Grafton Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Allison Owen from U.K. visited in September 2005 and awarded
We booked to go to Tobago with Virgin - we like the Caribbean and thought Tobago sounded excellent. When we found this site it confirmed everything we thought Tobago would be. On arrival, we were not disappointed. The hotel, although a bit dated and tired, was very welcoming and the staff friendly and cheerful. The bar service was a little slow (at times) but you got used to it. The steps leading down from the toilets to the pool were very slippery. I slipped and cracked my head on the steps and had a huge bruise on my backside - we saw plenty of other people do likewise. The food was good - some nights it was a la carte but mostly it was buffet. We were travelling with our 10 year old daughter and feared that she would survive 2 weeks on a diet of chips but she (and we) tried and ate everything they made. The mint sauce served with a lamb dish one night resembled something from a nuclear power plant but generally the food was hot, very tasty and the service was always pleasant. The restaurant area was lovely, sitting and watching the sea from almost every table in the place. We had lunch at the beach bar twice and could not complain - the only issue was it was a bit run down - they need to spend a bit of money "tarting" it up but the beach itself was immaculate and we were not approached by too many beach sellers. We didn't eat in the fish restaurant (my husband and daughter don't partake) but we did have a special meal at the Seahorse Inn. It seemed strange to have to take a cab to a restaurant that was less than a 2 minute walk away but once the gate to the beach is locked at 6pm, you have little choice. The meal there was fabulous - it costed up for three of us at around £150 but we didn't skimp on anything - they have the most brilliant wine list, so if monies no object, its THE place to eat. We hired a car twice and went out to Speyside which was beautiful, saw the waterfalls, drove to Charlotte (which wasn't much to write home about) and got lost for hours in the rain forest. The wildlife and birds amazed us - wherever we were. We did stop in at the Coco Reef - WOW - it was fabulous - we had lunch there (my daughter proceeding to throw a whole tray of drinks over our waitress) before heading over to the Hilton for drinks. We wanted to see the diversity of the hotels. We didn't like the location of the Hilton at all - middle of no-where. As for the Coco Reef, too close to the airport.
Overall, the Grafton met with our approval. We have stayed in some very upmarket places but found this to be, for the money, everything you could expect and a bit more. The rooms were OK, kept very clean, the airconditioning was noisy and leaked at times but so long as we could escape the heat, we didn't care. The downside was at that time of year (September) there were very few children for our daughter to play with and no kids activities. The pool is reasonably small and although the hotel was less than half full, it would be difficult to cater for so many people in such a small pool. There were cats / kittens around - they kept my daughter amused for hours and everyone had "adopted" them - they are a good way of keeping rats at bay so complainers think about that .. if you don't like cats, don't feed or touch them. The games room was a bit jaded and could do with a new pool table and a revamp in terms of decoration. There was a wedding party there on the middle weekend - as there were so few of us staying it became like an extended family - they had a good time, a few of them ended up unconscious on sunbeds and after the wedding itself they were very quiet (hungover we suspect!!). The Virgin "check-in, chill-out" was a great thing and we lazed around on our last day until about 2 hours before the flight took off. We went straight to the airport, through the gate and onto the plane. That was fantastic.
Depending on what time of the season you go to the Grafton, it will either be very quiet or packed - there were plenty of 2nd / 3rd timers there who love the hotel. For us, we would definitely return. For the cost involved, it meant that you could afford to go out and eat a couple of times without feeling like it defeats the objective of all inclusive. You never get to see anything if you don't leave the hotel and live a little.
September @ Grafton Beach
Liz & Rod
I'm seeking help, we have booked to go to the Grafton Beach in September. I now find out that there refurbishment work that is ongoing until October. I'm about to take on the tour operators who have not advised us of these works.
Our question is has anyone stayed there recently and if so how disruptive was the work. Your advice would be much appreciated.
Hotel Review 14 Feb 2007
Alex Bindy from England
We stayed at the Grafton from 28/1 for two weeks. Having previously stayed at the Courlan a few years ago I was looking forward to the location, and only booked with Grafton as our group had a child with us - so my perspective is comparative to the Courlan (which was excellent 5 years ago)
Upon arrival (a day late thank you Excel!!) , we were welcomed with a soft drink after checking in. We then sat waiting for 5 mins for our cases to be taken to the room before realising that was not gonna happen
Rooms: We were allocated two rooms in the 'big block' of 3 high overlooking the sea. Unfortunately my friends room smelt of urine, and despite assurances that it was the ammonia in the floor cleaning fluid, persisted to the following morning. We subsequently moved to two beach view rooms, with higher ceilings (that did not smell) for the remainder of the trip. These rooms were tired, with loose taps, gaps in the patio doors, and chipped / cracked baths. Comfy beds and good a/c tho, with good views through the foliage to the beach.
Food: Canteen self service from big metal containers in the main restaurant, occasionally with some-one placing the food on the plate for you. Tasty, but geared towards the European / USA pallette with limited local food offered. The bookable little restaurant area offered freshly barbecued food and what seemed to be nicer food - we booked that one as often as possible!! Staff accommodating with the childs food preferences, and would happily provide chips for him if not on the menu that evening. The seafront lunch bar was superb - chicken Roti being my fave, and a friendly waitress who remembered our orders from one day to the next (this girl and the cook in the evening little restaurant both received tips at the end of our stay)
Bar staff: Hmm - our phrase to each other after getting drinks most nights was 'get a job you like' ! I think we had the grumpy crew for the fortnight, as I observed the bar team displaying similarly attitudes to all guests. From the guy who just rolled his eyes when he wanted to take your order, through to the simple ignoring of people wanting a drink by others, I was not too impressed with this area. Whilst I realise that continually making cocktails / serving / cleaning cups can be dull for staff, a little customer service training may help them to help guests enjoy themselves more...
The beer was off for three nights, which did not help things with certain guests, one of whom I know went next door to the Courlan to drink instead.
Beach - superb if you like big waves (which I do). Not your lapping Carib postcard, but great for body boarding (a bit crash down) and diving in / through.
Unfortunately, my friend had several hundred dollars stolen from his safe in the room (left the ppt, credit cards and the PSP tho). Upon reporting this to the police, we were told that this was not too common in the Grafton, that the digital keypad safes were easy to overide with a code, and that they received 3/4 similar reports a week from other parts of the island - so beware.
Reading through this, it does seem a little negative, however we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. With a little tlc to the rooms, and a little more care to food choice/ staff training, the Grafton would improve significantly. As things stand, I would rate it at a low 3*. Not too sure if I would stay there again, and would probably check out the Courlan next time if going all inc.
Seperate reports to follow at some point on Trail Dogz, and the (not noisy) quad bike tour
Where To Stay...?
I am considering going to Tobago on October 18th with my 15 year old son during his half term holidays.. my own family are from Antigua but we thought we'd go to another island. I am a little concerned though on several points: Firstly I wondering if the weather will be bad [raining all the , Secondly I tend to reserach the destinations I go to prior to travelling there and have heard time and time again that hotel staff in Tobago tend to be surly and rude not uniformily but this seems to be a common trait.
Finally I'm geting mixed reviews about the Grafton, Arnos Vales and Half Moon Blue Hotels.
I'm booking via a specific online travel company so can only choose the accommodation they offer which is: the ones listed above plus the Hilton Tobago, Le Grand Courlan Spa, Blue Haven , Coco Reef Resort and Turtle Beach by Rex. But the cost of these hotels is really above my budget aside from the Turtle Beach.. but the Turtle Beach does not offer just breakfast but an all inclusive option which works out expensive...
I could really do with some advice... my son and I went on holiday last year and had an awful time and we really just want to chill out and relax in pleasant surroundings. I can cope with rude staff but I'm worried that the food and accommodation might prove dodgy having looked at the reviews on tripadvisor.com. i am edging towards the Grafton.. would that be a good choice?
Wonderful Holiday, Great Hotel 01 Feb 2006
Irene from UK
First of all my thanks goes to Peter Brown who responded to my concern after reading the bad reports on this hotel and he put my mind at rest .
We have just returned from a two-week holiday at the Grafton Beach hotel (12 - 26 January). Four of us had two interconnecting rooms, my husband and me with our grown up son and daughter.
This is my report on the hotel: We were greeted on arrival by the Customer Service Manager, Elroy Green, (wonderful chap) who showed a real interest in our trip and concern that my son had got a chest infection at the last moment and couldnít travel with us. Golden Caribbean had already faxed the hotel (commendation to them) to inform us that they had re-scheduled his flight to the following week. We were given a refreshing cocktail and Elroy showed us to our rooms where he checked all appliances to make sure everything was working. Thanks Elroy, for all your help during our stay! The rooms were ocean view and were clean and very comfortable. Maid service every morning made sure it stayed that way.
The hotel is a little dated, but my goodness that is compensated for by the excellence of the staff team. Every one of them was polite and very friendly and quickly attended to our every need. I take exception to the comment of Richard Buckley about as he put it, ďone old bald man who was grumpy and unhelpful.Ē I think maybe the problem was with Richard Buckley! If he had made the effort to talk to Philbert Cunningham (Mr C as heís called), he would have found a rather shy man who was warm and friendly and went out of his way to be helpful. When my son arrived the flight had made him feel quite ill and he spent the first day in bed. Mr C was the one who went out of his way to arrange for special drinks that we could make up in our room. In the middle of the very busy dinner preparation time, other members of staff arranged for bread to be brought from the pastry room so they could make some toast for him. If you bother to make the effort, you will find the staff are really sweet. If you donít, you are the one who misses out. Our special thanks to Ivis Bonas, restaurant manager, who is a real gem. Her warm and helpful manner at breakfast and lunch enriched our stay. Our congratulations to the management for creating this happy team. All the staff commented on how well they were treated and how much they loved the job. This was evident to us and we were sad to say goodbye to so many new friends. We feel the derogatory remarks about staff on this site are completely unjustified.
The food was excellent too! Plenty of variety at every meal and the fish and roast meats were particularly good. We thoroughly enjoyed the Buffet evenings. This is only because on A La Carte evenings the meals served were BIG portions and my husband was putting on weight!! I like to eat local food when I travel and there was plenty of Caribbean foods but also lots of other options too. The sirloin steaks were particularly good and we were told the beef had been imported from America. Those who said the food was dreadful... well, I wonder what they serve their families at home!!
Donít know why anyone would complain about the drinks either. We found them all full strength and no evidence of anything watered down. (We had learned all about watered down drinks on an all-inclusive holiday in the Dominican Republic where you can drink cocktails all day with no effect at all). The white wine was good too. I didnít taste the red, but Tim said it was not so good. However his favourite drink is Carib anyway.
We enjoyed the entertainment most evenings and found the rest rooms in the lobby were cleaned regularly. Only once during our stay did the hand towel run out and five minutes after telling a member of staff it was replaced.
We talked to many of the guests and made friends with some. When we were there they were a great friendly bunch! Interestingly they all had the same view of the hotel as us. Our thanks to the General Manager, Mr Dickinson who responded quickly and efficiently when we had a special need and even said goodbye and shook hands with us on our departure. Our stay was a very happy one thanks to all the staff for their friendly welcoming and warm Caribbean manner. Well done!! We look forward to seeing them all again in the near future. Irene