Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Gran Courlan Luxury? Far From It.
We have just returned from a week's stay at the Gran Courlan and to use the words "4*" or "luxury" in the same sentence would be inappropriate!
This place has no, and I mean ZERO concept of customer service. The majority of waiting staff (there are a couple of exceptions, but not many), were surly, slow, moody, and acting as though they were doing you a favour by being there. Orders are taken whilst staring off into middle distance, food and drink delivered without eye-contact, let alone a smile.
Whilst on the subject of food, it is distinctly substandard. The menu in the formal restaurant (very appealing looking) bore no resemblance to what was actually served. (eg. chinese vegetables turned out to be carrot and potato and such like!). I did not eat one thing this week that I would offer to a guest in my house, and I've eaten better burgers at McDs. At breakfast, they saw fit to make one single cook with one single hob available to cook the eggs to order, which resulted in long queues and long waits for everyone.
The early evening "canapees" were essentially deep fried dough and fried plantein, with virtually no variation on a day to day basis.
With buffet meals, no one seemed to be checking the trays, so that often, especially during the later meal shifts, there was nothing left, and no one seemed to be in any hurry to supply re-fills.
If you didn't like the house wine (which is fairly grim), the cost of actually purchasing halfway decent wine was exorbitant. They charge $39 for a bottle of wine which would cost $9 max in a UK supermarket!
The tennis courts are in ropey condition and on 3 consecutive nights it took 3 different people to figure out how to turn the floodlights on.
There aren't enough umbrellas to go round in the sunlounging area, and half the ones that are there are in tatters.
The rooms are clean, spacious and what I would call "standard Caribbean" in style, nothing special, but fine. The plumbing however, has it's problems and if you turn on the shower, the pipes emmitt a sound similar to someone's bowel reaction to a bad Vindaloo! The sliding doors of the wardrobe were so old that they barely shifted.
As for the Spa treatments... they pre-book everything for you and there is no flexibility to change treatments, usually on the grounds that "the hotel is full". Strangely, if you want to pay for addition treatments, appointments are suddenly available. As for the treatments themselves, frankly, when I am paying for a treatment as part of a package, I expect these to be proper treatments of at least 1/2 hour. Sitting in a bubble bath with Lavender Oil in it, is NOT a treatment. The massage I received was ill administered and lasted a maximum of 20 minutes. The salt scrub was a complete waste of time, and again, sloppily adminstered, working on two people in tandem to save time. The result is that you have about 10 minutes therapists attention. We gave up on the treatments after day 2.
There is a dive shop by the beach, but there seem to be some "issues" between the hotel and the dive company, the reception was certainly not helpful in putting me in contact with the dive center, and were even vague in their description of how to get there. The dive center itself, Eco Divers, were largely friendly but not overly organised. It was not unusal for dives to set off over an hour late and most dive plans were completely abandoned as soon as we hit the water. But their rental equipment seemed in good condition (I brought my own so can't speak from personal use) and I saw no equipment malfunctions whilst I was there. They carry oxygen on the boat, which is a converted fishing boat, and which can get very crowded on occasion.
Back to the hotel though, there really isn't one single positive thing that I can say about this place. It is third rate, and I would strongly dissuade anyone from staying here until they go through a serious upgrade.
I'm sure some people would consider this to be a lovely place. But if you have ANY previous experience of 4* plus accomodation and treatment, then you will find the Gran Courlan sorely lacking.
We arrived on the 20th of September for 2 weeks. The Virgin flight out was on time and very pleasant because there were 100 empty seats on the flight. This was due to the Grenada leg of the flight being cancelled as Hurricane Ivan had just hit Grenada a week before. The transfer from the airport is by minibus (15minutes) with your luggage following later in a van. The hotel was a very welcome relief after the heat and stress of the airport.
Steve’s review for the hotel is very comprehensive and accurate. While we were there the hotel was full and the clientele ranged in age from 20 to 60. It was 90% couples with a few singles, family groups and groups of friends throw in for good measure. Due to the medium size of the hotel you quickly get on nodding terms with many of your fellow guests and we got to know about 8 other couples very well even attending one couples wedding. I had an advantage in breaking the ice by getting to meet people through the diving with Adventure Eco Divers based at the Hotel (see my report in the Sports forum). My wife thoroughly enjoyed the spa treatments and only missed 1 of her 12. The Spa staff even rescheduled one treatment to the day of our departure to facilitate her.
The staff were most helpful at all times with my many queries. The only problem I found is they will not issue 2 room keys, which was a bit awkward, as I never knew exactly when I would return from scuba diving. This meant I had to search the hotel to find my wife to get access to my room.
One other point was on checking in they asked what date our wedding anniversary was as we had requested a bottle of champagne. We told them the 22nd but the big night came and went with no champagne. I took this up with one of the manageress a few days later and she was horrified and promised to rectify their mistake. True to her word the next evening a bottle of champagne and basket of fruit arrived to our room at the perfect moment.
It was great, especially the seafood night (Saturday) in the Bistro. I had been looking at so many lobsters during my scuba diving that it was great to actually get to eat one. The lamb (New Zealand) and the steaks were also excellent. The wine was fine as well and I even managed to get an after dinner "Hennessy" no problem.
My only moan was that the breakfast became a bit repetitive but only after 2 weeks.
We did our own by hiring a jeep at the hotel for 2 days (70$US a day + petrol) with another couple. We really enjoyed getting lost and finding our way around.
DAY 1: We did the argyle waterfall; lunch at Jemma’s in Speyside (Lobsters 200$TT a head not to be missed), Charlottesville and returned down the Caribbean side visiting Englishman’s Bay for a snorkel.
DAY 2: We visited Pigeon point and Scarborough and returned to ArnosVale hotel to snorkel and see the bird feeding at 4pm on the terrace with afternoon tea $60TT. You can buy a bird ID card for 7$TT at the Arnos Vale hotel.
All in all a really great holiday and worth every penny.
October 2004 Visit
J F Markham
Just returned from a lovely week in Tobago. Finally arrived after being delayed 2hrs at Gatwick with Excel Airways (more on them later).
Arrived at the hotel to a very laid back check in, but you soon learn to chill out and go with the flow. We had a garden view room, although fom there we had a good view of the sea. A very nice room, well maintained and well cleaned on a daily basis by the polite staff.
Overall we were very imprerssed with the hotel. The fact that no children are allowed appeared to suit most guests, as there are only 86 rooms you do not feel lost in some big complex. Also the food we had during the week was varied and good quality.
As per usual some fellow Brits were complaining, too Hot!, staff not helpful (not that we noticed).
The fact you had to get up at 6.30 each morning to put your towel on a lounger to ensure a parasol or a good seat was a bit of a pain, are we Brits turning into Germans? Plus the Spa was a bit of a dissapointment, the daily treatments are really only a taster and you would need extras for a good spa. The downside was they were so busy it was not possible to book the extra treatments they advertise. They either need to get extra staff or rethink their daily planning. They could make a lot more money if you could book extra treatments.
We would happily recommend the Grand Courlan and Tobago. Frankly there is not a lot to do on the island, we went on a day island tour and that was enough. However, if you want to chill out, with good weather (we had a great week and very little showers) and nice food and views this is the place.
As for Excel Airways the only thing I think they excel at is being late. The plane coming to Gatwick for us was late, we then departed late as we missed our slot. We were also advised they were to go via Grenada to deliver supplies, part way through the flight they then told no we are going straight to Tobago (late arrival anyway). On leaving we get to the airport to discover a 4 hour delay as the plane was late coming in! When we got on the plane neither the Captain or Crew made an apology and acted as though we were on time! So as far as I can see Excel cannot run an on time airline. The plane itself needed internal refurbishment, my seat was broken and the seat headset connection outbound and return was intermitent. Our advise would be to use an alternative such as BA or Virgin (BWIA got terrible reviews by some guests at the hotel).
1 Week In Sept Review
Well what can I say. We had the time of our lives. The best holiday we have ever had. I have never really suffered with going back to work after a Holiday until Tobago.
My wife an I stayed in room 215 which is on the ground floor over looking the rear gardens and the beach. The view was out of this world. The photos of the sun sets that we took are fantastic. The coulurs are breath taking. The room was of a large size with a king size bed, cable T.V, coffee making stuff and Air con which sadly sounded like a tractor when running. The bathrrom was a bit worn and you couldn't really say it was a 4 star but it was clean and a good size.
Food was probably the best I have had from a Hotel all inclusive but the beer was never very consistant. One day it would be fine the next it was that weak it looked like wee.
Staff were very friendly and very funny. Every time I spoke to someone thet just laughed. It must be they way us Coventry people speak.
This has got to be the best holiday i have ever had. The island is just fantastic. Words can not explain. We will be going back one day soon.
Decisions Decisons! Which Room? When?
Hello there...well finances done and it looks like we are about to book to go off to Tobago 2nd Dec at LGC! Thank you so much to all that have replied to me earlier. MUCH appreciated....Can any of you suggest which Ocean room to request or are they all the same?
It was between this and the Grafton, which we can just afford for the end Jan, when the prices hike up, but the travel agent said there were lots of children there when she went last January... I love kids but not on holiday.
Anyway, before we book, I would love some feedback on whether you feel we should wait (hurricane etc) until end Jan and go to The Grafton (looking across sadly from time to time at the grown up hotel?) or take the cheaper option and go in December to LGC and be pampered to bits!
Kate and Jon