Why would you choose Barbados for your next holiday over the other Caribbean islands?
Barbados is firmly on the map when it comes to a Caribbean holiday, and there’s really no wonder as to why. The island has a winning combination of activities: from water sports including snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, and excellent fishing opportunities to award winning and internationally recognised golf courses, horse racing events, and polo matches. There’s plenty inland to explore too – natural and historical sites, rum distilleries, and museums are all eager to showcase the island’s rich heritage. For me, the biggest draw is the beaches and the food scene. The island is home to a great selection of out of this world white sand shores and a huge variety of bars and restaurants.
How do you get there, and which airline(s) would you recommend? Are there any shoulder season months where you can take advantage of well-priced business class fares?
Barbados is easily accessible from the UK. Both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways fly directly to the island from London Heathrow and London Gatwick. Flight times are approximately 8 hours. For well-priced business class fares and great weather, consider a holiday in early May.
Could you describe the difference between the east and west coast?
Move from the West coast to the East coast and you’ll feel like you’ve landed on a whole different island. The West coast of Barbados offers beautiful stretches of platinum beaches and calm crystal-clear waters – just stunning! The Caribbean Sea really does live up to its expectations. In contrast, on the untamed East coast, the Atlantic Ocean makes the sea rougher and the coastline more rugged – perfect for any budding surfer and well worth it for tearing yourself away from your sun lounger if you’d like to get out and about, but it isn’t suitable for swimming. The reward is remarkable; with miles of wide sandy beaches and outstanding rock formations, it’s quite a sight not to be missed.
I’d actually recommend splitting your time between the East and West coast of Barbados. Start your holiday at Eco Lifestyle Lodge on the East coast to unplug for a few days in nature before heading over to the West coast for the remainder of your holiday and soaking up the notorious West coast beaches.
Is Barbados a good island for families? Which hotels would you recommend and why? (Including best room for families?)
Barbados is great for families looking to spend time together. Many hotels are family-friendly and offer activity programs for kids during the school holidays, though you won’t find many dedicated kids club areas. I would highly recommend the Fairmont Royal Pavilion for families of all ages who would like lots of facilities – older families can easily enjoy interconnecting Luxury Oceanfront Rooms and younger families will be more than comfortable in a spacious Beachfront Suite. If you’re looking for something smaller scale with less facilities, then I’d definitely recommend Little Good Harbour. Their multi-bedroom options give families tonnes of space and the choice to self-cater if they’d prefer. Swim with turtles, build the tallest sandcastle you can, or explore the newly opened Harrison’s Cave Eco-Adventure Park – a great day out for any family.
If you were a couple looking for a romantic escape (away from families!) would Barbados also be a good fit? Which hotel (s) would you recommend?
Absolutely! Barbados is also perfect for romantic getaways. There’s a great mix on offer depending on what you’re looking for – a vibrant nightlife, fine dining to mark a special occasion, or intimate spots dotted around the island. With the selection of luxury accommodations available in Barbados, you can find the perfect choice. I’d recommend Coral Reef Club if you’d like a bit more going on – it’s located on a beautiful beach which has a lovely atmosphere and close to Holetown with its variety of bars and restaurants. The Luxury Cottage is perfect for a romantic escape as you have stunning views across the manicured tropical grounds to the beach and Caribbean Sea beyond, and your very own plunge pool! If you’d like something quieter and more intimate, then The Lone Star is perfect. It’s an ultra-boutique luxury property with only 6 rooms and sits on (what I believe to be) the best beach on the island. Choose from an oceanfront setting with stunning views of the beach or a secluded garden outlook for a more private experience.
Do most of the hotels in Barbados offer all-inclusive and would you recommend an all-inclusive or half/full board meal plan? Or are the local restaurants so good that you’d recommend bed and breakfast so visitors can eat out?
Most of the hotels we feature don’t offer all-inclusive. Those on the West coast are perfectly positioned close to an amazing selection of restaurants that I’d encourage you to stay on bed & breakfast and venture out to experience the brilliant food scene in Barbados. Of course, half board is widely offered by most hotels for those who would prefer to dine in at their hotel. If you’d rather stay on all-inclusive then I’d recommend the chic and modern O2 Beach Club & Spa – the all-inclusive package is extensive and the hotel has 4 restaurants available, all serving something different so you’ll be lost for choice!
Do you have any favourite restaurants you’d recommend trying anyway?
There are so many – my favourites at the moment are definitely Sea Shed (a vibe), La Cabane (toes in the sand) and Cocktail Kitchen (the name says it all, served alongside creative dishes)…and the fine dining staple, Tides (elegance). I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m hearing great things about Calma Beach Club too.
In terms of activities and excursions in Barbados, what are your top three must-see/do day trips?
- Day or sunset catamaran cruise – they usually always include a stop to snorkel with turtles.
- Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery, Museum & Plantation House – lots of history to hear about and wonderfully family owned and run.
- East coast hike – fresh sea breeze air and stunning views.
What water sports are on offer in Barbados?
Expanding on the opening paragraph: snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, stand up paddle boarding (and SUP yoga!), water skiing, wake boarding, jet skis, flyboarding, tube rides, and excellent fishing opportunities. Tonnes!
Finally, what is the snorkelling like in Barbados? Are there many good reefs accessible from the beach?
There are pockets of offshore coral reefs dotted along the West coast which are nice for snorkelling. Along the south coast there are a number of shipwrecks to be explored not too far from the shore either. You’ll see a good variety of tropical fish, spot the odd ray, and have plenty of opportunity to also see hawksbill and green turtles.
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