Grafton Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Grafton Beach In June
Tony J Taylor
Off to the Grafton Beach on June 14. I was there with the family in 1998 and had a great time. Looking at the posts it seems to have gone through some hard times but has come out of this with a refurb. Anybody been in the last few weeks and can give me some current feedback.
When we were there in 98 we went diving with Dive Tobago. Do they still exist and if not any other good dive outfits around the area?
Feedback On Grafton Review
We went to the Grafton in March 2004 and have checked back a few times to see the promised review. Frankly I haven't got anything to add, except to comment that we have pretty much full agreement with everything that Steve has written. I think the review is fair and balanced. Despite being mid 30's we had a few concerns about the type of people that AI might attract but this was simply not an issue. We loved Tobago and thought the hotel was great.
One word of warning if you are considering travelling there with Virgin which we did. I have no hesitation in recommending them and thought the Tobago service was great, but we travelled on one of their recommended twin-centre deals which twins the Grafton with the Rex Papillion hotel in St Lucia. This hotel was very different (bigger, more 'chainy' possibly more downmarket) and was not a good match for the Grafton. Fortunately we went to St Lucia first so we saved the best until last!
Things To Do At Grafton Beach Resort?
I am looking for the best way to use my seven days at the Grafton Beach Resort, as a female travelling alone.
Any good ideas?
Just Returned From Grafton Beach
Hi - this is my first post on this site but have been reading it avidly for the last few months. Have just returned from our first trip to Tobago, so here is our report. Will be happy to answer any questions.
Flew out with Virgin from Gatwick, flight was delayed by 2 hours, but not really a problem. Had used the twilight check-in service the day before which works really well - only a couple of people in the queue at about 4:00 pm. Friendly staff on the plane, good choice of entertainment, time passes pretty quickly.
Immigration was straight forward and the luggage arrived reasonably quickly. Once outside headed for the Virgin rep who informed us that they had lost our welcome pack! She didn't seem overly concerned by this and told us to get on the mini-bus anyway. Only 15 minutes to the airport and the local driver kept us entertained along the way.
Grafton Beach Resort
Checking in was easy and we were met with a welcome fruit punch. Still not sure why we were asked for a credit card number though? Had to wait a while for the concierge to show us to our room and the suitcases were delivered shortly afterwards.
We had paid extra for an ocean view room and it was definitely worth it! Fabulous view from the balcony, although the constant sound of the sea takes some getting used to. The room had everything we might need including hairdryer, TV with some US cable stations and a fridge. The air conditioning started leaking water on the second day, but was fixed within the hour after reporting it.
The hotel looks as though it could do with a bit of a spruce-up. Everywhere is spotlessly clean, but the paintwork is peeling and some of the seats are ripped and the springs have gone. Nearly all of the staff are incredibly friendly (particularly Marsha in the restaurant and Elroy the guest relations manager).
Now - the food... Contrary to some other reports, ALL the meals are buffets. There is no waiter service or a la carte option (unless you use Neptune's restaurant) and the beach bar closes at 5:00 pm, serving only a limited range of meals at lunch time (burgers or burgers!).
Breakfast is absolutely fine - a wide choice available ranging from cereals, fresh fruit, bacon, sausages, eggs, pancakes, toast etc. Plus a chef makes omelettes to order.
Lunch has an international range of food - pizzas, chips, burgers plus more local dishes of chicken and fish. In some respects, this was usually better than the evening meal.
Dinner - there was only ever a choice of two appetizers - soup or salad, neither of which I particularly like. The main courses usually consisted of a carvery (beef or lamb), chicken, fish and a vegetarian option. Plus potatoes, rice and pasta. ALL of the dishes were covered in different sauces. This is assuming that the food was available! If you had an 8:00 pm sitting, a lot of stuff had gone and you had to wait up to 20 minutes for it to be replaced! The standard of the food deteriorated throughout the 2 weeks we were there. I actually got food poisining on the second week and was unable to eat for over 48 hours. Several of the dishes were completely inedible and the fish was often alarmingly undercooked.
We ate at Neptunes just once and this was really no better. We all picked something different from the menu, but each dish was presented in exactly the same way and bore no relation as to how it had been described.
Please be aware that this is very much a "family" hotel. During our stay there were a lot of young children there, some of them seemingly unsupervised. The pool area was extremely noisy. (The pool was actually closed for two days due to "faecal matter" being present!).
Check-in, chill-out - this is supposed to be a time-saving idea. Your suitcases have to be in the reception area at 10:30 with checking-in commencing at 10:50. The airport staff didn't arrive until nearly 11:30 and we were then queuing for nearly 2 hours! Also, because we missed the initial welcome meeting, we weren't aware that a form needs to be filled in at least 3 days prior to departure. Because of this, they didn't have our boarding cards at the hotel and we had to join yet another queue at the airport to get them.
I will stop writing here, as I am sure you have all fallen asleep reading this! I will post in a different forum regarding our trips and opinions of the island. Just to sum up so far - Tobago is absolutely fabulous, the people are wonderful but we wouldn't stay at the Grafton again.
Review Grafton Beach Resort November 8th – 14th 2004 24 Nov 2004
Graham Jones from Bournemouth
Perhaps I should preface my review by admitting that this was not our first choice of hotel, we had to accept it after Le Grand Courlan failed to honour our booking. Undoubtedly this has coloured my views somewhat.
The hotel is nicely located on a hillside above Stonehaven Bay; most rooms appear to have a sea-view. People with mobility problems should be aware that between pool level and the beach there are 70 steps and a ramp to negotiate. The hotel is set back on the hillside, so the steps are in sections, but they still have to be climbed! There is a narrow, quiet road between the hotel grounds and the beach bar. There are a delightful number of birds in the grounds, even if some of them join you for meals! Also very close (a 10 minute uphill walk) is the Grafton Bird Sanctuary – don’t miss it! Feeding times are 8 am & 4 pm.
The beach is very pleasant, despite some rocks along the shoreline. It does have a small number of stones on entering the water and shelves fairly rapidly. Towards the end of our stay there were some very impressive breakers coming in from the Caribbean! It is long enough for that essential post-breakfast stroll and affords the opportunity to watch the local fishermen pulling in their nets. In the time we were there, we didn’t see any boats from the hotel being used at all. (A shared facility with Le Grand Courlan.)
During our stay the majority of guests were British (about 55%), with about 35% German-speaking and a small number of Dutch and Americans.
The pool and swim-up bar is one of the most attractive features of the resort, though if I had young children I would be concerned that there is very little shallow water. Within a couple of paces from the steps, you are in quite deep water. There is a tiny paddling pool, nicely shaded, which is pretty full by the time a couple of mothers and their toddlers are in it!
The pool bar has plenty of seating and the majority of it is in the shade throughout the day. Service at this bar is patchy. The staff here are pleasant enough, but it was quite common for the bar to be 30 mins late opening and for the only bartender to then disappear for 10 – 15 mins at a time.
There are far too few loungers and sunshades, both by the pool and on the beach. As a consequence, there was a steady stream of people reserving places from 6.30 in the morning.
Meals are served in the open-air restaurant. I found breakfast to be very acceptable, with the usual cooked items and omelettes or fried eggs to order. There was also a range of pastries, breads and cereals. However, I know my wife who avoids cooked breakfasts, was disappointed by the limited range of fresh fruit.
Lunch was either served in the restaurant or the beach bar. We sampled the beach bar twice and found the food to be reasonable and served with a smile! This bar is also shared with Le Grand Courlan.
The lunch in the restaurant was a great disappointment generally. On previous all-inclusive holidays in other islands, lunch has always been a full meal – here it was not. Starters were very limited; dessert was ice cream – if you asked for it. It was rarely offered.
Dinners were equally disappointing. It was necessary to book for dinner, at breakfast time, even in the main restaurant. They would only take 12 bookings per half hour, so unless you were in breakfast by 8 am, dinner was either 6.30 or about 8.30 pm.. We soon learnt that it had to be 6.30 as the trays of food were not replenished with any urgency and the already limited desserts were mainly gone. Meals were always buffet-style; these were without doubt the worst meals we have had in the Caribbean. At the Carvery, small family-sized joints were generally rationed to one slice per person. Staff were good at clearing the tables, but on many occasions a ‘please’ or ’thank you’ was ignored, leaving the impression of a poorly trained staff.
The a la carte restaurant may have been nice, we never found out, it serves 8 tables per evening Monday – Friday and then is seafood only. Why have a restaurant that the majority of the guests won’t be able to use?
Seating in the bar area is quite insufficient for times when the hotel is nearly full, as it was when we were there. Incidentally nearly all the major hotels were full or overbooked during our stay– the consequence of hurricane Ivan affecting Grenada.
Would I go there again? –No thank you!