Barbados Hotel, Resort & Villa Reviews Reviews
Crystal Cove Hotel All-Inclusive
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
Crystal Cove Barbados-Feb 21-28, 2005.
My husband and I spent a week at Crystal Cove in February and we had a wonderful vacation. The resort was exactly what we had hoped for. It is a small, colorful tropical paradise with a lot of Caribbean charm.
You are met at the airport by a private taxi and the trip to the hotel is 30 to 40 minutes. At reception you are greeted with welcoming smiles, cold cloths and rum punch. Check in was efficient and in good time. Beyond the lobby is the vista terrace and the view over the pool and ocean is a sight for sore eyes.
The grounds are well manicured and filled with beautiful flowers, trees and tropical plants. The 2 and 3 story buildings are off-white and trimmed in turquoise, pink, lilac, peach and blue.
We had an ocean view room on the south side of the complex, above Drifters Beach Bar. At first I was disappointed that it wasnt right on the beach, but the fact that we had a view of the ocean and the gardens appealed to us, and we loved the location since it was close to everything. The rooms were not luxurious, but they were quite nice with a comfortable king size bed, ceiling fan, large bathroom with 2 sinks, a fridge that was stocked with water, soda, beer and rum, plenty of drawers and shelves, tv, clock radio and a patio with hammock chair, table, 2 chairs and lounge chair. It had everything we needed, and it was spotlessly clean, as was the entire resort. We marveled at the rainbows, hummingbirds, and lack of insects.
The beach is small and rocky, as others have mentioned, but it is very nice and the ocean is the clear turquoise we love. The small has to do with the width, not the length. Erosion is evident. The north end of the beach adjacent to the pool is roomy enough. There is good snorkeling at reefs right off the beach with lots of tropical fish. The hotel supplies kayaks, hobie cats, boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, waterskiing, and tubing. The water sports crew is great, very helpful and friendly. They run snorkel trips with turtles and boat tours for an additional fee. There were 2 scuba demonstrations in the pool.
The pool is awesome! It starts as a small pond at the top of the hotel outside the lobby and cascades by waterfall to 3 lower levels. It is surrounded by natural rock and lots of foliage. It flows down to the cave bar, surrounds the restaurant, and falls down to the beach. It is very unique and beautiful.
Reflections Restaurant is an open-air restaurant that serves 3 meals daily. Breakfast is buffet with omelets and eggs made to order and all the accompaniments you can imagine. Lunch is mostly off the menu, sometimes a buffet, and dinner is off the menu 5 nights, with a buffet on Monday and Saturday. There are usually 4 to 6 menu selections daily and they may include fish, pasta, duck, lamb, beef, vegetarian, and chicken, and 3 or 4 appetizer selections and soup. The food was good, not spectacular. The birds will try to steal your food at breakfast if unattended, but I find this is typical of open-air restaurants.
At the south end is Drifters, a bar right on the beach with wooden tables, chairs and umbrellas. Served here is yummy rum drinks and a buffet lunch most everyday, which was very good, and dinner several nights weekly. We had lunch here every day, since it was this end of the beach that we sat. Someone from the bar came to the beach occasionally with an assortment of drinks, fruit, and cold cloths, which was a very nice touch. The sunsets are to die for.
Torches and white lights in trees illuminated the grounds beautifully at night. (Not to mention the moon was full.) I love the sound of the Caribbean night crickets. There is usually live music during dinner and up until around 11 pm. Except for the steel pan 2 nights, and the Saturday night show. It is piano-bar type music. On Saturday there was a fun floor show with more authentic Caribbean music, dance, limbo, etc. and some guest participation. Monday is the managers cocktail party with drinks and appetizers served around the pool prior to dinner. The resort gets quiet by 11.
Faye and Lisa are the activities directors. They take care of most anything you need very efficiently and with a smile. The weddings that took place during our stay were beautiful. Celeste, guest relations, was really sweet and always asked how everything was. Without exception every staff member was friendly and accommodating.
We did not utilize the gym, but it is a nice air conditioned facility with plenty of equipment.
This was our first time in Barbados, and we found it to be very beautiful. Faye arranged and helped us map out a private tour of the island with Nigel who had a very comfortable SUV. Nigel drove us up the west coast, pointing out interesting places and stopping for photos along the way. We went to the animal flower caves where we enjoyed spectacular scenery on the cliffs and in the caves. We then made our way down the east coast and had lunch at the Round House while watching the surfers. The beauty on the east coast is indescribable, and should not be missed. Unfortunately, we did not make it to Crane Beach or the south coast. The Atlantis Submarine was fun, diving to 142 feet to view reefs, a sunken barge and lots of colorful fish.
There were only two issues that I thought the resort could improve upon. We had a ground floor room, which we had requested. The rooms have very large sliding glass doors, which we had fully opened whenever we were in the room letting in the balmy Caribbean breezes. After dark, security guards phoned us almost nightly asking us to shut the doors, even when we were sitting on the patio. A/C was the only other ventilation. I know the majority of guests had their a/c on, and I am the minority. I go to the Caribbean for the warmth and do not use air conditioning. (We have enough frigid air at home.) Perhaps screen doors that lock would make everyone happy.
Secondly, there was a strong west wind the first few days we were there, which red flagged the beach and halted water sports and the water taxi. Soon after the ocean calmed, the water taxi broke down and wasnt repaired until the day we were leaving. Alternative transportation to their sister hotels should be considered. Crystal Cove has only one Boston Whaler that they use for waterskiing, tubing, and their snorkel and boat tours. In addition, when Tamarind Coves boat broke down, Crystal Coves boat was utilized there for half of each day. This limited the availability of the boating. I felt the hotel should get a second boat to use for their off-site tours so that everyone would get a chance to ski and tube. Id like to see Crystal Cove put more priority into their water sports. An equipment failure is very disappointing when your vacation is chosen in large part by the watersports offered. Also, an inexpensive ladder would make it a lot easier for guests to board the boat.
After reading some of the reviews, it is apparent that Crystal Cove is not for everyone, but we loved it.
Crystal Cove Hotel All Inclusive
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Three-tier pool, snorkeling at sunken barge
- Set on a 75-yard beach, this west-coast hotel offers a three-tier pool and live calypso and jazz music most evenings.
- Guestrooms and suites feature patios or balconies (most with hammock chairs), bleached-wood ceilings, and ceiling fans.
- A kids' club provides supervised care. Water sports include waterskiing, banana-boating, and snorkeling at a sunken barge.
- Rooms are available only in the All Inclusive Plan.