Coral Sands/Casuarina/Buganvillia

Sep 13th, 2003, 07:13 AM
  #1  
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Coral Sands/Casuarina/Buganvillia

We have narrowed it down to these 3 properties for april in barbados. 2 kids, need a good ,calm beach with natural shade if possible, close to good food as we do not want to rent a car ,unless we have to. Any advice welcome.
DOCK is offline  
Sep 13th, 2003, 11:17 AM
  #2  
 
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Hubby and I spent 10 days at the Bougainvillea a couple of years ago and loved it! Nice mix of adults and kids (but I don't know if they have a kids' program). We stayed in a 1 bedroom suite which might be OK for a family if the 2 kids can sleep in the same double bed (living room couch folds out to a bed); otherwise, you can get a suite connected to a bedroom unit. The suites come with a full kitchen so you can cook in as much or as little as you want. There is a mini mart just across and down the street a bit (100 yards) where the rum is cheap and you can get various odds and ends as well as the basics. A number of the supermarkets in St. Lawrence gap offer free shuttle service to and from hotels, so call and ask and don't walk like we did (the heat can be brutal). The beach and the pools (free form with water falls) are lovely at Bougainlvillea. You didn't say what ages the kids are. If they are very young, they may have trouble getting into the water as there is some wave action, which makes for nice floating on "noodles". It's not enough to boogie board or any thing like that, but I wouldn't describe it as "calm". (This would apply to the Casuarina as well, as they share the same beach.) However, if you walk a couple of hundred yards in one direction, the water is much easier in front of Sand Acres next door, and if you go in the other direction (past Casuarina) you will get a lot more waves.

I would recommend 2 things. First, get a 2nd floor unit, if you can. The landscaping is so lush that some people we talked to who had main floor units were bothered (not a lot, but enough)by mosquitos at night on their patios, whereas we never used a shot of bug spray on the 2nd floor. If you go higher, it's a hike up with heavy bags of groceries (and rum)in the heat (no elevators). I'd also recommend reef shoes (especially for kids). The sand is soft and lovely, but there can be pieces of dead coral rolling in the surf that you may not see, and I sliced off a toenail on one.

When we were there, the food at the Water's Edge restaurant at Sand Acres (which is the sister hotel of Bougainvillea) was absolutely wonderful. Have flying fish with your eggs for breakfast - mmm-mmm. Try the Buffalo Wings and the Garlic Shrimp when they are on the menu. Unbelievable! We used to pop over every morning and check out the chalkboard menu for the evening before deciding where we would eat each night. Things may have changed, but Lanterns at Bougainvillea was nowhere near as good. Don't miss the Manager's cocktail party and BBQ if at all possible! Among other things, the best ribs I have tasted anywhere - bar none(and I've had ribs all over Texas).

We didn't rent a car (and didn't miss it). Trips to places like Harrisons Cave can be arranged through the hotel. Bus into St. Lawrence Gap was only $1. We used to bus in and cab back. If you don't have a strict budget, eat at Pisces and do try the crab cake appetizer. Ask for a table on the water and get a sitter for the kids. We ate so much good food in St. Lawrence gap that I can't remember all the restaurant names! If I can remember anything else of note, I'll post another message.

Linda
saharabee is offline  
Sep 13th, 2003, 12:12 PM
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Just remembered a little more info.

Don't bother with Bridgetown. Hot and crowded with no real shopping bargains. I saw a pair of Nike shorts that I had purchased in Canada, but at 2X the price at one of the duty free shops there.

Have the Coconut Shrimp at Masquerade. Very good.

Whatever you do, if you arrive late, and the restaurants at Bougainvillea and Sand Acres are closed, don't allow someone to direct you to the small restaurant down the street (name escapes me right now, but it might have been "Gabriel's" - truly awful food, the only thing in Barbados that we ate that even came close to not being excellent).

There is not much shade on the beach proper, but lots around the pool which is basically right beside the beach.

Again, if you are due to arrive during the late afternoon or evening, throw some coffee and sugar and creamer for your first morning into your travel pack as there may or may not be any in your unit. This is a lovely property with spacious units, but they don't supply so-called luxury items such as bathrobes, toiletries, foodstuffs etc.

If your room maid is Ramona, do say hi from the "Crazy Canucks". You'll know her by the fact that you will look scruffy lazing on your balcony and she will look like a million dollars with every strand of hair "just so" and immaculate makeup and jewellry in her housekeeping uniform - and that smile! I'm sure she won't remember us, but we do remember how much she made us feel at home. But get out of her way when he wants to clean!

Linda
saharabee is offline  
Sep 13th, 2003, 12:45 PM
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I would choose Coral Sands; it is a new property on an awesome calm beach that is very clear and no waves. It has easy access to public transport and several restaurants close by including Carib Beach Bar where you can get a good lunch on the beach. St.Lawrence Gap is just two minutes away, you can either choose to walk it or hop one of the mini buses.

Casuarina is on the other end of The Gap with facilities for kids but the beach is always rough. It's nice and secluded but a bit of a walk to get transport.

island_babe is offline  
Sep 13th, 2003, 03:10 PM
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Hi Island Babe,

Have the bus routes through St. Lawrence changed since we were there (bus stop was only 2 blocks from the hotel)?

We are thinking about the Grenadines this year and would love to spend a few days at the Bougainvillea en route, but might reconsider if transportation to the gap is more difficult now.

Linda
saharabee is offline  
Sep 14th, 2003, 12:55 AM
  #6  
 
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saharabee,
The bus stops have not changed and transport is not difficult at all. I think Barbados is one of the easiest ISlands to get around without a rented car.I was in Barbados April 2003 and there were bus stops along the south coast frequently. We stayed at Blue Horizon and there was a bus stop right next to the hotel. Also, the mini buses stop and pick you up anywhere along the south coast. We went to and from Oistins on Friday night and it was no problem at all.

One day we rented a car and toured the hotels in The Gap and Sea Breeze which was also next to Bouganvillea.
island_babe is offline  
Sep 14th, 2003, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for the advice,kids are 14 and 9 so quite independent.Obviously you loved B. if you are cosidering going back saharabee.Greetings from Toronto, Dock.
DOCK is offline  
Sep 14th, 2003, 11:06 AM
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Hey Dock! Greetings from the Ottawa area. At the ages your kids are, most likely they will have less trouble with the waves and surf than you will - LOL. We actually loved the wave action (and we are 50 somethings) because once you are past the surf breaking on shore, it's great floating on the waves with an air mattress or noodle.

Yes, we did love the B. (and St. Lawrence) and would return without question. This year we are looking at a combination sail and land stay in either the BVI or Grenadines so if we choose the Grenadines it will give us an opportunity to return to Barbados for a few days. (Thanks, Island Babe for the transportation update!) Island Babe is right about transportation in Barbados. If you choose to walk anywhere, the mini buses will honk and stop to see if you need a ride. A ride on what we called the "reggae buses" is an experience to remember - how many people do you think you can fit in a van? You'd be surprised.

Anyhow, whatever your decision, I'm sure you will love Barbados.

Linda
saharabee is offline  
Sep 15th, 2003, 01:54 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi

Based on your original note and the properties you are considering, only Coral Sands meets your requirements -- the calm beach, close to good food. You can easily walk into The Gap from here. The property is only 2 years old and gets great reviews by everyone. From this location you are also very close to The Big B grocery store (just up Rendezvous Road) and can get all sorts of foods to have in your room if you so desire (they also have a "Take Away Deli" with hot foods).

Bougainvillea Beach - we've stayed there several times since it opened in 1995 -- great accommodations (all different types), but the beach there is rough and your a bit far from The Gap. Personally I was not impressed with its restaurant nor the one at it's sister resort, Sand Acres.

Causaurina is on the same type of water as is Bougainvillea Beach -- you also are a bit far from The Gap.

I keep mentioning The Gap as for a family there are reasonably priced restaurants there that are easy to get to - also there is nightlife if you want it.

Lois
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Sep 18th, 2003, 11:28 AM
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I agree with the Coral Sands recommendation. We stayed there last March and it's really nice. The suites have two double beds and kitchen facilities. Two grocery stores within 5-10 min walking distance. Great beach and very nice pool. You can walk to St Lawrence Gap in about 15 min or take a cab for about $5. We usually walked down and cabbed back. At the Gap there are lots of restaurants. We ate at Bellinis, Davids Place, Josefs and Pices. Last two a little more expensive but excellent. The is also a small restaurant about two blocks from Coral Sands called Shells. Very eclectic with very good inexpensive food. Will probably go back to Coral Sands this coming year. Agree with the comment about Bridgetown--Nothing but cruise ships and tourists. Don't know when in April you plan to go but this year after 15 April the rate went to $140/night which is a great deal. Couple of snorkel/dive shops on the beach for trips.
HowardC is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 06:05 PM
  #11  
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Thanks for the advice,Coral Sands it is. We are going over easter.
DOCK is offline  
Sep 19th, 2003, 06:14 AM
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I think you'll really like Coral Sands. You probably want a suite on the second or third floor for the best view. We were in an end unit--believe it was 308 or 309. A very good web site for Barbados info is www.insandoutsofbarbados.com. You might also want to contact Lois Swanson and get a copy of her Barbados tip sheet. On this site go to the upper right and click on Barbados. Look for a post called paging Lois and K in DC. You can probably find Lois' e-mail address there
HowardC is offline  
Sep 19th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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If anyone wants my tips sheet just write me directly at:
[email protected]

Lois Swanson
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