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Pools at The Crane (4)

Barbados’ Crane Hotel

Real Weddings – Destinations & Honeymoons
By Lauren Kramer

Barbados is an island with two distinct faces. One is peppered with hotels, resorts, golf courses and shops. The scent of tourism hangs in the air, bikini-clad visitors stretch lazily on the beaches, glamorous hotels are a dime and a dozen and a buzz of busyness prevails.

Then there’s the east coast, known more for its seclusion, and for beaches that boast no less beautiful shores but rougher surf. It’s this part of the Caribbean island, in the parish of St. Phillip, to be precise, that’s hone to the Crane Hotel, the country’s oldest establishment and a first choice for honeymooners seeking a combination of discrete elegance and pure privacy.

Founded in 1887, the Crane is located on a 200-foot bluff overlooking Crane Beach’s rolling, indigo-coloured waves. The craggy rock face is weathered by wind and pounding surf, and from its plateau the hotel’s rooms and restaurant receive4 delicious Atlantic breezes that take the edge off Barbados’ melting hot temperature.

4Renovated four years ago under new ownership by Canadian Paul Doyle, the Crane has taken pains to preserve its history while modernizing its facilities. That history speaks of a time long past in its ancient exterior walls, giving the hotel a grand, Romanesque character. But inside, there’s nothing aging about this establishment.

Menu of the rooms feature large, private swimming pools or plunge pools on their decks. French doors welcome the cooling breeze, and Mahogany four-poster king beds contrast exquisitely with creamy linens and original coral walls. The hotel offers in-room DVD players, large-screen televisions, fully equipped kitchenettes in all suites, washers and dryers in some and wireless internet access throughout – complete with the loan of free laptops, in case you can’t resist the lure of email.

The marble bathrooms are decadent, with an array of fine lotions and soaps, spacious walk-in showers and Jacuzzi tubs for two with candles at the ready for added ambience. In the ocean-view rooms, the bathrooms have unobscured visual access to the water.

We’ll give you the honey, and we’ll show you the moon.” quips Paul Collymore, director of operations at the Crane Hotel. When honeymooners arrive, they receive complimentary wine and flowers in their rooms, he adds.

A winding staircase traverses the rock face, offering direct access to a beach where milky-white sand meets the foamy waves and adults rediscover their childhood in the surf. Pristine and uncrowded, it’s the kind of beach that beckons long romantic walks at sunset, joyous, joyous cavorting in the waves – with boogie boards where possible – and naps on the lounging chairs, beneath the shade of an umbrella. You’ll find no watersports out here, no dive boats, catamarans or noisy vessels filled with partying tourists.

“We sell tranquility and a sense of pristineness that’s somehow compromised by commercial enterprise,” says Andrew Zephirin, general manager. He’s talking about the west coast of Barbados, a place of great beauty, but a completely different kind of charm and attraction.

The only hotel on Barbados’ south-east coast, the Crane offers a calm, peaceful environment where the predominant sounds are the crash of waves and the whistle of the wind. Brace yourself for exhilarating sunsets, inspiring views, a suite that’s hard to leave and a destination that pulses with a distinctly Caribbean rhythm.