Review of Le Grand Courlan Hotel - stayed 18 to 26 March 06

70 room 4* All-Inclusive resort at Stonehaven Bay (listing)
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C Smith

Review of Le Grand Courlan Hotel - stayed 18 to 26 March 06

Post by C Smith » Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:06 pm

We travelled to LGC looking forward to a relaxing break in the Caribbean, and weren't let down. We're both in our late twenties, and so are quite young compared to the average LGC guest, but this was no barrier to having a good week.

Despite hearing horror stories about Excel airlines, we had no complaints about the flight over, and fifteen minutes after leaving the airport at Crown Point, we arrived at LGC to be greeted by a champagne cocktail.

Our travel operator had made an error, as we later discovered, and in the darkness, we didn't realise that the room allocated to us was a Garden View room, rather than the Ocean View which we'd booked. Thus we spent our first night in the "lower" category accomodation. This room had two major problems for us - firstly, the air conditioning air intakes were just outside the doors, and while it didn't trouble me (a heavy sleeper), my other half (an extremely light sleeper) struggled to get any rest due to the noise coming from these machines.

First thing in the morning, we were rudely awakened by the shrieking of the Chakalaka (spelling?!) birds, who appeared to live outside the room.

However, the mistaken room issue was spotted on our first morning, and the new Ocean View room was excellent - no air con noise, and almost zero bird noise (not much the hotel can do about that, of course, although we did learn that it was legal to shoot these particular birds...!)

The pool area is great - plenty of loungers for all, and both the poolside bar and main bar area are right next to the pool - shade and refreshment never far away.

The main bar also sits next to a games room - pool table etc - in which we found an ad libbed library, mainly from books left behind by guests. This was to prove a great resource, as we both got through the books we'd brought with us very quickly.

The beach bar is also good - two areas (shaded and non) - and our only regret was not realising that food was served here for lunch (more later) - a definite plus.

Drinks at all of the above were great, especially the cocktails (and mocktails), which were ice cold - always a good start.

Breakfast was good every day - wide range of food, including omelettes cooked to order while you watch; and the local birdlife is fully aware of breakfast times, as it gives them a chance to shun the early bird in favour of the easy pickings. It's wise to cover your juice up while heading back to the buffet - the fresh pineapple juice was a particular favourite of some of the smaller birds...!

Dinner was also good - I'm a fully fledged meateater, and loved the choices - the two restaurants each alternated between buffet and a la carte, so you'd always have a choice of styles each night. My other half is a vegetarian, and while her choice was somewhat limited (especially with the a la carte options), she did praise the quality of the dish (although vegetarian lasagne gets a bit samey after the third repetition in a week!).

Lunch was a let-down compared to dinner and breakfast for her, though. Very limited choice for the veggies, and I was surprised that there wasn't an allday snack bar - we had two excursions which ran until 3pm, at which point the restaurant was shut, leaving us food-less until dinner. However, the fare at the beach bar (where we went for an after-lunch drink on our last day, having eaten up at the hotel - d'oh!) looked much better.

The guest relations office is extremely good - Dan, the guy running it, knows his stuff, and all of the tours can be organised for you there by him. We'd prebooked an island tour, but the rainforest trip we booked with Dan was great, and he helped us throughout the week. The turtle watching trip is worth signing up for, although you won't know when you'll go until the last moment, when a turtle is spotted on a beach, nesting. Take money with you though - several guests seemed to think it was on the house!

In all, our week flew by, which is always a sign of a good vacation, and this was in large part due to the quality of the hotel and it's staff.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and would recommend this hotel to anyone.

Laura Wyatt

Le Grand Courland - Your Review

Post by Laura Wyatt » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:21 pm

:D Hi, I just wanted to say thank you very much for this honest and detailed review of Le Grand Courlan. Myself and my partner have booked to go there, and after reading some reports were starting to get worried that we have chosen the right place. Thank you for putting our minds at rest!

C Smith

Re LGC Review

Post by C Smith » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:41 pm

Laura,

No problem - if there's anything I can answer for you, please feel free to ask. While this website is exhaustive (and was the only source of info we needed to use all week), I can answer in depth queries on things like the hotel and the tours we took (and golf, if either of you play!) based on fresh memories.

Regards,

Chris

Laura Wyatt

Post by Laura Wyatt » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:09 pm

Thanks Chris, sorry it has taken me so long to reply to you I have been out of the office for some time and away from a computer! Some would say that was bliss but I just feel disconnected - apart from when I am on holiday of course when it's a pleasure to leave it behind!!!

MyTobago is one of the best websites I have ever seen - so much information in one place and totally objective! It's nice to know what to expect when you visit a place. Neither myself or my partner play golf so no info needed there but actually one of the reasons why we chose Le Grand Courlan is because we both wanted total and utter relaxation. It's nice to know from the things I have read here that that is what we will get. We were also slightly worried about the food from reading Trip Advisor but now I know not to worry about that!

I have just one question for you if you don't mind - I have heard conflicting advice on what currency to take, would you advise US Dollar travellers cheques or UK Sterling and can you get T&T dollars here in the UK?

Thank you very much in advance
Laura

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:21 pm

Hi Laura

Full details are available in our article (Odds & Sods/Money Matters), but keep to UK Sterling traveller's cheques and yes, you can get TT$ from any UK bank.
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Laura Wyatt

Post by Laura Wyatt » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:23 pm

Thank you Steve - and thank you for all the other wonderful advice on this website. I will post a review/overview when I get back from LGC later on in the year. I'm counting the days........ :P

Kindest Regards
Laura

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Post by Jill M » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:44 pm

Laura,

I have found that I needed to order the TT$ when I got them in my local town. So make sure you don't try & get them the day before you go. It's also very easy to withdraw TT$ cash from a cash machine on Tobago - that is if you are near one !!!

Jill

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Post by Mary Black » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:57 pm

no problems using atm's there is one just outside the airport-another half a mile along the road at the internet cafe/washeteria another at pennysavers in canaan and another below the emerald restaurant near LGC. I normally wait till I get off the plane and can always get cash somewhere. have a fantastic time

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Post by Jill M » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:37 pm

Laura,

I would definately get a few TT$ before you go, if only to be able to tip the porter after he has carried your bags to your room. (Our room last year at the Rex Turtle Beach was on the third floor.) The poor guy was puffing and panting after carrying two heavy bags up all those stairs. :shock:

Jill

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Post by Mary Black » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:37 pm

hi laura
sorry-missed a cash point at pigeon point cross roads(next to golden star restaurant) that makes 5! before you get to your hotel (or rex turtle beach) + you can always rough it and carry your own bags-the hotel will have exchange facilities probably at the same rate as english exchanges so dont worry just enjoy every moment

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Post by Jill M » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:51 pm

Mary,

There is also one at Pizza Boys, which is possibly the closest to where Laura is staying. However, if Laura is travelling on a package tour, she will be lead to a waitng minibus at the airport and taken directly to the hotel - only stopping to drop other passengers off. (it is very often cheaper to book the flight & hotel this way, which then includes transfer to hotel)

And, it's not always as easy as 'rough it and carry your own bags' they have normally disappeared while you are checking in and you are re-united with them at your room. This is the way the hotel likes to do it to help you stop worrying and enjoy every moment.

Jill

Laura Wyatt

Post by Laura Wyatt » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:20 am

:P :P Oh my goodness - thank you everybody for your wonderful advice! I'm so looking forward to going - I just wish we had booked two weeks instead of one - oh well I suppose we can always go back again!!!

Thanks all

Laura :D

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