I have been to lots of all inclusives in the Caribbean and there have been a full clutch of new openings or re-openings, but what makes Almond Morgan Bay exceptional?
It is not their big rooms, there range of included watersports and land sports, their evening entertainment or their kids club. These are good but there are other properties with the same attributes. For me it was the excellent food and outstanding service. Morgan Bay has 4 restaurants and we ate in all of them. On the first night dinner in The Palms had as its highlight some excellent lamb chops. We spent an enjoyable Christmas Eve in their French restaurant Les Jardines. My wife had a sensational crab bisque soup. We spent most time in the Bambou restaurant with good buffet breakfasts and lunches. It was close to the sea with excellent views. We also enjoyed an evening of fish on the newly built wooden pier restaurant – Morgan Pier. I liked the jerk grouper. It is quite unusual to find drinkable house wine in the 4 star Caribbean and it was a pleasant surprise.
In all the restaurants and throughout the hotel, the staff were excellent in their greetings and banter. It did not seem to be the skin deep American “How are you doing?” The St Lucians are proud of their island and language – Patois. They seemed generally interested in chatting with the guests.
A lot of this has to do with the experienced hotel manager Keith Woodhouse and his training team. Keith has run hotels like the St James Club and Blue Waters in Antigua and was also manager of Morgan Bay under the previous ownership. He managed to keep most of his good team and augment them with some new talent. They all spent 6 weeks training in Barbados at the sister hotels
Finally what makes Almond Morgan Bay a star property is that 5 star food and service can be enjoyed at 4 star prices. For the rest of January and February you can enjoy a weeks all inclusive at about L1100. The hotel is not without its issues – there is no dive school; the water pressure in our shower left a lot to be desired; Almond seem to have bought a job lot of pink, blue and orange paint from the Sandals supplier which makes it a bit gaudy and for me the gym is too small, but that is being pretty picky.
Almond Beach Village in Barbados
It had come in for a lot of flack in December with its new block not being completed on time and some unfortunate overbookings.
The new rooms are now done and the hotel is looking great. For me the kids’ facilities at this hotel are outstanding. As well as the kids club, kids food like pizzas, chips and burgers are constantly on tap. The hotel watersports are augmented by the activities of Captain Rumpy who has jetskis, speedboats and a variety of contraptions to tow behind a speedboat (not included in the all inclusive price but lots of fun). There is also the small pitch and putt golf course, squash courts and tennis courts.
There are four restaurants to choose from in the evening and all guests agreed that the Italian was outstanding in quality and service, shame about the undrinkable house wine, but you can always trade up and buy something decent.
We went as a couple and feared to start with that we would be overrun with kids, but there are lots of quiet corners and an adult only pool.