Barbados Pocket Guide

Crane Beach

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Crane Beach

Crane Beach is situated on the south east coast of Barbados, in the parish of St. Philip, approximately six minutes east of Barbados' Grantley Adams International Airport.

 

Crane Beach is one of Barbados', if not the Caribbean's, most outstanding beaches. Here you will find dramatic cliffs, abundant sub-tropical vegetation, the softest white 'hint of pink' sand, azure waters gently lapping onto the shore, and a coral reef that creates a natural harbour providing a safe swimming area.   

 

The name 'Crane' originates from days gone by when a large crane used for loading and unloading the cargo from the ships in the harbour below was permanently situated at the top of the imposing cliffs.

 

Crane Beach can be accessed both by guests at the nearby Crane Resort and occasional visitors.  For those who have made Crane Resort their Barbados holiday home from home, the only route to the beach used to be a flight of about 100 steps that originally led to 'The Horse', a discreet bathing place built in the late eighteenth century where ladies, who were not allowed to expose themselves publicly, could partake of the waters whilst maintaining their dignity. Now in the early twenty-first century, the steps have been supplemented with a glass lift that gently carries you directly from the hotel to the beach and offers first time beachgoers their first breathtaking views of this superb Barbados beach as they descend.

Other Barbados visitors and residents can gain access to Crane Beach using the public beach entrance. If you are driving, this entrance to the beach is located at the end of a narrow road at the south end of the beach, where you will also find car parking facilities. A short walk across a few large rocks will then take you to the sand. Beach loungers are provided by the Crane Resort in Barbados, and whilst there is a nominal charge for hiring these, most people consider this a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend a day at such an exquisite location.

 

Whilst it would be easy to spend your day at Crane Beach in Barbados doing no more than relaxing under your beach umbrella in the warm breezes, going for an occasional paddle, spotting one of the sea turtles native to Barbados when they swim close the beach, sipping your rum punch or having a leisurely picnic of Bajan snacks, those of you who prefer something more energetic might like to have a go at the increasingly popular 'body surfing' or 'boogie boarding' activities. Though Crane Beach is on the rougher Atlantic coast, the waves are less erratic than at some beach locations further north on the East Coast of Barbados, producing a sea that is both calm and safe enough for swimming yet choppy and challenging enough for this type of 'board' fun. 

 

If you are feeling even more adventurous you might want to try jumping from the cliffs into the ocean below - you need to walk along the rocks on the cliff face to reach a suitable 'launch' spot. Please remember that all seas and oceans carry unseen and unpredictable hazards such as rocks and currents; jumping from the cliffs at Crane Beach into the sea below is therefore not recommended for weak swimmers or the faint-hearted, and should only ever be done at your own risk.

 

A visit to Crane Beach is a must for visitors to Barbados, not only to see the magnificent expanse of beach but also to experience the Crane Resort perched on top of the cliffs. The Crane Hotel at the core of the existing resort was originally called the Marine Villa Mansion. This property and accompanying land was purchased and developed in 1887 by civil engineer Donald Simpson, resulting in the first hotel resort in Barbados. 

 

The Crane Hotel's secluded location has always been ideal for celebrities wishing to escape publicity. One of its first visitors in the 1890s was renowned cowboy 'Wild Bill' Hickock who paid for his room with his gold chain, an artefact still owned by the Simpson family in Barbados.

 

An ongoing multi million pound expansion and development scheme has seen the introduction of several new residential buildings scattered around the Crane's 40 acres; complete refurbishment of the original 1887 Marine Villa; two floodlit tennis courts; a 1.5 acre pool complex incorporating the designs of Venezuelan architect John Stoddart, comprising lagoon pools embedded in the cliff side, waterfalls and infinity pools; and The Crane Village, a 55,000 square-foot reconstruction of a traditional Barbados town with a town hall, cobbled streets, gas lamps and wooden shuttered windows at the various retail outlets that stock everything from everyday convenience items to local crafts goods and Duty Free merchandise. 

 

Guests and visitors also now have the option of visiting D'Onofrios, an Italian restaurant in the Crane Village offering a more informal experience than that found at the Crane's other established restaurants, L'Azure, serving Mediterranean and European culinary delights, and Zen, with its exotic Japanese and Thai cuisine. Both of these world class restaurants offer diners panoramic views of the exquisite area of Barbados that is Crane Beach, though repairs are currently being undertaken to the balcony outside L'Azure following extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Tomas in October 2010.

 

Now officially known as The Crane Resort and Residences, the one, two and three-bedroom residences in the newer buildings and the original building can be rented, purchased, or bought on an interval ownership basis.

 

Since 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous', a US series that ran from 1984 to 1995 and looked at how much money Hollywood celebrities spent on homes, cars, and other luxuries, assigned Crane Beach as 'one of the world's top ten best beaches', the tourism industry has continued to use this prestigious label when describing this Barbados location. 

 

Crane Beach is still ranked as fifth in some lists of the top ten Caribbean beaches, e.g. Expedia and HubPages. It is still generally considered first or second best beach in Barbados, occasionally being narrowly beaten by Bottom Bay.  

 

Last modified on Monday, 14 November 2011 19:24
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