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Reviewed May 25, 2011

Full disclosure I am a travel agent and I visit and review destinations for my clients.

As my reviews can be lengthy, let me start with if you are in search of the party resort i.e. Sandals, Hedo, Breezes and water sports on calm Caribbean waters, The Crane is NOT to for you. If you desire luxury, a laid-back atmosphere, beautiful accommodations, better dining and privacy, read on. I have included pictures.

Location: The Crane is on the eastern side of the island. Thus when leaving the airport, you actually travel to the east (versus most resort options which take you west towards the Caribbean Sea) for about 10 minutes and you are at The Crane. You enter past a security gate and driveway.

We arrived at 2:45P and Shaquille met us and immediately offered a warm welcome and assisted us with our luggage. From past reviews concerning check-in time I was not surprised we could not access the room until 4P. Thus we enjoyed a rum punch in the reception area and then had a late lunch at The Carriage House (one of the restaurants on-site). Of note, check-out time is 12:00PM, yet there is storage area and access to the amenities prior to your departure.

Layout of Property: There are two distinct areas of The Crane. To the east of the driveway adjacent to the waterfront is the original development including the Historic Hotel (an older mansion converted into multiple hotel rooms) and the villas/flats which are scattered in buildings throughout the resort, most up to 5 stories in height. This is also where Crane Village is.

There is also the Park Residences. These are newer and are across the parking area from the main resort. While still under construction, at completion the Park Residences will form a circle around a 40+ acre park. We reserved the one bedroom penthouse with private roof-top pool and grill in the park area. The areas are adjacent and I would suggest The Park Residences is actually quieter due to fewer units and pathways intersecting. We did have neighbors and not once did we hear them probably due to the cinder-block construction.

One Bd. Penthouse with Pvt. Plunge Pool: We were placed in an end-unit on the top floor (3rd) which is accessible by elevator. Our one bedroom was quite large. Upon entry there is a foyer and a ¾ bathroom. Beyond is a well equipped fully stocked kitchen, a stacked w/d in a closet, a semi-formal dining area and the expansive living room. Adjacent is a large master bedroom with en-suite bathroom with large double vanity, shower stall, separate water closet, and two safes, all in marble, tile and travertine. The bedroom, with king bed, flat-screen, desk has a great feature, sliding pocket doors which open the veranda into the bedroom. Of note, the veranda can also be accessed from the living room. There is central air conditioning in both rooms, however with the breezes and open windows, not needed. BTW mosquitoes and related are limited as the resort sprays weekly.

The veranda is quite large. The spiral stairs lead to the private roof-top which includes a covered dining area, wet bar/refrigerator, a gas grill, two chaise loungers, the plunge pool and an outdoor shower. All very private yet, small garden area all with beautiful views.

Plunge Pool: Some reviewers mentioned the plunge pool can be cold. In the standard units I can understand this as the pools are subjected to minimal sunlight. With our unit as the pool was rooftop the water was actually warmest in the later evening hours. Even early morning, the water was comfortable as the low temperatures each night were in the 70’s F.

1st Floor Units: We did see the 1st floor units in our building. They are two full bedrooms with a private yard with a pool and a jetted tub (a smaller round pool with jets but no heat, pictures included).

Crane Village: The Crane Village is based on historical design in Barbados. Literally a village the two story buildings house a general store, check-in facilities, internet center, a bar, the Italian restaurant and a few stores. Surrounding the village area are the many units at The Crane so the village and the units are literally intertwined. It is a most seamless and welcoming design.

Pools: There are multiple pools on the property. One pool is perfect for laps as it is long and deep i.e. 7’ Ft at its deepest. This pool is adjacent to the 1887 Building and the Azure Restaurant. The other pools form a complex of cascading design including a wading pool for young children as well as a jetted pool with beautiful views. These pools are adjacent to The Carriage House.

Beach: Since The Crane is built on a cliff, the beach, quite private is literally an elevator ride away. The elevator is 3 stories in height and there is an adjacent staircase. The beach is small by most Caribbean standards, yet no resort neighbors, peaceful, quiet and most inviting. Probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. (See attached pics)

Of note, there is no drink service and related as is common at many Caribbean resorts. While there is a stand which sells drinks in Coconuts, that’s it. If you desire to lay by the water and have snacks and drinks brought to you, again, probably not the best resort destination.

Water: Note, the beach is on the Atlantic, so it has serious waves. If you are looking for the windsurfer, the sunfish boat and so forth, forget it. Boogie Boards are an option. With the rough seas, the beach is best for rest, relaxation and an occasional run into the waves. This is not the tranquil waters of most Caribbean resorts. Thus if desiring the tranquility of the Caribbean Sea and water sports, consider the southern and western coastline. With that said, the breezes, sun, waves and loungers with umbrellas made the beach our destination each day.

Accessibility: As one of my niche areas is “accessible travel”, I review resorts with this in mind and I did meet a guest who is uses a wheelchair. Almost all the facilities are accessible. While they may not be to ADA standards (which only applies to the United States), the buildings have elevators, doors are wide, restaurants have ramps and most of the resort is at grade level. The beach would be an issue, even with the elevator there is a walkway with steps to the sand. The main pool area has ramps and the walkways are well maintained. Showers do have one step and I did not see grab bars however they may be available in specific rooms.

Dining: On the resort property there are 4 restaurants.

In the Village, D'onofrio’s is a causal dining restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Most days breakfast is served in this restaurant. Breakfast is a smaller buffet. However all the basics are available and there is an omelet station. It is very informal and you will see shorts, t-shirts, bathing attire and so forth. During the afternoon and evening the restaurant offers Italian fare. The Italian food was reasonably priced for a Caribbean restaurant and overall very good. Most patrons sit outside and enjoy the village atmosphere and the music coming from the 1887 Bar/Lounge.

The Carriage House is adjacent to the pools. Serving an informal lunch and dinner, an excellent choice. The Carriage House also serves cocktails to the pool area. A lovely setting both day and night. In the evenings the pools are lit and all the dining is outdoors.

Zen: This is the Asian style restaurant located above Crane Beach. A beautiful interior including semi-private booths, a sushi bar and I believe the best food within the resort. The views are spectacular with floor to ceiling glass overlooking Crane Beach. We were lucky to have two nights of a full moon, so the night sky was beautiful.

Azure: This is the most formal of the restaurant choices. A more formal dining room, however be sure to reserve a table along the perimeter of the building overlooking the grounds or one of the 4 tables on the terrace over the ocean and cliffs. We had Table 30, literally against the railing of the terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The food is well prepared, yet service was slightly lacking when compared to the food. Yet still a most enjoyable experience.

1887 Bar: This is a laid-back bar which provides nightly entertainment with a mix of indoor and outdoor seating. Located in the heart of the village, in the mornings, 1887 is the local “Starbucks” with a talented barista working the machines.

Meal Plan: The Crane does offer a meal plan for $65pp, it is a Modified American Plan which includes breakfast and dinner. Based on our usage, it would be a toss-up. The front desk actually suggested not to-do the meal plan as there are many excellent restaurants in Barbados. They were honest as they wish for their guests to enjoy the whole Barbados experience. If you know you want breakfast daily you can do a breakfast plan for $20pp. However just as easy to charge back to the room.

Cooking: As mentioned most units have a full kitchen and ours had a gas-grill as well. One evening we did buy provisions at the general store, limited selection but adequate for staples including steak and lobster tails. The Crane also runs a daily shuttle to a local supermarket where by default everything local is truly organic. While American brands are available, the British brands dominate.

Gym: There is a small gym facility with a few treadmills, bikes, elliptical (all with ind. tv’s) and a Cybex universal, a free-weight rack and exercise balls. There are yoga mats as well. Personal trainers are available. The times I visited the gym, usually empty.

Spa: There is a spa on-site however as we did not indulge, I cannot comment. There offerings seem extensive and a couple’s massage is also available.

Alcohol: Drinks are not inexpensive. A suggestion, upon landing in Barbados buy your alcohol at duty-free at the airport and take with you to the resort. While the General Store has wine and some spirits (including canned Gin and Tonic), we survived on Rum from duty-free and mixers from the general store.

Activities: Again, if looking for volleyball in the pool, this is probably not the resort to consider. Each day and evening there are activities offered, some on-site i.e. Managers cocktail party, craft market and some off-site, a few hours in Bridgetown, scuba and so forth. In addition, it’s a small and safe island; everything is a short taxi-ride away.

Overall, a most enjoyable resort if you desire peace, tranquility and a laid-back atmosphere. From our experience, service was professional and prompt. There is a genuine friendliness throughout Barbados and especially with the staff of The Crane. Concerning location, one of the amenities of The Crane is the breezes off the Atlantic, truly a treat when much of the Caribbean can have stagnant wind patterns. At night it is not uncommon to use a long-sleeve linen shirt as breezes can cool the coast.

The clientele is varied but I would advise for the week we were there the age ranged from late 20’s/early 30’s to mid-60’s. A few families were present with younger children ranging from infant to upper single-digits. For those with kids who are older, a Beaches or Dreams may be a better option. The resort would be an excellent option for a destination wedding/honeymoon. The grounds are beautiful and the staff I would assume would be most accommodating.

If you are in search of a singles scene, hooking up and/or endless eye-candy by the pools or beach, again, probably not the best option for you. While not as conservative as Bermuda; definitely not as liberal as Jamaica and parts of Mexico. For most men, swim attire were board shorts and the occasional speedo. For women, a mix of one and two piece outfits. Thong bikini’s were no where to be found and topless sunbathing for women is frowned upon.

Room Tip: Consider a Park Residence with pvt. pool
  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Joe-Concierge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CraneGM, General Manager at The Crane Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 10, 2011

Dear Joe-Concierge,

Thank you for your detailed review, which highlighted so much of what we have to offer. Laid back luxury, beauty and privacy: that really sums it all up.

One quick note is that there is a drinks and lunch service available on the beach and by the pools. This is provided by the staff in the towel hut, who are always ready to assist guests. Also, of our four restaurants, Zen (which offers a mix of Thai/Japanese dishes) is normally the most formal. L’Azure is temporarily being housed in the Pavilion ballroom, a much more formal space since the original restaurant is currently under renovations following Tropical Storm Tomas last October. The renovated restaurant is scheduled to be reopened by the end of summer this year, with spectacular views of the ocean below.

As you noted, the Residences in the Park are the latest additions to the resort. The design of these newer buildings is drawn from the 1887 Historic Hotel, which is still in operation. The original design of the Park is for a circular block of buildings. However, we will be halting construction for a few years after the 3rd building is completed and will then fully landscape the grounds in the centre of the circle. The resort is spread across approximately 40 acres of land so this last section will soon be as beautifully manicured as the rest of our gardens.

Again, we are delighted that you had such an enjoyable, laid-back vacation with us at The Crane and we hope that you return and enjoy some more rest and relaxation with us. Maybe next time you will get a chance to experience Serenity Spa.

Warm wishes,
Michael Phillips
General Manager

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Reviewed May 25, 2011

The Crane has been recently renovated and sits on a beautiful location, overlooking crane beach, one of the most spectacular on the island. We stayed in a standard room on the first floor of the historic hotel section of the resort. The room had been renovated recently but still managed to maintain a historic feel. It opened directly onto a private patio overlooking the ocean, and had waterfront views from 2 sides. The bed was an antique four poster, and the furniture in the seating area was comfortable. A mini fridge was also provided, as well as an LG flat panel tv. The bathroom was well appointed, with a glass shower and Jacuzzi tub. The rooms in the old hotel do not have air conditioning - we actually preferred this. The rooms abut the ocean, and the sea breeze keeps it comfortable, particularly at night. Avoiding air conditioning lead to a more authentic feel, paired with the historic character of the room.

A large staircase or glass elevator led down to a beautiful sandy beach framed by two towering cliffs. Padded beach chairs lined the upper part of the beach, available to resort residents. The waves, sometimes five or six feet big, were too large for swimming but fun for playing. To wash of the salt and sand from the beach or to just get away from the big waves, the pool complex was perfect. There were four connected infinity pools all beautifully landscaped and a spa inside old ruins, all with a ocean view.

The resort is located on Barbados east coast, which, unlike the 'platinum west coast' is largely devoid of commercial establishments or resorts, it is the 'real' barbados, where actual bajans live. What this means is that you MUST rent a car if you plan to stay at the crane. If you do, the west cost, airport and bridgetown are only a pleasant 10-15 minute drive away. You could easily spend your entire stay at the crane, but if you want to get out and see barbados on your own time, rent a vehicle.

Room Tip: Request ocean view in the old hotel
  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank tjpm2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CraneGM, General Manager at The Crane Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 10, 2011

Dear tjpm2024,

Thank you so much for your lovely review. I’m pleased that you enjoyed your time with us, especially your room in the 1887 Historic Hotel, which is a perfect mix of old world grandeur and modern amenities. As you mentioned, the patio from your room leads to the historic gardens and has spectacular views of the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Because of their architecture, the rooms in the 1887 Historic Hotel do not need air conditioning since they benefit from the cooling trade winds all year round. In addition, since the hotel is right on the cliff, just above the water’s edge, it truly has the best views on the property. The original architects in 1790 (back when The Crane was a private home called Marine Villa) definitely picked a perfect spot, and we have preserved the best of the original fittings, while adding some necessary modern amenities.

Crane Beach has been and remains a must see for both visitors and locals and the playful waves are perfect for boogie boards. It is also the safest swimming venue on this side of the island, but for those who want a more tranquil experience, there is a choice of 6 pools so you they can find the perfect place to just sit back and relax.

You are right that The Crane’s location makes it the perfect spot for those who are looking to “get away from it all”. Yet we are close enough to the action spots for those who may want a night or a day out. Guests can rent a car and explore the island, or with the help of our Guest Services Department, plan a chauffeured activity which includes a return trip to the resort.

Thank you again for highlighting all the points that make The Crane special. We hope to see you again soon.

Warm wishes,
Michael Phillips
General Manager

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Reviewed May 20, 2011

the view from our room was panoramic, the room was large 1600 sqaure feet
Quibbles - could definitely do with updating & cleaning up the jacquazzi, & bathrrom - old & needs an update for sure, the elavtorsbroke down - not a nice experience - we got stuck in it
AC never worked & very stingey with replensihing soaps & tolietries
restauranst & generakl store are expensive you are best off hiring a car & doing your own adventures - check out 'just grillin' best grilled fish ever!
if you are looking for clean & modern then this is not the place fo you
if you like old & hostoric then go for it
pros - huge amount of space, quiet & veryshort walking distance from beach with sun beds & towels at hand a big plus for me! great monday night cocktail hour & rum ounch was great! free parking & help desk at concierge were really nice to us!
views were so beautiful & the grounds were nice

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank gingerbread12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CraneGM, General Manager at The Crane Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 7, 2011

Dear gingerbread12,

Thank you for your review. We are pleased that you enjoyed The Crane's key selling points: peaceful and private, and set on one of the world's most beautiful beaches with panoramic views of the turquoise Atlantic Ocean, the property really is perfect for anyone looking to escape from the hectic world.

We are indeed a historic venue, with the 18-room Historic Hotel dating back to 1887. However, although we are the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean, we are also 100% modern in the 214 other rooms of our newer buildings. The oldest of these date back some 10 years, and as a part of our continuous maintenance and improvement, we have already started this summer’s renovations. All buildings follow a strict rotation.

There are four restaurants on property, each offering a distinctive culinary experience. Zen features Asian cuisine and was rated “Barbados’ No 1 for Food” by Zagat in 2009 and 2010. Guests can sample authentic Southern Italian dishes in D’Onofrio’s and Contemporary Caribbean cuisine in L’Azure. For a more casual, less expensive, poolside dining experience, there is also the Carriage House Bar and Grill. The prices at each restaurant are in keeping with other fine dining establishments on the island. The General Store is also price aligned with the major supermarkets on the island. Note that the exchange rate is US$1 = BDS$2.

I completely agree with your comments on the Monday night Manager’s Cocktail Party. Many lasting friendships have been formed over conversation and The Crane’s famous rum punch. And when it comes to our staff, you were right to highlight the Concierge and Front Desk as excellent examples for island hospitality.

Overall, we hope that you will remember those special moments you experienced with us here at The Crane and we look forward to having you visit us again.

Sincerely,
Michael Philips
General Manager

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Reviewed May 20, 2011

I'm writing this review more as a caution to those who may consider it for a destination wedding. I would like to state implicitly that I have not stayed at The Crane; all of my experiences with them have been via email and phone.
My fiancé’s classmate (a native of Barbados) recommended we look at The Crane when he found out we were planning a destination wedding.
We pulled up the website and were instantly excited. It seemed to have all the elements we were looking for in a destination wedding: beautiful views, reasonably priced rooms for our 50+ guest, and many, many activities that would allow our guest to treat our wedding weekend as a mini vacation.
The first week of May, I called The Crane and spoke with Keisha Yearwood. She was very accommodating, told me the first Saturday date I was interested in (I was open to two Saturdays) was available and emailed me a standard brochure to look through. Her friendliness cemented for me The Crane would be ideal for our wedding.
However… I tried to contact Keisha ten days later to find out about some of the little details my fiancé and I would have to work out with the hotel: deposits, menus, decorations, ceremony and reception site fees… all the little things that would give us a general idea of how much we would be paying (a soft estimate –usually something happily provided by a resort).
I left Keisha a voicemail and followed up with an email but received no response. This contact occurred on a Thursday afternoon so I thought it made sense to wait until Monday for a response.
I received no response by Monday afternoon so my fiancé and I called her again. Left a message. Did not receive a response.
We did the same thing Tuesday, as well as sending another email. Did not receive a response.
On Wednesday morning, we called again and by sheer luck, reached Keisha. She was very curt, stated our Saturday date was unavailable and showed no inclination to check other dates (remember, I was open to two dates). Without a doubt, she let us know we were bothering her. It was all very awkward.
I was ready to call The Crane a bust (as well as some other words) and go with another resort on Nevis but my parents have shown quite a bit of excitement about The Crane and we have some elderly family members who would find the direct flight to Barbados much easier than a full day’s travel to Nevis; so my fiancé and I emailed Keisha again – essentially starting over from scratch (and from our joint email). Asking questions about ceremony times, dates, room rates…
We did not receive a response (at this point I’m thinking it’s me, right? Although people usually like me, really they do).
I called The Crane again and recounted to a very friendly person our difficulty in reaching Keisha. She listened sympathetically, explained Keisha was the only wedding coordinator and was extremely busy and she herself promised to send me some menu options and a few other things I was looking for. She also verified my second Saturday date was available and penciled me in. She did not email me, but I suspect it could be she wrote down the email incorrectly.
Anyway, I called today (hoping to speak with the woman I told my woes to–can’t remember her name- and not Keisha).
Keisha picked up the phone.
She was immediately upset when she realized I was the person who told the other woman about my challenges in reaching her. She said: didn’t you and your fiancé have me on speaker phone last week? She also told me she was very busy and I just happened to catch her at her desk.
At this point, I’m feeling locked in a power struggle with Keisha. Never one to back down and certainly not interested in listening to her tell me how I’ve wronged her, I cut her off and ask: When is a good time for YOU?
She calmed down (and perhaps realized she isn’t doing me a favor –I am actually trying to give them money) and said she would email the sample menus, ceremony sites, and other items I’d requested (oh, so long ago).
Clearly, I am not hosting my wedding at The Crane. I would be a basket case worrying this woman would stick a bug in my bouquet.
I am hesitant to mark it off our list of possible weekend getaways and hope my frustrations and tribulations with the resort are the product of one individual and not the resort’s standard operating procedure.
My question is: have other couples run into this difficulty when trying to book their wedding at The Crane?
Update: I'm sure you've guessed by Keisha did not email me.

  • Stayed: May 2011
    • Service
7  Thank NotaCraneBride
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CraneGM, General Manager at The Crane Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2011

Dear NotaCraneBride,

Planning a wedding can be a stressful experience for the bride-to-be, especially when looking at a destination wedding. We at The Crane assist in making those advance preparations for that special day as hassle-free as possible. However, there will be times when an instant reply is not possible. May and June have been record months for us, with more weddings each week than we have ever had before.

As you noted, we have one Wedding Coordinator. While she has assistance with the preparations on the wedding day, all prior arrangements are handled by her. Crane brides have overwhelmingly commenting that she made their day ‘extra special’. We never host more than 1 wedding per day, but, we have taken your comments on board assigned some new support to ensure that we are delivering on our service promise to all our potential Crane brides.

We wish you all the best with your wedding preparations and hope that you will review the information that was sent to you after your last conversation with Keisha [and Sharon, the lovely lady you spoke to]. Whether or not you choose to become a Crane Bride, we sincerely hope that you will visit us for a truly memorable romantic getaway in the future.

Sincerely,
Michael Phillips
General Manager

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Reviewed May 19, 2011

My family and I had the privilege to stay at the Crane Resort recently for a long weekend. We had a fantastic stay. All of the staff could not have been nicer and eager to please. Having the restaurants [very good ones] within the compound made it a relaxing stay. I would highly recommend!

Room Tip: ocean view in building 5 is spectacular
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank horselover41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CraneGM, General Manager at The Crane Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2011

Dear Horselover1,

Thank you for choosing The Crane for your staycation experience and for your lovely review. We are delighted to know that you and your family had a “fantastic stay”. Guests often comment that having four different restaurants on property is an added bonus and we are glad that this feature helped to enhance your weekend with us. It is always a pleasure when the warmth and dedication of our staff is recognised.

We hope to see you again soon.

Sincerely,
Michael Phillips
General Manager

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