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Quality time with family is such an important part of taking a holiday, but as a working mother of four it can sometimes be hard to get the balance right. However, during October half term I was lucky enough to combine work with some mother/daughter bonding with my youngest (now a not-so-little 12-year-old!) during a trip to Barbados.
I regularly explore the Caribbean to visit hotels, meet suppliers and negotiate special rates for our clients. On this occasion I was keen to test out facilities for families in some of our Barbadian resorts, and who better to put them through their paces than my well-travelled almost-teen?
Our arrival in Barbados from a cold and wet England went like a dream, thanks to the Fast Track service at the airport. We were greeted off the plane by resort staff and whisked through security, beating the queues and taking all the stress out of the experience. Worth every penny of the £35-per-person cost!
Our first few nights were to be spent at Crystal Cove, part of the prestigious Elegant Hotels collection. After a welcome cocktail, we were shown to our beautiful loft-style one-bedroom suite with stunning views of the ocean and I could feel myself instantly relax. Despite the busy schedule for the week ahead, there was no escaping the positive effect of such gorgeous surroundings!
Crystal Cove is a boutique hotel on an intimate scale, set right on the beach. As an all-inclusive property we made sure to try out all the dining options and I’m happy to report that the food was excellent, offering a range of international cuisines with a West Indian twist. You can dine by the ocean and there’s a choice of casual or more formal settings. There’s even a swim-up bar for a cooling cocktail in the water!
When it comes to the facilities, families are well catered-for. The Flying Fish kids’ club for 3-12-year-olds has a packed schedule of crafts, sports and other activities both in and out of the water and my daughter had a wonderful time making new friends. She insisted that we went on the banana boat too, of course!
For those with younger children, there is a creche and babysitting service to ensure that parents can also enjoy some downtime.
Exploring the island
A great feature of the Elegant Hotels Collection is the free boat service for guests to visit their other properties on the island. Just book the day before you want to go, and you can explore the stunning coastline en route to the sister hotels.
We decided to check out the Colony Club for the day, which is further up the west coast of Barbados. A tranquil, luxurious hotel which is also right on the beach, it’s walking distance from vibrant Holetown so makes for a fun day out for all the family.
While we were exploring, we took the opportunity to visit a couple of other local hotels which we work with: Coral Reef Club and The Sandpiper – a pair of stunning boutique hotels run by the same family. It’s so important to me that we maintain close relationships with the hotels in our portfolio, so these visits are great for catching up on recent developments, viewing new facilities and also negotiating exclusive options for our clients. And of course, we had the chance to enjoy some legendary Barbadian hospitality while we’re there!
Teen heaven at Tamarind
After three days at Crystal Cove we packed our bags and took the short trip up the coast to Tamarind, also part of the Elegant Hotels group. This property has just changed to an all-inclusive basis, so we were keen to try out the new offering.
Tamarind is particularly good for teens, with lots to keep them occupied, as well as cool places to hang out and shoot pool or play video games. My daughter very quickly made friends and spent hours in the water using the giant inflatables and trampoline with water slide attached. She even made me have a go!
We were really impressed that Daphne’s – one of the best restaurants in Barbados – is part of the all-inclusive dining options, so we were able to indulge in some truly amazing food. The accommodation is also of a very high standard and I’d recommend upgrading to an oceanfront room. The long, white-sand beach is so beautiful, and you can walk all the way down to Sandy Lane while the crystal-clear water laps at your feet.
On my daughter’s birthday I had meetings with a potential new hotel partner – the owner of Saint Peter’s Bay resort and Port Ferdinand marina resort and beach club. Having received a guided tour of both luxury properties, they gave my daughter the choice of where to spend her day! She chose Port Ferdinand, as she loved the glamour of the marina setting with superyachts moored directly outside the balcony of our luxury three-bedroom suite.
Clad in a white fluffy robe, she pretended to be a celebrity for the day, relaxing by the pool and lounging on the beach while ordering fruit mocktails. What a treat! The staff couldn’t have done more for us and it was a fabulous way to spend her birthday.
This is another resort which is great for families. There’s a superb spa set in a tropical garden and even a golf simulator! With boat trips round to Saint Peter’s Bay, and lots of activities and excursions available, there’s plenty to do for all ages.
For us though, the highlight of our week in Barbados was an incredible private snorkelling trip where we were lucky enough to swim with turtles. It was truly amazing to be swimming surrounded by a group of seven wild turtles, playing around us and even eating from our hands. An unforgettable experience which we can arrange for you at the resort.
Where will you go?
We certainly packed a lot into our week-long trip but came away with so many memories of this beautiful island. Why not take advantage of our first-hand knowledge and book your next trip to Barbados? We’d be delighted to talk you through the myriad of options and tailor-make your perfect holiday for 2020.
The Caribbean is one of a handful of bucket-list destinations which is deservedly enduring in its allure. When it comes to unique selling point the Caribbean has an abundance of these. Of course, the instantly Instagram-able pristine beaches, warm clear waters and tropical landscapes are ubiquitous in the region, but every island has something different to offer in character, culture, climate and cuisine. With a flurry of activities and places to see, with our expert help, you will never be bored!
St Lucia is famous for the Piton Mountains, a great exploration of their conical and Majestic hillsides, the piton peaks are cloaked with intertwined tropical flora, a striking mass of greenery against the backdrop of bright-blue Caribbean Skies, a great day out exploring! Or explore it Mountain Biking through the St Lucian Rainforest or Flying through the vegetation on a 500ft long Zip-Wire. St Lucia also boasts its own dormant Volcano, Sulphur Springs, the only drive in volcano in the world, an authentic St Lucia experience the whole family will never forget. St Lucia also hosts many Professional Golf Courses and Tennis Courts as well as the opportunity to Ride a Horse down a long stretch of Beach. Alternatively, if aquatics is more your thing, you can Snorkel or Dive and discover the depths of the Caribbean sea and the diversity of life beneath the ocean or visit Splash Island Water park for an adrenaline fun filled afternoon of water slides. If a classier alternative is more your cup of tea then explore the St Lucia island in dry luxury on board a stunning Boat to discover the picturesque coastline and all the beauty it holds. St Lucia also offers the classiest in Wedding Packages, as big or small as you want in quaint perfection. In the quiet beautiful scenery of Pigeon Island a National Park in St Lucia, enjoy your perfect wedding in a world of your own.
Barbados is a beautiful vibrant island, famous for alluring its British Tourists and rightly so. Boasting some new luxury hotels and updated features, Barbados has a lot to offer:
A new, all inclusive, Tamarind occupies a stunning crescent with 750 ft of white sandy beach and has recently been overhauled and redesigned to a new standard of luxury. Suitable for families and couple alike, it is also great for larger groups and reunions too.
All inclusive and right on the beach, the Sea Breeze Beach Hotel is said to have one of the best views in Barbados. On the island’s lush and beautiful south coast and overlooking Oistins Bay, with 1,000ft of pristine, newly refurbished chic style Caribbean beach.
A truly luxury self-catering resort, Ocean Two is located on the beautiful south coast of Barbados and has access to an isolated bay. With full housekeeping, a front desk and access to concierge services, this resort is self-catering with a difference.
A premium all inclusive resort nestled on small cliffs overlooking the beach and the endless expanse of clear blue waters, Crystal Cove appeals to couples and families alike who are seeking a certain level of sophistication. Modern guestrooms and suites ensure you can have quality family time, or spend an intimate holiday with your loved one.
One of the most exclusive small hotels in the Caribbean. The Sandpiper’s biggest selling point is its seclusion and privacy, making it ideally suited to romantic getaways, weddings and honeymoons. Backing onto lush tropical gardens and with a pristine white sandy beach stretching north and south of the resort. The serene and peaceful environment is ideal for relaxing on the tree-shaded deck or enjoying the warm turquoise waters lapping at your feet as you take a romantic stroll while feeling the soft sand between your toes.
Set on the beautifully pristine west coast of Barbados, the Coral Reef Club is a perfect example of luxury in the Caribbean. 12 acres of immaculately landscaped gardens and foliage surround the resort, while calm clear waters lap at the stretch of white sandy beach on its doorstop. The epitome of West Indian elegance, it embraces the ambiance and classic island style of Barbados.
Though, as of recent, the new Prime Minister of Barbados has imposed a levy on accommodation, to be paid at the time of staying at the resort which needs to be taken into consideration when planning a holiday. Such that we want to make you fully aware of it so you can account for these additional costs from the Barbados Government.
The levy on accommodation, collected in resort, will cost between US$2.50 (£1.90) and $17.50 (£14.50 for 5* Hotels) per room per night until VAT doubles to 15% in 2020 as set by Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley.
St Vincent & The Grenadines (SVG) is made up of 32 picture-perfect islands and really is a get-away-from-it-all destination. St Vincent is the main island; a lush, mountainous landscape with a dramatic volcano and undulating coastline with numerous yacht-filled harbours. To the South, The Grenadines are scattered like a string of pearls across the clear azure waters, ripe for exploration. While it may be a little harder getting here (fly to Barbados then transfer by boat or local airline), you’ll be rewarded for your efforts by the islands arresting natural beauty and warm hospitality. The profusion of private islands where you can stay adds to the sense of exclusivity and privacy.
Some of our unspoilt gems in SVG include; Petit St Vincent a real paradise island, unspoilt by modern technology. Rolling hills, encircled by two miles of white sandy beaches. This retreat offers all the luxury you could want not least the freedom of being disconnected from everyday life. With no formal check in, no room keys, no televisions or phones; this is escapism in the truest sense. One of the most popular islands in The Grenadines, Bequia could be described as the Caribbean’s best kept secret, and The Liming is its newest addition. With just nine villas, plus the five-bedroomed Gingerlily Mansion House and Junior Suite, this property is small but perfectly formed. Each has a private infinity pool or hot tub, and is surrounded by lush gardens. This Place is truly tranquil! Sharing this island, the Bequia Beach Hotel maintains a reputation as one of the finest properties on the Bequia Island. Situated on arguably the most beautiful beach in Bequia – Friendship Bay – this elegant and charming hotel offers a choice of luxurious suites, villas and rooms. Finally, on our to see list, Palm Island Resort & Spa,another private property, Palm Island is 135 acres of privacy and indulgence. With just 43 stylish guest rooms, it almost feels as though you have the whole island to yourself. So, whether you just want to dangle your toes in the crystal waters, or fancy a leisurely cycle around the inland trails, this is the perfect place to switch off. To save yourself the headache of having to decide between these perfect destinations, why not visit a few of them in one holiday and see the best of the islands in one perfect luxury holiday.
If that just isn’t enough, you can explore all of SVG, island hopping with Star Clippers sailing vessel or Dream Yacht Charters luxury yachts. Set your own itinerary and enjoy the stunning Caribbean waters at your leisure. Qualified sailors can take a ‘bareboat’ to explore the beauty of the Caribbean unaided, or you can hire a fully crewed yacht where all the hard work is done for you. For more details on your exploration of St Vincent & The Grenadines send us a quote or give us a call to help you create your perfect luxury holiday.
If your undecided about which of the fantastic Caribbean Islands to visit then we have a couple of sailing options for you which will allow you to discover the beauty of the whole Caribbean.
Star Clippers offer a cruise experience that is like no other. If you are looking for an adventure on the waves which includes the atmosphere and character of traditional sailing but still with the comfort and luxury found on most modern cruises; you have come to the right place.
For a more personalised boating holiday, you can’t beat a Dream Yacht Charter. Offering the world’s most extensive fleet of luxury yachts, our partner company has an unrivaled selection of luxury vessels available to hire with or without a skipper.
Thanks to its British colonial past, Barbados is an enticing mix of the familiar and exotic: dotted with Anglican churches and cricket pitches, surrounded by green monkeys chattering in palm trees. Famous as the playground of celebrities and royalty, it is certainly glamorous and vibrant, but there are many more facets to this particular Caribbean jewel.
The so-called ‘platinum’ west coast is where many of the luxury resorts and hotels can be found, scattered along the long, white sands and calm turquoise sea. The east coast is more rugged and sparsely populated, with Atlantic winds and strong currents making it a magnet for surfers. As a coral island, there are some superb snorkelling and diving sites, teeming with sealife and stunning reef formations.
St Lucia has been described as the emerald jewel in the Caribbean’s crown, with its lush rainforest interior, fringed by white sandy beaches. The majestic Piton Mountains rise out of the turquoise waters, providing a dramatic backdrop to this island paradise which has long been an award-winning honeymoon destination.
I can hardly believe that it’s ten years since I started Simply Caribbean, but perhaps that’s an indication of just how passionate I am about my business and my clients. However, I didn’t want this important milestone to go unmarked, so we’ve created this beautiful portfolio of some of our favourite destinations to share with you.
As well as introducing you to the very best the Caribbean has to offer, we also want to tell you more about us. A bit like some of the properties in this brochure, Simply Caribbean is something of a hidden gem, based right here in the Sevenoaks area. Tucked away in an idyllic barn-style office near the Kentish village of Plaxtol, we look after clients across the UK. However, if you’re looking for a truly personal service from a tried and tested tour operator, where nothing is too much trouble, you can find a Caribbean holiday specialist right here on your doorstep.
East Winds is one of the top ten all-inclusive hotels in the world and it’s easy to see why. This beautiful boutique property nestles in La Brelotte Bay in the Caribbean paradise of St Lucia, surrounded by verdant vegetation, fragrant flowers and captivating birdsong. The accommodation is welcoming and luxurious and the staff warm and friendly, so it comes as no surprise it has won a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award every year since 2008 and has an outstanding level of repeat guests.Continue reading…
When you have a frustrating experience with a product or service, it’s often the case that, in the heat of your exasperation, you exclaim loudly, “I could do better myself!”. When it came to booking a family holiday with four young children and parting with our hard-earned cash to treat ourselves to our annual indulgence of a pampering trip abroad, I was sick of the poor service and over-priced options on offer. Eventually I could take it no more and, after talking to friends about my vexation, realised that there was a genuine gap in the market for Simply Caribbean.Continue reading…