History of The Crane Resort
As the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean, The Crane has had over a century to perfect the luxury amenities and services expected by today’s most discerning traveller.
Not A Bird, A Crane
The site of a small commercial port in the mid-18th century, Crane Beach and its surrounding district assumed the name of the area’s most recognisable scene – the raising and lowering of cargo by a crane. A Mecca of cool breezes, Crane Beach attracted scores of the island’s plantation owners and prosperous merchants who sought the reputed ‘healing powers’ of its waters.
The Cowboy, The Gold Chain And The Fob Watch
In 1881, encouraged by the advent of the Barbados Railway, civil engineer Donald Simpson conceived the expansion and conversion of the area’s primary dwelling house – Marina Villa – into a hotel. Opening in 1887 and known then as “Crane Beach Hotel”, it quickly became a favourite hideaway for the world’s elite, with American cowboy William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody famously leaving his gold chain and fob watch as payment for his room charges – a keepsake which remains in the island’s prominent Simpson family to this day.
From its windows is displayed the beautiful sea, fringing with exquisite colour the white soft sandy beach of the hotel’s superb bathing place that has no superior anywhere in the world.
The Red Book of The West Indies
In 1922, the Red Book of the West Indies reported ‘The Crane Hotel occupies a high-cliff on the Southeast coast of the island, swept by fresh, invigorating breezes. From its windows is displayed the beautiful sea, fringing with exquisite colour the white soft sandy beach of the hotel’s superb bathing place that has no superior anywhere in the world.”
Love At First Sight
The property changed ownership through the years until current owner, Canadian Paul Doyle, received the tip of a lifetime during an unrelated business trip to Barbados in 1988 – “Crane Beach Hotel” was for sale! He purchased the then 18-room historic hotel after he “fell in love” with the most beautiful beach he had ever seen.
A New Way To Stay
Encouraged by an exceptionally high number of repeat guests to the hotel, Doyle introduced a fractional ownership option in 1995. Initially, Doyle employed the same ‘free’ gifts and high-pressure sales tactics that the rest of the industry used at the time, but in a chance encounter one Saturday afternoon in 1996, Doyle himself toured a visiting couple around the property who immediately fell in love with the same views he had some 8 years earlier. When they inquired about the price, he told them that he’d give them 50% off of the list price, as he’d done the tour himself and offered no incentives to buy. They immediately bought four weeks! Later that afternoon, another couple who had heard the story asked to do exactly the same thing. With more sales in one afternoon than would have been realised in three months, the way Crane ownership was to be sold was firmly established.
A new resort begins to emerge
Bolstered by the success of the fractional ownership sales, at the turn of century Doyle began developing the small historic property into a luxurious residential resort, completing and opening the first of the Residences by The Sea in 2001. He ensured that the new building reflected the timeless elegance of the historic 18-room hotel while adding new exceptional features such as plunge pools and even larger more luxurious floor plans. Doyle also introduce a vertically integrated model, hiring in-hour architects and builders to keep the cost down, passing the saving on to owners in the fractional programme by way of low, transparent pricing.
World-class amenities and services
Development of full resort facilities continued over The Crane’s 40 acres of land, with the addition of world-class amenities including 5 swimming pools, 4 restaurants, bars, tennis courts and a day spa. A true sense of community began to emerge within these new communal spaces, as like-minded fractional owners and hotel guests returned year after year to enjoy their home away from home. An all-new accommodation type, “Residences in the Park’ was also introduced during this period, capturing all that was glorious about The Crane, with added spirit!
A new resort living chapter begins
In response to an increasing number of The Crane’s fractional owners seeking permanent and semi-permanent homes in Barbados, Doyle introduced The Crane Private Residences. These new residences feature a contemporary twist on classic crane with light wood decor and coastal in-room accents as well as modern amenities such as underground parking and in-suite elevators.