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Southbourne branch manager, Josi McGuire, was lucky enough to be selected to go on an educational (or to you and me, the opportunity to go and experience the holidays we offer) to Barbados. She spent time at a number of hotels and checked out the very best this little slither of paradise has to offer.
After returning to UK shores at the end of March we managed to grab Josi for a cuppa and catch-up on all the goss from her travels!
On average it takes 8hrs 40mins to fly from the UK to the tropical shores of Barbados. How was the long haul flight?
“We were lucky enough to be upgraded to premium economy with Virgin Atlantic on their brand new aircraft which was fantastic. I was so impressed with how modern and clean it was on-board, the food was at a very good standard and the entertainment was the best I have experienced on a flight. The crew bent over backwards to ensure we were all comfortable which made the flight very enjoyable.”
I think the question on everybody’s lips (or the very least mine) is what was the weather like? We all know that feeling of stepping off the plane and having that blanket of hot air hit you!
“The weather in March was fantastic, there were highs of 30 degrees with a welcoming breeze; a couple of five-minute showers, but other than that I would recommend this month to travel to Barbados.”
Just what we like to hear! Before we really get into your trip, for our readers who are always on-the-go can you quickly summarise your trip and anything that you recommend a must-do?
“There is a fab day trip for Mount Gay Rum and I would highly recommend spending the day on a luxury catamaran. We went with Seaduced and it was the perfect end to our trip - very relaxing - and the lunch on board was to die for. The best part though was getting to swim with the turtles.
“It is quieter at this time of year so the beaches have more space and are fantastic. I would recommend the west coast for the still waters, snorkelling, and water sports. If you get the chance, try and call in at John Moores rum bar, a traditional rum shack right on the beach, which is beautiful! For a fine dining experience try Cin Cin or The Cliff - they are pricey but definitely worth a visit for a special occasion! Seaduced also do luxury charters for five hours of luxury!”
Thanks Josi, we’re already feeling a little jealous and we have only touched on your magical trip. Would you mind going into a little more detail and giving us a full run-down?
“Ok, I’ll go through in a bit more detail as it was amazing and it wouldn't be fair to leave out some of the hotels…
“Upon arrival in Barbados, our group was met at the bottom of the aircraft steps and fast-tracked straight through emigration, which was very welcome after a long flight. This VIP fast-track service is optional for clients booking with Caribtours and I would highly recommend the service!
“Our first hotel was Sea Breeze located on the south coast; a newly refurbished, all-inclusive property. We stayed in the ocean view junior suites which are absolutely lovely. The rooms are fresh, modern, and spacious with fabulous interior design, a complimentary restocked minibar, and an ocean view to die for!
“The breakfast is delicious and includes fresh omelettes, fruit salads, and fully cooked breakfasts. The staff ensure you had a lovely stay and make sure you always have a refreshment.
“We were so lucky to experience the chefs table where the chef cooked the meal in front of us. We sampled a very generous five course menu with recommended wines from around the world.
“We then spent the night at the Colony Club, which is absolutely stunning and situated on the west coast. The beach is gorgeous with lots of sun beds spread out. At the Colony Club they offer an array of activities to suit everybody, from their own garden cooking classes to watersports on the beach. It is perfect for those looking for a laid back atmosphere with a luxury feel. We were allocated the garden view junior suites, with a lovely Jacuzzi bath and huge four poster beds!
“The hotel offers a complimentary speedboat transfer from the beach to their stunning sister hotel The Tamarind (approx. 15 minutes). We had lunch on the terrace deck overlooking the gorgeous beach - the view was something from a post card. The a la carte dining was superb, offering something for every taste. This hotel is open plan and caters for both adults and families.
“In the evening, we had a hosted evening meal at Sandy Lane hotel. We got a sneak peak of the spa, main pool, bedrooms, and bar areas. Wow, this hotel really has it all! It is very luxurious and welcomes some very famous faces each year. We ate at the restaurant Bajan Blue, which was a buffet, with a grilling station serving steaks, freshly caught fish, vegetables and lots of choice for every taste. It was an amazing experience.
“Cobblers Cove is a hidden gem, perfect for those looking to totally 'disconnect' from the outside world. None of the bedrooms offer a TV and all the areas are quiet. It has a very antique, boutique style to it with freshly designed bedrooms, offering garden view, ocean view, and duplex suites with plunge pools. The restaurant area is all open plan looking over the ocean and complimentary non-motorised watersports are available to guests. The gardens here are equally as beautiful as the ocean, giving the hotel a really relaxing feel.
“We then visited Port Ferdinand, which is directly on the marina, offering villa style accommodation. This is a great place to stay for a family wanting their own space, offering top quality self-catering facilities, while still offering the extra services such as kids clubs, games room, fitness centre and gym.
*TOP RECOMMENDATION* “The Fairmont Royal Pavilion was my absolute favourite, as soon as you walk in to the lobby you are welcomed with fresh smells, big smiles, and eye catching decor. The whole place holds this super friendly atmosphere but still keeping that luxury feel.
“We stayed in the Signature Ocean View rooms and I was taken aback when I first walked in, the rooms are huge and bright with a massive balcony facing the ocean. The balconies have beautiful day beds with table and chairs so you can really enjoy the view. The bed was the comfiest bed I have ever slept in and the hotel even had custom made toiletries with our names printed on them! I couldn't believe the attention to detail they paid to every single guest staying with them.
“The hotel offers two complimentary yoga classes each week, fitness centre, complimentary watersports, weekly manager cocktail party and much more. This hotel gets 5* for everything! The food was amazing too, for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It is the perfect place for a honeymoon! Although usually sold on a B&B basis, there are options to upgrade to Half Board.
“On Day 6 we visited the beachfront and all-inclusive Waves Hotel & Spa where the rooms are very fresh and spacious with beautiful views of the ocean. As the hotel is all about wellness and health so is the food - all healthy and delicious. We were treated to spa treatments in the adult only area, which were amazing! If you stay in the adult only spa area, guests are offered a complimentary spa treatment during their stay.
“On Day 7, after spending a night at the Coral Reef Club, we enjoyed another amazing breakfast. Coral Reef Club is a high end hotel offering serious luxury! I was upgraded to the Plantation Suite, which offers a large living room area, massive bathroom, bedroom with four poster bed, a plunge pool, and a private bar on your balcony! It is unbelievable and perfect for a couple celebrating something very special.
“The staff at Coral Reef were the friendliest people I have ever met. The staff to guest ratio is so high you are constantly waited on. Our evening meal was a la carte fine dining, accompanied by an amazing soul singer overlooking the ocean. A very romantic place to stay!
“We spent our last night at The Sand Piper which is a boutique property situated on the beach. The dining experience in the evening was the best I have ever experienced. This hotel offers lots of different room types to suit anybody. Ultimate 5* luxury!
“Our final day was spent on the spacious and luxurious catamaran Seaduced along the platinum coast. The food was prepared by our own personal chef and was amazing. We stopped to swim with turtles, paddle board and snorkel. It was a fantastic day out.
“Overall, Barbados is a fantastic all-year-round destination, perfect for those wanting a luxury adult only holiday, family friendly resort, self-catering villa, or just a fun week or two away in the gorgeous sunshine! There is something for everybody’s tastes and budget in Barbados. The summer months get especially busy, so if you can avoid travel in July and August you will find a better deal.
“I am so grateful to have experienced this beautiful destination and will certainly never forget it. “
Wow, what a trip! Thank you so much for your time and sharing your experiences with us Josi :)
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