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Where to stay in Barbados - best beach and location

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Jul 22nd, 2012, 08:20 AM
  #1
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Where to stay in Barbados - best beach and location

After much debate about which island to go to (I was leaning towards St. Lucia for its beauty and my husband was leaning towards Anguilla for its beaches), I think we have finally decided on Barbados! We are hoping it is a good combination with beautiful beaches, but also some culture and landscape.

That said, we are now trying to narrow down our hotel/resort choices. We had considered an all-inclusive, but is that not necessary for this island? I have read so much about the different restaurants and beaches that I feel we'd probably rent a car and wouldn't need an all-inclusive for the entire time. Does that sound right?

So, here is our want list:
- fantastic beach: beautiful sand, plenty of room to lounge, easy enter to the water, swim-able (which makes me question the south side a little bit...), and right at the resort (we want to be able to get there from our room ASAP - LOL)
- clean rooms (preferably updated, but we are okay with older, just not run-down)
- near a little action: but here is another question: is it safe to walk around Bridgetown and the Gap at night? Would we drive it at night (we have driven on the left and are not too worried about it as long as the car rental has cars with the steering wheels on the left)?
- a/c and at least one pool
- restaurant onsite and a beach bar close-by
- safe
- okay with kids, but wouldn't mind a romantic feel since its just the two of us this time
- budget: $300/ night (give or take including taxes and fees) for 7 nights
- hotel or resorts only (we have rented condos and villas before and love it, however not interested in either for this trip).

The two hotels that have stood out to us so far are the Hilton and the Bougainvillea. Any comments on either? Our thoughts are that the Hilton won't have any island charm and the Bougainvillea is too outdated. However, since both look to have amazing beaches, etc we probably can't go wrong, so is one in a better location than the other?

Also, just a side note: I'll probably post more questions later once I've done more research but if anyone wants to comment now on great activites, I'd appreciate the input. Like I said, I haven't done too much research yet, but we do enjoy snorkeling, catamaran cruises, culture, and scenery. Maybe surf lessons?! Any "not-to-miss" or "skip-that" suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
pijeta is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 07:04 AM
  #2
 
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I'd choose something in St James as the beaches are calmest on the west coast. Can't comment specifically on the Hilton or Bougainvillea except I would want to be a little further north as I prefer the calm beaches with easy entry. I like properties such as Cobblers Cove although the beach is narrow, it's really beautiful.
St Peters is also a good location with places to go in the evening around Port St Charles.
When I have rented cars it has had the steering wheel on the right. I have driven in Bridgetown at night but it's not the sort of place I'd want to stop, but that's just my opinion.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 09:23 AM
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The Hilton is a wonderful getaway! Check on their package deals. You may get a 5th night free or whatever they may offer at the time of booking. The rooms are very nice, (every room we've ever had has been spotless) with nice balconies and many have a very nice view esecially because it's on such a nice pennisula. The beach bar has that laid-back Caribbean vibe as it's right next to the pool area. The beach is huge and absolutely fantastic. The water is not like glass, but it is very easy to swim there. The elevtaor will take you from your room right down to the towel hut. You are also only five minutes away from the Gap at this location! The pool area alone is worth a little extra money as the upper pool is adults only and the kids only use the lower pool. BTW - we have never seen more than a handful of kids there. I won't pump up the Hilton for it's "island charms" but it is very open air and you do see much of the ocean in the lobby area, in one of the indoor restaurants and through your balcony, as well as walking through the hallways. Hmmm...maybe it has more than you realize.
You do NOT want to do an AI on Barbados as it is one of the very best islands to eat on! I would expect that one dinner at Champers will show you the benefits. Although we eat breakfast at the Hilton and have had lunch there a few times and dinner once, you really do want to try the restaurants around the island. We have been to Barbados 7 times and it has so much to offer. It is not similar to any of the other islands we have been to.
Trust me when I tell you there is much to see/do on Barbados. We love it all!
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 09:44 AM
  #4
KVR
 
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We had orginally planned on Barbados in December. We are AI's lovers and decided on Mango Bay in Holetown. I don't really think AI is necessary on Barbados, it's just our personal choice for a 1st time visit. If we ever returned, we might change our way of thinking. DH refuses under no uncertain terms to driver a rental car in unknown, unfamilar places, so that makes a big difference in our hotel choices also. I have read on TA that eating out can be very expensive. If we had decided on a condo unit in The Gap area, I was told to plan about $1,000 - $1,500 in food and drinks alone on TA.

The West Coast has the better beaches, but also the more expensive hotels. The Gap area has all the restaurants, but the water is more rough. That is why we settled on Holetown. Calmer water, but close to restaurants and bars.

Our plans didn't pan out as we were inudated with home repairs that took most of our vacation money, so we are heading back to Mexico instead.

Whatever hotel you choose, I would try to get within distance of many restaurants and bars as the hotels seem to charge way more for food and drink than some of the independants.

I'm still researching as we have plans to try again next year, so I'm interested in any other responses.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 11:28 AM
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one of my good friends (for 30+yrs) has been going to barbados since he was a child. his father owns a unit at the Crane on the east coast. my friend divides his time now between Crane to hang with family & Bougainvillea because he thinks its the best place to stay.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 04:45 AM
  #6
 
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Bougainvillea would be a good choice for hotel/beach combo.
Nice hotels on west coast will be over your budget. Don't do AI on Barbados--way too much good food opportunities all over the palce. I'd recommend a rental car to explore the island for 2-4 days. Much to see. Cars have steering wheel on right, drive on left (just like England). It only takes a short time to get used to it. Best way to see an exceptional island.
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