Barbados Trip Report by Lois

Nov 12th, 2002, 06:08 AM
  #1  
Lois
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Barbados Trip Report by Lois

Just back from 10 heavenly days in Barbados. Gorgeous weather the entire time. We stayed at our timeshare at Rockley Plum Tree Club, which was enjoyable. We always rent a car, so we get around all over the island while there.
During our stay, we spent a very pampered night at Villa Nova – a country house inner island set in lovely gardens. Secluded and quiet if you want an escape from a busy schedule. The pool is gorgeous. No small children around. They will drive you to a lovely East Coast beach where you will find waves and small pools on one end, and the other side is calm, tranquil water. They can also pack a picnic lunch for you.
Had a terrific lunch at Villa Nova – one of our better meals on the island as well as a wonderful dinner at night. Enjoyed the clubby atmosphere of their bar. Our suite was wonderful with a private, large balcony. They have flat screen televisions and a great collection of romantic CDs to enjoy. The bathroom was huge and had a clawfoot tub with hand held shower, and also a large walk-in shower that felt like gentle rain washing you. Also had very European bidet and double sinks.
The butler pressed our garments after our arrival. At night, after dinner when we returned to our room the bed had been turned down with an hisbiscus on each pillow, and slippers laid out on special mats. It was a wonderful stay and I’d highly recommend it. Additional questions?? feel free to ask me.
The wonderful restaurants we visited this trip include The Cliff – the BEST on the island. The views of the sea are spectacular. And the service could not be beat – about 3 wait staff nearby each table to take care of your every need. The food was fabulous as always. For about $130 US per couple (VAT is included) you had a 2 course dinner, wine is extra as is gratuity. Three course meals also available.
The Tides, which is farther up the West Coast from The Cliff had wonderful food. The chef, Guy Beasley, is very accomplished and everything our group of 6 tried was delicious. It is open for both lunch and dinner.
LaTerra with chef, Larry Rogers was also fantastic. They are at Baku Beach upstairs. It’s creative Italian/Mediterranean specialties.
Carambola offered spectacular views, including manta rays swimming by. All of the Cliffside seating offers wonderful views of the Caribbean. The food was equally good here.
The “gourmet-type” restaurants will usually run you $50-$65US per person – this would include an appetizer/starter, and main course, or main course & dessert with one bottle of moderately priced wine.
You can eat less expensively also on the island and there are many restaurants that offer typically Bajan fare with macaroni pie, flying fish, grilled chicken, etc.
A trip highlight was our day tour with Island Safari. We booked a private tour and went to places we wanted rather than their pre-planned tour. It was lots of fun going off-roading through sugar cane fields, feeding green monkeys, etc. We had a wonderful lunch at the Round House up by Bathsheeba and watched surfers preparing for their pro-surfing championship to be held last weekend.
Just 2 weeks ago they re-opened The Gap area in St. Lawrence. Newly paved streets, and lighting were a big improvement. Also a police presence made the area very safe at night. The road works on the South Coast appeared to be completed, so traffic flowed smoothly this trip.
I’d be happy to answer any specific questions. Over the years we’ve also stayed at Bougainvillea Beach - a wonderful South Coast resort, and I’m very familiar with many of the island restaurants and resorts.
 
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #2  
Cindi
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Thanks for all of the up-to-date information. We plan to go this winter and it will be helpful.
 
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:58 AM
  #3  
John
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Lois, can you tell me anything about a restaurant called Shak Shak on the South Coast. I've heard it was good.
 
Nov 12th, 2002, 12:51 PM
  #4  
karen
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Lois,
Do you know anything about the villa Great House? Specifically, do you know anything about the beach in that area? It's at Turtle Beach in the parish of St. Peter. Wondering how swimming might be for the kids in this area. We'll be going with several couples but it's wildly expensive. Want to make sure it's worth it! Thanks...
 
Nov 12th, 2002, 01:40 PM
  #5  
Lois
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Karen,

The villa is gorgeous and it's located near Mullins Bay. You can see pictures of this beach area on the www.barbados.org site under "beaches". It should be great for children.

It's nice being on the West Coast as if you should desire to eat out, all of the wonderful restaurants are nearby, although you may never want to leave your villa.
 
Nov 13th, 2002, 10:17 AM
  #6  
Linda
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Message to Lois,

My husband and I are also booked to stay at the Rockley Plum Tree in January. This will be our first trip to the island. We plan to rent a car when we get there. We were thinking of a moke or would we be better off with a small car? How far is the walk to Rockley beach? How about the walk to The Gap area? Would it be safe to walk at night?
Any help is greatly appeciated.
 
Nov 13th, 2002, 10:22 AM
  #7  
Debbie
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Lois-

You seem to know so much about barbados, I was wondering where you would suggest staying for a family with a small child (3 years old). Looking for upscale resort, although I think Sandy Lane might be a little too much for this trip. Thanks.
 
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:51 PM
  #8  
Lois
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Linda:

You will enjoy Rockley. Talk with Judy, Ann or Angela in the office with any questions you have and they will steer you the right way. Give them my name (Lois Swanson).

You can walk to the beach from Rockley, but they do offer beach transportation once an hour to Rockley Beach. It's not my favorite, but that's one option.

However, if you have your own vehicle, just drive down to the main South Coast Road, turn LEFT at the traffic light and go about 1/2 mile -- just shortly past the bright yellow building on the right you will come to a car park -- pull in there & actually you can drive right onto the beach & park under some trees -- it's our favorite beach (Sandy Beach)--right near the beginning of St. Lawrence Gap. It's very calm, gorgeous water - -but there are waves too at one end of this bay if you like that.
My son-in-law walked it a few times with his children (about 15 minutes).

Just past Bellini's is the beginning of St. Lawrence Gap and they just reopened this area the week before we were there -- it's all paved and has nice lighting now at night -- much nicer than previously. It is a ight spot are with some places for music and dancing (later on) -- also a few restaurants.

I definitely would NOT walk to the Gap at night -- very narrow streets, no sidewalks & I don't always feel safe walking at night anyplace, although Barbados is very safe in general. Drive it at night.

Lois

Definitely rent a car rather than a moke -- no place to lock anything up in one of those. A good car rental place is Stoutes - we've dealt with them for years. Look them up at www.stoutescar.com

 
Nov 13th, 2002, 02:35 PM
  #9  
Lois
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Debbie:

You may want to consider an "all-inclusive" with a 3 year old. I've heard Turtle Beach Resort on the South Coast is supposed to be upscale and I believe it has a children's club.

Also, check with Bougainvillea Beach - they too have a children's program and have a variety of types of accommodations. Very nice property. But, definitely not in the class of Sandy Lane (if that's what you are looking for).

On the West Coast, north of Speighttown you find Little Good Harbour which is a charming cluster of luxury cottages, nestled around a central swimming pool and lush tropical gardens - they allow children.

Also on the West Coast in Holetown is the Coral Reef Club, which is Coral Reef Club is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World - supposed to be very nice.

Sandy Lane is the premier property on the island with the least expensive room going for almost $1,000/night.

One that is inland that is also a luxury property is Villa Nova, but I do not believe they would allow a 3 year old.

Definitely check out the Barbados Tourism site and go under "hotels" then click under "names & contacts" and you'll pull up a list of all of the properties. Anything in blue is a link to their actual sites and you can find out all you need to know. After you have checked out a few properties, I'd be glad to comment further. Good luck. You will really enjoy the island.
 
Nov 14th, 2002, 04:52 PM
  #10  
Linda
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To Lois,

It's Linda again. Your recommendation for car rental looks good. We haven't driven on the "wrong" side of the road before. Would you suggest we just take a cab from the airport or pick the car up there and hit the road with our fingers crossed???
How well equipped are the kitchens at the Rockley? Is there a place close by to pick up some basic supplies?
Thanks for all your help. I'm sure I will have more questions as time goes by.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 06:36 AM
  #11  
Debbie
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Thanks Lois-

I have done quite a bit of research and I think I have narrowed my choices (although a couple new ones usually get thrown into the mix) If we don't stay at Sandy Lane (at the time we want to go the rates are slightly less ridiculous $600/night vs $1000-still not sure i want to spend that) I am thinking of Glitter Bay and Bougainvilla. We don't really like all inclusives. Do you prefer the west coast or south? Is it much easier to go out to dinner from either area. Thanks for your help.
 
Nov 17th, 2002, 07:25 AM
  #12  
Diane
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We have just booked a trip to stay at the Casuarina. Any comments on this place? Good and bad. Are there good restaurents nearby at reasonable prices?
 
Nov 19th, 2002, 12:44 PM
  #13  
Lois
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Hi Linda,

The kitchens at Rockley have enough for simple preparations - we usually just eat breakfast in (cereals/coconut bread), and sometimes lunches -- sandwiches by the pool. You'd miss out on a lot if you don't eat out at night. Regarding the car, it might be best if someone would bring the car to your resort & give you some tips on driving on the left -- it takes some getting used to. Not having done that before and trying to find the resort from the airport, I think I'd just get a taxi there -- it takes about 15 min. and is not too costly.

For groceries a great place is The Big B - it's about 3/4 mile from your place. As you leave Rockley bear left and and make a right onto Golf Course Rd. -- this will take you right to the Big B which is just past the Fire Station -- it has everything you could ever want. Great deli there too where you can get a meal if you care to take it home & eat in for about $3.50 US.

Debbie:

Sandy Lane is certainly worth the $600/night -- the pool/spa area is gorgeous & they really pamper you.
Glitter Bay has been around since the 80's, but I think they keep refurbishing constantly & is a nice property -- also Royal Pavillion (it's sister resort next door) is very nice & a bit newer. While we love Bougainvillea Beach, the West Coast is much more convenient to all of the fabulous restaurants you would want to try in the evening. I think if you can afford it, I would try for the West Coast.

Causaurina is an older property on the South Coast. There are a few restaurants in The Gap area that are reasonably priced.

Anymore questions, please write back.

Lois
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 05:28 AM
  #14  
anne
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Lois,

Can you tell me anything about Little good harbour resort? Is the beach right at the hotel? How far is the Little good harbour from the airport & how would you rate the resort? When is the best time to visit Barbados? My husband & I are wanting deluxe/nice resort with good food/nice beach with calm water & deluxe room/bathroom.
Thanks.
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:08 AM
  #15  
Lois
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Little Good Harbour is North of Speightstown on the West Coast. It is very far from the airport & quite far from most of the fantastic restaurants on the West Coast.

While it is a nice property and the beach is right there, you might prefer something a little less remote.

Cobblers Cove is still quite far up the West Coast, but much closer than Little Good Harbour and they can really pamper you there. The beach is lovely also. It's a Relais and Chateau so the food/service are the best!

If you can afford Sandy Lane, it's the best on the island.

Inland where we stayed at Villa Nova it's a small, exclusive country house and we loved it -- service is the best. Food some of the best on the island also. The pool and gardens are lovely. They take you to Bath beach on the East Coast for swimming. There is a very calm portion of the bay there & also some more lively water as well.

We usually like late October/early November the best - it's just before the high season when it's more crowded and the prices are at their peak.

We've also been there May/June timeframe and that's very nice also.

Mid-summer you will get more showers.

Please feel free to ask more questions.
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 12:07 PM
  #16  
Steve-O
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Any info about the Colony Club on the West Coast of the island? Is the location convenient to any nightlife/restaurants? Also, is it safe to walk at night?
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 02:50 PM
  #17  
Lois
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Steve-O

We had friends that stayed at the Colony Club about 3 years ago and loved it -- it's one of the better hotels on the West Coast. You'd probably need a short cab ride to some of the fabulous restaurants which are all South of the Colony Club. It's located North of Holetown and the area from Holetown south is where most of the restaurants are (from Olives down to Carambola).

I would not plan on walking at night -- roads are too narrow and some distances are too far. But when you are in the Baku Beach area there are a few things right there you could walk between.
 
Dec 12th, 2002, 04:51 PM
  #18  
Claude
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Lois, you are a virtuual font of information on Barbados.We are going for theforst time later this month.It sounds like you really should rent a car for the week? Are the nicer restaurants "dressier " at night a la Bermuda?
What's your favourite jewellery shop?
We will be staying in Christ Church-any comments?
 
Dec 13th, 2002, 03:43 AM
  #19  
Lois
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Claude -

Yes, we love the island. Already have our 17th trip booked for 2003 - can't wait.

To answer your questions, YES - a car is definitely good. We always rent from Stoutes - you can find them at www.stoutescar.com They have new cars, very reliable and are great to deal with (you can mention Lois Swanson recommended). We love to go off each day and explore a new area of the island. Having your own car just makes it so much easier to do what you want.

There are fabulous restaurants on the island -- most are located on the West Coast. We usually stay on the South Coast as well and each evening make the drive to the West Coast for dinner -- about 25 - 35 min. depending on traffic and location of the restaurant. You can get up to the ABC highway which makes it an easy drive to the West Coast.

Some that I would highly recommend are:
The Cliff - truly the best on the island for both food and service. The setting is spectacular (nothing in Bermuda can compare with these settings). The food is gourmet, beautifully presented, and the service is The Best! You will love the torches and water views -- if there are 2 of you, ask for something close to Table 50 for a fabulous spot. You definitely need to ask something right by the water -- it's worth waiting to get that type of seating.

Next up would be Carambola -- all wonderful water seating on a cliff above the Caribbean. They even have Manta Rays that swim by nightly. The food here is also gourmet, nicely presented and wonderful service. Between Carambola & The Cliff you will love it.

Another we always enjoy is La Terra - this is not waterfront seating, although it is on the Caribbean side - it is upstairs at Baku. It is beautifully decorated, very gourmet Mediterranean/Italian food, one of the best chefs on the island, and wonderful service.

Also not to be missed is The Tides - lovely setting, wonderful food - the chef, Guy Beasley can beautifully prepare anything - lots of good seafood.

There are lots of other great restaurants as well, but the truly spectacular are all on the West Coast.

Where will you stay -- if you'd like to write me directly with any questions, use my e-mail above and I'd be glad to help. Lois
 
Dec 13th, 2002, 09:48 AM
  #20  
Dana
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Hi Lois,
I will be heading to Barbados for my honeymoon in May. We're staying at the Fairmont Royal Pavillion. Just wondering what you know about the Fairmont and if there are any special/romantic things that you might recommend we do.
Thanks,
Dana
 

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