It is not all that rosy contrary to many (most?) other reviews.
First, getting to and from St.Vincent is not easy. When we arrived to Barbados we were met at airside by BB rep who took care about directing us through a short-cut transit way and arranged the bags to be collected from VAA flight and transferred to the commuter flight which was about to take us to St.Vincent some 3 hours later. Also we were given vouchers for business lounge in airport. This was a very positive experience. A negative experience was on the way back when we’ve been heading home. Nobody met us at Barbados, you can’t use short-cut transit on your own. You shall go with all passengers to arrivals through the customs and immigration, collect bags, walk another 500 meters to VAA check-in desk, check-in, customs, immigration again, security etc. And no lounge unless you have your own means to access it. Barbados is OK airport but it was never designed to make flight connections like that. Basically it left a feeling that Buccament Bay makes an effort to please you on arrival and forgets about you immediately after check-out.
A small Twin-Otter plane took us from Barbados and only when we landed on the island we realized this is not St.Vincent yet. In total you have to make 4 (four!!!) hops on this small plane before reaching St. Vincent, enjoying the comfort similar to 1950 VW Beetle for about 3 hours.
Buccament Bay managers claiming it will all change with a new international airport opening in St.Vincent “soon”. Developer’s website says it will be open in 2011. I’ve checked this and find out that new airport is scheduled to open mid-2013, in two years from now if government is lucky but concerning problems with funding this can be delayed much further. Generally I feel there are too many lies from developer. I’m not an investor but after meeting quite a few investors on resort I’ve decided to take a look at developer’s website. Another silly claim is “The Buccament Bay Resort is situated on the southwest coast of St Vincent and is a 15 minute drive from both the existing and proposed airports”. Ferrari and a license to kill will not get you in 15 minutes from current airport. 45 minutes is more or less what it takes. Why they need to lie on such small things?
Upon arrival to St.Vincent we were met and transferred to resort by mini bus. We’ve seen that sometimes arriving guests are brought to the resort by a boat which should be a nice way, not sure what it depends from.
Absolutely most of the resort staff is very friendly and trying to accommodate your requests with a smile. A keyword here is “trying” because many (or most?) of them are clearly lack of experience and training. This is probably not very surprising due to tourism industry on St.Vincent is not developed at all and they had to hire many people with no experience. However this should not be an excuse to not train staff properly, especially for the place positioning itself as a luxury resort. I don’t understand the idea of assigning a young guy to collect drink orders on the beach if he don’t know what kind of drink is Martini Rosso (red) on the rocks (can it be simpler?). Said that some of the staff are really brilliant and helpful.
Taking a walk through the resort you can watch literally dozens of staff moving or driving around. Honestly I have no idea what they all doing. But exactly the minute you need one of them – there is nobody around. That’s what I am calling a magic. Also I believe they should have planned to have a service road for the carts. Although the staff driving carts is very careful and always stopping to give you the way, it not looks like an efficient way of doing things.
We spent 2 weeks at resort end of June / early July and most of the time it was half empty which boosted our experience as we faced no queues, you can take any sun bed wherever you want and accompany it with as many umbrellas as you like. Same time very often you can’t find anybody nearby to make your sun bed and bring towels.
Sunbeds and the rest of equipment on the beach and by the pool is a good quality and look nice but I’m not assured it will last long. Due to frequent rains cushions are getting wet and not drying up properly. Some of them are already quite dirty.
The food was a biggest downside of our experience at Buccament Bay. When we booked we were assured that at least 5 restaurants will be open in June. I tend to believe that travel agent was misinformed by resort management because later on the site we’ve experienced similar overstatements on another matters. Basically there is a place called “Bamboo” for a breakfast and it also serves buffet style dinner. Breakfast variety is OK and eatable but not really 5 stars. Dinner offering varies every evening, some days were OK, some not, but anyway you can’t really consider this place belongs to a 5 star luxury resort. Still we went a couple of times for a dinner there just to change the venue!
The other place serving lunch and dinner is “the Bay” which offers a la carte menu and referred by hotel management as a “fine dining” place. Fine dining place cannot serve drinks and wine in a plastic cups!!! PERIOD.
Furniture and ambience are resembling a fast food outfit. Menu looks great on a first look. However the taste can be a hit or miss and even the course which was good last evening could have a different taste later on. Menu is slowly changing though the week but let me assure you will try the same course many times during your stay. Resort is experiencing planning/ logistics problems with a food. Almost every night you will be advised that this or that course is not available. I recall one night as many as 4 main courses out of 6 were not available. Why don’t they re-print the menu then? One day we’ve got a Greek salad without feta and it took them some time to admit they run out of feta. The worst thing is that you have to stick to the Bay. We spent 14 days at resort, which means you will eat at this place 28 times. I don’t think I’m visiting that often my favorite restaurant in a year. And surely if that restaurant will be located in my home town they stand no chance to see me ever again after a first try. Wine choice within all-inclusive section is ok but they don’t have any fine wines even you ready to pay for it. Staff at the Bay can be anything from great to hopeless. I guess Brits are used to a bad food and believe this is ok, but in Continental Europe this restaurant will be bankrupt in a matter of weeks.
But this wasn’t enough and on our last day at resort they’ve permanently closed Bamboo which means you will have breakfast at the Bay now too, making it 42 visits in 2 weeks.
Grill bar on the beach is a good place to have a burger, chicken wings or some salad. Place called “HQ” is serving ice cream, fresh juice, wraps and some other take-away stuff. Out of plenty juices on the offer half of them were not available. In 14 days they never had an orange or mango juice. Wraps are quite ok.
Overall the food offering is not even close to a real 5 stars and there is nowhere to go for a fine dining outside the resort either.
During our first week of stay one of the managers told me they opening a sushi bar next week. Great! Next week came with no sushi on horizon. When I asked other senior staff about it they said “we are talking internally about opening a sushi bar for quite some time but we haven’t even found a sushi chef yet”. I can’t really believe the manager didn’t knew that, I rather feel he was rather not aware that we going to stay on resort for 2 weeks and felt free to make false promises.
Buccament Bay website claims two more restaurants will be opening in July. Absolutely no way! There is no sign of them and even managers refrained to promise this.
Villas are large size; furniture and décor are quite nice. Living room at the villa is not air conditioned so we had to stay in bedroom most of the time there. Fixed shutters leaving you with a choice of sitting in the dark or get full room of mosquitoes. Plunge pool is nice but only when you stay at beach front villa. Hot water supply is enough for one person to get a shower; hopefully you enjoy cold shower like I do :) Unless you request for a daily change, towels and bed linens are changed every 3 days. Is that really something you expect from a luxury resort??? Room service can easily forget to restock the minibar and to replenish bathroom amenities. Mosquito are all around and small ponds (look more like a swamps) between villas make it worse.
There are some weird small things you can notice. All power sockets in villas are UK standard. Same time lots of electrical appliances are made for US market and connected through the ugly big converters. And the iron in our villa was European continental plug with no adapters accompanying.
Kids club is very good, well equipped and run by nice friendly ladies.
Another great thing was the big white catamaran “Sea and wind” taking guests for cruises and excursions. First days of July it was permanently changed to another catamaran supplier, much smaller, older and not really designed for open deck seating. Sounds like Buccament Bay decided to save some bucks.
Construction works were not really disturbing us during our stay except for a few days when they worked on a fence nearby the Bay and pool. Maybe it will be different if you get a villa further down through the resort and closer to the building site.
There are plenty of disorders in service and I’m afraid it will be worse when hotel is full, unless they really start investing into staff training. Looking at number of villas which are still under construction and especially 2 hotel buildings which should be opened one day, this resort may turn into a large mess. I guess they will open more restaurants sooner or later however they can’t expand the beach which is about the right size to feel comfort and space at the current max capacity but not much more than that.
All in all this is a wonderful resort spoiled by amateur service and lack of eating places. Apart from big things they need a fine tuning in almost all other aspects if they want to be sustainable and attract people who are used to the luxury resorts. Current offers in travel packages are somewhat ok but still not cheap by all means. The price tag if you want to book through Harlequin or Expedia directly is within $1000…2000 range per night. This brings them into a Four Seasons league price wise but they are light years behind in everything else.
If you can book this place reasonably cheap and don’t mind to eat mediocre food 3 times a day in the same place, maybe it worth a try. For us it is definitely not.
Beach front villas are much better
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.