by Diana Lambdin Meyer
When Christopher Columbus first sailed through the Caribbean and around the island which is now Tobago, he dubbed it Magdalena. This point, where the Magdalena Grand Hotel is now located, is where Columbus and his crew came closest to touching shore, thus the name of this magnificent, all-inclusive property.
Located on the Atlantic side of the island, the Magdalena Grand occupies more than 2 miles of beachfront and 112 acres on what was once a sugar plantation. The remains of the original sugar mill are located on the golf course between holes 16 and 17 and the design of a sugar mill is represented in a castle-like appearance of the wing of the hotel that houses the gift shops and a coffee shop.
With all of that ocean and three pools, as well as a separate, dedicated pool for scuba training, the Magdalena Grand has just about everything a family looks for in a beach resort vacation. The children’s program is seasonal, but even in the off-season, if management notices reservations for a number of families, special activities will be arranged, including a bouncy house on the grounds and other out-of-the-box offerings.
For families who appreciate nature and the environment, Hawksbill sea turtles lay eggs on the beach directly in front of the south wing. March to September is nesting season. If the turtles begin to hatch and move to the ocean, you can ask to be notified of this miracle of nature – an earth science lesson your children will not likely forget.
Our Editor Loves
- Oceanfront location
- Sea turtle nesting site
- All-inclusive rates
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The Magdalena Grand has 178 guestrooms, including 22 one- and two- bedroom suites situated in two wings, each three stories high. Each and every room has an ocean view, although the north wing has more beach/ocean in sight. The south wing, while closest to the kids' club and playground, includes more gardening and landscaping with the ocean a few steps farther away. All rooms have a private balcony or terrace.
In addition to multi-room suites, most rooms connect to adjacent rooms. Two handicapped accessible rooms available.
Bathrooms, although a little tight for more than one person at a time, include a lighted make-up mirror and a separate tub and shower. Robes, slippers and an in-room safe are also provided, along with a mini-refrigerator and coffee/tea service.
Cribs are available at no charge; rollaways are $120 TTs or about $60 U.S. per night.
Available in king or two queens, these rooms are quite spacious with plenty of room for a rollaway or crib, as well as the extra paraphernalia of traveling with children. A family of five could make the space work for them. The 30-inch television could be a little bigger for the space. There's a lounge chair and desk, but the only table is on the patio.
Suites all come with a private Jacuzzi. Otherwise, one- and two-room suites are basically standard rooms connected by a parlor that includes a small table for games or electronic equipment, a large 51-inch TV and an extra full bathroom. The couch folds out for extra sleeping arrangements, which brings total accommodation of the suites to a possible of 10 people.
I stayed at the Magdelena while attending a conference. The hotel was not overly full so you felt as if you had the place to yourself. The rooms are the standard fare, but the grounds are amazing. On entering the property it takes about 5 minutes to get to the hotel during which time you traverse lakes, a golf course and beautifully manicured foliage. The beach is not that spectacular and could get rough. No worries though because the famous Pigeon Point beach is a few minutes away and the hotel offers a free shuttle.
We just got back on January 10, 2019. We are Scuba Divers and have been all over the Caribbean. Roatan, Panama, St Maartin, St Thomas, Turks and Caicos, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Curacao, OK you get the point. I was looking for a last minute vacation to RELAX. I did not want to party, my husband and I just wanted to relax.
We found this resort on Redtag.ca and it was a Sunwing vacation. We had never been to Tobago, and knew no one who had. I was a lil nervous because I did read some negative reviews, and we normally stay in 5 star resorts. But it was fairly cheap, and I wanted different.
Upon arrival - we were greeted by staff. Check in was simple and they brought us rum punch as we were checking in. Johnathan drove us to our room in a golf cart. Upon entering the room, we were content. The room does need some updates, but it was still very clean and fine - besides who stays in their room on vacation. The AC worked, the Shower worked the toilet worked. I had the most comfortable pillow I wanted to steal, lol AND TV was excellent. All in English and always 4-5 great movies at night as your about to fall asleep.
We were in a Super Saver room which had a king bed, a vault, coffee maker and lil fridge. All we needed. And we had a beautiful view. We were on the first floor. All floors and rooms have a view of the ocean!
So far I'd say it was a 4 star. Just based on room needing a lil tweak of updates. NOW before I go on. IF rust on a garbage can is below you - then this is not your hotel. IF small signs of wear and tear turn you off - then this Hotel is not for you. IF you don't sweat the small stuff - READ ON BECAUSE THIS HOTEL IS FANTASTIC.
While we were there is was EMPTY - the manager said it was at 40% capacity although it looked alot less. BUT that just meant any chair I wanted, quick service and quality service.
The view was AMAZING - but your in the West Indies what do you expect. Yes Tobago is in the West Indies not the Caribbean. At MGB you are on the Atlantic Ocean. The breeze off the ocean is amazing, warm and relaxing. It actually brings the temperature down a tiny bit. So although you are getting the sun, it doesnt feel like you are burning (good and bad to that...ouch from a person who never burns) The beach area is nice - but very wavey. If your like my Husband and I and are good swimmers than "Wave Jumping" is awesome and was a daily activity for us. But if you would like the atmosphere of the Caribbean, its a quick lil 10 min drive on the free shuttle to Pigeon Point. I know when I tan I sit around the pool. And the ocean for me is to play in, so we didnt mind using the shuttle to Pigeon Point.
Now SERIOUSLY the best part about the MGB is the FOOD. OMG - the Soup was amazing, the Salads were amazing, the steak, shrimp, CHICKEN WINGS. There are 3 restaurants - the buffet open for each meal, and always for breakfast. They have an omelette bar for any eggs you want. Fruit, yogurt, bacon, sausage,...All your breakfast needs. The other restaurants are for Lunch and Dinner and are closed on the odd days. Both have Amazing home cooked foods. The Chef is right there and actually came out a few times to make sure our meals were perfect. They don't skimp out on food thats for sure. They will even wrap some food for you to take back to your room. We always took back something for a late night snack.
There are 2 "bars" where you can order food as well - the regular bar food, pizza, hamburgers and chicken wings. I have no idea why the chicken wings are so good, but the meat is super tender and the bbq sauce is delicious. I think I ate these mid afternoon 4 times :S ...just a lil snack. lol I can't say enough about the food.
I'm not a big drinker so the booze was booze to me. But the water was excellent - you could drink out of the faucet. They gave you free bottle water at the front desk.
They do Money exchange right at the front desk so no need to find a bank. You can also get "cash back" off your visa there as well.
Tours - I highly recommend the tour with Mr RAM who sits at the lil desk beside the excursion desk. He will drive you around the entire island, stopping at major points and giving you the history of the island. He was excellent. TOUR THE ISLAND - the rain forest is amazing. We also really enjoyed Argyle Falls where we swam. ***BRING swim shoes!! lots of rocks to walk over but beautiful water.
We took the glass bottom tour from Pigeon Point. It took us to Bucco Reef. As mentioned previously we are Scuba divers, but did NOT bring any equipment because we were suppose to just Relax. Bucco Reef was AMAZING. I seen more fish and ocean life there than I have on half of my ocean dives. BRING YOUR OWN GEAR or you will get gear that may leak. The tour then took us to Nylon Pool. it was alright. I wouldnt go there just for Nylon Pool...pretty boring.
The staff was all amazing and extremely friendly. the General Manager Vinod Bajaj checked on us daily, as well as the other manager Troy. One day we sat late on the deck. Troy had stopped by to see how we are doing...he asked where we were going for dinner that night - I had mentioned we didnt know yet but I wanted to check out both menus before I decided. Troy immediately went and got both menus, we picked and he went and made us reservations. (you dont need reservations- he did it as a gesture)
The staff was all amazing.
I really would like to promote this Hotel as its a Sunwing Trial. But Seriously after being all over the Caribbean, Tobago is our FAVORITE place. Infact we plan on returning before the end of April. My husband and I would seriously retire here. They speak English - not Spanish. They were colonized by the British. They do drive on the opposite side of the road, but the prices are comparable to Canada maybe a lil cheaper.
I have zero complaints.
I'm sure if it was a full busy hotel you wouldn't notice the small things that need to be repaired of fixed around the resort. (stains on the deck) Because your focus would be on the people. But because it is fairly empty, you get the chance to notice a wall or 2 that needs paint. Again don't sweat the small stuff.
This Resort is definitely a Diamond in the rough. And I'm super excited to return!!!
The CeeCee Club is available from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day during the summer and North American holidays for those ages 5 and up. In addition to crafts and games indoors, there are beach walks, pool time and occasionally cricket lessons. The center is located in the north wing near the playground.
Bicycles and helmets are available for those of all ages, however, child carriers or tricycles are not common on the island. The lengthy asphalt drive into the property, as well as a number of sidewalks and other paths provide plenty of opportunities for biking for the entire family.
Pigeon Point Heritage Park Beach Outing
The Magdalena Grand is located on the Atlantic side of the island, and as we all know, sometimes the Atlantic is quite a bit more energetic than the calm Caribbean. Therefore, each day, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle several times a day to a beach on the opposite side of the island. With several beachfront restaurants and gift shops to choose from, it's a nice outing, even when the Atlantic is calm.
The featured pool, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean just off the lobby, was closed and completely re-tiled and remodeled in September 2016, creating a fresh, fun and modern look. With an exaggerated stair step entry, toddlers may comfortably splash in ankle-deep water while parents sit a bit deeper just a few inches away. Overall the pool ranges from 4 to 6 feet in depth, with river-like tributaries that lead to the swim-up bar.
An adults-only infinity pool is located near the north wing, while another smaller round pool is near the south wing. A fourth pool is dedicated solely to scuba training. Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As energetic as many parks, this colorful playground near the north wing includes swings, slides, tunnels and climbing apparatus. Make sure the kids wear shoes when heading to the playground.
One of the four pools on this property is one dedicated to scuba certification. Children as young as 5 can participate, with some limitations. Diving in the waters around Tobago is greatly influenced by the flow of Orinoco River that empties its nutrient rich sediment in the Atlantic here, thus attracting a colorful and diverse variety of sea creatures.
Two asphalt courts, located near the south wing, are lit at night. Racquets and balls are available at the concierge desk. An instructor can be scheduled with advance notice.
Enjoy the Atlantic Ocean's energy with sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing and kayaking, among other activities. New and additional activities are added seasonally, all at no additional charge.
The spa is located in a separate building near the south wing of the property. In addition to many of the expected massages and treatments, children's mani-pedi packages are available.
With five onsite dining options for families (technically six if you count the adults-only spot), as well as in-room dining, you should find plenty of variety during a lengthy stay. Children's options of chicken fingers, pizza, burgers and PBJ are available at all restaurants, with the exception of Kalini, which is adults-only. Two meal plans continue the choices. Many people prefer to opt out of lunch on the property in order to explore other options around the island.
This coffee/tea shop is also the only gourmet pastry shop on the island. The macadamia nut cookies are spectacular, but chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and other flavors are worth exploring. Kids can get an extra scoop of ice cream here and soft drinks. If someone is celebrating a birthday while vacationing at the Magdalena Grand, the culinary artists at Benne will make the day extra special. Open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As the name implies, this restaurant is a part of the golf course. Open for breakfast for breakfast and lunch, it serves light dishes and snacks from 6 a.m. until sunset.
Li'l Nylon Grill
This poolside cafÃ© offers simple bites throughout the day, including burgers, wraps and other munchies. The bar is swim-up for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Pembois is a patois word that means breadfruit. Located on the lower level looking out on the pool, the Pembois buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Designated evenings feature Tex Mex, Pan-Asian, Mediterranean and food unique to Trinidad and Tobago. Open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Robinson Crusoe Pub
This friendly two-level pub, located just off the lobby, is open from 10 a.m. until midnight most nights. Children are welcomed until 9 p.m. The old-world nautical theme is a lot of fun, as are the billiards and foosball tables. In addition to burgers, pizza and wraps served all day, healthier choices include grilled vegetable salads and fruit plates. For picky eaters, this is where you can get a PB&J any time of the day. On Saturdays, this is the spot for extra games and music to celebrate the weekend.
Another poolside cafÃ©, this one specializes in seafood and pizza for lunch. For evening dining, the family offerings include Asian fare and several tapas dishes. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The 72-acre golf course lines the drive into the Magdalena Grand and is highlighted by the remains of the sugar mill that once operated here. The Par 72, 18-hole course is 7,000 yards long and dotted with a number of water features. Be careful around the lakes. A species of alligators known as the Caiman flourishes here. Unfortunately, the golf course does not offer an ocean view.
The fitness center is located on the second floor of the south wing and includes a number of Cybex elliptical machines, as well as free weights and resistance weight machines. Saunas are located in the men's and women's locker rooms. Children are welcome to join their parents at the fitness center. Unfortunately, a view of the ocean is not offered while you work out.
In-room babysitting is available at an additional charge.
No need to pack any electric converters. T&T uses 110 voltage, just like North America. However, because the hotel is about 20 years old, the rooms are not equipped with as many electrical outlets as we need today. Consider packing a multi-plug extension cord for games and computers.
Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the property, but it is weak and spotty at times.
Other than service animals, pets are not allowed at the Magdalena Grand. However, cat lovers will rejoice in the number of cats that patrol the grounds. They are healthy and well-cared for by a local animal care organization and often snuggle with guests who need a little love and attention. On occasion, those kitties have been known to spend the night in a guestroom.
A baby grand piano is available in the lobby and/or Tavaco lounge. Children and adults who know how to play are welcome to keep up with their practice and showcase their skills while at the Magdalena.
Three shops onsite provide any necessities you may have forgotten, as well as a limited selection of resort wear and souvenirs. For a very special souvenir, take a look at the art display in the hallway leading to the north wing. It's all created by local artists and is for sale.
The Art of Smart Timing
As you might expect, the high season in the Caribbean is when it's cold and snowing in the north. The Christmas holidays and spring break period are particularly busy. Rainy season is June through November. This doesn't mean it will rain all day every day, but more rain is likely during these months.
The Tobago Airport (TAB) is about 20 minutes from the Magdalena Grand Resort. No shuttle service is available from the hotel, yet taxi service is a bargain. The rates vary somewhat depending on time of day, but expect to pay less than $20 U.S. for up to three people in the cab.
Other than the complimentary daily shuttle to the Pigeon Point Beach, the hotel provides no other transportation service. Taxi service around Tobago is less expensive than you'll experience in many other Caribbean destinations. Grab a cab and get out there.
For Mom and Dad
The infinity pool near the south wing is adults-only, but unfortunately there is no bar with that pool. Instead, you can go to the adults-only Tavaco Lounge, where on Sundays, live jazz is featured. Live music and dancing may be available throughout the week.
If grandparents are watching the kids, sneak away to Kalini, a serene space offering adult-only, upscale dining. It's dinner only with the exception of Wednesdays, when the restaurant is closed. The focus is Caribbean and Creole cuisine, and there's a great wine list. Open 6:30 to 10 p.m.