Luxury on Barbados’ east coast: The Crane Resort in Barbados
The Crane is one of the grande-dames of Barbados’ hotel scene. Situated on the less-developed, wilder east coast of the island, this is the perfect place to getaway from it all, says Julianna Barnaby.
Barbados is well-known as the perfect destination for lovers of the finer things in life. Picture-perfect beaches, luxury spas and a longstanding reputation as a high-end getaway in the Caribbean has meant that it’s remained at the forefront of the island’s luxury travel scene.
The Crane has been a leading name on the Barbados hotel scene ever since it opened in 1870 with just 18 rooms. Back then, it was the first hotel resort in the Caribbean, an 18th-century villa turned into a hotel for the well-heeled elite travelling to the island.
Over 130 years later, and now with a total of over 260 rooms, The Crane has maintained its position as one of the best places to escape to on the island thanks to award-winning cuisine and leisure facilities including tennis courts and five outdoor pools. There’s also a full-service spa for those looking for a pampering escape away from it all.
The Perfect Combination
Situated atop a limestone coral cliff and overlooking the wild seas of the Atlantic, there are few hotels in the world that can claim such a breathtaking location. The powdery-fine pink sand beach has won numerous accolades for being one of the best beaches in the world and has sea views to match.
But what draws visitors here year after year? Certainly it’s more than just the location. There are so many hotels with beautiful views in the Caribbean alone, never mind further afield. The Crane stands out among luxury properties for a number of reasons. The spacious rooms, the stellar service, the attention to detail.
We arrive on a balmy afternoon, laden down with luggage and slightly befuddled from the journey. As we wind our way through the tropical gardens, our driver tells us that we are in for a treat. He’s right of course. Throughout the course of the next few days, I come to appreciate how true his words are. There’s no one thing I can put my finger on. The gorgeous rooms (ours comes complete with a private pool and unfettered views of the glorious sunrise that puts on a show each day without fail), the friendly and attentive service, the spacious grounds, the wonderful food. All of these combine to create a destination that is truly worth its long-standing reputation.
Old and New
Walking around the property, you see glimpses of its history everywhere you go. The original 18-room hotel still stands, forming the backbone of the central part of the property. These ocean-front rooms boast some of the best views, looking straight out to the Atlantic, nothing in between them and the endless miles of ocean outside their windows. The traditional architecture and design has a loyal band of visitors, which can make booking these rooms quite tricky during high season but it’s well worth it if you can.
Constructed using the coral limestone atop which the whole island sits, the building materials of the original hotel property also contains some of the ballast that the ships used to carry on their voyages out to the island that were then replaced with sugar and other Bajan produce for the trips home. Every building has a story behind it.
Similarly, the old ballroom has been turned into a pavilion where guests hold special functions such as wedding anniversary gift and wedding receptions. Ask around and there are still guests who can remember having their first formal dance in the ballroom in days past. They still come back, decades later – lured by the hotel’s unfailing charm and beauty.
Time to Unwind
Giving guests the space and time to unwind is at the top of The Crane’s priorities. An all-suite hotel, all rooms (outside of the original Victorian property) come complete with their own kitchen/kitchenette and dining area so guests can enjoy meals in the privacy of their accommodation if they so choose. Many of the suites also come with private pools, which are perfect for a morning or afternoon dip to cool off from the sun.
Of course, there are numerous food and beverage options on site as well. Guests can choose to dine at one of The Crane’s four restaurants. L’Azure, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, boasts stunning sea-views and authentic Bajan dishes such as baked barracuda with roasted okra and a lemon and lime beurre blanc or spice rubbed pork loin with plantain chutney and green beans. If you’re around on a Sunday, make sure you book into the popular Sunday brunch with live gospel music in the morning or a steel band later in the afternoon.
Other dining options include Zen, an Japanese and Thai fine dining restaurant, D’Onofrios Trattoria, The Carriage House (restored from the old hotel stables) offering light lunches and dinners with expertly-made cocktails and The Grove Bar & Grill tucked away behind the beach and serving burgers, koftas and chicken straight off the grill.
Looking to the Future
Not ones to rest on their laurels, The Crane is in the process of further expansion on two fronts. One is the extension of the very desirable private residences for those lucky enough to make The Crane their home for more than just a week or two. The second is a separate site called Beach Houses five minutes further north and in a more remote location abutting a national park. This 50-acre site will offer visitors a complete “get away from it all” experience, but with easy access to The Crane’s amenities and services.
Soon enough, it was time for us to leave and fly back home. I had just settled into the casual routine that exemplifies life at The Crane. Beautiful sunrises, excellent cuisine, time spent relaxing by the pool or on the the beach. It was one I was going to miss a lot. Would I recommend The Crane? Certainly. If you’re looking for a laid-back getaway to Barbados, complete with luxury accommodation and amenities, The Crane is for you.
Address: The Crane, St Philip, Barbados, West Indies
Tel: +1 (246) 423 6220 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org