Insider Scoop: Jen Collard visits Barbados

Insider Scoop: Jen Collard visits Barbados

tripcentral.ca’s Agents Who’ve Been There have actually seen the hotels they recommend to their clients. Travel agent Jennifer Collard recently visited Barbados to see and experience the island for herself. Check out her favourite properties below.

Barbados is probably my new favourite Island. The people are friendly. The infrastructure is good. You can drink the water, and the island is very safe. I definitely recommend Barbados for anyone, from people looking for a high-end stay, to people looking for a nice all-inclusive property, to people looking for a moderate hotel with breakfast-only who want to go out and explore. It’s great for families with children, honeymooners, and couples. Here are the hotels I visited:

The Crane Resort

The Crane Resort

The Crane has several meal plan options to meet everyone’s needs. The property is for high-end clients travelling with family (there’s a kids club on the resort), older high-end clients looking for something quiet, or honeymooners. There’s a free shuttle to the grocery store and a little shop on the resort if you forget anything or want some snacks or bottles of wine or beer. I highly recommend the mango colada and the smoked cinnamon apple sour! The property is lovely and it’s styled as an older village layout. The views are stunning! The old section of the hotel was built in 1887 (it’s obviously been renovated since then). The beach can be reached by an elevator or stairs. It’s not a long walking beach, but it’s private. The property was really quiet, and the bar closed at midnight.

Bougainvillea Resort

Bougainvillea

Bougainvilla

Bougainvillea Resort caters more to breakfast plan or European plan clientele and has rooms with kitchenettes or full kitchens. I would give this hotel a sold 4 stars. The rooms are nice and bright and a good size, and they consider themselves an eco-friendly hotel. The beach was nice with good shade options.

Southern Palms Beach Club

Southern Palms

Southern Palms

The Southern Palms caters more to the breakfast plan clientele, but offers several meal plans including all inclusive. It’s in a good location in St Lawrence Gap area (lots of bars, restaurants, karaoke and slot machines). The beach was really nice, but there wasn’t a lot of shade. They are reluctant to put umbrellas in because of turtle nests. Entertainment takes place three nights per week. The standard rooms are small but have large covered balconies. This is a great option for clients who may way to experience options off the resorts.

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach

I loved this property! This resort is all inclusive and I’d give it a good 4.5 star. It’s great for families (children rates up to 16, and kids club for ages 3-12), but can also sell to couples, friend groups, etc. The pools weren’t huge, and there is no swim up bar. None of the restaurants here had air conditioning; they were all open air. The lead in room was a junior suite and is very nice. I was very impressed with this property, and it’s also in a good location near St Lawrence Gap.

Sandals Barbados

Sandals Barbados

Sandals Barbados

Loved this resort! Solid 4.5-5 star property with a great mix of couples. I would sell to young couples as well as older couples. This resort was also conveniently located. The Butches Chop House and the Kimono Restaurant both require reservations. We had lunch here and the food was good. There were good selections of premium liquors at the bars. There’s a swim up bar and nice pool right near the beach.

Coconut Court

Coconut Court

Coconut Court

I’d give this a solid 3.5 stars. It’s great for budget-minded clients. I’d recommend the deluxe oceanfront rooms for the newly renovated and most updated rooms. It’s a high rise with no elevators and no handicap rooms. It’s not for the mobility-impaired or older couples. It’s not all inclusive, but you can purchase breakfast and breakfast and dinner plans.

Accra Beach Hotel

Accra Barbados

Accra Barbados

I really liked the Accra. The hotel is a solid 4 star option. The hotel is a high rise with elevators and the “island view” rooms face the road, but have double doors to drown out the noise. The rooms were clean and medium sized. The renovated rooms are very nice and updated. I would suggest requesting these. There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.The Pasifika (Asian fusion) restaurant is not included in any of the meal plans, not even the all-inclusive plans. For the all-inclusive program, the theme nights, some a la carte and special brunches are included, as well as wine by the glass and unlimited house drinks. You can also purchase breakfast plans, breakfast/dinner plans, and breakfast/lunch/dinner plans. The beach was nice with good shade and there’s a swim up bar.

Waves Hotel

Waves Barbados

Waves Barbados

WOW! I think we were all impressed with this property. It’s small (only 70 rooms) and has adult only rooms on the spa side of the property. Clients have to cross the road for the spa section (18 rooms there). The oceanfront junior suite was beautiful. The rooms on the spa side are not large, but offer either a king bed or two double beds and are nicely laid out. This property is sold as all-inclusive. It was renovated and then reopened just in August 2016 It has a water taxi to sister properties for exchange dining (such as the Crystal Cove or Tamarind). There’s a buffet restaurant, and it only offers dinners two nights a week as buffet and a la carte dining for the remainder. There’s a coffee shop that offers wraps, sandwiches, baked goods, afternoon teas and specialty coffees. The beach here is nice and calm, with a nice yellow golden sand. The views from the lobby are so pretty. This hotel is definitely more catered to clients who want a relaxing and quiet stay. There is evening entertainment but no disco.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion 

Fairmont Barbados

Fairmont Barbados

I loved this property! I thought it was beautifully laid out. It’s fully wheelchair accessible with lifts. Afternoon tea and watersports are included here, no matter which meal plan you purchase. All of the rooms come with king bed, but you can request a room with an extra bed or a room with a pull out couch.  You can also request a room with a shaded balcony. The coffee and tea in the room is complimentary, but safes are at an additional charge. Clients can purchase breakfast plan, half board or full board. In the afternoon we hung out at Mullin’s Beach. The beach restaurant serves food (and has some local Bajan specialties like flying fish sandwiches) as well as cocktails, wine, etc. The beach here is nice and calm and the sand is nice. Clients can also pay extra to participate in beach activities or motorized water sports.

What to see, do & eat

On the first evening we went to Harbour Lights Dinner show! What a fun evening with dinner and drinks included. There was live music and then dinner was served (you had a choice of chicken, fish or beef with local sides). After dinner we had some more traditional entertainment, including limbo dancers, a fire eater and some stilt dancers. Some audience participation requested. 🙂 Definitely recommend this excursion!

On the second day we had an excursion on the #1 Bajan Bus, which is like an old style bus with open windows. Very bumpy, lots of fun! We stopped at Harrisons Cave for an excursion. Ours involved behind driven through the cave on a little train, but there’s lots of other options for the more adventurous clients. Great option for your geologically inclined clientele!

We then drove to Animal and Flower Cave on the Northern tip of the Island. You can eat lunch here, and the scenery is just stunning! We couldn’t go into the cave that day because the waves were too high, but I definitely recommend the restaurant for the stunning views of the Atlantic. Plus the rotis were delicious!

In the afternoon we stopped at St Nicholas Abbey for some rum tasting and history. The plantation is very historic, and there’s some rum tasting included. You can also walk around the plantation, it’s kept in the style from 300 years ago. Very neat!

Dinner that night was provided by the hotel at the L’Azure restaurant. The food was good (I tried barracuda) and we had good wine options as well.

At St Lawrence gap I ate at the Primo restaurant and the food was great and the tables are right near the water. There’s a good selection of appetizers and mains, as well as wines, cocktails and desserts.
After Primo we went “liming” at the Old Jamm House, which is a bar with live music. The atmosphere here is nice, and there’s lots of other entertainment options in the area.

Contact Jennifer Collard at jennifercollard@tripcentral.ca or 1-800-665-4981 ext 7242.

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