Published On: Sat, Feb 3rd, 2024

The Crane Resort review: Historic Barbados hotel | America | Travel


Main swimming pool at The Crane Resort

The Crane is home to three swimming pools with stunning Atlantic ocean views (Image: The Crane Resort)

The sea breeze and dramatic landscapes make this side of the island such a lusted-after escape

Highlights

  • Stunning white sand private beach
  • Personal pools on terraces and balconies
  • A selection of dining options to choose from
  • Incredible sunrise views
  • Three swimming pools
  • Well-preserved historic features

The Crane Resort Review

Since 1887, The Crane Resort has been a favourite on the east coast of Barbados, a stunning beachside complex where you can wake up each morning to the pink hues of sunrise emerging from the Atlantic waves. The hotel claims to be one of the nation’s “oldest continuously running hotels” in the Caribbean. Though it has undergone restoration and an expansion to include plenty of 21st-century amenities in recent years, the resort stays true to its rich history with grand 19th-century design elements and interiors.

The rustic east coast of Barbados is arguably quieter than the west coast, but it is the sea breeze and dramatic landscapes which make this side of the island such a lusted-after escape. You can go back as far as the mid-18th century when the region was frequented by plantation owners and wealthy merchants. During this time, the tradesmen were drawn to this corner for its climate, with the licks of sea breeze helping to cool down even the hottest of days.

The island enjoys average highs of 31C in its hottest month, August, and average highs of 29C in its “coolest month”, January, so the soft east coast breeze is a welcome addition whether you’re relaxing on the white sands of Crane Beach or stretching out on a sun lounger beside one of the resort’s three swimming pools.

View of Crane beach at The Crane Resort

The beach at The Crane Resort has been voted one of the best beaches in Barbados on Tripadvisor (Image: The Crane Resort)

For guests, you won’t need to travel far to access one of the best beaches on the island either. According to Tripadvisor, Crane Beach is among the top 20 most beautiful beaches in Barbados – currently ranking at number 11.

The resort, and its adjoining beach, take their name from Crane House, which stands adjacent to the resort, and was later expanded to include Marine Villa. The style of its windows and casements suggests it was built about 1790, and it remains in almost its original state.

Over the years, the addition of four coral stone apartments made up the south wing of the hotel, as well as the neocolonial-style Crane Village, which is home to an array of boutiques and shops, as well as a gym, kids club and even conference rooms. Not only do holidaymakers come to the resort for sunny escapes, but you can also become an owner of your very own residence within The Crane’s gated community.

We arrived at the hotel after a delayed flight, and though it was getting late into the balmy evening, the warmth and friendliness Caribbean citizens are so known for shone through, regardless of the hour. That’s a trend that guests will notice remains throughout their stay at The Crane.

The Rooms

Rating: 4/5

There are a whopping 21 different room types to choose from, ranging from the more classic apartment-style offering to the newer contemporary suites. Most of the rooms, all of which are classed as ‘suites’ and feel more like apartments, are housed within pink-tinged turreted buildings, some of which have their very own plunge pool.

The cheapest rooms are the Garden View Junior Suites which come with their own balcony, living area and kitchenette. All rooms also feature a spacious marble bathroom with a jacuzzi bath and double vanity.

For our stay, we checked into a One-Bedroom Suite with our very own private plunge pool housed within a turret. The sea view meant that each morning we could part the cedar shutters for a glimpse at the stunning sunrise.

The suite maintains the hotel’s classic aesthetic, with an artisan-crafted mahogany king bed that was almost half my height. You can expect oversized plush sofas, a fully-equipped granite kitchen and large, mahogany furnishings.

Plunge pool on balcony at The Crane

Some of the rooms come with plunge pools in their own private turrets (Image: The Crane Resort)

The sea view meant that each morning we could part the cedar shutters for a glimpse at the stunning sunrise

The rooms are by no means contemporary in style, but that’s really part of the overall heritage vibe of the hotel. However, there are still modern amenities including a television and WiFi. The television signal can be a little spotty but with incredible weather, stunning views and so much to enjoy in the resort, it’s unlikely you’ll want to spend much time in front of the TV.

The bathroom is a vast space, with a walk-in shower, jacuzzi bath, double vanity, closet area and separate toilet for added privacy. Perhaps the best part of the room though, and certainly our favourite, is the balcony.

With two sun loungers and the all-important plunge pool, this is the perfect spot to soak up the surroundings in total peace and quiet.

Suite at The Crane Resort

Bedrooms are decorated with classic furnishings paying homage to the resort’s long history (Image: The Crane Resort)

Dining and Drinking

How does The Crane Resort compare to other luxury resorts?

Rating: 4/5

There is no shortage of dining options, with six restaurants onsite, including D’Onofrio’s Trattoria, an Italian restaurant in Crane Village, The Carriage House, a poolside bar and grill, and The Grove Beach Bar and Grill. There’s also a bakery in the village, perfect for picking up a breakfast pastry.

The star of the show, however, is Zen, a highly-rated fine-dining Japanese-Thai fusion restaurant with a wide-ranging menu of sushi, noodles and curries. With a vast glass window overlooking Crane Beach, this is the perfect spot to grab a table just after sundown and watch the night sky begin to twinkle.

By day, we enjoyed breakfast and lunch at L’Azure Restaurant, while looking out across the white wrap-around veranda to sweeping Atlantic vistas. For breakfast, guests can opt for the buffet option or choose from the menu.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that as well as the continental buffet fare, the hot dishes changed daily so that you can try an array of new dishes, including several local cuisines such as fried plantain. On Sundays, buffet breakfast is accompanied by a gospel choir which draws diners in from outside of the resort.

Zen restaurant at The Crane

Zen is the hotels highly-rated Asian fusion restaurant and was our favourite (Image: The Crane Resort)

Lunch at L’Azure is a mix of Caribbean and global dishes, as well as a full drinks menu. Here, we enjoyed a well-portioned Greek salad and veggie burger, with the absolute must-try Rum Punch. As the birthplace of rum, Barbados is known for its fantastic rum punch – and The Crane’s famous rum punch became our favourite drink of the stay.

You can also enjoy a selection of cocktails, beers and wines at Bar 1887, which has a tapas menu to complement drinks. Across all of its restaurants, The Crane caters well to a variety of dietary needs, including vegetarian and vegan.

And if all of that isn’t enough, there’s also the option to self-cater thanks to the kitchens and kitchenettes in each suite. The General Store in Crane Village has most of the necessities you will need, though at a little bit of a higher price. Alternatively, there’s a large supermarket just a seven-minute drive away. If you don’t have a car, most taxi services from the hotel will be happy to wait for you while you shop.

Amenities

  • Private beach
  • Three swimming pools
  • Tennis court
  • Spa
  • Gym
  • Room Service
  • WiFi
  • Parking
  • In-room TV and DVD players
  • Air conditioning
  • Hair dryers
  • Laundry
  • Room service
  • Kids Club

Location

Rating: 4/5

One of perhaps the trickiest things about The Crane Resort is its location. For the gentle sea breeze, remote surroundings and incredible views, you really can’t go wrong. But it’s a very different experience to the calm shores of the west coast, and there isn’t really anywhere you can get to beyond the resort that doesn’t require a car.

Luckily, if you haven’t hired a car, staff are on hand at the main reception to book you transport if needed and there is a daily service which runs to and from Bridgetown for those who want to explore Barbados’ main city.

The village at Crane Resort

The Crane village is home to bar and restaurant, as well as a café, kids club and gym (Image: The Crane Resort)

The resort itself is big enough to wile away the days if you are looking for a totally relaxed trip, made up of winding paths leading through tropical foliage. There are two large tennis courts, a number of small boutiques, a fitness centre and three swimming pools, including a multi-level pool separated by trickling waterfalls.

Crane Beach is the pièce de résistance, a picturesque stretch of white sand dotted with sun loungers and umbrellas. Though the waves can be high, and swimming difficult at times, there is a lifeguard on duty and many guests make the most of riding the choppy currents on bodyboards. Cocktails can also be delivered to your spot sunning it up from The Grove beach bar.

Value for Money

Rating: 4/5

Room rates start from $249 (approximately £136) per room, per night on a room-only basis. Rates include VAT and service charge but are subject to room rate levy. They also include bonus resort credits for stays over seven nights, which can be redeemed for dining and spa treatments. Find rooms and book direct on The Crane Resort website

Or compare deals and prices for a stay at The Crane Resort on Booking.com or Hotels.com.

Final Verdict

The Crane Resort
St Philip
Barbados

Telephone: +1 246 423 6220

Website: www.thecrane.com

If you want to explore the slightly less beaten path of Barbados, the rugged east coast is a perfect spot that is well-positioned for a quieter holiday.

Crane Resort offers a luxurious stay in classic heritage surroundings, and the access to the private, serviced Crane Beach we found to be one of the highlights of the stay.

The size of the resort meant that even when we visited in the peak January holiday season it never felt too busy. There was never a struggle to get a table at breakfast, and there were even a few times, as the day bled into the pink hues of dusk, that found ourselves with the entire sandy stretch of Crane Beach to ourselves.

Though the hotel can arrange taxis into the busier parts of the island, if you’re someone who likes to stay in the thick of the action, with plenty of amenities in walking distance, this probably isn’t the location for you. But with that said, if you’re planning on hiring a car, Bridgetown is just a 20-minute drive away, while the more upscale West Coast offering is approximately 40 minutes by car.

Luckily, you don’t need to go far for a friendly face and excellent service. From check-in to check-out, everyone from security to bar staff serving up cocktails on Crane Beach did so with a smile, and they’re always keen to make sure you’re having a great day.



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