This is the most difficult review I've ever written as some aspects of the Coral Harbour are very good whilst others are disappointing, hence the overall rating I've given as being average.
I will begin with some of the things that I think other people should be aware of prior to booking this accommodation, and then offer some positives later in the review.
My husband and I stayed here for a few nights in early March and our main issue with the accommodation is the way in which it is misrepresented in terms of the amenities nearby. There are none! In the Coral Harbour beach house and villas leaflet that I picked up in reception, and which includes various claims also made on the Web, it states that "Coral Harbour abounds in fun and adventurous things to do...enjoy by bicycle or on foot...scuba diving and snorkelling 5 mins away, horse back riding on the beach, guided kayak tours, kayak rentals, nature walks, bird watching tours, biking, tennis". It also claims that it is "only minutes from our new shopping centre with grocery store offering all the supplies you'll need".
I envisaged my husband (who is very active and not much of 'laying on the beach' person) being able to wander down the road and get involved in water sports while I laid on the beach reading.
Upon arrival we got a fairly expensive taxi from the airport to Coral Harbour and were surprised at how isolated the property is. We had not arranged a car rental as we were under the impression that there was a range of amenities in the vicinity.
Having checked in we thought we would go to the grocery store to purchase some snacks and beers to enjoy on our balcony overlooking the ocean, and some supplies to cook on the barbecue that was allegedly available with the 'one-bedroom villa' (more on this later) we had booked. It was a 20 minute walk to the store, which offered a fairly limited selection of provisions and did not sell alcohol.
We always prefer to book self-catering accommodation as it allows flexibility over meals. However, far from the "well-equipped kitchenette" described online, there was actually next to nothing in the way of kitchenware. My husband took photographs of the virtually empty cupboards and I will try to upload these later. However, aside from a few plates, cups, glasses, a couple of knives and forks, and one pan, there was nothing.
In addition, when we enquired about the barbecue, we were told there was a communal barbecue that we could use near the restaurant but it clearly was not something that the owners expected guests to do.
Consequently, with the limitations of both the grocery store and the catering facilities, self-catering was not an option and this meant that all meals had to be purchased from the on-site restaurant.
There appeared to be at least three different menus, with the same dishes listed on each at different prices. We ordered a couple of dishes more than once and received very different meals each time! That said, the food was mostly good, especially the cracked conch. We did have to wait nearly two hours one evening for our meal, and I suspect that the prices were set on the basis of guests having no other dining option.
in terms of the accommodation, when booking I had originally looked at the 'king studio with kitchenette' but as the price quoted for the 'one-bedroom villa' for our five night stay was only £42 more, and the description of this sounded much better, I decided to opt for that instead.
The description, which I printed out when booking, was as follows: Featuring sea views, this air-conditioned villa offers 1 king bedroom, a living area with flat-screen cable TV and a well-equipped kitchenette...It also has a sofa bed and a safe. Villa Facilities: balcony, sea view, garden view, TV, radio, air conditioning, iron, desk, seating area, fan, beds, carpeted floor, private entrance, sofa, soundproofing, tiled/marble floor, hairdryer, toilet, bathroom, bath or shower, additional toilet, tea/coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, kitchen, dining area, stove, toaster, barbecue, wake up service/alarm clock.
Very few of these facilities were atually provided. When I showed the staff the printed description they said it was incorrect and the 'one-bedroom villa' has either a balcony (if upstairs) or a seating area with sofabed (if downstairs). The picture of the villa shows two storeys, and together with the description is somewhat misleading. Interestingly, the picture that accompanies the description of the 'king studio with kitchenette' was clearly taken in the bedroom area of the accommodation in which we stayed. Despite pointing this out we were still charged the price of the villa.
The bed was comfortable but accommodation overall is fairly basic. The TV did not work but since we don't tend to watch much television anyway, least of all whilst on holiday, this was not really a problem. In addition, you get what you pay for and, despite being charged for an accommodation type that we did not stay in, this is a cheap place to stay on the island.
There is a service charge of $19.50 per day, and the room was cleaned thoroughly with all bedding being changed every day except for the day before we were leaving. That night I got bitten all over my feet and ankles by something in the bed.
As the property is so isolated it was difficult to pursue any complaints as we had made an arrangement with the owner's son to be taken to the airport on our departure day (for a price, of course) and we did not want to end up being unable to get to the airport.
In addition, we were told when settling the bill that there was an extra 6% charge for paying by card (credit or debit). There was no sign displayed anywhere that indicated this or we would have gone to the bank when we visited downtown Nassau. Since there are no amenities nearby, and hence no way of withdrawing cash, this seems like yet another way of taking advantage of a 'captive audience'.
I realise that it may sound as though we did not enjoy our stay but in fact we had a very nice time. The beach was deserted most of the time, offering the scene that is so often pictured in holiday brochures but seldom found, and the lack of amenities was actually very relaxing. The sea is warm and clear so that it is possible to see many starfish on the ocean bed. The decking area overlooking the sea is lovely, and the staff are pleasant. The bar was good fun, with a friendly crowd of locals and ex-pats, and the barman Ricky is great.
The Bahamians are delightful and we met several people who were really helpful and kind, including Lutz who saw us walking back from the grocery store with heavy bags and gave us a lift despite it being out of his way.
The pool table has seen better days, and to call the room it is in a 'games room' is a bit of an exaggeration, but it was fun to play a few games of pool with some of the locals.
We caught a bus to downtown Nassau one day and actually returned to Coral Harbour immensely pleased to be staying there instead, away from the crowds and in a peaceful environment. The bus was a great experience, and we had lunch in a lovely Greek restaurant in downtown Nassau which we would highly recommend.
Overall, our stay was relaxing but I think others should be aware of the ways in which this accommodation is misrepresented.
We would not go back because of the misrepresentations but for a tranquil short break on a budget, as long as you know what to expect and what not to expect, I would recommend the Coral Harbour. Just don't get duped into booking a one-bedroom villa, when in fact you'll be paying for a villa but staying in a king studio, and don't expect to be making use of the kitchenette or barbecue!
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- Also Known As:
- Coral Harbour Beach House And Villas Hotel Nassau
- Coral Harbour Beach Hotel
- Coral Harbour Beach House And Villas Bahamas/Nassau