Unlike the super wealthy, celeb-filled West Coast of Barbados, the Crane is located at the more remote and serene southeast end of the island, in St. Philip. Hugging a rugged cliff top, a refreshing breeze makes this spot the perfect place to sun yourself at any time of year (locals say the weather here always hovers between 28 and 31 C, it’s just less humid in the “winter”).
Originally the site of a small commercial port in the mid-18th century, the Crane is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean. In its most recent incarnation, Paul Doyle bought the resort in 1988, adding several buildings to the initial 18-room structure. As a result, there are historic touches throughout the property – the Carriage House Bar and Grill is a nod to the structure’s past life as the official stable a century ago.
Likewise, the cobblestoned Crane Village, with a town hall and general store, is a nod to the hotel’s original structure. Spend some time pottering around the tiny town, before wandering through the manicured gardens to find your poolside spot for the day.
Even in the One Bedroom Suite (where we stayed), there’s plenty of space with a sofa, small kitchen, balcony, and jacuzzi bath. The Crane breaks away from the cookie-cutter resort style lodgings with a colonial aesthetic; think striking dark-wood king-size four poster bed and mahogany furnishings in the room.
In addition to all the great pools on offer at the resort, many of the suites at the Crane offer private plunge pools for guests, while the ground levels have pools of up to 28” in length. The result of so many swimming options is that the main complex of pools often feels blissfully empty even in the middle of the day.
Due to the Crane’s relative remoteness on the southeastern end of the island, the resort could feel isolated if it weren’t for a well-curated roster of amenities on site. Serenity Spa is located inside the Historic Hotel at The Crane, providing the perfect sanctuary for a lengthy list of pampering that includes massages, facials, waxing, plus manicures and pedicures.
Whether you’re a beachbum or poolside poser, there’s a spot for you at the Crane. Take the elevator down to the Crane Beach and grab one of the many loungers. Swimming can get rough down there and there are plans to build a breakwall, but for now, lifeguards are a reassuring presence. The adult-only historic pool, with its classic Doric columns, is a great spot to enjoy the view in peace, while the cascading pools offer some wonderful vistas of the Atlantic.
While there are many great restaurants on site, you can’t stay at the Crane without at least one visit to L’Azure (formerly a dancehall), with its panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Crane Beach. If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat on the balcony you can enjoy your morning coffee with a beautiful sea breeze – or enjoy some of the seafood the restaurant is renowned for. Book a spot through Open Table or just turn up.
If you’re looking for a nightcap, Bar 1887 offers up some late-night entertainment, with live music and karaoke regularly scheduled – just one infamous Crane Rum Punch is all it might take to have you singing with the best of them.
In addition to the more relaxed nature of this side of the island, the Crane has the bonus of being much closer to Grantley Adams International Airport. Take a 15-minute cab ride (around $25) to the resort and start your vacation immediately.
Squeeze in a trip to Cutters on your way home, just ten minutes east of Barbados Airport. Order the Flying Fish Cutter and wash it down with their award-winning rum punch, which they now sell in pre-bottled mix form (add the booze component once you’re back home and you’ll be able to hear those coconuts knocking).
Rooms start from $430 per night
The Crane Resort, St. Philip, Barbados, +1 246-423-6220, thecrane.com