Coral Gardens Hotel, Providenciales
Reviews - Coral Gardens Hotel
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Historical Traveller Reviews of Coral Gardens Hotel
Truthful review: excellentfrom jjpavano
Coral Gardens low key Provo delightfrom cheddie
Our deluxe unit had a well-equipped kitchen, but the furniture showed some wear and tear. The bedroom furniture had only two small drawers for clothes; as a result, I never unpacked my suitcase and used it to access clothes during the stay.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the vacation - fellow guests who paid less than us for their room ended up getting upgraded to a suite and couldn't resist telling everyone about their good deal, despite it's tendency to turn off other visitors.
Great location,Great stafffrom A TripAdvisor Member
Loved Coral Gardensfrom A TripAdvisor Member
Teriffic location, intimate setting, excellent servicefrom crashesspam
Travelling from NYC, we made the 8am AA from JFK and were on the beach with a rum punch and snorkle gear before noon. We were greeted upon arrival in the breezeway by Ricardo from guest services. While our room was not yet ready, he immediatey took our luggage and offered us a just vacated room to change into beach gear. From here we headed into the dive shop to grab some snorkle gear. 5 minutes later we were on the beach with two chairs and towels that Charles, the beach guy, setup. Moments later Gregorio brought over a couple of rum punches from the manager, Andre. Looking out over the unbelievable water with the reef just off shore, we were in heaven. What a great start! More importantly, it never went downhill.
The reef is amazing, one of the few that you can wade right into, it is large and vibrant, we saw beautiful coral, turtles, a nurse shark, barracuda, sea stars, and teams of colorful fish. Setup as a buoyed circle to protect the shallower areas, the snorkel route becomes a loop over varying depth. It is a public area, actually a National Park and many from the other resorts nearby, Beaches, Sands etc... walk the beach to snorkel here. It never felt crowded. Coral Gardens guests have chairs and towels and umbrellas right in front. A couple times a day, the staff come around with ice cold towels and a parfait glass of sorbet. A nice touch.
Coral Gardens is a smaller resort, only about 30 rooms. Our room was spacious, over 1500sf, and picturesque. We had one of the upper ocean grand suites with full frontage views and spanning sliding doors. Our view north and west was perfect for the sunsets. We did see some of the other rooms and they were nice and spacious, split level and overlooking the pool area. The larger suites, 2 bedrooms, had wrap around decks.
Andre and his staff are warm and attentive. Our stay was hassle free. No nickel and dime annoyances. We dined mostly at the Beach Cafe for breakfast and lunch. The Beach Cafe is the central hub, located just behind the dunes. Here the kitchen, bar, tables and a guest internet kiosk were located. This is where guests and staff mingled and met. Breakfast was included and was varied from simple fruit to Continental to Eggs and Panckaes with an island flair. The food was good and the coffee was great. Lunch, not included, was similar, a varied menu, from Roti's to a daily fish special. These were all reasonably priced and well served. We took our lunches on the canopied roof of the Beach Cafe.
On Tuesday, Andre himself prepares a managers dinner on the beach. Literally, a table set in the sand he prepares a 5 course tasting menu with varied wines for up to 12 people. We loved it and faced west to enjoy a unique al fresco sunset dinner.
The Coyaba restaurant on the grounds is simply special. It is billed as the finest on the island and while I cannot compare to others on the island, I can compare it to others based on my NYC life. The chef, Paul and his wife Karen have hit on one of the best combinations of atmosphere, service and food that we have experienced anywhere. The food was super, the flavors and presentation were varied and showed Continental, Indian and Island influences. NOTE: It is expensive, dinner for 2 with wine can top $200, but they earned it.
A couple of TCI things to note: General cell phone service is not available and land calls are heavily surcharged. The Gecko bus service is excellent for getting around the island for those of you not ready to drive on the left. It stops at all the resorts and shopping areas. The airport was fine and the taxis were numerous and clean.
Who is this place good for: Couples, absolutely. Families, with young toddlers, yes. Families with 9yr+, yes. We plan to return with ours.
In my opinion, the families with 3-8yr olds may find Beaches or Sands more matched to their current situation. This has nothing to do with CG, I am sure they welcome all, but rather just my experience with kids in this bracket and the issues with dining and entertainment needs.
Wonderful rooms, staff so-so.from A TripAdvisor Member
THE RESORT. The important thing I would like to note is that the Coral Gardens is a hybrid--each condo unit is owned by someone but the place is run like a resort. As a result, at least in our experience, we didn't receive the same level of service as one would expect from a resort. For example, as I'm sure any of your beach travellers will know, you are undoubtedly going to track some sand into your room/suite. We found that while the people who cleaned our room did a fine job for the most part, we do not believe that they were regularly washing the floors. We didn't get to determine whether this was the case because after the 1st 2 days of feeling little sand particles on our feet, we took to wearing sandals all around the suite until bedtime.
THE STAFF. Unlike other places we have travelled to, we felt that there was a lot of missing information that would have been very helpful. They do provide you with an informational packet when you arrive but there is much information that would be so easy to include and would make for a smoother stay.
Don't get me wrong, everyone that you speak with is incredibly friendly. It was actually the oddest thing because you would approach the staff and they would be happy to talk to you but there would be no follow-through. 2 cases in point:
1. We realized from the get-go that we were going to need a car rental to explore and shop. My husband went to the front desk person (which, by the way, there is no "front desk" but is actually a person who sits at a computer in the Beach Cafe) to inquire whether there were any cars available (the resort apparently has a limited number of rentals available on-site. He was told that none were available but that one would be ready the next day. The next morning, we went to inquire about the car and were told that the cars hadn't been returned yet but that he (the staff person assisting us) would know within 1/2 hour. Then he disappeared. We called down to check and were told (by a different staff person) that there would no cars available that day. When my husband told this new person that we had talked about this with Staff Person #1, we were told #1 would call us back within 10 minutes. He never called us back.
By this point, we were starting to get annoyed so decided to just rent our own car through Hertz. When we went downstairs to get picked up, Staff Person #1 walked past my husband and greeted him but did not even acknowledge our continual requests for a car rental.
2. As part of our package, we were offered a sunset cruise offered through an independent company. The main person working in the dive shop was incredibly friendly and told DH that we were booked for Thursday evening. He claimed that there was no earlier availability due to "private charters." When we went down on Wednesday to confirm, a different staff person was there and said there was no sunset cruise offered for Thursday. Based on the information we received from this 2nd person, we believed that the 1st person had provided us with false information (including when he stated that no sunset cruises were available earlier in the week). The 2nd person booked us immediately and even called our room soon thereafter to confirm that we would be booked for a cruise on Friday (which we were very thankful for).
Needless to say that based on these 2 incidents, my husband was quite unhappy with the level of service we received...and we are relatively easy going travellers. His opinion did change somewhat when we participated at a resort function because we met a wonderful staff person named Andre who seemed to have quite a lot of information and was incredibly helpful to us. My husband later queried where Andre had been hiding all the days leading up to us meeting him :)
TIPS. Here are some tips which might be helpful to someone who will be staying at this resort:
1. Get your chairs EARLY. This is no joke. We went out earlier and earlier each day to try to reserve an umbrella/chairs and we never got them until one morning when we set the alarm for 7:30 am! We took our stuff down there and plopped it on the chairs and went back to sleep. We were unable to determine if there was some sort of scam going on where the staff might be putting towels down for someone but we could never figure it out. The reason why we thought there might be a "situation" is because one morning, we heard this husband/wife come down and were telling one of the resort's salesman that the husband was an NFL player. We saw an employee take towels off some chairs and directed the couple to sit there.
2. Breakfast not so great. You may want to consider, if you go shopping at the wonderfully huge IGA, purchasing breakfast items. We found that we became bored of the breakfast very quickly. Don't forget that you are not just limited to what is listed on the menu. You can order scrambled eggs, hardboiled eggs, etc. even though it is not on the menu.
3. Bar-b-que. The Beachside Cafe has a private grill that they can pull out for guest's own personal use--you just have to ask them.
4. Roof bar--the resort's materials claim that they have a rooftop bar. If you step back, you will see that this is actually on the roof of the Beachside Cafe. There are steps leading up to it from the East side of the building.
5. Pack food if you are getting kitchen. Our unit had a full kitchen with stove/oven, microwave, toaster, dishwasher. We wished we had given more thought to this ahead of time because we would have brought some of our own stuff such as tea and our favorite microwave popcorn.
6. Snorkelling. The snorkelling is great here. There is a little turtle family that lives here as long as star fish, etc. Not that there is a roped off area (in form of circle which you CAN NOT go in). We saw one couple (not from the resort) enter the circle and there was a huge row because Coral Gardens' staff were trying to tell the couple they were going to have to pay a $2000 fine. Grace Bay Beach (on which Coral Gardens is located) is a national park and there is a heavy emphasis on protecting the reef so do not make the mistake of going into the circle. Snorkelling around it is just fine and don't forget your water camera.
If you want some true privacy and have means to a car (do not rent a scooter as the roads are horrible) take a little journey to Long Bay Beach. Incredibly peaceful and vacant.
In addition to other restaurants listed in some of the other reviews, we very much enjoyed Hemingways at the Sands.
The weather was iffy during our 8 days. Half were gorgeous, a couple were overcast and 1 or 2 were rainy. But the temperature sure beat the frigid NYC temps!
One final note--please note that there is an incredible amount of development no the island right now. There is construction going up everywhere. Fortunately, we were told of this ahead of time and chose accordingly (no construction near Coral Gardens) so whatever resort you choose, make sure to ask about this, if you think it will be a problem.
Peaceful, relaxing vacationfrom FondofTravel
There is no workout facility there, but we were able to purchase a one-week gym membership at a nearby all-inclusive resort. We also went to a gym for spinning classes near Danny Buoys (which is a good place to watch sports.)
I recommend renting a car, especially during a busy week. We rented a jeep for the week, but relatives who joined us were unable to rent a car (none left on the island) and taxis were sometimes hard to find.
You'll want to go to the IGA supermarket which has a remarkable selection and there are good restaurants which you will need to drive to. We had good meals at the following restaurants: Magnolia (beautiful view), Caicos Cafe, Hey Jose Cantina, Coco Bistro (very pretty setting). You will never have a quick bite at any place, but what's the rush.
We enjoyed a taxi tour of the island, a boat trip to Iguana Island and some fishing, parasailing, snuba, snorkelling. The water is a gorgeous turquoise color, but the weather was very windy at Christmas and we had two days of rain. Still managed to get quite a bit of sun and swimming in. We didn't play golf, but there is a very nice course on the island.
One last thing, if it is a busy week, get to the airport at least two hours early.
I gave the hotel 4 stars because of the breakfast and no gym, but otherwise it was excellent. We would definitely stay at Coral Gardens again for a relaxing and quiet vacation.
Coral Gardensfrom CaicosMan
Hurricane Francesfrom A TripAdvisor Member
Marvelous Coral Gardensfrom A TripAdvisor Member
The staff at Coral Gardens is fantastic. We have stayed at resorts where the staff made us feel we were imposing on them. Not so at CG. They made us feel that they were happy to have us there which made it much more fun for us. Actually everyone on the island was very friendly and helpful. One day we had walked quite a distance from CG and didn't want to walk back. I asked a gentleman with a cell phone if he would call a taxi for us since we couldn't find a store open. When he found out where we were going, he said, I'm going that way, I'll give you a ride.
We had an extremely memorable evening at CG. Andre made us a five-course dinner with wine pairing for each course. We were served on the beach, under the stars, all alone within 30 feet of the water. We were surrounded by four lighted torches. The two waiters were fun, attentive, and added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening. The food was outstanding. The whole evening will not soon be forgotten. There was also a manager?s party on the beach one evening which I think all of the guests attended. We had already met most of them at breakfast so it was a fun, relaxing time.
We stayed in a beautiful penthouse on the third floor overlooking the reef. It was very hard to leave the view and we basically didn?t. Our usual routine was to get up at five, have a cup of coffee on the balcony, walk the beach during sunrise for one to two hours, and then snorkel for one to two hours before breakfast. Then I would read while my husband did a little computer work, as the wireless was just too handy for him. Later in the afternoon we would snorkel again. We are going to have to go again to see the island.
We did take one boat trip to Iguana Island, Shell Island, and a quick snorkel. It was windy and rough. Actually, everyone said it was usually not so windy. That is why we went snorkeling early in the morning for the clearest water of the day. One of the best parts of snorkeling was swimming with the turtles every time we were out. They didn?t mind that we swam with them. Our grandchildren would have loved the turtles as we did. The first few days we were the only ones out on the reef snorkeling. In fact, we saw very few people on the beach the first few days, and many of the restaurants were closed as we found out the one day we did venture out for local cuisine. We went to IGA the second day we were there for groceries. Everything was double or more in price from home. I found the same wonderful whole grain bread as I get at a local store! I was glad I had taken some of my favorite cereal and a variety of nuts.
We took only a carry-on with us, which included our snorkel gear. Still we had too many clothes. Most of the time is spent in a bathing suit and cover-up anyhow. Would we go back? Absolutely.
Top Local Tips for Providenciales
Not a destination for single people looking for a party. A great place for a honeymoon. The island is very romantic. Sometimes you find that you have the entire beach all to yourself (depending where you are). You need to enjoy spending time on the beach and water sports to appreciate Provo.
rental cars If you plan on going to the south side of the island, be sure to get a rugged vehicle. Roads are unpaved and very rough.
nature at it's finest If you want a safe island with beautiful people and beaches, then come on down.
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