A Stay at the Oldest Operating Hotel in the Caribbean - The Crane Hotel, Barbados
The Crane Hotel on Barbados is the oldest operating hotel in the Caribbean. That's no small achievement for an independent resort competing with the likes of five-stars like Sandy Lane, Colony Club and the Fairmont. Still, somehow this AAA four-diamond, historical property remains a favorite among those who can have whatever they want, like Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Billy Ocean.
It's safe to say that at least part of the reason the hotel is kicking along so successfully is its location on Crane Beach, a truly unforgettable sight which has been called one of the "top ten beaches of the world" by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. The pristine pink sand, the turquoise waters and the big, powerful waves of Barbados' southeast coast add up to the kind of place people return to year after year, never fully able to describe it to their friends back home.
Gallery: Crane Beach and The Crane Hotel
Though parts of The Crane Hotel date back to 1790, you'll find the amenities up-to-date -- and more importantly, functional. The rooms themselves are beautifully furnished, though I would highly recommend requesting an ocean view. I heard from other guests that some of the "garden view" rooms had views of nothing, construction, and even the garbage area. Ask for an ocean view. Either way, you'll be getting mahogany furnishings including a handcrafted four-poster bed, a marble bathroom with an oversized jacuzzi tub and traditional Bajan coral stone brick walls. Some of the finer suites even feature private 28' x 12' infinity plunge pools.
If you don't manage to score a private pool, you can still relax at historic ocean-view pool situated right on the cliffs (above) or the four-pool complex with a bar and spa (top photo).
My stay at The Crane Hotel was less than perfect; the service was somewhat slow (perhaps they're on island time) and my balcony, for example, went unswept the entire visit. Though there are several restaurant options, none of the food I had there was on par with the kind of dining you find in New York City. Still, when I walked through the village entrance into reception and they put a rum punch in my hand, I knew I had a luxurious experience awaiting me -- and for the most part, that's exactly what it was. The beach stunned and quieted me. Boogie boarding and umbrellas were available, there was live music in the bar at night, and an elegant serenity to being 30 minutes from Bridgeport and the clamor of the other tourists on the island. It's a truly lovely destination with heavy helping of genuine historical character. Also, it's unexpectedly convenient to the airport (10 minutes).
If you're interested in booking a vacation or even owning a residence at The Crane Hotel and getting down to that breathtaking beach (seriously, see gallery), click here to visit the website.
My trip to Barbados was sponsored by Tommy Bahama Rum, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this article are 100% my own.