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Barbados, West Indies Hotels And Resorts
Barbados, West Indies Hotels And Resorts
Take a tour of the best family resorts in Barbados as seen by Family Travel Forum staff members.
Almond Beach Village
Heywoods, St. Peter, WI
4 07/872-2220 or 246/422-4900
This is one of the west coast's most successful all-inclusive resorts and welcomes families (including those with infants), honeymooners and seniors with a variety of activities, and 32 acres in which to coexist. Families are usually housed near the newly expanded children's center (open 9am-10pm daily), which accepts newborns to toddlers ages 24-months in a spotless nursery staffed with one caregiver for every 3 infants. The 2 to 4-year-olds have a MiniClub with a 1:6 caregiver ratio. The 5 to12-year-olds are offered a menu of predictable supervised activities, including 3 hours of daily Nintendo time. The central buffet offers standard international fare plus local dishes such as codfish cakes or bait (a patty made from flour, sugar and spices) though we preferred Enid's, a reproduction chattel house serving local Bajan specialties.
For adults, there's a dimly lit Italian restaurant with waiter service. Be sure to reserve babysitters and a table immediately upon arrival, as the restaurants 'sell out' very quickly. Catering to such a varied clientele, with tastes ranging from family values to mature content, has inherent problems. In one instance our kids questioned, at the separate adult pool area, a bartender was offering 60 different alcoholic concoctions and daring guests to taste all of them! Watch out, too, for the evening show if you don't want to be embarrassed by some guests' behavior. Check out their site for rate information and summer deals.
Turtle Beach Resort
The moderately priced, attractive Turtle Beach entertains ages 3 to 11-years at the impressive Turtle Tommy's Club. During the busy winter and Easter season, the CPR-trained staff offer the usual array of arts n'crafts, beach sports, outings to the pool, and daytrips. During quiet time, the staff try to steer kids away from the video game units in the clubhouse to the computers, where they encourage the kids to design greeting cards to mark a birthday or parent's anniversary. For an all-inclusive resort, Turtle Beach stands out for its distinctly good food (complimentary room service is also a real plus) and its larger than average rooms, with a sofabed and minifridge. Their one- and two-bedroom units are terrific and allow plenty of room for older children to have separate space from parents.
The wide, soft sand beach opens out to the southern coast where the Atlantic and Caribbean mix, but it's shallow and not too rough for little ones. One of its key assets with older children is the location between the bustling fish capital of Oistins (Friday and Saturday are the big Fish Fry nights) and the chic bar and restaurant strip in St. Lawrence Gap (take the family to Pisces), both interesting evening destinations when you feel like leaving the resort. There's also regular water shuttle service to sister resorts on the west coast. This is a well-priced, all-inclusive resort.
Paynes Bay, St. James, WI
Tamarind Cove is a member of the Elegant Hotels group and is a pretty Mediterranean-style complex on a beautiful stretch of western coast. Rates at this more upscale resort do not include meals or beverages, but all watersports are free, so active vacationers can save some money. Several of the small pools are in colonnaded courtyards, some are draped in greenery behind white stucco walls, and others overlook the sea. The newly renovated rooms are tiled in white marble with very plush bathrooms; they accommodate two adults and two kids under 12 and have private patios or balconies.
Though they host many families, Tamarind Cove currently runs an organized activity program for children only over the summer and Christmas and Easter holidays and plans to add a separate facility with full time staff soon.
Glitter Bay Estates
St. James, WI
Formerly The Fairmont Glitter Bay Resort, the estates and villas are now available as rentals through Barbados Villa Services and offers such amenities as a children's play area with equipment and a children's wading pool.
Port St. Charles Marina
St. Peter, WI
If a kitchen sounds enticing, some very stylish townhouses have been developed at the Port St. Charles Marina. Access is by boat across a natural lagoon so this makes a handsome and fun, Venice-inspired complex for visiting families. Or perhaps a new home for those seduced by Barbados' civilized charms into contemplating a tropical retirement!
Speightstown, St. Peter, WI
800/890-6060 or 246/422-2291
A member of Relais & Chateaux, this upscale resort is one of the best loved in the Caribbean. The all-suite property is located on the northwest coast of Barbados near Speightstown, where you can stroll and admire typical Barbadian architecture, try some excellent restaurants and check out the new luxury marina. Situated on a calm, quiet beach, Cobblers Cove encourages families to participate together in activities like swimming with the sea turtles directly off Cobblers' beach and exploring the natural grounds of the property where mongoose and monkeys scurry about. They can choose from watersports such as snorkeling, banana boat rides, water-skiing and sunfish sailing lessons. There is also an arts'n'crafts room that also offers a library of books, DVDs and beanbag chairs to lounge in. For parents who want to do their own thing, child supervision is available for activities during the summer and Christmas and Easter holidays each afternoon, and babysitters can be arranged for an additional cost.
Every suite has a balcony, a sitting room, and a stocked mini-fridge. When families retire to their spacious rooms after a day of exploring Barbados' sunny beaches and historic culture, they’ll find toy baskets and a collection of children's books perfect for bedtime reading. Unlimited water-skiing, sunfish sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, day and night tennis, afternoon tea, and use of the fitness room are all included in the nightly rate. The resort does not accept children under 12 from mid-January through mid-March, but offers special children’s programs and family deals during the Christmas and Easter holiday weeks, and in July and August. Rates range from affordable to sky-high.