Guest Report

125 room budget all-inclusive hotel at Great Courland Bay (listing)
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Matt Jenkins

Guest Report

Post by Matt Jenkins »

Having just returned from RTB i feel after all my questions it is only fair that i post my review. Before i start i should say that this is as unbiased a review as i can offer!

We flew out there on the thursday virgin flight and arrived at the hotel at about 2:30. We were greeted at reception with a choice of either rum punch or fruit punch for the children. Beware..that rum punch is lethal stuff after a long flight! We waited for our room for 1 1/2 hours which, while frustrating, allowed us to have a wander around the hotel and find out where everything was. Before we were given our room we were given our wrist band...white for adult AI, yellow for children and gold for repeaters. There is a red band but i think its for children repeaters! Yes, these are annoying but there is little that can be done and i kept mine on but saw a few people who cut theirs of and carried it everywhere with them...not recommended if you lose things easily!

The hotel has one of the best locations on the island and the beach is fantastic. The sea is variable but on the whole i would say safe. There are a few freak waves every now and again but if you watch carefully you can see these coming. At various stages of the tides there are sometimes rip currents about 50-100m offshore but these should only be of trouble to strong swimmers...i was caught in one once but they are not very strong and you should swim sideways along the bay not against them!

We were shown to our rooms by one of the security guards who carried our cases. We were in room 220. Our first impressions were very favourable as the room was clean and neat, with the A/C delightfully cold after our travels! This room is in the old block but far enough from the pool to be quiet in the daytime but not such a long walk for meals and for the bar in the evening! this room had a separate room with a single bed in and a larger room with 2 singles in. The A/C was quiet and powerful.

After relaxing a while we went to dinner and were very surprised. Having read reports on here i was prepared for the worst but the food on the whole was superb. Throughout the whole stay we had the buffet and yes, whilst i agree it isn't gormet food for a buffet it is very good. There is a mix of local dishes every night from goat curry with roti to roast beef and yorkies. There is a fish option every night and always a mix of fresh veg and salads to choose from. There is also a soup option which is usually good at both lunch and dinner. Breakfast is also good with a choice of a continental breakfast, toast, cereal, yogurt, fruit juice and cooked breakfast. There is also fresh fruit being sliced every morning but the chefs as you watch. The cooked is usually good and you can have an omlette or fried egg (or boiled) cooked as you wait by the chef. There is a lady who does this who has appauling manners and is very rude (but she has been commented on before) she doesn't cook on the breakfast all the time (thank god) and comments have been made to the manager. In all our time this is the only poor member of staff we met.

The pool is superb but not suitable for any proper swimming. It is always very welcome on the very hot days though! And now for my grumble..before i go on: i'm 22, patient and easy going! The main annoyance of my stay was children. Not all children i should say but those whos parents thought it acceptable to let their children do what they wanted without any discipline. The various parents of about 6-8 children found it acceptable to start drinking at 10am, leaving their children unsupervised in the pool (clearly against the hotel's pool rules). The children then jumped from the jacuzzi into the main pool despite the security repeatedly telling them not to. The pleas of Brent (the fantastic barman) fell on deaf ears. For those who have not been yet the main pool is 1m deep and running around the jacuzzi is a shelf 0.5m deep. Luckily no child was seriously hurt but please, have some repect for the hotel and the staff who are concerned for your safety! These same children were allowed to run around during dinner and also through the entertainment, distracting the performers. Enough said but i really do think that whilst it was a holiday their behaviour was unacceptable and showed disrespect for staff and fellow guests!

Onto nicer things: on our very first night a huge leatherback turtle came up and laid its eggs in front of the bar on the beach. It was amazing to see and nice to see that people refrained from using flash. Near the end our stay we helped release some baby leatherbacks and this was the highlight of our trip.

The weather was good and most days you can expect a mixture of cloud and very hot sun. We only had one day of heavy rain, although showers can be expected most days, especially in the afternoon.

The bar is good and all drinks are cold. Brent is a fantastic barman and always willing to chat. Vernon may seem very grumpy but is often fed up with the rudeness of guests...it was amazing to see how few said please or thank you. In response to previous posts...no the drinks are not watered down and yes they do put in a lot of ice...but that's because it melts so fast in the heat!

The rooms were cleaned every day and the staff were very friendly. The other person who deserves a mention is the general manager who was friendly an hlepful. He mingles with the guest and i was amazed one morning at breakfast to see him clearing tables because they were short staffed!

An experience not to be missed is to help (or watch) the locals hauling seine. It is very hard work and i helped a few times. It takes about 2 hours for the net to come in and it may look easy but the net is lead weighted and weighs a ton! I lost all the skin from my hands but was good fun. The guys will appreciate your help and on the last day they asked if i wanted a fish from the net and i went away with a red snapper, which the executive chef cooked for us that night.

One word of warning: there is a guy on the beach who is trouble. He has a speech impediment and i think learning dificulties. He will try to give you mangoes and then demand money for them. On one day he stole money from a family walking the beach and has been reported to the police and security. He is hated by both security and locals alike, who believe he is giving them a bad name. He has probably ben dealt with by now, either officially or unofficially. It is not something to be concerned about but to be aware of. I should stress that every local i met was as friendly as possible and are far friendlier than anywhere other island i have been too.

Another person who deserves a special mention is WOODY but for very good reasons. Often to be found around the hotel offering tours, his boat is also used for watersports and my brother (a very keen waterskiier who had taken his own monoski) went out with him on a number of occasions and had a great time. On the last day Woody said he could have a free ski for his repeated custom. This was very kindhearted and a nice gesture. So thank you again Woody.

All in all it was a fantastic holiday and we would definately return. I hope you have enjoyed this review, both the good and the bad but i honestly think the RTB to be the best i have stayed in. My brother prefers it to Coco Reef because it is smaller and in a better location.

I wish anyone who is going a great holiday!

Matt :D

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Matt

Thanks for your report.

How would you rate your overall satisfaction level with the hotel, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (0=worst; 5=best)?

The reports appearing in the Accommodation listings are the same as those in the Forum sub-forums. The only difference is that readers can allocate a Satisfaction ranking for the property when posting in the accommodation section - a feature that is too complex to introduce in the forum. The Satisfaction rankings can only be seen in the accommodation listings, but are a useful feature that summarises visitor opinion about the property.

If you let me know your ranking, I will add it to your report above and to the overall rankings for the property.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to share your impressions.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Matt Jenkins

ranking

Post by Matt Jenkins »

hi steve,

i would give RTB a 4

Thanks for all your hard work,
Matt

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