Jo and Mark recently visited Barbados as part of an island hopping trip where they also stayed on Antigua and Barbuda. rediscovering old favourites and experiencing new options. Click here to find out more about their trip.
Below Joni, one of our expert travel consultants, tells us about her visit to Barbados...
Barbados has everything I love about the Caribbean - gorgeous beaches; great dining; an unbeatable range of accommodation; nightlife; water sports; and most of all, friendly people.
We were visiting Barbados as guests of the Tourist Board, and they mentioned at the beginning of our stay that the biggest asset of the island is their local people. If you have the impression that as a busier island the locals may be growing a little tiresome of tourists, this is far from the truth. This they proved by sending us around the island in small jeeps on a navigation treasure hunt searching for things that we had never heard of before, such as a “shack shack” and a “go forward”. We had to stop many locals all over the place to ask for help, and everyone we met were more than happy to chat and also search out and teach us about the local items and terms – it was like they had all the time in the world for us.
Other highlights for me was the local food including as much fish as possible: Flying fish, Mahi Mahi, Dorado and more – which I especially enjoyed at Friday night in Oistins at the Fish Fry, with reggae playing and locals dancing.
The beaches were perfect, the calm turquoise waters of the west coast and the fun waves at my favourite beach at The Crane
. I even got forced into participating in a small carnival in St Lawrence Gap – which turned out to be extremely good fun!
Beach at The Crane
For those looking to spend a night out, then laze the following day away on a white sand beach, Southern Palms is perfect. A brilliant beachfront location on St Lawrence Gap it is within walking distance of the nightlife and restaurants “The Gap” is known for. A good range of large rooms and suites, many with kitchen facilities, this property is friendly and great value.
Little Good Harbour
Straight away I felt at home at Little Good Harbour. The point that majority of the hotel is located across the road from the beach is not an issue at all, it is less than a minute to the ocean, and if you have a larger family or group I would highly recommend the Ocean Front Suites which are elegantly fitted with everything you would need for a relaxing luxury holiday, there's even a BBQ area, and you will be as close to the sea as you wish.
The famous Fishpot restaurant is highly recommended. The new “Little Spa” area is gorgeous.
The feature you cannot get past here is the sea! The whole property runs parallel to the turquoise waterline, the newly refurbished Oceanfront Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites are right on the beach, the Junior Suites are located on the ground floor and you can step off your large terrace into the water with just a few paces across the sand, the Deluxe rooms are above in the first and second floors and offer fine décor and balcony with unbeatable views of the sea.
Absolute luxury rooms and suites dotted around beautifully manicured gardens, this resort blends a colonial and tropical style and feels first class. Once in the Spa it is very hard to leave, such a tranquil and pampering space and like throughout the Hotel, the staff here are attentive and aware of all your needs. Another nice feature is the marine reserve in front of the restaurant where you can snorkel uninterrupted by boats.
Lagoon style pools wrap around the gardens in this welcoming resort. This hotel seems to cater for all, and everything you might need is taken care of from excellent dining, entertainment and activities to a daybed for relaxing on your patio. The rooms are recently refurbished and there are many options to choose from such as Garden Rooms or Oceanfront One Bedroom Suites which are fitted with a separate living room with a flat screen TV and sofa bed for the kids. My pick would be the Poolside Rooms which have direct entry into the pool!
This hotel has a colourful, fun and contemporary feel which makes you want to stay. It is not on large gardens or grounds like Coral Reef Club or Colony Club, however it still has various areas you can relax in with three pools including an adults one next to the Spa. Many rooms have wonderful sea views. There is a great kids club and also a teens room which has become more an everyone room as the air hockey, Wii and pool tables have been attracting more than just the teens.
Situated next to Tamarind, with the famous Daphne's restaurant in between, you can have an exclusive boutique hotel stay at The House and also have access to the facilities of Tamarind. You enter through what feels almost like a fort gate into the internal open air garden which is tropical with water features and large palms. Framing the garden are the soon to be refurbished suites with either sea or garden views. The new bar area is intimate and with the food being made at Daphne's you know the quality is there.
Sister property to Coral Reef Club, Sandpiper is smaller and feels slightly more boutique. As with Coral Reef Club the gardens and rooms are built with style and privacy. This hotel has many dedicated repeat clients and you can feel why, it is simply lovely. There is a beach bar and a wonderful restaurant, which offers a la carte dining with some buffet themed evenings.
The rooms of this small hotel are built in a horseshoe shape facing out to the sea and down to the pool. All the suites have been nicely refurbished and the new spa is lovely. You can feel that guests here feel at home and get to know each other during their stay. The location is pretty and you can swim with the turtles right in front of the hotel.
If I could make this my home I would. This small hotel has the intimacy of a guest house but at the same time is luxurious and private. I loved the award winning rooftop restaurant, gorgeous pool and the creative decor in the rooms and suites. The fact that there isn't a beach in front of the hotel isn't a problem because there is a very pretty beach a short walk away and the staff are so willing to please they will carry your lounger to the beach should you wish.
We were pleasantly welcomed to Turtle Beach by a gorgeous cocktail selection and a hilarious singing chef. This resort is on a beautiful yet slightly less calm beach than its west coast sister hotels, however it has perfect pools and facilities for a relaxed day in the water, many dining facilities and family friendly suites and a great kid clubs.
Described as the only retro-contemporary hotel on Barbados, Oceans Two is more fresh and new than I imagined. A tower style hotel, I was surprised by the spacious well equipped suites, and also the great roof top pool and balcony. The views are great and this hotel had a fun vibe and was also close to the St Lawrence Gap nightlife.
Initially put off by the size of this hotel my mind was instantly changed as soon as I arrived. You walk through a quaint village style street with restaurants and stores to find the most beautiful view down to the well-known Crane Beach. The grounds are made up of gardens, ponds, pools, waterfalls and suite blocks. The suites offer a large variety of accommodation, many with feature plunge pools, full kitchens and luxury fittings. The restaurants offer a great variety of dining at a high standard.