3.75/5 Overall (4.25/5 with access to other properties)
Crystal Cove is part of Elegant Hotels. It consist of a collection of 7 luxury resorts in Barbados and1 location in St. Lucia. Crystal Cove is one of 4 all-inclusive properties within the Elegant Hotels portfolio (recently acquired by Marriott Hotels) and is located on the Western coast of Barbados roughly 30 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from Bridgetown, and a 5 minute drive to Limegrove—an upscale shopping and dining area.
The property is located on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach with calm waves and included water activities for a perfectly relaxing beach holiday. In addition to all that Crystal Cove has to offer, you also get access to all of the other properties (i.e. Waves, Tamarind, Turtle Beach) via a complimentary water taxi which really makes it an exceptional value.
Also, as you are planning your trip be sure to check out our Best Places To Visit While in Barbados. It has a variety of travel tips that range from activities, best local restaurants, nightlife options, and even some secret gems!
3.5/5 Location: Crystal Cove offers a beautiful beach location during the day—it is on the western coast of the Island with a long stretch of beach and calm turquoise seas. Additionally, Crystal Cove is part of the Elegant Hotels groups and allows access to use any of the properties amenities. Guests can easily take the complimentary water taxi to Waves to the South of the property or Tamarind, Treasure Beach, or Colony Club to the North. The one caveat regarding the location is that it is quite quiet once the sun goes down.
While the property has a bar on site and nightly entertainment, the options for true nightlife on the property or in the area are extremely limited. You would need to be closer to St. Lawrence Gap if you really wanted to get the club scene in Barbados which is where the Turtle Beach resort is located. So Crystal Cove is great if you are more of a luxury-traveler trying to relax as the upscale Lime-Grove shops and restaurants are not too far away but not an ideal location if you are really trying to “turn-up”.
2.5/5 Vibe: We visited the property when I was 7 months pregnant so we were not really looking for a turn-up, but rather a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York for a few days. While we were looking for a relaxed vacation, the vibe at Crystal Cove was even more relaxed and had an older demographic than we were anticipating. During the day, people were at the beach, in the pool, or exploring other properties but after about 9 or 10PM it was pretty much a ghost town. We did however enjoy the ability to visit Waves Hotel right next door, which had a slightly livelier bar scene after hours (and a better mocktail menu).
5/5 Amenities: Crystal Cove had all of the amenities you would look for in a luxury resort: motorized water sports (at no additional charge), top-shelf alcohol, non-stop food, a large gym, the best beach of Elegant’s all-inclusive properties, and three swimming pools on site (one is 24 hours…just saying) . And while we didn’t need it quite yet, there is also an included kids club which offers complimentary child care and activities throughout the day. Despite us visiting during the busy season, the resort never felt too crowded. While we did not quite make it to the gym as we had planned, we did take advantage of the Hobie cat sailboat and wakeboarding that were amazing.
4.5/5 Rooms: The property includes 88 rooms and suites, each of which has its own private balcony. Our room was EXCEPTIONAL!! We stayed in an ocean view one bedroom suite which was extremely spacious with a balcony that opened right to the beach. What I loved about this room in particular was that it was bi-level with the living area on the ground floor and the bedroom upstairs. The room also had a bathroom on each of the levels making it big enough to comfortably fit 4 adults and for my husband to have his own bathroom. The bed was extremely comfortable and the air conditioner was crucial during March in Barbados. Additionally, the room also had a well-stocked mini bar with various beverages (also included).
3/5 Food and Libations: The property has one main restaurant on site called Reflections, a beach bar/grill and a coffee and cocktail bar. We primarily dined at Reflections; we had dinner there our first night as well as daily breakfast and lunch on our last day at the property. Overall, we found the food at Reflections to be just OK. The dinner menu changes nightly—while we were there we had the lamb shank and a chicken and pasta dish. Breakfast was buffet style with different breads, pastries, fruits, and all of the usual suspects such as bacon, french toast, hash browns etc. including a station for omelets and eggs cooked to order.
As I have previously mentioned, one of the major benefits of staying at an Elegant property is the access to the other resorts within the portfolio. We had the opportunity to visit nearby Waves Resort for both lunch at the property’s main restaurant as well as dinner at Shiso, the on-site Asian- fusion restaurant. Our meal at Shiso was the best meal we had during our stay and one of the best meals we’ve had over the course of our many visits to Barbados. Everything from the dumpling appetizers to the fish and meat dishes for our main course to the Japanese cheesecake were delicious!
As far as drinks go, Lawrence quite enjoyed the rum punch and other cocktails at both properties and I appreciated the bartender’s ability to make great mocktails. So the combination of Crystal Cove and Waves we gave this category a 3 but if we were judging Waves on its own it would be a 4 if not a 4.5!
While this property is an all-inclusive and you don’t really need to leave the property, if you have a longer stay on the island and want to check out some local restaurants, check out the Barbados Travel Tips on our site with over 30 tips from different Black and Brown Travelers.
4.0/5 Affordability and Value: Crystal Cove offers 6 different room types (pool/ garden view rooms, ocean view rooms, garden and ocean view junior suites, and garden and ocean view one bedroom suites). During the low season, rooms at Crystal Cove can start as low as roughly $425/night for a Garden View double occupancy room however, room prices can range as high as $1200/night for ocean view suites during high season. To be clear, this is an all-inclusive resort so you will have to splurge a bit but what you get for your money I think is well-worth the value. In your room rate you get all-inclusive meals and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for two people, access to 5 different beaches, many pools at the various resorts, and motorized and non-motorized watersports, access to free water taxis, and access to the amenities and restaurants of the 4 other all-inclusive properties — Can’t beat that! So again, it may not be the most “affordable” property, the value is spot on!