Jeanne Lally travelled to Barbados with Kuoni in June 2012
Barbados is a beautiful island contrasting a rugged east coast with vibrant nightlife on the south coast and sophisticated glamour on the west coast. The island offers holidaymakers the ideal place to chill-out, relax and unwind on powdery stretches of soft sand. The sophisticated west coast has superb hotels, excellent restaurants, white sand beaches and clear calm waters - ideal for swimming, snorkelling or taking a catamaran cruise. The livelier popular south coast boasts some of the island's best beaches as well as the chic bars, restaurants and nightlife of St Lawrence Gap and Oistins with its famous fish market.
Travel Tip: If flying from London Gatwick and travelling by train into London – when at Kings Cross/St Pancras stations; walk across to St Pancras (I did it easily with my huge for a 4 night stay suitcase), take the Croydon train straight to Platform 2 at London Gatwick – bypassing Victoria! I did the same on the way back and it took 40-45 mins. Worth every penny as the access is excellent. £35.00pp return.
Honeymoon tip: We were hosted in the Virgin Club Lounge (as opposed to the Virgin Holidays Lounge) where we had an excellent breakfast – there is a superb beauty and nail bar with very reasonable prices. Easy to book it could be a nice treat for a bride before setting off on honeymoon.
Our first stay on the island was hosted by Elegant Hotels who offered accommodation on West Coast; The first 2 nights were spent at Tamarind - the hotel has a prime beach front location and sits right next door to The House . The House is an elegantly cool property frequented by celebrities (Fearne Cotton and Jesse Woods were staying when we were there). I would recommend the Ocean View suites rather than in the Garden View suites with plunge pools as although these are very private there is no sea or beach view from them. Daphne’s Restaurant sits between the two properties - we ate there on our first evening. It is so close to the beach you can reach out and virtually touch the sea - ambience really is magical with the sound of waves breaking on the shoreline it was very relaxing.
Our next hotel was Sugar Cane Club Resort & Spa, we travelled north towards Port St Charles Marina which is directly after Speightstown and headed inland and up a hill towards the hotel which overlooks Haywards Beach. Set amongst lush tropical vegetation this is the only property we saw which did not sit directly on a beach.
We then moved on to Mango Bay , I last stayed here on 9/11 in an Oceanfront room with beach and sea views. Since then an extra floor has been added to the hotel which includes an amazing honeymoon suite with spectacular beach views. There are lots of weddings here both on property and off property.
We enjoyed lunch on the beach at Tamarind before taking a water taxi to Crystal Cove which was very convenient and guests can make use of this facility too. Approaching Crystal Cover from the sea this relaxed village-style resort is nestled on a beachfront cliff in gorgeous gardens centred on pretty rock pools and cascading waterfalls.
That evening we were hosted for dinner at Colony Club and as the name suggests this hotel is full of old world charm - Lagoon pools meander through palm filled gardens and cooling breezes waft through the sea view restaurant, adding to the intimate atmosphere of this west coast hotel. It had a real Raffles feel to it with a beautiful dinner served as we listened to Jazz in the restaurant and watched the sunset.
We spent the next morning relaxing at Tamarind and star spotting on the beach before leaving for lunch at Sandy Lane. Sandy Lane is the epitome of luxury with a tangible air of exclusivity, enjoying a beautiful setting on the island's 'Platinum Coast' and it holds a magnetic attraction for royalty, the wealthy and famous and the discerning traveller. Since it first opened its doors to guests in 1961 this classic hotel quickly established a deserved reputation as one of the world’s very best hotels. Boasting exceptional facilities, immaculate grounds, a magnificent spa and breath-taking golf courses, Sandy Lane is an outstanding resort for couples and families alike. This superb resort has The Country Club restaurant overlooking the golf course, and two sea view restaurants – The spa is as you would expect – amazing! Away from the beach front the huge pools at the back of the property with magnificent waterfalls add to the privacy of the hotel and the Kids Club is equally impressive.
Once we finished lunch we were whisked off for a Catamaran Cruise where several of the party swam with turtles, we all drank several rum punches and ended the cruise by singing a rendition of the classic Rod Stewart song, Sailing! The cruise is well worth doing as an excursion as the Turtles are exquisite and the afternoon is great fun. We anchored off the West Coast in a sea that was as calm as a warm bath and crystal clear azure water – stunning! That evening we checked into Oceans Two Resort & Spa for 2 nights. Oceans2 is a 4 star self-catering, beachfront resort on the south coast of Barbados. This apartment style hotel has excellent facilities, stunning ocean views and a spectacular location on the white sands of Dover Beach a stone’s throw from St Lawrence Gap. Sitting on the Atlantic Ocean the property benefits from a superb man made beach where guests and beach visitors were boogie boarding and surfing. Great location for getting to the famous Oistins Friday Fish Fry where hundreds of locals and tourists gather to sample fried, grilled and baked fish, sweet potato, fish cakes and much more whilst listening to traditional Caribbean music. This has become the second most popular excursion on the island after Harrisons Cave.
The last hotel visit was Turtle Beach another Elegant property within walking distance of Oceans 2. Set in tropical gardens beside a stunning 1,500 foot stretch of beach, this is a lively resort for all the family, including an excellent kids' club.
Barbados offered a true flavour of the Caribbean from the moment we stepped off the aircraft. You can’t help but relax into the slow way of life, and will find that you’re permanently grinning. This may be down to the odd rum punch cocktail or just the glorious sunshine, but the locals are always happy and smiling and it’s very infectious.
- Harrison's Cave, an enchanting limestone cave of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites where crystal clear streams flow into waterfalls that cascade into clear emerald pools.
-Visit former plantations, romantically ruined or skilfully reused, such as the Flower Forest at Richmond Plantation.
- Discover the secret to crafting some of the world's finest rums and enjoy taste-testing with a tour of one of the island's famous rum factories.
The weather in Barbados is fairly consistent throughout the year. Summer all year round! Temperatures are generally in the 27 °C (80°F) to 30°C (86°F) range throughout the year.
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