I was charmed by this hotel from reading about it. I liked the look of it when i browsed online and I was really excited about staying. I was worried about the reviews stating the place was tired and getting a makeover but having stayed in hundreds of hotels, as a very frequent traveller and trip advisor reviewer, I used my instinct to guide me and trusted my judgment when making a booking.
I am going to be honest and base the review on my week experience at the hotel as the whole experience was incredibly mixed and left me feeling a little deflated; not a feeling you want leaving a long haul caribbean holiday.
On arrival we were checked in by a lady who was polite if not very cheery. She processed our paperwork quickly and introduced us to a chap called 'Ian'. I think that was his name, I have tried to remember as many as possible so apologies if I get one or two mixed up. Ian took our cases to our room as was very polite, knowledgable and seemed to love his work. He showed us around our top floor Ocean Front Room, the best room available at the hotel, excluding the refurbished rooms of which all were fully booked during our stay. He also pointed out the features and facilities of the hotel as well as recommending some local restaurants should we wish to dine out of the hotel. In terms of first experiences, it was hard to fault.
Our room was clean, always important and to me much more important than a loaded feature set. I stay in both functional and luxury hotels depending on what I am doing and I will slaughter a dirty hotel in reviews, this hotel is not dirty. The housekeeping is excellent.
The room was heavily in need of a makeover. It was in the middle block which is having work done (more on that soon) and having seen the new rooms, it will eventually look much better. As it stands, it has a fabulous view, one of the best views you can get in the world I would say, looking over the beauty of the Caribbean sea. No lifts to the top floors, though the building is not tall so it should not pose a problem for most.
Upon spending a couple of nights in the room, problems became evident. The old TV set needs replaced (will when refurbished), and on the limited channels the picture is both fuzzy and blurry. Some will say you don't go on holiday to watch TV, but at the end of a day out, it is nice to kick back and watch the box, but this little old portable TV is at the very end of its life.
Air conditioning in our room was ice cold, great. However was a very old unit, both noisy to the extent where it stops you from getting peaceful sleep and the box outside the room rattled all night meaning we had to sweat most nights just to get quiet. For me, on holiday, peaceful rest is vital. Impossible in room 86 at the Coconut Court in its current condition however.
Bed was good. Firm mattress just the way I like it and the sheets are crisp and clean. No issues at all in that area. Of note, the room was large and airy however all of the plug points where at the door with none available around the bed area. Not great for charging mobile phones, laptops and the like. Hopefully this will change in the refurbishment. No plugs around the mirror in the room either for hairdressing or drying. It is dangerous to do this in the bathroom where there are plugs so this would need to be looked at.
Shower is old and bathroom is tired like the room however unlike some reviewers we had no issues with a lack of hot water. In fact, the water was hot with excellent pressure.
As stated above, the block we stayed in was involved in refurbishment that will continue this and next year. As per the other reviews stating similar, this completely and utterly ruined my holiday. I completely see the need as the rooms are old and tired, and it is excellent that they are doing the work, but I simply cannot see how this can happen without compromising peoples dream holidays unless they close the block affected.
We were at the top floor. The work was happening on the lower floors. Through the week I had to pass over 5-8 work men on the slim corridor, disassembled air conditioning units, old tiles, worn mattresses. There was dust and work tools all over the walk ways. Unavoidable parts of major works but I am a guest on holiday, a holiday to relax and recharge the batteries - this made me angry considering the price of the holiday. Guests visit from far far away to come to Barbados and these pictures are not part of the 'dream'.
I have read the owners response to other reviews below on this point, and whilst we were there two other couples had heated arguments in reception about staying in this block. In addition a few trip advisor friends have cancelled stays in May on the basis of reviews which although is a shame, I fully understand why. No amount of 'passion, love for it, family run feel', makes up for the experience of staying in, what appeared to be the case during the week, a building site. It made me really sad.
I dont own the hotel, so I don't know if its possible, but keeping a block open whilst fully refitting rooms is going to cause lasting damage to guest experience and trip advisor makes it visible to the rest of the potential visitor world. The owners need to put themselves into the mindset of the visitor. I tried to block it out, but it was impossible when I could see and hear it on my way to and from my room.
To reiterate, the new rooms look lovely. I am sure come 2014-2015 when its all done, the hotel will look excellent.
WIFI is available however it did not work well in our room, probably being on the top floor however coverage was excellent along the private beach area and hotel grounds. It did not work on our last day however.
The hotel beach is a major plus point. Having walked along the coast line a few miles either side of the hotel, it has by far and away the nicest stretch of sand. They have loungers available and there are plenty for all. There are picnic tables for bar beach lunches and lots of shade areas. It is beautiful and we spent days being lazy there. Fantastic.
The hotel has evening entertainment most evenings. Nothing on Tuesday or Wednesday however. Monday night is BBQ by the pool and features a free rum punch, some local trade stalls in the pool area and a live band. It was very enjoyable. There is a curry night on Thursdays, BBQ on Saturday and Buffet on Sundays. Live music played and all very relaxed and enjoyable.
Hotel staff are mostly fine. Not all as good as each other mind you. As others have noted, Antonio at the beach bar is superb. Loves his job, loves his customers and is a fine fine barman. An absolute asset. Never lose him. Sheridan the taxi driver is a lot of fun and really jolly. He took us to dinner one night at the Tides in Holetown, and also to the airport and he is a superb customer driven man.
Other bar staff were more reserved but polite. John was nice and chatty.
Jan however who 'welcomed' us to breakfast each morning was a bit sullen. I noted 4 days in a row her greeting to breakfast as follows:
ME: Good Morning.
JAN: Room Number?
ME: Sure, its 86.
JAN: Sign here.
Not a smile, no eye contact, she was abrupt and quite hostile. May have had a bad week but don't take it to work with you. I tried being extra nice one morning but still nothing from here. Shame.
The Deck Restaurant was lovely. The food was more than acceptable for hotel faire. Lovely burgers and chicken wings. Happy hour twice per day was excellent making 2 for 1 on beers a very attractive option indeed. Bell is rung to indicate happy hour. All in all, no complaints.
Breakfast needs work. Same potatoes, eggs and fish cake things each morning. 1 piece of fruit. All repetitive and all a bit stodgy. With there being limited breakfast options around the hotel, I would happily have paid a little more for a better breakfast. A few guests at the BBQ agreed with me on this one. On my last day I just had coffee as I couldn't stomach it any more. I don't think I could have done it for more than a week.
I probably wont stay at this hotel again because there were too many niggly things wrong with it and my room / experience. I imagine with a refurbished room people would return, but my experience was enough to put me off for a long time. It is a shame, because the potential is there.
It really is.
Refurbished is a must. Top floor great views.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Friend, thank you for taking the time to write this review of your recent stay with us. I am glad that you appreciated our great hotel location, friendly efficient staff, lovely beach, lively entertainment etc. As advertised, we are not a fancy, modern hotel but one that offers good value for money in a relaxed, beachfront setting.
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I am sorry that the renovation of 3 of our guest rooms ruined your stay with us. We have 117 guest rooms at Coconut Court and we honestly could not justify the closure of the hotel or even the wing of 30 rooms where these 3 rooms are located on the car park level (rooms being worked on are rooms 76,77 and 78).
We have been considerate to our guests and have restricted our working hours to 10am to 4pm and the 3 rooms have been properly screened off. We specifically chose these 3 guest rooms because they are located on the south side of the staircase - guests did not walk in front of these rooms at anytime. If there were mattresses or disassembled air conditioning units visible then it would have only been for a brief time when our housekeeping team were removing them from the building.
As you mentioned, there have been a couple of other guests that have complained about noise. Your complaint is the third that I have received. The majority of our guests however, have not had any issues and have enjoyed their holiday with us.
Please note that we are making improvements to our hotel as follows: May 06-June 30, 2013 - renovation of 30 guest rooms. The building will be closed to visitors during this period. Working hours will be 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Entire area (including balconies, landings and a portion of the carpark) will be completely screened off. Work that will be done will include, retiling of bathrooms, new fittings installed (toilet, shower and sink with granite counter top and vanity unit), guest room ceilings will have trowel plastic applied, new kitchenette area installed (stainless steel sink, granite counter top, and kitchen cupboard unit), a false ceiling will be installed over the kitchen area, entire guest room will be painted and new furniture, 32" flat screen TV, draperies, artwork, bedding, A/C unit and balcony railing installed.
The rest of the hotel will be open as usual during this period. We do anticipate some noise in the initial stages when we remove tiles from the bathroom but once that portion of the work is complete there should be very minimal disruption to guests. Please note that we are not retiling the bedroom or balcony areas.
These newly renovated units (rooms 61-90) will be available for rent from July 1st and will be named, Superior Ocean Front Rooms.
We have paid attention to the details... placement of wall plugs close to the beds, size of the showers have been enlarged, installation of kitchen sink (we only had sinks in the bathrooms of these units before), new A/C units are the latest technology available and are very quiet, using less than half of the energy of conventional units, energy efficient LED lighting throughout, vanity table with mirror and drawers, comfortable patio furniture suitable for dining, safety rails in the shower, retractable clothes line, and a new design for our balcony rails that offers a wonderful, unobsructed view of the beach and ocean. Anyone that has stayed with us before can appreciate these improvements. We have listened to your criticism and suggestions!
I really do hope that you might consider staying with us again in the future. We do try to understand the wants and needs of our guests and we try our best to implement changes that will enhance your holiday experience with us. In the same breath, I would ask that our guests also understand that we need to make improvements to the hotel from time to time and to please trust us to make same improvements in a professional and considerate manner. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Thank you and best regards, Linda Lampkin
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.