Check-in didn’t take long, but was not at all informative. The staff working the desk did not explain anything, nor were we provided with a “Welcome Kit” which would have given us Towel Cards and vouchers for 39 Steps Restaurant. There was a group of airline staff also checking in at the same time as this hotel is under contract for airline employees who seem to be given “priority” service by the staff a the hotel.
The bellman assisted with our luggage thankfully, as our rooms were located on the 4th floor in a section of the hotel where there was no elevator!
The rooms were basic, nothing too fancy. A small wicker dressing table with a mirror, a small closet and a mini fridge. However, we did have an Ocean view balcony which was spectacular! We traveled with another couple who had a corner room on the same floor which was larger, with a seating area, a raised 4 poster bed, larger bathroom and it also had balcony on 2 sides. Very nice. The rooms were clean. There was none of this rust and grime I had read about, so my worst fears were unfounded! Overall, I found what I saw of the hotel to be quite clean. Maid service daily was good, however a few times we did not receive full towel service until late in the day or we were short changed on face cloths, but really, nothing too serious.
We were quite disappointed in the restaurant situation during the day, or lack of! Breakfast was served daily at the Almond Tree restaurant. This got to be very tiring because the menu was almost exactly the same every day! Very over done bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, dry cereal, break for toasting, pancakes and fruit and yogurt as well as a chef who would cook eggs to order. A change from pancakes to waffles or French toast and maybe ham in place of sausage once would have been nice. It was good, but wasn’t great. The good thing about this was we didn’t over eat! During our stay, there was some sort of convention going on in the hotel, so the hotel barred us from the Almond Tree restaurant at lunch time for 5 out of 7 days! That meant “dining” at the Turtle Beach Bar where they had a “short order" menu. It was okay too, but not for 7 days straight! The evening dining was back to the Almond Tree which was absolutely top rate cuisine! They had some fabulous meals there in the evenings. Steak, seafood, all very good. We also dined at 39 Steps Restaurant – but as I said, this was not explained at check in, so we showed up for our reservation, which was made through the Front Desk of the hotel. Even when we made the reservation, they neglected to mention anything about needing a voucher to dine at 39 Steps. This turned out to be a bit of an inconvenience for us, but the owner of 39 Steps ended up going to fetch the required vouchers from the front desk on our behalf. The menu here was So-So – not nearly as good as the Almond Tree! The Almond Tree is not air-conditioned, so it can be quite warm in the evenings to dine and when the meal was al a carte, they seated everyone inside. They did have ceiling fans, but several of them were not working. Locals were not bothered by the heat of the night, but we found it a bit warm and would have appreciated either a fan or some AC!
Bars: The bar service at this hotel was less that acceptable! First off, nothing opens until 11:00am! Not that we are big alcohol drinkers first thing in the morning, but there was no where to even get a glass of water! We received very kind and friendly service from Felicia, Harriet, Tracia and Charles at the beach bar. Otherwise service was SLOW! It took forever to get a drink or order food and then just as long to try and get a refill. Even if you went to get a drink yourself at the beach bar, it was a very slow process! The Turtle Beach bar closed at 9:00pm every night! The only other bar available then was at the Almond Tree restaurant and it closed at 11:00pm!
This hotel is not really for the young or young at heart. There is virtually no evening entertainment – although they advertise it, their idea of entertainment is someone strumming a guitar in the Almond Tree restaurant from 6:30pm to 8:30pm (if that long). One night they had Karaoke set up at the beach bar, again closed up at 9. There was “entertainment” a couple of other nights at the Almond Tree, but it was while you were dining and was not what we would consider a “show”. There was a stage there, but it was never used!
The beach here compared to either side of the resort was nice. They have scraped the bottom for rocks and have piled up boulders as a break that they hold out to be a “natural sea aquarium”. We did try to snorkel there, but you really didn’t need equipment, you could see the fish just by looking into the water. On the other side of these boulders, it was rocky. You were warned not to venture outside the boundary and it was almost impossible to get to the other side because of the rocks. Some hotel patrons did manage to get there and play in some nice crashing waves. Shade on the beach came from palm trees but there was only about a dozen of them, so you had to “get your space” early or you would have no shade in the heat of the noon sun. This is a south facing beach, so shade is a must! Not that one can do much about the weather – it is what it is! But, we had fabulous weather. I think there was 2 little showers in one day, but otherwise, it was sun/hot for a whole week! Just what the Canadians were hoping!
There were 2 pools at the hotel. Both were quite small, but for the size of the hotel, were adequate. The pool at the Turtle Beach bar had an adjoining hot tub. In the 7 days we were there, we saw kids in the larger of the 2 pools only once! And very rarely did we see any adults in either pool.
I would not recommend this hotel for anyone under the age of 55. It is small and operates at a very slow pace with little in the way of choices for anything. We have stayed at other 3* All-Inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and would rate this particular hotel as the lowest to any we’ve stayed and I would not stay here again or recommend this hotel to anyone I know who is considering a Barbados vacation.