The Crane earns AAA Four-Diamond Award

Friday, December 26, 2008

WooHoo!  This is "our" place!

http://blog.thecrane.com/2008/11/

The Crane, for over 100 years a distinctive part of the Barbadian hospitality landscape, has today received new recognition with the bestowing of the prestigious Four-Diamond Award by the Automobile Association of America (AAA), joining the ranks of three other premier properties in Barbados.  Developed on a phased basis from its original 18 rooms over the last eight years, today this premier residential resort features 202 rooms, five swimming pools, and three restaurants.  Priding themselves on warm Barbadian hospitality, the hotel’s management and staff have placed increasing emphasis on service over the last number of years and are pleased to announce that, along with the concurrent product development, these training and development efforts have been rewarded with the AAA designation.

AAA Diamond ratings for hotels represent a combination of the overall quality, range of facilities, and level of services offered by the property, and the descriptive ratings are assigned exclusively to properties that meet and uphold AAA’s rigorous quality standards.  In order to receive a Four-Diamond Award, the property must be upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish, and the physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout. The fundamental hallmarks at this level include an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.  In 2008, a total of 1,159 hotels and 756 restaurants received the AAA Four Diamond Award. AAA Four Diamond hotels and restaurants represent just 3 percent of the 60,000 AAA Approved and Diamond rated properties.

Continuing its product development, The Crane will also open a Barbadian retail village in early 2009, to offer guests and visitors to the hotel a 3,000 square foot duty-free environ, a number of small shops and boutiques featuring local art, fashion and food products; two additional restaurants, and a new conference centre.  The resort is also adding three phases of garden residence suites before the end of 2009, bringing its total room inventory to 282.

While Crane Beach has long been recognized as one of the best beaches in the world, The AAA Four-Diamond award is added to a growing list of accolades that the resort has received recently, including the Pillar of Tourism Award in 2007 and the Top Restaurant - Food in the Best of Barbados Zagat 2009 Guide, for Zen restaurant.

Posted by MaryO at 2:26 PM 0 comments  

Barbados Port Overview

From http://blog.atlastravelweb.com/2008/12/barbados-port-overview/

Barbados is one of the best developed, most popular tourist destinations of the southern Caribbean. Often called the “Little England” of the Caribbean, blends the finer elements of British tradition with warm island hospitality. Located relatively close to South America, the nation of Barbados is around 270 miles northeast of Venezuela.  Explore the many beaches, rolling countryside, charming villages, old sugar mills and plantations that represent the colonial past of the island. Tour the East Coast where the Atlantic Ocean’s waves are a surfer’s paradise. Shop in the capital city or stay out late to party in the nightlife. The average annual temperature ranges from 70°F–87°F.

Ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, about a mile west of downtown Bridgetown.  You can shop for crafts and souvenirs in the terminal area. Barbados offers plenty of duty free shopping for jewelry, perfumes, liquor, pottery & cigars. Not interested in shopping, enjoy Barbados’ endless beaches, natural beauty, attractions and fine dining.  You can tour Barbados via car, 4 x 4, bus, catamaran or helicopter.  Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular shore excursions as well.

Rather than use the cruise line’s shore excursions, we wanted to book a private tour to create our own itinerary. We booked through Glory tours. Confirming everything via email was easy. Please note that the tour operators cannot come all the way to the ship, so there is about a 1/4 mile walk to where you meet up with the tour guides. Our interests were the Mt. Gay Rum Factory, the Barbados Wildlife reserve, Harrison’s Cave, St. John’s Church & Bathsheba.

The day did not go exactly as planned. There had been a small earthquake the day before and it was rumored that there may be an aftershock. So we opted for a 1/2 day tour rather than a full day. We got great pictures of area beaches and made it to the Wildlife Reserve. If I had it to do again, I would have skipped the reserve. Although it was interesting, it took up too much time and I did not get to see a Green monkey which was the main reasons I wanted to go and see them in their habitat. Apparently the monkeys normally come out around feeding time which is 3 p.m.  In my opinion, there are many other “must-sees” that you should spend your day in port enjoying:

Harrison’s Cave:  Travel through the winding tunnels in specially designed trams and make your way into the specially lighted caverns, view the majestic stalactites and stalagmites which have been growing from the floors and ceilings for many centuries. Cascading through the caves, the crystal blue waters form magnificent pools and waterfalls.
Get their early to avoid the lines.

Bathsheba:  It is said that Bathsheba, wife of King David, bathed in milk to keep her skin beautiful and soft. The surf covered white waters of Bathsheba are said to resemble Bathsheba’s bath in both appearance and health giving value. It is breathtakingly beautiful dramatic coastline of striking rock formations against which the Atlantic rollers break in cascades of foam.

Mt. Gay Rum Factory:  Discover the colorful history of Mount Gay Rum Learn how the world’s finest rum is made and then taste it. Enjoy Bajan cuisine in the verandah restaurant overlooking the sea. Then take home a taste of the Good Times from their store.

In speaking to other cruisers, they really enjoyed the Turtle and shipwreck snorkel excursion.

We are looking forward to going back to see these island highlights.