Here is our review and scoring of The Crane Resort in Barbados based on our stay in a One Bedroom Garden View King Suite with a Pool in February 2022.
The oldest continually operating hotel in the Caribbean (since 1887), The Crane Residential Resort is huge, with 252 rooms, five pools, five restaurants and bars, a “village” area complete with an art gallery, and numerous amenities spread out over 40 acres. The resort operates as a hotel, fractional ownership resort (time share), full-time residences, and recently became part of Hilton Grand Vacations.
1. Location: 15/20
The Crane is located on the South-East side of Barbados in Saint Philip Parish. The resort feels like a gated community and you either stay on the resort most of the time or rent a car to explore off the resort. The location is remote if you want to access other beaches (strong waves and seaweed limit beach activities at the Crane currently) and dining options; it takes approximately 45 minutes to drive to the Bridgetown area or many of the restaurants along the South East coast. The flipside is the resort is very quiet and peaceful – traffic noise is nonexistent, and music or nightlife is generally limited to the small central square where the resort’s evening restaurant and bar is located.
2. Bed & Sleep Quality: 13/20
The beds at The Crane are impressive high four-poster beds that are aesthetically stunning. The linens have recently changed due to their affiliation with Hilton and have thus improved but the pillows were not very comfortable and were a little lumpy. Based on other stays, one of our favorite things about The Crane has been the ability to sleep with the windows open due to the strong wooden shutters and warm ocean breezes. Unfortunately, they are now renovating the rooms to remove the shutters and install new glass patio doors. We are disappointed with this development, as air conditioning is now needed. The garden view pool suite also featured beautiful surrounding landscaping, but this enclosed tropical outdoor space seemed to attract many more bugs at night (and bats!).
Side note: Pre-renovation, ocean-facing rooms and those on the 2nd floor with garden views with shutters would have scored a perfect 20/20!
3. Room and room amenities: 15/20
We found the room layout to be nice and functional but the room to be dark because we were on the ground floor. The kitchen was well stocked with basics and the washing machine was very useful. We had our own private pool and the temperature was perfect; not too cool or too warm. We also had a nice seating area to enjoy a meal and some lounger chairs to relax. Unfortunately, there were bats that came out at night and so we could not use the patio as much as we wanted.
4. The bathroom: 6/10
The bathroom was decent but not as nice as some of the other rooms we have stayed in; it was smaller and only had a shower, no bathtub. There are some supply chain issues currently and so we did not always have shampoo. The hot water was limited.
5. Hotel public areas and amenities: 8/10
The Crane’s public areas are really nice and well maintained: There is a beach with lounge chairs, 3 pools (an adults-only pool, a large pool for families, and a small pool that looks like it should be a hot tub), a tennis court, a very small gym with cardio and strength training equipment, a resort store with groceries and other supplies, a duty-free shop for clothing and gifts, and about 5 restaurants/bars which offer various meals and types of cuisine. Unfortunately, the award-winning beach gets lots of sargassum seaweed at some times of the year, making it difficult to enjoy. Even with no seaweed, the waves can be quite large and unpredictable and so it is not the easiest place to swim. The gym is a little small for the size of the resort and some of the equipment needs to be replaced but overall it is a nice little gym and you can get a great workout here as it is usually not very busy. The resort store is very convenient and the items are reasonably priced. You can get simple groceries like bread, eggs, cheese, vegetables, fruit, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The restaurants are decent and convenient but some of the things are hit and miss and we have never been wowed by anything. The pricing of things is not exorbitant for this type of resort and its remote location but we prefer to eat off the resort and thankfully more things are opening in the vicinity!
6. Service and Staff: 7/10
Overall, the service is satisfactory but maybe not as refined as you might expect for a resort of this type and long-standing reputation. Things can be a little slow at times: simple tasks like ordering take-out from a resort restaurant or getting towels for the beach or pool can be surprisingly difficult. Certain aspects of housekeeping could be improved in general, like in the kitchen and closet areas. The staff are friendly though and it is always pleasant to interact with them.
7. Overall Value: 8/10
We booked through Hilton Grand Vacations and found a great deal for our stay – especially for a unit with a private pool. Overall, having access to a kitchen to make some of your meals is a great feature too. A strong point for the Crane is that they don’t charge additional fees (ie: resort fees) or for parking. If you plan on staying at the resort, it’s important to note that the beach is not usable at times and the resort food options are slightly limited.
Would weleavetoday to go back? YES