. Breakfast is great with lots of choice, we had lunch most days at Drifters which has an amazing view of the sea and a nice selection of food. Dinner can be in either the main restaurant or Drifters. We only spent a week here and I think if we're had gone for two I may have started to get a bit bored of just 2 choices. Whilst talking about food, I highly recommend booking a night at The Cliff which is just up the road (you can see it from the beach) - beautiful restaurant which is on a deck over the sea and amazing food. Book before you travel to guarantee a good table.
The beach is beautiful with soft white sand and there are plenty of sun beds so no need for rising early to put your towels out! The sea is quite rocky so if your thing is to be able to walk out for meters in sandy water for then you may be a bit disappointed (though there are some sandy areas in the sea). The big plus with rocky water is the amazing snorkelling - beautiful fish and turtles. You can see the turtles popping their heads up out of the water from your sunbed. The watersports are great - banana boats, hobie cats, water skiing etc all included in the price and there is always plenty of availability. The only watersports you pay for are the jet skis which are operated by independents. There are a few hawkers on the beach but security do keep moving those on who become too pushy.
The swimming pools are really nice, but a bit small. Perfect for a quick dip to cool off but if you like to do a few lengths of a large pool then you may not be too happy. Swim up bar is lovely (though a small gripe is that it is very rocky underfoot in the pool around the swim up bar).
We had a one bedroom suite right on the beach front. The location was perfect - on the beach and away from the evening entertainment so we were not disturbed. The rooms are nice but need a bit of updating - small things like our balcony doors being really stiff to open and the bathrooms needing a bit of tidying up took the shine off a bit, but overall we were very comfortable.
The gardens are very well maintained but the resort is on multi-levels so if you struggle with steep paths or steps then you may find it difficult.
As we were leaving some of the public areas (toilets etc) were in the process of being upgraded, and the upgrading that had already been carried out was really good.
Overall a very nice hotel with very friendly staff.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "An enchanting blend of vitality and Caribbean charm."A colorful and vibrant beachfront all-inclusive property with 88 rooms offering a seductive Caribbean charm that will make you feel at home from the moment you arrive. Crystal Cove's warm, relaxed ambience and friendly service which includes all-inclusive accommodation as well as a Supervised Kids Club (for children aged 3-11) appeals to families and couples of all ages, many of whom return there year after year. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crystal Cove Saint James
- Crystal Cove Barbados
- Crystal Cove Hotel Barbados
- Crystal Cove By Elegant Hotels Barbados/Saint James Parish