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“Laluna or the Calabash – we stayed at both – a comparative review!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Calabash Hotel

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Calabash Hotel
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Box 382, Lance aux Epines, Grenada   |  
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25% off room rate
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
London, England
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
“Laluna or the Calabash – we stayed at both – a comparative review!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

There seems to be considerable debate as to the relative merits of Laluna and the Calabash. In December 2012 we stayed at both. This review seeks to compare and contrast the two so you can decide which is best for you. For those of you who dislike long reviews or like to know the ending first we preferred the Calabash but there are advantages to them both.

We originally booked Laluna because we liked the stand alone rooms (we were looking for somewhere quiet) and thought it was nearer the diving than the Calabash. When we arrived there we found a big digger working on the road and disturbing the peace. After being woken form a post lunch snooze we discussed this with the owner and he kindly and graciously agreed to refund us the money we had paid in advance. I have to say that he could not have been done more and we are grateful to him for allowing us the chance to move. Nothing said in this review should detract from the fact that he acted like an absolute gentleman.

LOCATION. Laluna is built into a hill overlooking the sea. Effectively this gives a tiered arrangement and each room has beautiful views out to the sea. The Calabash has a number of small blocks built in a horseshoe shape. From Laluna's small beach you have uninterrupted views of the sea. The Calabash's beach is in a bay where a lot of yachts berth so the views are very different. If you want seclusion and isolation then Laluna is for you. The Calabash is directly under the flight path and reasonably close to the airport so, a few times a day you have a short (about 20 seconds) burst of noise.

ROOMS. The Calabash is an all suite resort and the suites are arranged in two story blocks of four. Some of the ground floor suites have whirlpools or even small plunge pools at the back. We like the quiet and initially preferred the idea of Laluna's standalone rooms. In reality we never heard our neighbours at the Calabash.

Lauana's style is Indonesian and the rooms are painted dark in a distressed plaster type finish. We have come across this before and it is fine for a bedroom but is quiet dark if you want to relax in there during the day. The Calabash is more western with whites and pastels and tiled floors. When the heat was too much or it was raining we felt that the Calabash rooms were easier to relax in. When we were staying at Laluna it did rain and we found that subsequently all our cloths smelt damp. They claim to have 'open air bathrooms' but open air is very different from ‘outdoor’. This was not an outdoor shower under the stars but an indoor bathroom open to the elements. I am not sure what the point of this was as it seemed to mean everything got damp when it rained outside. I am sorry to say that we had no hot water at Laluna during our stay (and this was not resolved after it was reported). At the Calabash the bathrooms were definitely cleaner and crisper but maybe slightly less characterful – we had plenty of hot water and lots of clean dry towels.

Laluna claims that each room has an iPod dock but ours just had an old cassette player that reminded me of something from the 80's.

BEACH. The beach at the Calabash was bigger and had a lot of places to sit. We were surprised at Laluna that no one took in the bed covers so when we wanted to lie on the beds after it had rained we had a choice of a wet bed or a hard wooden sun lounger.

RESTAURANT. The reviews of Laluna's restaurants were impressive but we felt unrepresentative. The food was bland and unseasoned. One night I had a crab dish which had so many anchovies (which I normally love) that I was unable to taste anything else. The dynamics of the kitchen were strange and the head chef seemed to spend more time out of the kitchen talking to customers than in it cooking! The Calabash could not have been more different, we did not have one meal that was anything less than great. Some of the food was bordering on historic.

The Calabash has a lunchtime beach restaurant that is separate from the main restaurant and was exceptional. Even if we weren’t staying at the Calabash I would visit just to return to Mark B at the Bash Bar for lunch.

STAFF. I think the staff at Laluna were okay but the staff at the Calabash were exceptional. Many had been with the hotel for ten or even twenty years and were superb ambassadors for the resort.

DIVING. The Calabash has a dive shop on site whereas Launa has an arrangement with a local dive operator who will pick you up from the hotel.

SPA. Both resorts offer spa treatments. We did not have the time to try the spa at Laluna and were put off by the cost of the spa at the Calabash. As a comparison Laluna charges USD 95 for one hour treatment, the Calabash charges USD 150. Spice Island charges USD105 for a 50 minute Swedish massage.

FITNESS. Both resorts have fitness rooms. Laluna's was tiny and from memory had little natural light. The Calabash's was larger with more equipment and lots of light. When we were there the water fountain was not working. If you are a yoga fanatic then Laluna has classes everyday. The Calabash can arrange a class on demand but rather strangely it does not offer regular classes.

EXTRAS. At the Calabash you got a number of little 'freebies' such as a glass of fresh juice on the beach, tea in the afternoon and lovely nibbles at 6:00 in your room. At Laluna you got none.

As you can tell we were very happy with our time at the Calabash and we were pleased that we moved. We are grateful to the management of the Laluna for being so flexible and offering us a refund. If we were in Grenada again then we would have no hesitation in choosing the Calabsah.

Constructively I would say there is room for improvements at the Calabash and would point out the following.

At the Calabash you have a choice of going bed and breakfast, half board or all inclusive. The difference between b&b and half board is USD125 per suite. If both of you have three courses each night then you might spend this but we found that the food was so rich that many people just had two starters and/or shared a desert. In that case the bill was usually less than USD 125. I would therefore suggest the B and B option. In addition there are lots of lovely places to go and eat in Grenada and to eat in the resort every night (even if the food is delicious) is a bit of a shame.

One of the biggest issues that everyone grappled with was being bitten by insects. You will naturally assume it is the mosquitos and will apply your spray in the late afternoon. In fact it is sandflies that come out during the day and you need to apply your spray in the morning. If you ask the reception they will spray your room each morning and evening. Some people got really bad rashes and I wish the hotel us told us all about the sandflies when we arrived.

The WIFI is intermittent at best.

Communication seemed a bit hit and miss. As an example we found out about a Xmas market the evening after it took place. The spa reduced its prices but we found out from another guest. We arrived on a Wednesday and only found out about the managers cocktail as we went to dinner. There was a water aerobics class that we only found out about because we could here it. As I comment below the activities at the Calabash are minimal and seems strange that they are so quiet about the few that do take place.

This is not a resort with huge amounts of activities and many of the guests were retired and maybe like it that way. That said, it would have been lovely if there had been some activities such as a yoga class. Even placing a few games by the bar might be a good idea on those rainy afternoons.

Breakfast at the Calabash is served in the room (you order the day before). In many ways this is quite nice but it does mean that it becomes a bit repetitive, the food is prepared the day before and in the humidity cereals lose their crunchiness and the bakery products are not impressive. It might be good to have daily specials, fresh croissants, home made muesli instead of commercials brands of cereal and the occasional smoothie. We commented on this whilst at the resort and they already have plans to improve this.

This is a long review and many of the points raised maybe minor. We are picky travellers who believe in full feedback. We were particularly keen to do this with the Calbash as we expect to return there sometime in the future. Thank you to everyone at the Calabash for making our stay so good.

Room Tip: We went for an upstairs suite. These do not have a plunge pool but have a higher ceiling and thus s...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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476 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (145)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Newmarket, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

Perfection.

If you are a Diver it’s even better , if you’re not it’s a great place to learn .
ScubaTech a great diving centre is on site.

We stayed here on the Bed and Breakfast tariff.
Canapes are delivered to room at 6:00pm , a complimentary drink from the bar and massage at the spa is included ,which is a nice touch. Cocktails every wednesday with the owners.

We stayed in one of the Westside suites which to our delight was right next to the beach.

Every morning started with a cup of tea in the room and maybe a swim before breakfast ,a shower in the wet room which was a great start to the day. It got better though as we were then served by Linda , who was lovely. She came out and laid or table ready for breakfast on our veranda , you get to choose what you want from a menu handed in the day before. The choice is impressive. Usually I had Fruit platter , omlete with fish , toast with some lovely nutmeg syrup , all washed down with tea.

For me I usually went diving while my wife relaxed on the beach or had a spa treatment..If we chose to go out for the day the hotel arranged the car hire for us , or a taxi , there are also some taxi drivers usually on site , or if they weren’t the reception called one for us. All the drivers we had were very good and safe , which is a good thing in Grenada.
The Rhodes restaurant is excellent great service , the Bash restaurant is also very good for lunch.

This is my ideal place to stay , it was a nice relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The owners really have created something special here , we can’t wait to get back there. Both my wife and I agree this is our best holiday yet, topping Fiji and Mauritius.

Grenada is a great island with very friendly people.

Visited 3/12/12 to 13/12/12

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012 via mobile

A little pricey but..... The location is fantastic, sitting on prickles bay, tranquil, picturesque , a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit. The beach bar and restaurant possible sell the best lunchtime meals in Grenada , and if you try the desserts you will need a lie down by the sea for certain . If you are in the spice island you MUST go !!

Stayed April 2012
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Bath, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

Although the Calabash is quite far by foot from anywhere, and the beach and sea are not the best i've ever experienced in the Caribbean, the Calabash hotel is really excellent!
The management are very hands on and will do their upmost to help you, ditto the staff. The junior/whirlpool suite we were upgraded to was tastefully decorated with lots of amenities, no DVD player, but everything else you could need, including torches, mosquito room repellent (which you will need because it is mosquito hell or heaven depending on whether you are human or insect!), bottle openers, fridge, mp3 player etc., The Bathroom had a massive shower and whirlpool bath. Elemis toiletries, pretty luxurious.
Breakfast is served on your patio/balcony every morning and is good. Lovely starched linens, good choices, well cooked, a lovely start to the day
Rhodes restaurant is considered to be very high end, but we only ate there once, as we never really fancied the cuisine on offer, as we prefer more basic, local Caribbean food when in the Caribbean. As we eat out a lot in the UK in fine dining restaurants so don't really want that when away...however, the majority of Calabash's customers are 50+ and return annually and clearly they loved it, so it's just us! I did find some of the combinations on the menu strange, like eggs Benedict with Tuna, but on our last night we did eat there and although served out of the shell the Lobster was good, the bread was delicious and the service excellent. Many guests were on half board and so the restaurant was usually fairly full.
The new beach restaurant The Bash, was good. Service can be a little slow.The chef, Mark B, really knows his stuff, and was very accommodating in cooking us a lovely Goat curry. The Beach bar staff make great cocktails too. Herbie rocks!
The Spa is gorgeous with lovely staff who know their stuff! We were given a complimentary shoulder and head massage, which was wonderful.
There are some nice touches too, canapes at 6pm in your room, Manager's cocktail party every Wednesday with delicious canapes made by Rhode's and Champagne or Rum Punch! It is very English, but with much better weather.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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co. antrim
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

This is an ideal choice for the discerning traveller.Its excellence is defined by its location, its fine cuisine and the genuinely friendly and professional quality of the staff.On this our second visit, we are convinced that this must rank as one of the finest venues in the Caribbean which we have been visiting since the 1980's; it has, certainly, been our most memorable and enjoyable.The high proportion of returning guests would tend to add support to this view The facilities allow the guest to be as active or as idle as desired. All in all the management and staff merit special recognition for sustaining the unique nature of this special place..

Room Tip: The rooms are all good; it depends on your pocket!!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
99 helpful votes 99 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

The Calabash does not fit into an easy hotel star system. It does not have a grand entrance, in fact first impressions are slightly disappointing , low key and simple.
There begins the treat. No sitting filling in a form with the usual welcome drink, but rather straight to your room, you have had a long journey and you want to shower and unpack. This considerate attitude sets the tone.
The luxury of the Calabash is at all times understated and a joy because of it, at lest for us. This hotel has 30 rooms and 27 acres, so space, quiet and privacy. The staff are universally charming and helpful.
Although we loved our stay here for some people it would be totally wrong. The pool is small and away from the beach, it is quiet and rarely has more than 4 people by it, no music, no aerobics, no games. The beach is small with easy gentle swimming, again no music, no games. If you want a hotel with activity and nightlife this is not for you.
Food is excellent, from the true luxury of a maid serving you an individually ordered breakfast on your room terrace with linen cloth and napkins as standard, through the great lunches at the beach bar to a fine supper in the main restaurant. All meals are a la carte and the service impeccable. If you prefer buffet dinning Calabash is not for you.
This is a one of a kind hotel, more like an English house party than a formal hotel. For us it was wonderful but if that style does not appeal then be warned.

Room Tip: You don't need a pool room
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southampton
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

This hotel really is as good as everyone says it is. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the Thorneycroft suite, which is fabulous, with a private pool big enough to swim in, as well as a huge bathroom area, with a big shower and dressing area. I don't think I've stayed anywhere with as much storage space - we probably only used a third of it! There was also a double whirlpool bath, but we didn't use it. There's chairs/loungers on both the balcony and by the pool, and the sun was over the suite's pool area until about 2.30, then in shade for the rest of the day.

All the staff, without exception, were charming, friendly and accommodating, and make you feel very welcome. Management was very visible throughout our stay, and keen to know how everyone was getting on.

The food was great in both the Rhodes restaurant and Mark's beach restaurant. In Rhodes there was a standing menu of around 8 starters and 8 mains, with a daily changing specials menu of another 3 starters and 4 mains. Soup, salad, meat, fish and vegetarian options were always offered, and we really enjoyed pretty much everything we ate. We stayed for 10 days, and had just started to see some items reappear on the menu towards the end of the holiday. In the beach restaurant, Mark was very relaxed, and again offered a standard menu plus occasional specials. The 'lunch' timing was (helpfully) only loosely adhered to, as food was often still available after 3 if we returned late from diving. Make sure to ask about the specials, as sometimes the staff forget to volunteer what they are, and take Mark up on any offers - we had pulled pork (straight from the oven) and plantain sandwiches one day, and the chilli chicken tapas and chocolate plate dessert were awesome. Sometimes dishes can vary depending on what is available - pawpaw becomes melon, potato becomes chickpeas, but remains delicious. The cocktail menu was good, and drinks were served to you on the beach if you went up and ordered them at the bar. Breakfast was served in the suite - you need to choose the night before what you want, so can't be spontaneous, and the variety is not quite as good as in some hotels' buffets, but it works well, being freshly prepared, and with enough choice (juice, fruit, cereal, eggs, omelettes, bacon, sausage, toast, muffins).

The beach is white sand, with plenty of comfy loungers, umbrellas, small tables and shade from the palm trees if required. There's quite a lot of weed in the sea once you wade out more than a few metres, but if this ever made it on to the beach, I never saw it! Kayaks and a new Hobie cat are available to use from the dive centre - sailing the Hobie around the bay dodging all the moored yachts was fun. We spent a lot of our holiday diving, and were very well-looked after by Jochen and his team at ScubaTech. We'd contacted the dive centre in advance explaining what we wanted to do (our Advanced Open Water course), and are glad we did, as the dive boat was reasonably busy, and the schedule was full on several days by the time we arrived. The boat leaves between 9 and 9.30, and returns, after a two-tank dive, anywhere between 1 and 2.30. The boat didn't appear to go out in the afternoon.

One word of warning - don't rely on the wifi being efficient. We found ourselves only able to access it at around 4am for much of our stay, which was infuriating - we don't know whether this was simply due to other guests usage. Coverage at the beach bar was very variable, but ok in the suite and the main bar.

The only other point that slightly spoiled the last day was check-out - the hotel guests are primarily British, so most people are on flights leaving early evening. Check out is 12pm, and the hotel does not have somewhere you can shower and change if they aren't able to give you a late check-out ( as in our case). After much discussion, in the end we came to an amicable solution with housekeeping - we cleared out early to allow them to ready the majority of the suite, then popped back just to use the shower at 3pm.

Transfers to and from the hotel only take about 15 mins, and the airport is small enough to allow you to leave the resort just before 5 for a 6.30 flight (taxi was a little late turning up, and we were just starting to get anxious!).

For those wondering about the weather, we had one morning of rain, one overcast morning, and a couple of evening downpours, in a ten day stay - otherwise it was 30 degrees and sunny all the way!

All in all a great place, and one we would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Calabash Hotel

Address: Box 382, Lance aux Epines, Grenada
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Grenada > Saint George Parish > Lance aux Epines
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Lance aux Epines
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Calabash Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the Caribbean island of Grenada, known worldwide for its exceptional natural beauty, long white sand beaches and turquoise sea, is the luxury boutique hotel, Calabash. The Calabash Hotel combines five star service and luxury within a relaxed & intimate environment to create the ultimate Caribbean escape. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Calabash Hotel
Calabash Hotel St Georges
Calabash Hotel Grenada/Saint George Parish

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