Three restaurants, including a beachfront restaurant and bar
All-inclusive rates are available
Rooms feature flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and private balconies/terraces
Spacious, full-service spa with massage, sauna, and hydrotherapy bath
Decent, older gym with a selection of cardio, strength, and yoga equipment
Free self-parking in a secure lot
Free Wi-Fi in common areas
Bland, aging decor plus notable wear throughout
Nearest public beach is noisy, crowded, and across the street
Few restaurants, attractions, and shops within walking distance
Hotel's restaurants frequently close based on season and occupancy
No free Wi-Fi in guest rooms
No free bottled water
As a sister property to Grafton Beach Resort, Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort is located on the same resort-heavy beach road along Tobago’s northwestern coast. The 80-room hotel offers excellent views of Stonehaven Bay -- a popular nesting spot for leatherback turtles. A large spa, nearby beach, and spacious, ocean-view pool terrace are nice to have, but the hotel's aging decor and abandoned vibe is underwhelming. Rooms offer a decent list of features, including flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and private balconies or terraces, some with ocean views. With Fort Bennett as the only attraction in the immediate area, travelers looking to explore will need to a rental car. For a larger, resort-like alternative, check rates at Turtle Beach by Rex Resorts, just three minutes away.
Laid-back resort with extremely quiet vibe and aging style
The architecture and decor at Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort feel bland and dated, with subtle tropical accents. Coral colored walls, rattan furniture, and mid-tone wood add just enough Caribbean flair to remind guests of where they are, but expectations should be managed here. There's little to no social vibe -- and depending on the season, the resort can feel downright abandoned. The hotel provides many of the same amenities and even shares a few with the adjacent two-and-a-half-pearl Grafton Beach Resort. However, the atmosphere here is decidedly more laid-back and couples-friendly (it's also slightly nicer than it's neighbor, though this comparison is relative). The expansive, beautiful pool terrace, overwater lounge, and adjacent restaurant collectively form the property’s central gathering spot with lovely bay views. While the resort no longer enforces its once-strict adult-only policy, guests are still far less likely to find children here than most area hotels.
Near Stonehaven Bay's crowded beaches, a 20-minute drive from lively Crown Point
Le Grand Courlan is situated on Shirvan Road, amid a dozen other hotels and resorts. While “well-traveled” by Tobago standards, the road is relatively quiet. There are few restaurants, bars, or attractions within walking distance, though the crowded beaches of Stonehaven Bay -- also a nesting spot for leatherback sea turtles -- are just across the road. In terms of sights, popular Fort Bennett is only 15 minutes away on foot, but that's about all there is to see within a reasonable walk. The professional 18-hole Mount Irvine Golf Course is reachable by car in just five minutes. However, most of the restaurants, beaches, and other tourist attractions of Crown Point require a 20-minute drive to reach.
Tobago’s only international airport -- Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International -- is also a 20-minute drive away. The most affordable option to and from the airport is via the island’s many shuttle buses. However, passengers mustn’t mind sharing the ride with a dozen or so strangers who will all likely have different destinations. Private taxi service is a slightly more expensive option, with rates mandated by the island government.
Spacious, dated rooms with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and private balconies or terraces
The aging decor present throughout the hotel is likewise evident in each of the rooms, which contain what seems to be the original oak furniture from when the hotel opened. The overall aesthetic is boring, unmemorable, and reminiscent of most mid-range island hotels. Nothing feels particularly dirty or dingy, just dated. A brown and gray color scheme is punctuated with occasional tropical accents, like a bright area rug in the sleeping area and photographs of tropical fish on the walls. The tile floors are noticeably worn, with chips and nicks.
The hotel’s room categories -- Standard Rooms and Suites -- provide similar amenities in two unique floor plans. Space in Standard Rooms is just above average relative to comparable area resorts. At double the size, Suites offer much larger layouts with separate bedrooms and living rooms. Amenities in both categories include flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, mini-fridges, and private terraces or balconies -- many with ocean views. While the hotel widely advertises free Wi-Fi throughout the property, it was only available in the lobby during our stay.
Standard bathrooms are similar in size and amenities to a mid-range chain hotel. Suites offer two full bathrooms with upgraded amenities. The master bath features a hot tub, vessel sink, and marble countertop; while the second offers only a stand-up shower stall. The budget vanity fixtures, shower handles, and faucets in all categories are noticeably dated and salt-worn. We also spotted a good deal of dirty grout when we visited.
Three restaurants and an ocean-view pool terrace with a swim-up bar, but a mediocre beach
While small for a resort, the property offers all of the communal features one would expect of an all-inclusive resort, though not all of them are always open and there's little in the way of daytime entertainment depending on the season. The list of amenities includes a large pool terrace with partial water views, a spacious spa, and a romantic, open-air restaurant. However, the fact that the mediocre beach is located across the street -- and the unreliable dining hours -- are notable cons.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Pinnacle, has lovely water views of Stonehaven Bay and is open to the air on three sides. Cathedral ceilings and exposed wood beams recall classic sail boat design while polished hardwood floors and circular wicker resin seating offers a touch of class and modernity. The restaurant serves a general breakfast buffet daily that includes a fine range of hot and cold options. However, the intermittent lunch and dinner service is dependent on occupancy, with many guests complaining of frequent closures. Across the street, Buccaneer’s Bar (shared with Grafton Beach Resort) is a casual, beachfront space with finger foods and a full liquor menu including beer, wine, and cocktails. The layout is split between an open-air bar area and a larger alfresco dining space outfitted with cheap plastic and metal patio furniture. From lunch time until well past dinner, the atmosphere is raucous, with loud DJ music playing throughout the day. All-inclusive rates are available.
The pool and surrounding terrace are expansive, particularly for a smaller property, with plenty of well-spaced wicker resin lounge chairs and umbrellas. A hot tub, overwater lounge, and swim-up bar all provide several distinct ways to kick back. The terrace offers lovely -- though partially obstructed -- water views and a quiet, laid-back vibe throughout the day.
The nearest soft sand beach is located down a steep staircase across a narrow street. Unfortunately, Stonehaven Bay is known among locals for its powerful waves, making swimming less than ideal. Like all Tobago beaches, it is technically public and often crowded with locals and tourists most days of the week. The bay is among Tobago’s premier nesting grounds for leatherback turtles every spring. Tourists have the opportunity to snorkel with turtles and personally witness the creatures laying their eggs.
For a smaller, 80-room hotel, the on-site gym is large with a good selection of free weights, ellipticals, treadmills, and strength-training machines. While the equipment is functional overall, its age is evident in the ripped seats and heavily worn handles. A large space with hardwood floors, mats, and balance balls provides an additional dedicated yoga area.
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