We stayed at BB for a week at the end of June 2011 travelling from the UK via Barbados. I was initially encouraged by the marketing in various brochures and websites which had repeated the hotel’s own promotional guff almost verbatim without checking what was actually there and available (Virgin, Kuoni, Tropical sky, Carib tours etc should know better). We would not have booked had we known the ‘work in progress’ nature of the resort and facilities. I did my research too late (after booking!) and was both apprehensive and optimistic about what we’d find in reality.
Firstly the trip via Barbados and onward transfers were handled very well. We were met by a ground rep at Barbados who whisked through to a lounge awaiting our onward flight. Our rep appeared again before we boarded our 15 seater SVG plane and assured us that our luggage was on board. A one-stop trip via Mustique and we landed at St Vincent to be met at the airport by BB reps and put into a very acceptable courtesy car for the road trip to BB. It took about 40 mins most of which was due to traffic in Kingstown and the winding road to the resort (the return took a similar time and we were escorted to the check-in by the very helpful BB rep who made sure we had no problems). The area surrounding the resort isn’t the most picturesque leaving you wondering what you’ve done as you pull into the resort. The resort looks like a film set amongst its semi-developed Caribbean surroundings, the change from local dark sand to BB imported sand emphasising the transformation.
I don’t usually mention welcomes (or towels) but the two of us were met from our car by the Resort Manager, Office Manager, a couple of porters for the bags, others i can’t remember, a steel band, welcome cocktails... completely OTT and charming.
We were taken straight to our villa to complete our paperwork (nice touch) and asked to sign the most ridiculous waiver indemnifying the hotel against any risks to ourselves during our stay including those ‘caused by the negligence of BB or its agents’. I didn’t sign it and no-one chased for it but others did sign. I can’t believe a 5 star aspiring resort would think this acceptable.
The villa was very nice inside, great bed, shower, closet, free wi-fi, big flat screen. Only one massive fault the window/shutter solution chosen. All of the windows/doors were fixed slatted shutters. You either had the shutters closed and so were in darkness or open and on view to the resort. In the bedroom there was a second layer of glass so the room was mosquito tight but the living area was a constant buzz as the creatures could come through the slats at will. We got bitten badly as did many other guests. Some grown men resorted to walking around in socks to prevent the ankle biting that continued despite best precautions.
I’m also not sure what was being smoked when the plans were drawn up to have a water pond outside each villa. What may have been a good idea on paper was poor visually and the stagnant looking water made an ideal environment for mozzys as did the rainforest and mountainous hills that surround the resort. Sitting outside the villa was unpleasant.
Some good stuff, the beach and sun lounging facilities were great. Massive beach, loads of loungers, pools you can actually swim in, great drinks service. The staff were great we sensed none of the ‘training on the job’ mentioned by others, we got smiles, interaction and a will to make everyone happy which is all we could ask for.
Food was also very good. One restaurant was open which served lunch and dinner. Breakfast was served under a tent on a bit of beach which was very pleasant. This place also opened in the evening to provide themed buffet dining. Food quality/choice for breakfast and lunch was very good and there were other options in a beach grill and a really good coffee/ice cream shop which also served sandwiches. Dinner was great quality but the menu was virtually static for a week. We did get some local fish on the last night but they could do a lot better here if they sourced some local products. Quality of drinks was superior to other hotels we’ve been to but all were served in plastic ‘glasses’ which was naff and unappealing.
The gym was well equipped but stuffed into a couple of villas rather than 178 sq m facility advertised on the web site today. The spa was also in a villa, we were given complimentary treatments here that were very good (nice touch). The football programme looked professional and there’s a nice astro pitch with modern turf and some good coaches who organised a couple of good natured games with the guests.
Another great touch was the free cat cruises each evening from the beach along the coast where we were fortunate to see dolphins swimming alongside the boat.
The construction was no bother at all, it was well screened and mostly away from the action indeed it didn’t seem that frantic for a resort that presumably needs to ratchet up its guest numbers. Two apartment blocks are visible now and work on the next restaurant is still only at early stages despite the website saying it will be open in July (October according to those on site).
Overall we had a nice time here and for the low introductory price it was good value and a nicer experience than Blue Waters in Antigua last year as a comparator. I would have been going mad had we paid anywhere near the full price. I don’t see how they can charge more until the resort is finished.
My over riding anger here though is the way the marketing is so detached from the reality of the resort, some honesty about the facilities I will enjoy when I’m there is what I need not an artist’s impression of what will be there sometime in the future. As for re defining luxury in the Caribbean and true five-star service that’s a long way off at the moment.
I hope it works for the investors we met, some of whom had invested in other harlequin schemes. The premise of the whole business model seems flawed to me.
I also hope it works for the staff at BB who all worked hard to make our stay a satisfactory one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 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: Liverpool FC Academy Soccer School; Pat Cash Tennis Club; Indigo Dive & Watersports (awarded 5 star status by PADI); Harlequin Performing Arts Academy; The Spa with Treatments by ESPA; Harlequin Fitness Centre; Little Harlequin Kids Club; and 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.* In Autumn 2012 the resort was extremely proud to be awarded "Caribbean's Leading New Hotel" and "St Vincent & The Grenadines' Leading Spa Resort" by the Oscars of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Buccament Bay Hotel St. Vincent
- Buccament Bay Resort St. Vincent, St. Vincent And The Grenadines