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Bountiful Barbados

Kerrie Lake, manager at our travel agents in Felixstowe, was lucky enough to spend four nights on the stunning island of Barbados.  Here is the summary of her trip as well as her personal highlights…

Destination: Barbados
Operator/Host: Virgin Holidays / Elegant Resorts
Accommodation
(Hotel names/Ship name): 
Tamarind, Turtle Beach
Airline: Virgin Atlantic
Duration: 4 Nights

Flights

We were upgraded to Premium Economy on both flights which was lovely. The Virgin Atlantic staff on board were very attentive and being in premium meant that we were extra comfortable.

The flight to Barbados is approx. 8 hours long and I would say that the upgrade to premium is well worth it; even if it’s just for the return overnight flight.

A few of the girls’ television screens did not work on the outbound flight but they were provided with DVD players to watch movies on. We weren’t overly impressed that in premium they had this problem but appreciated that it was rectified quickly. Although, I don’t know if a fully paying traveller would have been so happy.

On our return flight, we had a much newer aircraft and everybody’s screen was working. This flight was better than the outbound one due to the newer style of seats and the fact that most of us slept for the majority of the flight probably means they were pretty comfortable!

Accommodation

The first accommodation that we stayed in was the Tamarind by Elegant Resorts on the west coast of the island. This was a beautiful hotel and we were greeted with cocktails on arrival. It’s quite spread out, with numerous areas to sit and relax, 104 rooms on 3 floors and 3 pools. The hotel is based on bed and breakfast with the option to upgrade to half-board if you wish.

We attended their Jazz and Steak night and the food went down very well; an amazing choice of dishes and some particularly good desserts!

The hotel is beachfront and within 30 minutes of arrival we had taken over the beach; sipping our cocktails. Being my first experience of a Caribbean beach, I couldn’t have asked for more; white sand, clear blue sea and a pina colada. Welcome to Barbados!!

We stayed in a junior suite and I have to say it was one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever stayed in. All of the suites were slightly different but somehow I got the biggest?! They were all of a very high standard though and there were lots of nice touches throughout the resort, such as an ‘adults only’ pool area with flowing waterfall.

The other accommodation we enjoyed was the Turtle Beach by Elegant Resorts on the south coast. This was another lovely hotel with slightly more rooms than the Tamarind. This did feel bigger as it had 161 rooms spread over 4 floors. Again, there was a beautiful beach at the front of the hotel and lovely pool areas for all to enjoy.

This hotel is based on all-Inclusive and I have to say the food here was lovely; a huge choice for breakfast and the evening meal setting was perfect. This hotel had low-key, live evening entertainment, but lots of people staying on this side of the island prefer to visit St. Lawrence gap for a night out. This hotel also offers an exchange dining programme for a different dining experience.

Excursions

 Barbados Man

We did have some rain whilst in Barbados so this meant that some of the trips we had planned to do had to be cancelled. We were due to have an evening at Oistins Fish Fry on the south coast and a Turtle Catamaran trip, however, both were cancelled.

We did have a night out in St. Lawrence Gap though and got to experience a typical Bajan Saturday night. There was a great atmosphere on the strip and, although you do have to be vigilant, it felt very relaxed and friendly. The locals were out enjoying their weekend and it was great to be a part of it for a night. Some of the dancing didn’t leave much to the imagination but it was all in good fun. I did wonder how safe I would feel but I needn’t have been so concerned.

We also incorporated a number of hotel inspections into the trip. These included visits to the Southern Palms, The Waves Hotel, Time Out, Ocean Two, Savannah Hotel, Colony Club, Crystal Cove, Fairmont Royal Pavilion.

Trip Highlights

Experiencing drinks at The House was a highlight. The hotel had a very different feel to it than the others we had visited and is great for anyone wanting to experience something extra special. The service we received was particularly good and the refurbished rooms we saw were lovely. This hotel is on a much smaller scale and feels much more private than some of the larger properties. There were even some celebrities staying when we visited, although we didn’t spot any!

Overall, I enjoyed meeting the local people; they all seemed so friendly and always happy to chat. I enjoyed the laid back style and feel of the Island. The beaches we saw were lovely; I just wish we had had more time on them!

Possible Improvements

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and feel that, with the weather we had on some days, our Virgin guides did their very best to make sure we did and saw as much as we could. I don’t think any more could have been done to accommodate us.

Recommendations

I think Barbados has so much to offer for all types of travellers. Families have some great choices of hotels offering all-inclusive stays with lots of facilities and water sports included.

Couples can be as adventurous or as relaxed as they want. There is great nightlife if people feel like venturing out, whilst the great beaches and entertainment will satisfy people who want everything to be in one place in order to enjoy a more relaxed holiday.

From 5* Hotels to cheap and cheerful options, there is accommodation to suit everyone. We visited so many different resorts which would be perfect for people with a wide range of budgets.

The people of Barbados really are the most friendly, happy people. It’s not often your waitress is happily singing ‘Red, Red Wine’ at 07.30am in the morning as she seats guests. I would not hesitate to recommend Barbados as it really can offer something for all.

Additional Comments

Barbados can be very humid for large chunks of the year. The hotels have air conditioned rooms but all of the restaurants we experienced were undercover with open sides. Obviously, they want you to take in the scenery around you whilst you eat, but the fans do not provide much comfort when it’s really sticky and so I suggest taking a small fan with you might be a good idea.

Crickets! They chirp all night long and kept me awake on my first night. You do get used to them, but if you have a hotel room amongst gardens; be prepared!

Must see?

 Barbados Monkey

  • Harrison’s Cave
  • The monkeys whilst taking a short (or long) hike around the central district
  • The Reggae Lounge
  • Coconuts from the roadside
  • The Sugar Museum

Must do?

  • Snorkel from the beach at Folkestone Marina in northern sector of Holetown,
  • Stroll around Holetown for an afternoon/evening; taking in the sunset from the beach and then eat at one of many reasonably priced eateries
  • Sea fishing trip
  • Golf – plenty to choose from but can be expensive
  • Oistins on a Friday night
  • Visit the Mount Gay Rum factory and or the Malibu Visitor Centre
  • Go racing at Garrison Savannah
  • Take in a cricket match

Must try? The beach! (and one of the many cocktails on offer)

If you fancy jetting off to the Caribbean in search of some winter sun or on a romantic honeymoon holiday, we can help to arrange an extra special trip away. Speak to one of our agents in store or fill out an online contact form to see the packages that we have to offer.