“CB Stands for Cambridge Beaches but also Coming Back!” Reviewed July 15, 2008
My wife and I just returned home from a week’s stay at CB, celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary. This was our second visit to CB, the first being two years ago.
This review is not meant to cast dispersions on some of the negative reviews nor question their validity, since everyone enters any experience with his or her own set of expectations. Everyone’s opinions are valid from their own perspective. We can only give you our travel background and detail our experience for you in the hope that it will help you make your own decision.
We consider ourselves seasoned travelers and have been traveling together, domestically and internationally for 37 years. Both our childhoods were filled with a plethora of travel experiences, provided by each set of parents. We are “fussy” about where we stay and expect excellent value for our hard-earned money.
Our first visit to CB was in 2006 and we had a wonderful experience, despite the fact that right outside our room, there was heavy-duty construction on the now completed new pool area. (The resort did warn us about this ahead of time.) We didn’t experience any of the few negative comments we read about in TripAdvisor at that time. We decided to go to CB that year because of the overwhelmingly excellent comments, the amount of repeat visitors and the fact that CB is more secluded, private and romantic then the other resorts. We thrive on romance and privacy.
We booked a visit to CB for 2007, the following year, but had to cancel just days before due to an unexpected family medical situation. But CB reservations was kind enough to hold our deposit for an entire year until we were able to travel again this year.
This year’s trip started out routinely enough with a JetBlue flight from JFK in NY . . . or so we thought. We left the gate exactly on time, but as soon as we began taxiing, the pilot announced a delay due to weather conditions over the Atlantic Ocean. When we got closer to the runway, we saw a line of planes waiting to take off as far as the eye could see. We waited on the runway for TWO HOURS before finally taking off! As soon as we took off there was a distinct smell of smoke in the cabin. Fifteen minutes later, we were making an emergency landing back at JFK on a runway lined with emergency vehicles. When we landed, we were escorted to another plane and by the time we took off again, another hour had passed.
So we arrived at CB over three hours late and in no mood for anything else to go wrong. And we are happy to say, nothing did.
Check in and Accommodations:
We received a warm greeting at check-in and we immediately went to our room (the exact one we reserved) which was immaculate, a nice cool temperature and smelled great. (A previous reviewer mentioned a mildew smell, which we only noticed a hint of in the front desk area but nowhere else.) It had all the amenities we would expect. The CD player on our “Dream Machine” was not functioning and was replaced immediately after we reported it. The bed was very comfortable and we slept well the entire week.
One of the other reviews found the staff lacking in friendliness and competence. In our two stays we have found the opposite to be the case. However, one must realize that on a first visit, the resort staff and Bermudians, in general, are going to be very respectful of your privacy and “comfort zone” and not ply you with phony cliché resort platitudes. But once YOU decide to initiate a more open relationship, you will experience a GENUINE and personal warmth and friendliness that is sure to enhance your Bermuda experience.
In fact, we became friendly with a taxi driver in 2006 who was an educator as we were. He had given us his card and asked us to contact him on our next visit. We did this year and ended up dining with his family and being invited to an outdoor concert in Hamilton, where he was performing with his choir. We spent a wonderful and authentic Bermudian evening with them and will reciprocate when he comes to New York in the fall with his choir.
As far as reservations go, all ours were accurate and honored throughout the week, with no problems.
On our first visit to CB we took “advantage” of the “dine around” plan and experienced the cuisine of the other resorts. We concluded that the CB two restaurants were, by far, the best and so this time we took the meal plan and except for dinner with our Bermudian friends, had all our meals at CB.
Since there truly is “no accounting for taste,” nor should there be, we can only comment on the quality of the food at CB relative to our other experiences. We live in the NY-metro area and have traveled internationally, so we have had the privilege of dining at some of the best restaurants. Relative to these experiences, we found the food at CB, both at the Tamarisk and Breezes to be outstanding, both in its gourmet quality and presentation. Contrary to another reviewer’s comment, the menu at both restaurants varies nightly. One night, there was blackened grouper on the menu, and while we both had a craving for grouper, neither of us like it “blackened.” So we asked if the chef could prepare it differently. It was “no challenge” as they say in Bermuda and we had grouper that was so delicious we had to go out of our way to thank the chef personally. So not only do you have varied menus at both restaurants, but they will try to honor your personal requests. Even when we ordered California whiskey sours, which the bartender, Barbara wasn’t familiar with, she followed our recipe and made a good first round which continued to improve as the week went on. We didn’t find the Tamarisk to be “old” as another reviewer described it. We found it to be elegant. But certainly you are free to dine on the adjacent and more contemporary outdoor terrace. We prefer “al fresco” dining, so we chose this option.
The breakfast buffet is abundant with a chef on hand to make your fresh eggs any way you want them, and the daily 4:00 tea is delicate and delicious. Service at all our meals was excellent and the staff was more than very attentive. The meals were well-timed and we never had to wait longer than expected for the next course.
Swimming and Snorkeling:
There is a beautiful new outdoor pool area at CB with an infinity pool with a waterfall and two separate levels leading some to comment that the pool is not as wide as they expected. It’s true that each level is not wide, but it is long (good for lap swimming), immaculate and a comfortable temperature. Even though the resort was full, the pool was never too crowded. If you want something with more width, there is the indoor pool area with an open sky roof and separate whirlpool. If you like even wider, there is of course the magnificent ocean or bay, also clean and perfect in temperature.
We rented a motor boat for a few hours and enjoyed exploring the many “nooks and crannies” you can anchor on to enjoy a private picnic and snorkeling. In 2006, we took the “Hat Trick” catamaran at CB for an amazing snorkeling experience, both educationally and visually.
In 2006 we golfed at Port Royal, which is now closed and under a complete renovation. This year, we golfed at the executive course at the Fairmont, which was in excellent condition and provided not only good golfing but beautiful ocean vistas. We also tried Riddle’s Bay course which was much more expensive and in deplorably dry condition. Despite that, they didn’t even offer a discount, not even for “twilight play” and didn’t tell you ahead of time about the condition of the course or that, because of the dryness, the course was “cart path only.” The fairways were like hay, the greens were riddled (excuse the pun) with little pot holes that made accuracy impossible. Although over $155 per person, they didn’t offer complimentary ice or bottled water. Although we played a good game scorewise, we found the experience exhausting and frustrating. Before playing any course, find out what the conditions are and the limitations.
The Ocean Spa:
For our anniversary, we booked a couple’s experience at the SPA, which really caters to romance. It was well appointed with knowledgeable staff in a truly relaxing atmosphere. Speaking of romance, we met a couple who had just been married at CB and they were deliriously happy with everything. Nadja, who has been mentioned positively in other reviews is really deserving of the praise. Her competence at special events planning is only matched by her infectious smile and enthusiastic manner. Including Nadja, other individuals who went out of their way to make our stay special were Richard, George (and the “brothers four”), Eddie, Dey, Borha, Yousef and Barbara.
The beauty of CB is that is can be as private and quiet or as social and filled with activities as you would like. Putting green, croquet, tennis courts and more are all on the premises. For the few scattered reviews that didn’t give CB top marks, the reviewers wondered why CB was rated 5 star. If you are looking for the kind of glitzy, Buckingham Palace guard dressed doorman, crystal chandelier type 5-star, you won’t find it a Cambridge Beaches. CB earns its 5 star rating in a more gentle and subtle way, commensurate with the character of the resort, providing a magnificent setting, with excellent staff, accommodations, dining and amenities. We found our second encounter with CB to be even more rewarding than our first.
Of course, everyone knows that the initials CB stands for Cambridge Beaches, but for us (and the countless couples before us) they also stand for definitely “Coming Back!”
Gary de Sesa & Kita de Sesa are travel agents and owners of Gary D Travel. Contact us at 516-300-9924
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