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“What a holiday: saving up to go back!”

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Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels
Certificate of Excellence
Banstead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
61 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“What a holiday: saving up to go back!”
Reviewed January 22, 2013

We decided to treat ourselves, son and his fiancee to a New Year holiday in Barbados. After careful study, we decided on the Crystal Cove: couldn't have chosen better. For the first time in our lives (and having stayed at hotels in 4 continents) we want to go back to experience it all again, rather than try somewhere else.
This hotel has everything going for it: fabulous location with great beach; excellent food with a varied menu (we chose fully inclusive, even though we dined out a few times); nice rooms; brilliant Cove Bar; most of all, hotel staff who all made you feel like family rather than guests, from the brilliant reception staff, to the restaurant staff, to the chambermaid, to the staff who keep the gardens so beautiful. Particular thanks to Joan, Lisa, Fabian and the Reflections staff: each of you had a smile that lit up our day. Even the evening entertainment was great: New Year's Eve was unforgettable, and full marks for arranging 'specials' like the beach BBQ. Also, some excellent watersports for free!
Only three slight whinges:
- our room (320) had a sea view, but this was masked by massive foliage from one of the trees (we accept the beach has to be stabilised somehow, but it made the room very dark).
- more seriously (and for some reason this seems to be common in a lot of hotels) there is no mirror above the dressing-table, only a large one in the hall. This of course means lugging a chair into and out of the hallway twice a day: why???
- for some strange reason, international spirits (even Remy Martin) are free at the bars, but not only champagne (perhaps understandably) but also prosecco and cava are chargeable.???
Having said all that, this is the best holiday we have ever had, and we would love to come back.

Room Tip: If specifying sea view, avoid 320 and 220 (trees).
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (504)
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English first
London
Level Contributor
76 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013

First of all, a big thanks to all the staff of Crystal Cove for making our fourth, consecutive visit there as lovely as ever, which is why we have continued to return and will again.
The atmosphere was wonderfully relaxed, the food delicious as always and all the staff very friendly and helpful.
The resort is very pretty in my opinion and laid out like cute 'village' on a 'hill'. There are three pools, on different levels and although not large, they are decorated like rock pools, surrounded by flowers and foliage and water falls, which makes them much prettier than most hotel pools. There is also a large, well tended beach and lots of sunbeds.There are plenty of free water activities as well (banana, snorkling, kyaking etc).
We stayed in one of the two storey suites, which had two bathrooms, a sizeable lounge area and a complementary, stocked mini bar. Upstairs was a mezzanine floor with a large double bed, the second bathroom and plenty of hanging space. They also have a veranda area at the front with seating. These rooms are ideal for people who like a bit of extra space or have other family members with them.
We also did the Swimming with Turtles trip, which is a must, and took a trip to Oistins on Friday night to check it out as we had heard so many good things about it. It's very bustling and the music is fun but one bit of advice though, arrive early (probably 6pm ish I would say). We didn't turn up until 8pm and consequently couldn't find anywhere to sit to eat...when we did, no one came to serve us. We had to go to the Kentucky Fried Chicken over the road to eat in the end.
To sum up, Crystal Cove is perfect for a relaxing break in Barbados. It is very unpretentious and friendly and the location is good for trips to Bridgetown or the elegant designer shopping centre in Holetown.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank JackieBLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wigan
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Omg Barbados,first time to Caribbean for new year,what a place ,the people are great and the yellow buses a must . The hotel was excellent and the staff treat you like royalty, so polite and can not do enough for you . New year there was spectacular ,the hotel did a fab job ,food is excellent . Fab place , thanks to all the staff . The people on the island are wonderful, good shopping lots of designer shops Ralph Lauren etc . Lots of dollars required expensive place but worth a visit

Room Tip: Sea view a must
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Crossywigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent, England
Level Contributor
79 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We stayed at Crystal Cove last August and had the most fantastic relaxing time.

It is one of the smaller hotels and in my opinion all the better for it. The staff are incredibly friendly and so attentive, nothing was ever too much bother. The watersports are free and mean you are able to combine relaxing by the pool or on the beach with sailing, kayaking, snorkelling or water skiing.

It is perfectly designed for families with three small pools, one of which is ideal for toddlers. The kids club is clean and well stocked with games and toys. Our daughter loved it, especially the arts and crafts. She made several friends there and even had dinner there one night allowing my wife and I the opportunity to dine alone.

If you are looking for a relaxing break, I could not recommend Crystal Cove highly enough.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank wombledavid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire, England
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2013

We stayed for 9 nights arriving just after Christmas as a party of six: 4 in one room with kids aged 4 & 6 and the 2 pensioners in a separate room.

We found the hotel incredibly friendly and relaxing with a really good atmosphere with the other guests all keen to mix.

A particular highlight was the staff & guests cricket match vs. turtle beach – awesome fun, has to be experienced to be believed.

What’s good:
- Location: west coast, calmer side of the island; south end of St James and close to top hotels & restaurants. Easy access to bars of Holetown via the local bus
- Rooms: clean, spacious and kids slept well each night
- Beach & watersports: sizeable sandy beach with free water-skiing; banana boats, sailing, kayaks. Good snorkelling
- Staff: excellent; friendly & helpful. Made us all feel very welcome from arrival to departure.
- Kids club: superb; great staff with a fantastic, clean air conditioned facility with new toys – and one which the kids wanted to go to.
- Service: you don’t feel like you are being ripped off when you get there, free wi-fi; free computer room; no beach towel charges or cards to hand in; free tennis with free racquet hire.
- Food: very good quality food for an all-inclusive. Having done all-inclusive in the past we were surprised by the quality of the food. No complaints!
- Pools: three reasonably sized leisure pools, all warm – one with swim up bar others with waterfall
- Décor / layout: hotel was recently painted, clean and tidy communal areas; good beach bar
- Atmosphere: there was a fantastic atmosphere driven in part by the other guests; a high proportion of whom were returning customers. The cricket match (including current and ex Windies players) fostered a brilliant atmosphere with the staff
- New year eve entertainment and beach bbq: despite a reputation as a naturally miserable sod, I was impressed by the quality of the nye entertainment, they made a real effort and the beach bbq was a real highlight

Why not a 5 * resort
- Strides: gentlemen have to wear trousers in the evening – jeans are not meant to be permitted. It’s not rigorously policed but I’d prefer they’d drop the rule
- Swimming: I’m a keen swimmer and was hoping to knock out a couple of 1km swims in the sea but unless you go out before 9am or with a guide you’re in danger of getting mowed down by a jetski. It can be a bit of fun getting into the sea if you don’t know where to go and there isn’t a clear area roped up for safe swimming. The pools are not designed for lengths
- Gym: the gym was hot and it’s worth wearing insect repellent. This is my excuse for not using it much and putting on weight.
- Food choices: there were some comments about limited choice for lunch but I was happy with the daily options and there was always fresh fish & chicken
- Limited local bars and restaurants within walking distance. You can’t pop into The Cliff for a cheap budget bite to eat in shorts and flip flops
- Taxi’s: if booked through the resort it is expensive and you don’t get exceptional cars or particularly personable drivers
- Layout: there are nicer looking hotels on the coast but was well presented
- Service in restaurants: can be slow, not all the staff are up to the standards of the others

All in all highly recommended

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank BunionMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Having just spent 6 days and 5 nights at Crystal Cove and reading these reviews it is clear to me that there is a total difference in expectations between English and American tourists. 99% of the amazing reviews are from people in the UK while 99% of the poor and terrible reviews come from Americans.
Positioning this resort as 'premium' is currently a complete misrepresentation, maybe in 2002 it was, but it looks like nothing has been done to it since then.
Here are the facts -
Yes it is on a beach - beware, you will risk injury getting into the water on the many rocks that line the beach front.
You get a room with a bed - if you are over 6 foot enjoy you vacation sleeping with your feet hanging off the bed.
There is a shower in the room - Be ready for the water temperature to randomly change between scolding and freezing.
There is a fitness center - Hope you like working out in 85 degree weather as there is no AC, also the cardio equipment is circa 1999.
You can have as much food as you want - As long as it is between certain times and you like to be herded like cattle to the buffet. Expect to see the leftovers magically appear as the 'soup of the day', tomorrow.
You can have as many drinks as you like - Hope you like watered down alcohol. There is no way i can drink 3 Pina Colada's at lunch followed by 4 mojitos on the beach in the afternoon and not be a complete mess. Do not expect to get drinks served to you on the beach as you would at other 'premium' resorts. The beach and the bars could not be positioned further apart.
There are waiters ad waitresses - Make sure you ask for what you want 5-10 minutes before you need it as that is the average time it takes to even get a coffee at breakfast.

Bottom line - this resort is completely over priced and should be rated as 'average at best'. There is not a single thing that is premium about it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank CISSP10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
babb23, Manager at Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels, responded to this review, May 7, 2013
Dear Reviewer

Thank you for your comments and I am truly sorry that your stay at Crystal Cove did not meet your expectations.

We are continuously seeking to improve our product. Our guestrooms were refurbished in 2010 and we are currently seeking to do further refurbishments. We also have refurbished the Reception and Lobby area with modern furnishings. The furniture on the pool deck and at Drifters Restaurant has been replaced by more modern furnishings as well. We will continue to improve the property to make it pleasing to all customers.

Thank you once again for your valuable feedback.

Kindest Regards

Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2012

We were lucky enough to stay at Crystal Cove earlier in December, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Never been to Barbados before, but somewhere I had dreamed of visiting since I was a child - it exceeded all expectations. What a wonderful place. This hotel is charming and the staff are brilliant, so friendly and helpful, there were no exceptions. Our favourite lady was the lovely Joan in the restaurant - always smiling and nothing was too much trouble. Our room was lovely and overlooked Drifters beach bar, and then the beach. It was spacious, with a huge comfy bed and plenty of storage space. Lovely cotton sheets and fluffy towels, together with beach towels which were changed daily. I find it very difficult to find a fault, but just one - the baths need replacing. The enamel had gone yellow and there was rust all round the plug hole, also the shower head and taps were silted up with limescale. That's all! The hotel was quiet when we stayed (mid December) and we never had any trouble finding sunbeds. The evening entertainment was good and varied, but be warned, it finishes at 10.30 and everyone seems to go to bed then - don't go here if you're looking for lively nightlife! The food was good and varied, but we ate out on three occasions, at The Cliff, The Tides and The Fish Pot, which I have reviewed separately. Please hire a car and explore the island like we did, we covered the whole island in a day, it is absolutely beautiful and there is some stunning scenery. Well done Crystal Cove and well done Barbados, we loved you and hope to return one day.

Room Tip: Just one small thing, the sea is surprisingly noisy at night and there are six rooms which are right...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank buntylicious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels

Property: Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels
Address: Appleby, Barbados (Formerly Crystal Cove)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Barbados > Saint James Parish
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Saint James Parish
#4 Luxury Hotel in Saint James Parish
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Saint James Parish
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels 4*
Number of rooms: 88
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
"An enchanting blend of vitality and Caribbean charm."A colorful and vibrant beachfront all-inclusive property with 88 rooms offering a seductive Caribbean charm that will make you feel at home from the moment you arrive. Crystal Cove's warm, relaxed ambience and friendly service which includes all-inclusive accommodation as well as a Supervised Kids Club (for children aged 3-11) appeals to families and couples of all ages, many of whom return there year after year. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Crystal Cove Saint James
Crystal Cove Barbados
Crystal Cove Hotel Barbados
Crystal Cove By Elegant Hotels Barbados/Saint James Parish

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