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.