25 Jun 2013Blog

Crane Beach

by Catherine

The Barbados beach with the most international renown is Crane Beach, and for good reason. A crescent moon of pink-tinged powdered-sugar sand, hugged by dramatic cliffs, flanked by a coconut grove and pounded by that quintessential Caribbean turquoise surf, this is the stuff that stunning photo-ops are made of. It’s not hard to see why it was voted “one of the Ten Best Beaches in the World” by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be rich or famous to enjoy a day at this luxurious Barbados beach. Just past the hotel gates is a public access path where you can park and make your way to the sand via a bit of a rock scramble and stepping stones – definitely doable, but a little awkward if you’re carrying floppy lounge chairs or a heavy picnic basket. You can always rent a chair and umbrella from the vendors on the beach (about $10 to 15 BBD per piece depending on the season).

If you’re lucky enough to be staying at The Crane Resort or if you splurge for a day pass ($25 BBD per person, redeemable at the bars and restaurants), you can park at the resort, gawk at the cliff-top views and then be dramatically transported to the beach by a glass elevator. How’s that for wow factor? (Insiders tip: If you just want easy access to the beach, just tell the guard at the resort’s entrance you’re going for lunch, park and make your way down to the beach) πŸ™‚

It’s not hard to get your money’s worth with that day pass, as there are a few options to grab a bite or beverage while you’re there. Right on the beach is The Grove Bar & Grill where you can order burgers, salads and assorted cocktails served right to your chair/umbrella spot. If you want a break from the sand, take the glass elevator back up to the hotel and have a sit-down lunch at the poolside Carriage House, which offers some reasonably priced meals considering that side order of view you get with it. Fancier fare requiring a reservation and dress-code can be indulged in at the Crane’s signature restaurant L’Azure, set on a grand terrace with a panoramic view of the beach. Their Sunday brunch buffet complete with Caribbean gospel choir is one of the β€œthings to do” while in Barbados – but it’s not for the budget conscious. Those of us in that realm can make do with an ice cream or drink in The Village, a charming heritage streetscape of shops and restaurants within the resort.

A stone’s throw across the street from the hotel is Cutter’s, a gem of a deli cafe serving breakfast, lunch and all the fixings for a casual to gourmet picnic, not to mention some of the best rum punch you’ll find on island. Great for a pre- or post-beach pit stop, or they’ll actually come onto the sand and take orders for chair-side delivery.

While waxing poetic about the Crane beach, a bit of caution is required. The waves tend to be powerful and there can be an undertow. It’s an experienced body surfer and boogie boarder’s paradise, but a little rough for young children, unsteady seniors and the less agile. Obey the red and yellow safety flags and take care. While it’s fun to watch the adventurous daredevils cliff-jumping from the rocky precipice on the right, it’s not recommended.

What is recommended is a stroll to the far end of the cove, across the stepping stones and over the rocks to the neighbouring beach. If you time the tides right, you’ll be treated to a gorgeous stretch of sand and surf that you may have all to yourself – a nice respite from the Crane which can get a bit crowded due to its popularity with locals and tourists alike.