Magdalena Grand Beach Resort - Review Page 1
Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in February 2012
Tobago’s new 4-star Magdalena Grand Beach Resort enjoyed a ‘soft’ opening on 15th December 2011. We enjoyed a week at the hotel while the hotel was still in shakedown mode. Consequently, we did not necessarily see the hotel at its very best and some of our exterior photographs do not do the hotel justice.
Offering 200 deluxe ocean-front rooms and suites, the Magdalena Grand is Tobago’s largest hotel. It boasts a range of features and facilities unrivalled elsewhere on the island.
The Magdalena Grand is a state-owned development enterprise. For eight years it operated as the Hilton Tobago Golf and Spa resort. The original building was totally unsuited to the punishing corrosive sea blast associated with the location. With the passing years, the immaculate external paintwork became increasingly defaced by stains from corroding metalwork. There was no way that the issue could be resolved with the hotel open and the Hilton group rescinded their management contract at the first opportunity.
Four years and US$25 million later, the property is better than new. The structural defects have been corrected and the property refurbished. To celebrate this new beginning, the hotel has been re-named and operates under the management of Florida-based EFM Hospitality Solutions, who have extensive experience in the field.
The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort is located in an area known as Lowlands, on Tobago’s Atlantic coast. It is just a 15-minute hop from A.N.R.Robinson International Airport and a similar distance to the island’s small capital, Scarborough.
The hotel is part of a 750-acre development project known as Tobago Plantations. The development includes a beautiful and challenging PGA-designed championship 18-hole golf course and more than a hundred villas and condominium units. Tobago’s only shopping mall and cinema are adjacent, just a mile and a half from the hotel. Shopaholics should kerb their excitement, however.
The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort sits at the southern end of a firm, dark sand natural beach, nearly a mile in length. How we would love to exercise our dog there! Behind the hotel are the immaculate greens of the golf course and a 60-acre protected virgin mangrove swamp that has become an increasingly important habitat for birds.
It should be noted that this location experiences the full strength of the dominant north-east trade winds. On a positive note, the Atlantic coast is noticeable cooler than the Caribbean, and mosquitoes are less common, which is why most of the population of Tobago live along the Atlantic coast.
The golf course is the only feature within easy walking distance of the hotel. Taxis are available and a regular shuttle service provided to popular Pigeon Point beach. However, as in all our reviews, we do recommend that visitors consider renting a self-drive car. It is by far the best way to make the most of a holiday in Tobago.
Visitors are sure to be impressed by the quiet charm of the hotel’s 3,400sq.ft. foyer, with its vaulted ceiling and wonderful views over the beautiful freeform pool backed by white-capped breakers.
Disabled access is reasonable and a lift (elevator) is available. Two rooms have been equipped for those with restricted mobility.
The hotel’s compound was cut from an area of tropical mangrove. Many of the original trees and bushes have been retained and considerable additional landscaping undertaken. We did not see the grounds at their best. Fortunately, plants grow rapidly in the tropics and I am confident that within a few months, the inevitable scars caused during refurbishment will have faded.
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