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Barbados Hotel, Resort & Villa Reviews
Almond Beach Village 02/20/2003
Reviewers Rating: Good
Overall, ABV is good. It's great for some things, not so great for others. The reviews are all correct for the most part. Some people complain about the rooms, food and employees. We had a beachfront 1 bedroom suite, which had a king size bed in the bedroom, a sleeper sofa and rollaway (perfect for my 2 kids - they said they slept great), 2 TV's, a bathroom and a powder room and plenty of drawer/closet space. The a/c was a little noisy but it was a constant blowing noise, which didn't really bother us at all. The beds are a bit hard, but that's not the end of the world either. So we basically were pleased with the room. There was also a small deck area to sit out at night and read, or eat room service food if you wanted. As far as the food goes - they seem to cater to English likings (or maybe it was just the availability of island food) - plenty of fish, lamb, duckling - some chicken - not much beef. They did have burgers, pizza and hotdogs available from noon to 8 PM. Menus at the restaurants were limited - a choice of 3 or 4 entrees, 2 soups, 3 appetizers and 3-5 desserts (always including ice cream). The menus weren't always to my liking, but I managed to find something to choose. Our favorite restaurant was the Italian one - La Smarita, I think was its name. It offered the best menu for my kids, too but kids under 16 are not permitted (although it did seem like some of the kids there were closer to 13 than 16). So, my kids (ages 12 and 14) did not get to enjoy the best food at the resort. The chef came around to make sure we enjoyed our meals, which was a nice touch. Enid's was okay - the pork was quite fatty, though, but the chicken was good. The Reef Restaurant was okay too - again, just not my taste with their selections. Horizons was the other restaurant and they have the only consistently changing menu - there are 10 menus listed in the information book in your room. Each night, room service uses one of those menus and it is the same menu available at Horizons. Some offer better choices than others and it follows in numerical order. There are nights when some restaurants are closed. Every other day you get a schedule of activities, updates, etc. It also tells you which restaurants are open that night and the following. You can make reservations for the current night and following night, but there is limited seating, so you need to call early (8 AM). We returned home on a Wed., so we missed the beach party which looked like a lot of fun. We did enjoy the courtyard dinner buffet on Sat. night, where vendors were available to sell their wares. There were some nice island items available and prices seemed pre-set, so no negotiating was going on. Night time entertainment was primarily bands playing although one night was a talent show, and one night was a bit of a cabaret show. We were pretty tired after dinner and therefore did not review any of the nighttime entertainment.
The employees varied as far as their friendliness. Some were extremely helpful and most, if you struck up a conversation, were quite nice, even funny. There were, of course, those who weren't helpful at all, primarily at the water sports area. We recieved a lot of one word answers, especially from the woman working there. They are supposed to be open at 8:30, however, that was their arrival time. You were lucky to be able to get beach towels by that time (one day, we couldn't even get them by 9:45 when we needed to catch a bus to visit another beach). Nothing was set up before 9:30 (sunfish, etc.) and twice when we inquired about banana boating, it didn't start until 2:40. They close at 4:00 - not much time for the "free" watersports. We didn't check into water skiing, but I think you needed to reserve a day ahead. There were only 2 sunfish available and a hobie cat, but you could only use the hobie cat if an employee took you out. My husband was disappointed in that - he enjoys sailing them himself. There are also jet skis, boats that pull you around in inflatable rafts and other vessels not employed by ABV. They sometimes got too close to the snorkeling area, which worried me a bit. The snorkeling from the beach was great and one of the water sport employees directed us to a spot north of them that had a nice artificial reef. They frequently ran out of towels late in the day - the kids club area had some as well so you can always check there. We tried to save some towels each day so we'd have them first thing in the morning. ABV also offers free hair braiding if you sign up the day before. The tours they offer from the hotel are expensive - you're better off checking into other tours such as "Glory Tours" and schedule a catamaran tour as well! We went on "Cool Runnings" and it was the best day of our vacations. Great snorkeling with turtles, a shipwreck snorkel and good lunch along with a fun crew.
Check in and check out went very smoothly at ABV, although we spoke with some folks who flew in from England on Sat. and they said they waited 2 hours to get their room. I guess it depends on the number of parties that arrive together - we arrived alone on a Thurs. afternoon and our room was ready by the time we finished our rum punches! One other thing - on the day of departure, we left shortly after 1 PM and were checked in and left waiting in the airport waiting area by 2:15. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:25 (we ended up having almost an hour delay) and we therefore sat in the terminal for a whopping 3+ hours. They say you're to be at the airport 2 and 1/2 hours before departure, but I don't see why. There are a few shops there, nothing to do and no good food to buy. We wish we had stayed longer at ABV and taken a taxi. I really feel an hour and a half is long enough to wait for your flight and check in went very smoothly.

Denise

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