Le Grand Courlan Resort & Spa
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Historical Traveler Reviews Le Grand Courlan Resort & Spa Black Rock
Stayed for two weeks Aug/Sept 2003. Had a great holiday. The accommodation, the staff, the food and the service were top notch. And the daily spa treatments were just the icing on the cake. Also, as a single traveller I often find that I can be forgotten but not here - the staff ensured that I received at least the same, if not more attention so that my holiday was made all the more memorable.
My 4th and best trip to Tobago
This was my 4th visit to Tobago (first to this hotel) it was my wife and stepsons first. We have visited 4 other islands and this is our favorite. We had seen a number of negative reports about the hotel before leaving but were pleased to find our impression differed. The island had changed little in the 6 years since I was last there. We found the hotel good, the staff excellent, the food was good and varied. The fresh fruit served at breakfast was excellent. The Spa treatments were great and changes in timings and treatments were possible. I would certainly return to this hotel.
Not all that...
We spent the second week of our honeymoon here, after spending a great week in Barbados.
The hotel was quiet & well presented and we were looking forward to a lazy week of pampering.
But, the staff here really let it down. They're not laid back, just slow and un-caring.
Drinks & food in the restaurants take ages to come, and the accuracy on your order is poor too.
We enjoyed the week, but wished we had stayed in Barbados.
Wouldn't recommend this hotel.
Great base for visiting Tobago
Le Grand Courlan has a wonderful site on the beautiful and unspoiled Caribbean side of Tobago. The hotel facilities are fine but, as noted by other reviewers, are in need of some general maintenance and sprucing up.
The hotel staff, especially those in the restaurant and bars, were unfailingly cheerful and willing to help. However, the cateriig and spa suffer from a lack of imagination and poor management. The spa treatment was dictated on arrival and it was impossible to change any of the appointments or treatments. Mine were all timed between 11am and 1pm and, as we spent several days out exploring the island, these were missed.
The main restaurent relied heavily on self-service buffets - fine for breakfast and lunch but not OK for dinner when food appeared to have been prepared hours before and left on hotplates. The Caribbean Bistro was much better.
In summary, booked as a last minute "deal", this was a good base for a first visit to Tobago. Best to hire a Suzuki (reasonable and available at the hotel) and explore. Avoid over-priced tour packages (sold hard by the local tour rep on day 1) and do it yourself - much, much more fun!
Things must have changed
My husband and I have just returned from 2 weeks at Le Grand Courlan and , despite the brochure speak sounding so good, we had read the reviews on this site and were a little apprehensive to say the least.
We were greeted on arrival with a cocktail and very friendly young man to take our bags to our garden room as booked - which turned out to be facing grass, palm trees and the beach. The room was large, well-equipped, beautifully cool from the air-con and spotlesly clean.
We have never spent such a relaxed holiday! Food and drink were excellent, plenty of choice from local to international dishes and branded drinks. The spa treatments, even though they suffered from being understaffed at times, were always conducted in a thoroughly professional and calming manner. Our memories are of a very efficient yet friendly staff who were always eager to please. We had 2 days out whilst there and once again met the nicest, knowledgeable people, always eager to share their island. The main problem was from insect bites - so go armed with plenty of repellant! We agree with one of your previous reviewers that the hotel has obviously been grander - it needs a handyman on site for all those little jobs and the pool needed a good overhaul - but the standard of service could not be faulted. Le Grand Courlan is a hotel we would not hesitate to recommend if you want a quiet, relaxing holiday.
Sadly not maintained
This hotel gives the impression that it was once grand but has sadly been left to decline. The staff though friendly provided an extremely slow service. Reception were particularly unhelpful, when we asked to have bottled water in the room we were told that we had to buy it from the shop as they did not supply it, yet other rooms were supplied with water. The a la cart resturant was self service buffet due to staff shortages. However the Bestro downstairs had excellent service and food. The spa only provided 15 - 20 minute treatments with many not available even when we offered to pay for them. Rooms were only given a cursory clean. The Hotel rates itself as one of the most luxurious spa hotels in the Caribbean this is most definatly is not.
This hotel makes Fawlty Towers look organised.
5 star prices with 2-3star service and facilities. Spa is either closed, treatments cancelled or altered and no alternative given-they choose not you. Not all treatments listed in brochures are available or if they are it is at an extra charge. Staff shortages result in slow service and A la Carte becoming a buffet. Water restrictions are in force in the dry season but it is still possible to purchase extra water but this hotel didn't while we were there. We were eventually supplied with 5 gallon water containers in our room. Staff try but VERY badly managed. Go to Tobago but NOT to this hotel!!
A disappointing experience
After a long flight it was disappointing to be shown to our room, to find that the outside Garden Jacuzzi was unuseable, dirty and full of green algae. The relevent chemicals were added the next day after we had complained, but the tiles and surrounding area were not cleaned all week. The standard of the restaurant food was good, and the service was generally prompt and friendly, but again this was spoilt by the general level of cleanliness, with tablecloths left in place despite food stains.The pool area and bars were pleasant and the service was good, but the beach area was very poor. The beach loungers were dirty and broken, the area was strewn with litter, and there was no help in carrying the loungers. Particularly disappointing was the Spa. There was no choice in the pre-allocated half hour appointments, and many of them lasted no more than 10 - 15 minutes. Because of lack of towels and water, which was only available in the hotel for a limited number of hours a day, treatments were cancelled without warning, and the general atmosphere was of "couldn`t care less". Certainly not the promised relaxing experience.The hotel has all the facilities in place to be first rate, but is spoilt by the lack of attention to detail, and general cleanliness. Despite it being the dry season during our visit, other hotels did not suffer the same water shortage, and this again needs to be addressed if the hotel wants to encourage repeat visits.
Wedding in December
I would like to express my thanks to everyone at Grand Courlan who did such a wonderful job of looking after my wedding guests in December! I would like to thank them very much for the excellent service and care that the managers and staff gave them, and also everything that was done to assist me personally with holding my wedding in the garden next door. An absolutely excellent time was reported by all! The wedding was completely lovely and we all had a fabulous weekend! I cannot thank them enough for all of the help with the guests bookings, the honey-night room, the boothes, the advice, etc, etc.
Slow, but nice...
In tobago the make an art form out of being slow... the Phrase 'on tobago time' is widely over-used, as an excuse for poor customer service. In general though the service was very friendly.. just slow.
The 'all inclusive' meals were fine, nothing spectacular. The spa treatments were short, 30 mins a day, and mostly not worth waiting around for. There wasn't a choice anyway... The sports equipment was fine... a couple of sit on top kayaks and a windsurf...
The beach is quite nice.
Don't expect special treatment if you're on honeymoon, because everyone else is also..
by day 3 you're definately be looking for optional excursions - definately visit the rain forest!
One thing worth checking out... despite Kuoini stating that it was child free, two did arrive on our second last day... with the usual crying, screaming etc... Up to that it had been very relaxing. One couple (more honeymooners) had to request a chance of room away from the kids, just to get some sleep.
TripAdvisor Reviews Le Grand Courlan Resort & Spa Black Rock
Travel Blogs from Black Rock
... to be a half kilometre away! The major waterfall Argyle Falls was beautiful.. Even had the diamond shapes as it threads over the rocks...10$ american to view and Niagara Falls is free foregoing the parking. But you want to pay the Tobagans! Not a lot of tourists which we love but not so good for them. Found out yesterday that cruise ships come here as well but no docking facilities.. A real treat was the entertainment of Allison at the entrance gate to the falls. We drank Carib ...
Yesterday was a very busy day as we travelled the island and discovered beaches as requested by Mark Pearce! It was a tough job but we took it on! The Atlantic side is choppier but temperatures similar to the Caribbean side! First stop was beer shooters and stretch of legs. Lunch of snapper and trimmings was on the beach at Charlottesville, the upper tip of Tobago! ...
Better than any story we were reading was the entertainment of the Castara Bay fishermen who were setting out their 160m seine net to capture anchovies. It was a 7 man job! We also discovered that a delicious delicacy of Tobagans is pelican meat. As we were watching the round up of the catch a man threw a short log at the fish raiding pelicans which took one out( see picture). Their hour and a half job yielded only a sand pail of anchovies. Rick ...
... privilege of hearing the first of Anna Pavord's lectures. Her subject is 'The Caribbean' and her approach is entirely impressionistic; she gives not a single fact or figure. Her allusions to the peculiarly tropical vegetation recalled plants such as jade vines and tree ferns that we had seen at the gardens we visited and her descriptions of Codrington College, the rugged Atlantic coast and St. Nicholas Abbey (she called it a more extraordinary example ...
... and snorkeling spots. The spots were better than most of the other Caribbean spots, but still not super great. The Buckoo Reef is supposed to be the second oldest coral reef in the world. I don't believe this, but they say this is based on how fast the coral grows and if they measure that, then they can judge how old the reef is.
The locals here in Tobago were extremely annoying. I have never seen so many aggressive people ...