Overall we had a great and relaxing 7 days – and as seems to need to be stated these days we are not investors and have no connections to Harlequin. In fact it was only after we booked, due to difficulties with connections to Palm Island, that we researched the “history” of this resort and to say we were worried would be an understatement. We should not have worried but that’s not to say there were not some issues.
Travel: The BA flight into Barbados was fine and we should have had a 3-hour stop over in Barbados. This included having to check-in and go through security again to get to our LIAT flight – but this was relatively quick and painless. We got on the tiny turbo-prop plane and got up to taking-off speed and about an inch off the ground before the pilot aborted and went back to the terminal saying they were showing a fault in the engine. We then had another 3-hour wait until we were put on one of their brand spanking new planes. It is funny that in their in-flight magazine the CEO apologies for the almost daily issues and cancellations while they upgrade their aging fleet. A couple of families with young children were put on an earlier flight but with extra stops and arrived almost at the same time as us with our delayed direct flight – plus their luggage was delayed for a day! They would have been better waiting with us!
Check in: it was not about 11pm so we were shown straight to our villa (no run punch!!) (3037). We went back in the morning to book all our restaurants preferences and trips for the week, which was handled quickly and efficiently. We had already researched this beforehand so new exactly what we wanted.
Villa: Standard garden villa 1 row back from the beachfront villas. It was clean and spacious with a surprisingly big plunge pool – we easily could have got 7 or 8 people sitting comfortable in it on the sunken ledge all the way around it. Only the bedroom was air-conditioned but we didn’t really spend any time in the villa so this was fine. On the first morning at about 6:30am when were getting up the air-con circuit tripped the circuit. We went to reception o the way to reception to report it. When we got back from breakfast it was sorted and the air-con had gone from a mild hum to almost completely silent for the rest of the trip. I have no idea what they did to it!
As mentioned by other people they do not re-stock the mini-fridge as standard and we had to ask to get the water re-stocked. The coffee machine was great and much utilised in the morning.
We had no hot-water issues in the shower and no problems with the decking around the plunge pool.
Breakfast: We stuck to the buffet of bacon, pancakes, egg station, cereals etc. and had no issues. Service was always good.
Lunch: We had the wraps and roti one day, which were great, and there was a BBQ every other day we were there – steaks, kebabs and burgers that we could not fault.
Dinner: We booked all our dinners on the first day; Jacks every night! For a week you can pretty much work your way through the entire menu. I like steaks but these were absolutely fantastic – always cooked to perfection and amazing quality. The week we were there there was not anything that was not available but we were eating at around 7 – 7:30pm every night so maybe earlier than other folks. The service was amazing and the wine was constantly topped up! We usually hung about on the Jacks deck after for cocktails with the other guests we befriended. It was all glasses for the drinks here although I can’t say it bothered me as much as some other reviewers that the drinks were served in plastic glasses in the Bay Beach Club. When I first read about this I imagined plastic cups like you get a kids parties but these were tumblers, wine glasses, martini glasses etc. – just in plastic.
Bar: Overall it was great and the spirits are all proper premium but intermittent availability of limes and mint was an issue when a lot of cocktails use them. It only seemed to be an issue at the Bay Beach Club and Jacks always had them both – I don't know why they couldn't share?
HQ: Always good ice cream and snacks and smoothies.
Excursions: The sunset cruise was great – we saw loads of dolphins really close to the boat and the crew let us try the local 85% rum.
We had a proper issue with the Tobago Cays day trip. It was meant to be half the day at the Cays snorkelling and then lunch and the other half of the day at Salt Whistle Beach. We got on the catamaran (noisy motor – not sail) to see another group of 7 already on-board. We went to the Cays for maybe 1-hour max snorkelling before the captain announced that we had to get to Union Island for the other groups lunch appointment at a restaurant. They were told they had one hour. We were then handed our packed lunches to eat in the dingy harbour while the small group (and crew!!) went to the restaurant (which we could see into from the boat). 2 Hours later they finally reluctantly came back - they were waiting for other relatives . Once we got to Salt Whistle Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches with the clearest water – we were told we had 15 minutes because we had taken so long at Union Island. This was not part of our trip so we had spent from 9am to 6:30pm (2 hours late) for an hour and a quarter of activity. A group of us went to the Buccament reception the next day to complain and were told they would investigate. We had to go back every morning to get an update and explain to a different duty manager each time with no resolution. We eventually spoke to the trip provider (Fantasea) who said it was clearly stated on their site that there is a Union Island stop and that’s the way they have always done it, which is clearly bollocks. It states on their website that there are 2 stops. It also states it on the excursions site on Buccament’s site – which takes us to the next issue. We eventually spoke to one of the resort higher ups whose basic response was sympathy but that it was not the resort’s issue and that it was an external company providing the tours. I’m sorry but they were acting as agent for the tours. We handed them the money and payment details and any issues reflect badly on Buccament for putting us on these tours so nothing to do with them. A few other guests accepted an offer of $30 (for a $160 trip). Some people pushed harder and got $45. Luckily I paid by Visa so have disputed the payment. Other paid by cash.
Spa: We had three one-hour treatments each included in our booking. We only managed 2 treatments each, as it was so busy. I would recommend maybe pre-booking before you even arrive at the resort! The treatments were one-hour massages and they were excellent!
Again – overall we had a great relaxing time and met some great folks but my rating reflect the attitude of the staff when things go wrong. I could not imagine them coping when the resort is fuller when they eventually finish building it. I assume this is because they expected the new airport to be completed last year to be able to take the larger airplanes direct and not rely on the abysmal LIAT. Door to door from Edinburgh to the resort was almost 20 hours of travelling. Also the area around the pool was full so more guests would definitely cause issues unless they build more.
I would score it 3.5 here but TA wont let me and 4 would be generous. This is also reflected in the fact we paid a lot less that some other guests. If we had paid what they had paid I would be absolutely raging! I would have no issues going back if the issues were sorted and direct flights as it is a beautiful resort but I wonder if say Sandals were to buy it what they could do with it - maybe this could happen given the well documented and reported background issues with Harlequin?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Please be advised that Buccament Bay Resort has temporarily closed and plans to re-open in spring 2017 after refurbishment. The award-winning* Buccament Bay Resort is a luxury, all-inclusive hotel on the beautiful island of St Vincent: the pearl crowning 32 islands and cays called the “Jewels of the Caribbean". Cradled by lush mountains and vibrant rainforest - an inviting sample of the many riches on offer from this unspoilt treasure - the resort boasts stunning features, like a white sandy beach meeting the clear, warm turquoise sea, and stylish accommodations that typify the Harlequin Hotels & Resorts standards. Perfect for families, couples, singles or dream weddings and honeymoons, it boasts a unique range of top class activities and facilities - many associated with famous brands - that leave guests spoilt for choice, whilst warm, considerate staff deliver a truly Caribbean 5 star experience in a charming, village-style setting. There are several restaurants and bars offering a range of dining options, whilst the unique variety of top class activities cater for all the family. These include: Harlequin Soccer Academy; Pat Cash Tennis Club; diving and water sports; Harlequin Performing Arts Academy; The Spa with Treatments by ESPA; Harlequin Fitness Centre; Little Harlequin Kids Club; Club 61 for teenagers; not to mention a number of excursions, including the complimentary sunset cruise. Whether you seek relaxation or stimulation, discover Buccament Bay Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Buccament Bay Hotel St. Vincent
- Buccament Bay Resort St. Vincent, St. Vincent And The Grenadines