Our family of four (children aged 16 and 12) have just returned from 11 nights at Crystal Cove. The hotel is reasonably small - approx 80 rooms, and was running at around 70 - 80% occupancy during our stay. This was our first visit as a family to Barbados, we go to Mauritius every Easter and thought we'd give Barbados a try this summer, mindful that it is the rainy season in the Caribbean - here's what we thought of it:
We flew with Virgin for the first time and were all impressed - the flight to Barbados was only a quarter full, so plenty of room and service, food etc, pretty decent - we think our experience was better than previous flights with BA.
On arrival at the hotel, the usual drinks and towels to cool down after the journey, and quick check-in. Our one bedroom garden view suite (143) was well located, although with a hotel this size you are fairly close to restaurants etc wherever you are situated. The suite had a master bedroom with separate bathroom and a living room converted to children's bedroom with another bathroom. The rooms were a little tired, but clean and well air conditioned and had a free mini bar which was restocked everyday with water, soft drinks, beer and nice miniatures of Mount Gay rum and vodka.
Food - breakfast served in Reflections the more formal of the two restaurants and was very good with an egg station, a good range of cooked food, daughter loved the bacon. Lunch available in both restaurants, Drifters the open air restaurant was buffet, but we preferred lunch in Reflections from the menu which changed daily. Dinner - each evening one restaurant was a la carte and the other buffet. Again, we preferred Reflections, but for those that want to wear shorts and T shirts the food is equally good at Drifters. Whilst on dress code, Reflections is hardly formal, smart jeans and shirt or polo shirt is absolutely fine.
The food was always good and service generally very quick by Caribbean standards, although a couple of lunches including our last day lunch service was very slow, even though the restaurant was virtually empty.
Drinks - all the usual soft drinks for the children along with alcohol free cocktails. Banks beer is pretty good, and premium spirits available. We usually drink red wine, but stuck with the white here - only one choice, but it was okay, and whether lunch or dinner they keep topping you up! Cave bar open until 11.45pm.
Great range of free water sports and you could usually make a booking at shortish notice. The water sports team were excellent and did their best to teach my son and I to learn to water ski!
Sun bed hogging is as prevalent here as everywhere else, even though there are more than enough to go around...
We have travelled very extensively, and the sea and the beach are as good as anywhere that we have been!
The 3 pools are small, but the temperature perfect.
The evening entertainment was exceptionally good, probably the best we have seen. Look out for Virgo if you go, we saw them at Sandy Lane as well when we visited for dinner one night which I will review separately.
Being the rainy season expect some rain every day and high humidity at this time of year, but we all enjoyed our holiday, and would probably come back to this hotel, although we had a day at the Colony Club which was a cut above, but equally more expensive. Similarly Sandy Lane is superb, but pound for pound, Crystal Cove is very good value for money.
- 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