|The Crane |
Historic Crane Hotel...
1769, The "Horse"
In the 18th century it was considered improper for ladies to be seen bathing in public. Sea-bathing, however had become so popular that by 1769 at least one discreet bathing place had been constructed near The Crane. It was referred to as the "Horse" and was approached by steps cut into the sea cliff. The stairs to the "horse" can still be seen descending from the far side of the south of The Crane, much as it was in 1769.
1790, Marine Villa
From the mid-18th century, southeastern Barbados was frequented by the island's plantation owners and prosperous merchants. They were attracted by the cool breezes, stimulating climate and beneficial sea-bathing, which toward the close of the 1700's was recognized for its recuperative qualities.
Two centuries ago, the formation of Crane Beach's protective coral reef was different, permitting small trading ships to sail in and out safely and a small commercial port to develop. On the cliff where the present Crane House now stands was a crane used for raising and lowering cargo. This crane provided the district's name.
The area's main building was the mansion known as Marine Villa, which exists almost in its original state and forms the east section of the Crane Hotel. The style of its windows and casements suggests it was built about 1790.
1887, Barbados First Resort
In 1886, civil engineer Donald Simpson bought Marine Villa and conceived of enlarging the house and opening it as a hotel. Simpson's hotel venture was encouraged by development of the railway in 1881 to Sunbury, St. Philip from Bridgetown. Simpson completed the first addition to Marine Villa with the addition of four coral stone apartments that comprise the south wing of the hotel (Rooms 1,2,8 and 9).
The Crane has always been a favorite hideaway for some of the world's "rich and famous". One of the first celebrities to stay at The Crane was the famous American cowboy, "Wild Bill" Hickock who after staying at The Crane in the 1890's left his gold chain as payment for his room charges. Hickock's gold chain is still in the possession of the Simpson family in Barbados.
1922, "Red Book of the West Indies"
Among The Crane's early twentieth century innovations was replacing its oil lamps with electrical lamps powered from The Crane's own dynamo. (A windmill like structure behind the hotel can be seen in the old photos hanging by the entrance to the hotel.)
In the 1922 "Red Book of the West Indies", The Crane was described in a writing style then vogue:
"The Hotel occupies about nine acres on top of a high cliff on the Southeast of the Island and is swept by fresh, invigorating breezes from the Atlantic. From its windows is displayed the beautiful sea, fringing with exquisite colors the white soft sandy beach of the hotel's superb bathing place, that has no superior anywhere in the world.
There are 18 bedrooms in The Crane including several which, because of their magnificent view, are in special demand by honeymoon couples who are best calculated to appreciate the ocean's chromatic grandeur and silver glory when transfigured by moonlight such as never seen in the cold gray North.
The bedrooms are fitted with English horsehair beds and spring mattresses and are very comfortable and tastefully decorated. The interest which the worthy proprietor takes for those who visit the hotel simply for the pleasure is indicated by the new ballroom which he has added to its new attractions, and in that hall of gaiety is joyously ended many a perfect day."
Jump to the 21st century...
The Crane Resort and Residences, the official name, is continuing its multi-million dollar development and expansion. The 40 acre property upon total completion will feature rooms and suites, flood lit tennis courts, 5 world class restaurants, a full service spa nestled in a lush coconut grove and “The Crane Village” which will offer a choice of gourmet and casual restaurants.
Take advantage of the discounted rates now being offered during the construction phase The ocean view categories- “A rooms”- do not have any views of construction, but some Junior Suites- “B rooms”- overlook the construction from a distance. Inquire about special rates on rooms from which the development site is visible.
Book a room in the original hotel or your private residence or villa.
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