Part of the Almond group of hotels, Almond Beach Village is one of three in Barbados, it being the one most suited to families and those who like their sports too. Built in 1979 and last renovated in 2005, this four star property boasts the facilities but unfortunately not the looks of a hotel with such a rating. A little nip and tuck is definitely overdue. The place is massive too, with a capacity of up to 1,200 guests. The hotel is a good place for holidaymakers who enjoy constant animation - there's plenty to keep busy with at Almond Beach Village.
Just north of Speightstown (St Peter) on the island's west coast, Almond Beach Village is about 19 miles from the Grantley Adams International Airport. The hotel is a good 10 minute drive from Holetown, where the west coast's nightlife is concentrated around a few bars and restaurants.
All Almond resorts operate on all-inclusive meal plans only. Reservations for dinner must be made and gentlemen are obliged to wear collared shirts and trousers in the restaurants after 6:00pm.
A free shuttle bus between the Almond properties allows guests to visit the Almond Beach Club & Spa (guests over 16 years only) and Almond Casuarina Beach, with the opportunity to use their dining facilities and other amenities.
A small on-site medical centre is open seven days a week.
With 400 guest rooms and 10 pools sprawled across 32 acres, we cannot describe this hotel as anything but massive. The large, open-air lobby is actually not Reception at all - bizarrely, that is found in a neighbouring, separate room along with the dinner reservations desk. Straight away we felt the wheels of a well-oiled machine turning; that feeling of being in a huge club or resort which some holidaymakers thrive on, but to others, feels impersonal.
The property is divided into two parts; the family resort in the south and the adults only (16+) resort in the north, with dedicated facilities for each. On top of that, the resort is divided into seven different colour-coded 'villages' with seven different names. Bars, restaurants and pools are scattered throughout the property and its spacious grounds. We couldn't help but notice the beautiful old sugar mill dating from 1865, an original mill from a local plantation. Nowadays it serves as an original setting for wedding ceremonies and private dinners.
People who like to keep active whilst on holiday should love it here; there are several social areas for playing football and other games, a nine hole golf course (with free golf clinics twice a day), volleyball pitch, four tennis courts (with free lessons from a pro during the week) and a wide range of water sports.
The gym, next to the golf course, is small for the size of the property, but well lit and comes with a trainer for those who work out in the mornings. There are also free classes held at the resort such as 'calypsocise' and aqua-gym.
The kids' club is large but looks a bit tired - a makeover wouldn't go unnoticed here - but employs 18 qualified staff members who supervise the wide range of activities. Open for business from 9:00am until 10:00pm, parents will surely appreciate its long opening hours.
There are several categories of accommodation at Almond Beach Village, found throughout the seven building blocks or 'villages.' One out of five rooms is not equipped with a balcony and some boast more natural light than others. The rooms are simply furnished with a contemporary but classic feel. The resort is phasing out the old televisions still seen in some rooms, to be replaced with new flat screens. The bathrooms in general look a bit weary and would benefit from renovation. Overall, although the rooms are clean, they lack charm and are in need of some Caribbean flavour...
There are four bars and four restaurants on site, which sounds like a lot, but when the resort is at full capacity (1,200 guests), this might not seem like enough. Especially as none of the rooms have self-catering facilities...
Both Tommy's Rum Shop and Enid's restaurant have a distinctly Bajan atmosphere, with colourful furnishings, a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and of course, a purely Bajan menu (flying fish, coconut roti, etc.). Bajan cooking classes run every Tuesday, book your spot though as these are very popular.
The Reef Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the latter which is a seafood menu. There is also an all day fast food menu which the kids should adore. From The Reef Courtyard there are great views of the beach and the adjacent boardwalk is a popular place at sunset.
Horizons, the resort's main restaurant is open-air with huge paintings of colourful island scenes, and a central stage and dance floor. An international menu is served, with the dinner menu changing every two days.
Finally, La Samarrita, is found in the adults-only resort and serves Italian cuisine to guests over the age of 16. Romantic and chic, it boasts traditional décor such as elegant columns and an indoor terrace.
The resort also holds theme nights such as the Caribbean buffet on Saturday nights (along with a Barbadian market with a handful of stalls from local vendors; and the BBQ beach party (with live music) on Wednesday evenings.
Almond Beach Village is perched on a wide beachfront yet it is far from being the prettiest on the island. Rocky patches and coral are found at the southern end, and although the northern end benefits from a bit more sand, the beach is often crowded due to the sheer size of the resort. In addition, the marina of Port St Charles can be spotted from the sandy shores. There is however lots of beachfront shade provided by raisin and ficus trees. There is no beach attendant service. The water sports hut is located at the northern end of the beach and offers a range of water-based activities (included).
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