It is very family-friendly, better-than-average all-inclusive resort with attractive grounds and beachfront. There is a wide variety of cuisine at five restaurants and a nightclub and entertainment nights. They have a good variety of activities, splendid pool facilities, and excellent Kid’s Club facilities.
Resort Experience:The Almond Beach Village, an all-inclusive resort on the northwest coast, caters to young couples who take a low-key approach to paradise, relaxing by the pool while their offspring play in the nanny-supervised daycare facility. A good hour’s drive from most of the Jazz Festival venues, the chief gripe of the press members housed here was the long commute by bus. Still, by the week’s end, most of us had grown fond of the place, particularly Enid’s Restaurant, which became a favorite dinner spot.
For one thing, the setting is lovely. Mornings I’d rise to walk along the beach to witness the glorious sunrise. Almond Beach wisely provides numerous beachside lounge areas, taking full advantage of the island’s natural beauty. Then, too, the resort is reasonably close to public transportation should you care to go AWOL from the resort as I did. The activities desk coordinates an array of reasonably priced day trips, and I spoke to several guests who had enjoyed these excursions. It was nice, too, to have such a wide variety of dining choices on site, though advance booking are required for the two most upscale restaurants, The Horizon and La Smaritta.
Still, I felt I wasn’t making the most of the resort experience. In truth, I may be unsuited to such a thing: I’m a do-it-yourselfer of the first stripe and restless to boot. An all-inclusive resort’s chief draw is that guests literally don’t have to do a thing. This resort, on the whole, succeeds in providing a carefree environment, though not of five-star caliber. It is, in short, a nice resort, but you’d want to be sure to get a discount or package and not pay rack rate. (That is precisely what many of the guests had done.)
My spacious room gave no cause for complaint. The decor had a standard-issue tropical theme; the air-conditioner was cold; and the shower was hot. There was a puzzling number of staff hanging listlessly about, though they were all quite pleasant. A slight aura of colonial days lingers, with the staff virtually all black and the majority of the visitors from the U.K.
If you were to ask me what this resort’s trump card is, I’d unhesitatingly say swimming pools. No fewer than five pool areas, each gorgeous, dot the property. I was amused to note that, though the resort wasn’t crowded, certain individuals would set out towels early at prime spots beneath pergolas or shade trees. They’d stake out their territory and lounged in the same spot each day.
While the appeal of sitting poolside day after day eludes me, there are clearly any number of people who regard this as the sine qua non of vacation experiences. If baking a deep brown in a lounge chair, a John Grisham novel in one hand and a piña colada in the other and the kids off being entertained elsewhere is your ideal vacation, then Almond Beach Village has your number.
November 29, 2004
From journal All Around the Island: The Barbados Jazz Festival