Grafton Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Paul Norris from U.K. visited in April 2006 and awarded
Before we went to Tobago, we had read the reviews on TripAdvisor and elsewhere of the Grafton Beach Resort Hotel. We were so concerned by what we read we seriously considered changing our holiday plan but having now returned from our 2 weeks staying at the hotel can only say how pleased we are that we went ahead with it. I can only wonder if those who wrote such negative reviews perhaps stayed at a different Grafton Beach. Put simply, the one we stayed at was excellent, probably the best beach resort we have stayed at in many years of holidaying around the world.
So, what made us think that .....?
The Hotel : has a an informal, relaxed and friendly style - very Caribbean - but at the same time offered excellent standards of accommodation, food and service (more on these later). Don't stay here if you want opulent furnishings, formal dining or obsequious staff but it has just about everything else.....
The Staff : are very welcoming, warm and friendly. Service is relaxed, but professional, efficient and always with a smile. They might seem a little shy or even reserved, but take the time to talk to them and they will quickly open up and add a lot to your holiday. They are very proud of their island and keen to tell you all about it if you ask.
The Food : Menus were very varied with lots of choice to suit most tastes. Good, fresh local ingredients expertly prepared and well presented. We loved the atmosphere in the open-sided restaurant which was always relaxed and peaceful. And the views are great too !
The Bar : now in an attractive open-sided lounge area adjacent to the pool. Varied program of evening entertainment which took place (on time !) either in the bar area or alongside the pool itself. Incidentally, those 'suspicious' dots on the bottles are not indicative of watered-down contents as has been suggested elsewhere but are simply indicative of which bar stock list they are on : green for the pool bar, blue for the main bar etc. Actually, our only problem in this area was asking the staff to reduce the amount of rum used in the excellent cocktail menu ;-)
The Room : simply furnished but perfectly adequate and kept very clean by the excellent maid service. Contrary to reports elsewhere, the AC worked fine and the bathroom ventilators in many rooms were actually replaced while we were there as part of routine maintenance – of which there was plenty of evidence. Our room had a balcony with good views over the garden and out to sea.
The Pool : Kept very clean, no hazy water. Great swim-up bar - though not always staffed. Loungers and sun umbrellas have been recently replaced.
The Games Room : Very well equipped and just perfect for the kids.
The Beach Bar : Yes, perhaps it is a bit faded but on the other hand its very casual & relaxed, with great views of the bay. Has a good snack menu which includes the local roti and fresh fish (and chicken & chips for the kids if they want).
The Beach : white sand, cleaned every morning so no litter etc. The sunshades have all been rebuilt and thatched with dried palm fronds. The sunbeds are rather tired but functional - new ones are on order apparently. The beach shelves quite gently into the water with no stones, weed or other hazards. The sea was great for body boarding in
the (big'ish) waves or swimming once beyond the waves. We enjoyed good snorkelling at the far right hand end on calmer days. We found the beach a very safe and relaxing place to be with almost no hassle from anyone, except for the occasional local tour operator trying to drum up a bit of business (but a polite 'no' works fine).
So, for us, an excellent hotel and fully deserving the one good comment I read beforehand that the Grafton is the "best combination of hotel and beach on the island". And, all this is not just our opinion. We talked to other guests, many of whom had similar concerns before travelling but, once there, were equally positive. If you are going to the Grafton and are still unsure, please let us have your tickets as we'd absolutely love to go again !
PS: we have no connection with the hotel, its management or its staff other than as very satisified guests.
Louisa Howard from U.K. visited in April 2006 and awarded
When first arriving at this hotel, we were greeted warmly by Elroy the customer service manager, who told us to contact him regarding any needs and problems we had during our stay. He helped us organise trips and problems throughout our stay and was indeed very helpful, Thank you for your directions Elroy, to the small internet cafe which was much cheaper than the hotel, as our daughter seems to have to live on a computer at least once a day and we would have spent a fortune at the hotel.
We were then showed to our room by the helpful porter, who found it hard to leave until he had a tip in hand, and having no small change at the time we over-tipped, but I wrongly belived at this time that this would then encourage him to be friendly and helpful towards us. The room was tired and old as was the rest of the hotel. However we had a nice sea view and it is clean and well mantained hotel, that puts you in mind of your Grandma's house.
Food is mostly from a wide ranging menu and despite having allergies, I found I had a good choice. Breakfast was a little limiting at times and lunch is normally buffet. A must to be tried if you like them, is the Pina Colada's as they add their own touch and Cameron is more than happy to help with any cocktail you wish to try. Entertainment on some nights is OK although there is limited space for people to sit. In fact, the whole area you would consider your living area is inadequate for the number of rooms and guests, as it relies on people being out.
One word of warning: although most staff are helpful, some have lost the plot and seem like they cannot be bothered at times. We, on a few days, had no towels in our room. Some reception staff ether did not understand or had lost the plot and despite also asking maids, no towels were forthcoming. At meal times, some staff did not know what was in food or could not be bothered to speak and ignored us or shrugged. Some evenings we sat for long periods with nothing or empty plates in front of us while younger staff chatted. You may say this is the laid-back Caribbean, but I thought sometimes it bordered on rude and yes, we have been to other islands. However as this is a small hotel, do not even think about complaining or filling in the questionare at reception until you leave, as all staff know you did it and you spend the rest of your stay with the result.
Richard Buckley from U.K. visited in December 2005 and awarded
Family Size: 4 (2 adults & 2 children, 12 & 10).
Cost: All-Inclusive, 1 room, £4,200 (excluding flights), for 2 weeks in December 2005 (not over Christmas day).
Hotel Overview - The hotel feels like it is 'just' about trying to get away with offering the minimum. There is no feeling to the place, the staff are robots.
One old bald man serving in the oceanview restaurant quite grumpy/unhelpful. Food is quite uneatable, much of the time (canteen food), not what you expect at a hotel charging what they charge.
Beach OK, not too busy, but rough breakers (forget watersports, even though they promote them).
We would never want to go back to the Graffton Beach.
Tobago: We were out & about every other day and got to know some great local people when out & About. Tobago is nice and vibrant for a Carib' Island (We've visited quite afew). The two restaurants that really stood out were the food and owner/s of the Original House of Pancakes and The Mélange for its food and level of service (but I it always takes me a few days to get used to everywhere closing so early).
Room - OceanView; Although with two King size beds, the room is not large enough for more than two people, to live in, there is not enough wardrobe/draw space. The rooms are kept clean and the air-con works well. Do not pay more for the garden rooms (not worth it). Bathroom clean and functional.
Food - This is only the 2nd time we have gone 'all-inclusive', last time at Almond Beach Villageon Barbados, Dec2004 (good, much high level of service/food quality etc). The food was quite terrible 99% of the time. Canteen food & service; every meal became a chore, not a pleasure. They do a waitress type service some days, but staff are poorly trained. The food was the worst part of this hotel. We eat out a number of times, nice restaurants locally (not over priced).
Drink - As expected with all-Inclusive most drinks were watered down; when the bottle had a 'yellow dot' on it meant it had been 'dealt with'. So look for bottles behind the bar that are not yellow dotted. Even though drinks are included in AI. I always fancy a bottle of wine, the list has a terrible selection and charges around £45 for a bottle of cheap £5-6 (off-licence price UK). So I did not partake (nore did anyone else the 2 weeks we were there). Other restaurants on Tobago charge approx' UK restaurant prices for bottle.
Entertainment/Sports - One of the reasons we chose an AI was the entertainment (to keep kids happy, so they can use the hotel facliites while we enjoyed a leisurely dinner). Kids Sports room is OK, but the evening 'live' enterainment is dull.
Forget watersports, the sea is too rough that side of the island. Sadly it was one of the main reasons why we chose this hotel (we do alot of watersports as a hobby in UK etc... Canoeing, sailing etc). You have to go out so deep to get away from the white water breaker, then its still never calm.
Heather Cockett from U.K. visited in December 2005 and awarded
Don't do it.
Food is absolutely dreadful, toilets in lobby disgusting - dirty and doors hanging off - pool area small and inadequate for number of guests.
Loved Tobago - but this place left a nasty taste in the mouth.
Robert Watts from U.K. visited in November 2005 and awarded
We returned from the Grafton Beach Resort on the 17th November 2005. It is with out doubt the worst holiday we have ever taken. It is very dirty, the food is very poor with little variation, there is little or no day time activity, the evening entertainment is very poor, the sun beds are all worn out and dirty, 50% of the parasols are broken, nearly every one we spoke to either had a shower that didnt work or if it did you could only get cold water. Most of the time the swim up bar was unstaffed,the lobby toilets where dirty,the beach bar toilet was a complete no go area. There are not enough seats in the lobby, 50% of the staff dont give a dam 100% of the managment dont give a dam. I could go on and on about how bad it is the best thing that could happen to it is to pull it down and start agsin.