Barbados vs St Barts

Old Apr 11th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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Barbados vs St Barts

Any comparisons?

I know St Barts very well, and Barbados not at all.

Can anyone enlighten me?
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 11:47 AM
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Except for the astronomical prices of the restaurants, these 2 islands are very different.

Physically, Barbados is much bigger, more populated. The hotels are concentrated on the west, south (and to a very small degree) east coasts.

Barbados has "highways".

In terms of in the interior of the island, Barbados is very much like "Little England".

West coast(platinium coast) has the high end hotels and villas. Beaches come and go depending erosion.

South coast beaches are nice but with a bit of a swell. More mid-level hotels and lots of bars and restaurants.

Bajans can be a bit surly and there is alot more hawking..
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Interesting

I'll make no bones about the fact that I am involved professionally with St Barts. (in the spirit of the forum, no plugging of our business, I've been on this board for over ten years under one guise or another)

The upper end UK market appears to be hooked on Barbados and knows nothing of St Barts, whereas, from what I understand, St Barts is a lot more upscale.

Thoughts?
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Old Apr 12th, 2012, 04:58 AM
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The islands couldn't be more different. As you know, St. Barts is sort of St.Tropez in the tropics. Barbados is much more authentic Caribbean with a British flair, and an island nation, as opposed to a very upscale French Department. Barbados is a varied island, with at least some of everything that the islands offer, except for a volcano.
Contrary to another poster's comments about Barbadians, I have been traveling there for many years and found the people to be some of the nicest anywhere. They are very religious and education-conscious, proud of their island, and generally go out of their way to make visitors welcome.
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Old Apr 12th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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Interesting...

The million dollar question is why do wealthy Brits go to Barbados rather than St Barts?

From what you describe Barbados and St Lucia or St Kitts would all roughly fit the same description.

I'm not talking about direct flight issues/packages etc...the clients I am thinking of can take a private jet to get to St Barts with little more fuss than going to Barbados.

90% of the private jet traffic through Sint Maarten goes to St Barts...and half of Wall Street and Hollywood are there at Christmas.
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Old Apr 12th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Given the choice between a "the mother country (English) influence" and the Gallic influence (French), I really think Brits will chose what they are confortable with.
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Old Apr 12th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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I agree with both Carib_Ian and with xkenx except I'll say that I think the Bajans are maybe a little reserved rather than surly. We found them friendly but not overly so. I also don't necessarily think Barbados has much of a Caribbean flair. But it does have more of a Caribbean flavor than does St. Barts, which has none (not that that's bad).

My take on why wealthy British visitors go to Barbados rather than St. Barts is:

1. Plain and simple: marketing. We were at a Boston travel show not long ago and I actually engaged the Barbados representative in almost this exact conversation. Well, not why British tourists go to Barbados over St. Barts but why so many go to Barbados. He said they market like crazy in the U.K. and they wanted to increase the number of U.S. visitors so they were ramping up their marketing in the U.S.

2. Golf courses. How many golf courses does St. Barts have? Exactly.

3. Barbados feels a bit like home. We've been to a lot of Caribbean islands and Barbados by a long shot has the most British feel. Sometimes people like to vacation where they feel comfortable and where most of the other visitors are like they are. I think that's one reason so many Americans go to Aruba since Aruba to me feels the most like home (U.S.).

On Barbados we stayed at the Coral Reef Club where the same family not only lives on the property but has owned and run the resort since the 1950's. They open their home for a weekly cocktail party where all the guests are invited. We walked in, introduced ourselves and they said, "Oh, the Americans. There's another American couple here. Let me introduce you." We actually found that, well, odd. Most of the guests had been coming to the Coral Reef Club annually for years and even decades.

4. Maybe this is a bit of a stretch but you have to consider the Sandy Lane factor. It's a huge resort with a variety of accommodations and it is on every single Best Of list anywhere. It's known as an upscale resort on a beautiful beach.

I assume you're trying to increase the number of wealthy British visitors to St. Barts. Is there much advertising in upscale British magazines or other publications? I think that's the key.
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Old Apr 17th, 2012, 06:21 AM
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Interesting. I should really get to Barbados

I get your point on marketing. St Barts started marketing at all two years ago, and is concentrating on the USA, which is a bit odd seeing as how well known St Barts is there.

Golf courses? I think the missing factor would more likely be a lack of Polo than a lack of golf.

Not at all convinced by the "feels like home" angle. Don't forget the Brits have bought up huge chunks of the Dorgogne and Burgundy and, the French aside, are the largest consumers of French wine and cheese. As I say not convinced.

Sandy Lane Just Googled it and recognise it from a Bond movie. Looks a bit like a "resort" How many rooms does it have? How does it compare to the Eden Rock?

I might start a seperate thread on that question.
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Old Apr 18th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Seeing as how I haven't stayed at Sandy Lane it's hard for me to compare it with Eden Rock. We loved Eden Rock. But Sandy Lane is rather sprawling and spread out if I remember correctly. They also have 2 or 3 golf courses. It's a beautiful property.

One other thing I thought about as to a possibility of why Barbados attracts the wealthy British. Many of the villas on Barbados seem to be staffed with at least a cook and a gardener and often a housekeeper as well. St. Barts, I don't believe, advertises many staffed villas. A group of my friends looked into renting a villa on Barbados a few years ago and just about everywhere we looked had a staffed villa. That's quite an attractive perk, especially on holiday.

Not to quibble but I really don't think you can completely discount the Britishness of Barbados as a contributing factor for attracting Brits. If you'll notice Carib_Ian mentioned it as well. Yes, I'm aware that some pockets of France have been bought up by British. And many of them bought in the same areas. Like attracting like.
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Old Apr 18th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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One other point...and being a transplanted Brit I have to agree with Sharona.... think about flight logistics. The Caribbean is an 8-hour flight, which let's face it, is a taxing experience. What is the appeal of getting off an 7-8 hour flight and then having to take a puddle jumper or ferry to reach your final destination? Not only that, but you would have to clear customs twice. I know you will probably say that Brits will do that for islands like Mustique but you would have to offer a fairly seamless transit experience for Brits to get to St. Barths.
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 03:47 AM
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It appears that there are now scheduled flights from Antigua to St Barts
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Old Jul 7th, 2012, 10:23 AM
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I am not British, and have never been to St. Barts. I have been to Barbados 3 times, the last time at Sandy Lane. It is large, but private, absolutely gorgeous. The spa was wonderful, they really pamper their guests. The transit between Barbados and Mustique is, as Carib_Ian points out, seamless. Travel from St. Maarten to Anguilla, also very easy. Travel from SXM by air or water to St Barts is infamous for being uncomfortable (for example, the ferry is nicknamed "The Vomit Comet"). The point about marketing is valid. You can't expect people to travel 8-10 hours to a place they know little about
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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I understand that that the Antigua to St Barts route is scheduled to tie in with the BA flight in from London.
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