We stayed at the Renaissance Carambola this summer for about 10 days and it was a fantastic stay. Overall, this is a great property on the island if you are looking for something a bit more private and scenic. The service was very good and the food/ restaurants were also very good. See below for a breakdown.
Getting there / Check in:
Part of the appeal of this location is that it is not smack in the middle of tourist trap hotel row or surrounded by other resorts, so getting there requires a rental car or taxi. After a scenic drive through some neighborhoods and hills, the resort appears on the beach hidden in a cove. During check in, they were expecting us in a nice A/C cooled office lounge with a rum drink. Given its a resort hotel, this is standard, but nevertheless it is nice. Check in was easy, and a nice young guy loaded up our bags on a golf cart and escorted us to our room via cart.
The rooms are very nice. They are typically island furnished, with dark woods, and storm shutters on all the windows. The space is more than adequate for a couple, the bathrooms have ample shelf space and dual sinks/vanities that are PLENTY of room. The walk in showers have rainfall shower heads and stone finishes. There is a nice walk in closet for your wardrobe and bags off the bathrooms. The bed in our room was a king, and was not rock hard, it was very comfortable. I sleep in a lot of hotels who's beds leave something to be desired, but this bed was decent. Also worth mentioning, the open air screened in patio is awesome! It was great for relaxing at the end of the day with some rum or a light snack. (Fortunately, we were placed on the north side of the resort where the rooms are ocean facing). Overall, we were impressed with the rooms.
Service: I had actually requested that our room be fitted for our anniversary (point of our trip) and a chilled bottle of champagne and strawberries was waiting for us, as well as a bouquet of flowers. This was set up through the hotels management with very little direction, so it was nice that they committed to a nice display with a personal card welcoming us from the manager. The bartenders were all very friendly and ready to recommend many concoctions. The housekeeping staff was very timely, sometimes twice a day, but never intrusive to the point we were in the room when they came. Fresh towels and ice each day. (You need to ask for ice to be delivered to the rooms, which is a bit strange, but really kind of nice, you don't even have to get it yourself and they bring it right to your room with enough to last you a couple days.) Servers in the restaurants were friendly and speed was adequate or on par with any other island destination I have been.
The Beach / water:
THIS IS THE REASON YOU WILL PICK THIS LOCATION! An unbelievable beach out of a post card. The lush jungle mountains surround a secluded, un-crowded beach with ample chairs, shade, and even a mini beach bar. There is a dive shop literally on site for a reason, because this is one of the only beaches where you can snorkel, dive right off the beach because the water is so clear and the sea life is incredible. Huge leatherback turtles, tropical fish, rays, and coral are abundant just 50-100 feet off the sandy entrance. (See Sweet Bottom Dive Center if your interested in more info, also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). All that said, the resort does suggest that you only enter the water further down the beach near a sandy(er) part of the beach due to all the coral. If you want to use the middle sections bring protective footwear. This beach is not on the strip, and the whole time we were there, we saw maybe 10 other people. Water in the summer was 80 degrees routinely....even on my dives it was...very nice. It's a big beach so it was great. If your looking for a more lively scene, a short 5 min drive down the coastal road takes you into Cane Bay and you can people watch, chat, and interact if that's what your looking for. Overall, the Carambola's beach is one of the most scenic I have ever been too in the Caribbean.
My wife did go to the spa one day and had a beachside massage. She said it was very nice, and easy to set up over the phone in the room.
Food / Restaurants:
There are 3 areas on resort where you can eat. The pool bar during the day serves drinks and nice lunch like offerings like wraps, burgers, salads, and appetizers. At night it turns into a patio restaurant and service more dinner focused meals like chicken, steak, pasta, etc. Next to that is a more formal restaurant that is open for buffet nights and breakfasts. We did the managers buffet and it was great however a bit costly. There is no shortage of food from various disciplines from island focused, international, to comfort food from the states and several desserts. Overall, the food here is good, but with only three choices, you may want to eventually venture off resort to checkout several good options in Cane Bay and just past it to avoid getting bored or paying higher prices. Note: Also, while most blended drinks at any place stateside are expensive, they are at a premium here. They were very well made and believe me after a couple Cruzan Confuzans you wont care, I do suggest watching how much they cost!
I highly recommend this resort. The rooms are very nicely equipped and designed, exuding an expected island chic feel. The service was very nice and professional. It's location is more remote than others on the island, but your either looking for that or your not. It's proximity to Cane Bay means that you wont be bored if your looking for some fun nightlife, because it does get quiet at night, then again, that is a real plus for some. The beach is the main attraction, and if your going here its likely for vacation. The pool is nice, and adequate size, but with football fields of sandy beach and 80 degree water sparsely populated with people, you'll find you might never want to leave your beach hut or shady coconut tree. I recommend this resort for couples or friends looking for a nice escape. Will I go back? Sure thing, just trying to find the time...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.