CHRIST CHURCH: BOUGAINVILLIA BEACH RESORT
Liz & Family
We had one of the one-bedroom apartments in the Sand Acres section (3212) and it was fabulous. It was two huge rooms with a kitchenette and bathroom. We especially loved the double balcony. On the second floor so we had a lovely view out to the sea. On the whole it was an excellent experience.
We did a little bit of shopping at the corner shop and stocked up on basics so we could make our own breakfasts and lunches. I also got a cab to the Big D supermarket and bought loads of stuff. We ate at Lanterns restaurant quite often for lunch and especially loved the country chicken salad, and found the food and service to be very good. I love watching the ocean as I eat and it was great for that. They also provide the room service so we quite often had lunch on our fabulous balcony. The dinner menu for room service was quite good too. We enjoyed everything we ordered and it’s not too pricey. As we have kids we didn’t go out much in the evenings, but sitting on that balcony in the evening heat drinking wine was superb. One place we kept going back to in St Lawrence Gap was Pisces, its right on the water’s edge and the food is awesome. We also did Oistens fish fry which is a must. Although we went early because of the kids, we probably missed most of the “party”. The food was ok, it was more for the atmosphere.
We were a little disappointed by the lack of organisation for the kids club. I know the brochures advertise kids club subject to numbers (3) but most people only have 2 kids so we had to ask around to find another couple who wanted to use the club. I must have seemed a bit desperate, but I really like to have a break from the kids (3&5) occasionally and managed to use the club 3 times while we were there. Monique, who ran the club was brilliant, the kids loved her and she also does babysitting in the evenings. It would have been better if the reception or activities desk had a list you could sign up for and asked each guest with kids. Still, a small point. The swimming pool was excellent, not very large, but especially the first week it was fantastic and the kids loved it. The second week (half term) it seemed a bit busier mainly because of all the inflatables in the pool!! We also loved the beach. It was a bit rough but so much nicer than the flat calm thats too much like a swimming pool for my tastes.
The staff were quite friendly and smiled if you smiled at them first. Not overly effusive, but still helpful. Except in the Water’s Edge restaurant… It was awful, sooooo not worth the extra expense. We saved this for our last night hoping for a special treat, but the waitress was exceptionally surly, the food was decidedly average, especially the dessert, which my husband swears was a ‘Mr Kiplings individual apple pie’!! We actually asked to sit outside and have coffee just to get out, the kids had fun running round on the grass and playing on the hammock, but I would avoid this place, not as advertised! We used the Virgin check in and chill out service and that was fantastic, also got the room for late checkout, I did have qualms about it being a bit pricey US$75, but was very worthwhile as we only had to leave at 6.45pm and a whole day out in the sun would have been too much.
I would definitely go back and stay at the Bougainvillea, we had a little look at the Casaurina and Turtle Beach hotel’s next door, and were very happy with what we chose. It was definitely the best of the bunch.
CHRIST CHURCH: BOUGAINVILLIA BEACH RESORT
Jai & Family
My family just returned from a two week vacation to Barbados. We started our holiday at the Bougainvillea resort and stayed for 4 nights. We were in town for a family wedding and spent the next week at my father-in-law’s home in St Micheal.
This was my 5th time on the island but our first with children, 4 and 6. The room that we reserved was the one-bedroom but upon our arrival we were given the one-bedroom deluxe. Our bedroom had 2 double beds and we had originally wanted a king for us and we were going to have our children sleep on the hide-a-bed. Renovations were being done on the one bedroom across the hall from us and when the door was open we took a look. The king-sized bed was in a room upstairs from the main living area and upon seeing that, my husband and I were glad that we took the double. I don’t think that I would have felt comfortable being that far away from the kids in case they woke up – just something to consider. Email and ask. They were fabulous about replying, even if it was about the weather forecasts.
Before our arrival, I emailed to request a grocery list from the hotel. We ordered some juice and milk, bread and a few basics to have in the room. It was delivered within half an hour of us getting there. The prices were the same as at the Supercenter in Oistins. We took a cab to get some groceries at the Supercenter and surprisingly prices weren’t too bad when converted. We did pack a lot of canned and boxed items (cereal, etc.) in our suitcases as imported items tend to be pricier.
The resort itself is fabulous, especially for families. It is clean and friendly, just like other reviews I had read. You will not be disappointed if you are going to enjoy the sun and sand. Take in all that you can about the island and the locals and see it for what it is, a paradise away from our hectic everyday lives.
You must consider getting lunch from Leroy’s van. It shows up between 11:30-1:30 ish Mon- Fri. For 50$ Barbadian we ordered some fried chicken and macaroni pie, 2 rotis for supper, the beef stew (very good and not too spicey) which came with rice, mashed potatoes or mac pie. They also had curried chicken, and each meal came with tossed salad or coleslaw. It was enough food to have leftovers for lunch the next day or a snack.
Our family really enjoyed the fish fry in Oistins on Fri night but our favourite sight seeing adventure was Ocean Park Aquarium. We were able to watch the shark feeding, observe some very large eels and lobsters. We saw “Nemo”, a sea horse, lots of Rays, and many amazing sea creatures we have never seen up close before. The touch pond allowed us to hold sea stars, touch sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and a few other creatures. It was fabulous – our children’s favourite sight of the 2 weeks. The food at the restaurant was good and the playground was large and a lot of fun. We wished we could have played the mini golf but after a large but brief rainfall, the course was very wet. Take a look at their website. Only about a 10 min drive from the hotel.
Don’t worry about the weather forecasts on the internet. Before we went we looked at various sites and saw thunderstorms all week. I emailed to ask what the local predictions were and they said hot with overcast skies and sunny breaks for most of the week. In the 12 days we were there, it rained for two days. It was overcast for most of 4 days and sunny with a few cloudy periods for the rest of the week.
Don’t be afraid to jump on the mini buses or the big blue city buses. We even took our kids in the little white taxi vans and it was a great experience. We thought our children would complain about the heat, squishy-ness, and waits in the buses but they loved them and enjoyed the locals. It was great for them to see how other cultures get around besides in an air conditioned van.
Overall our trip was fabulous. The wedding we attended was held at the Accra Beach hotel and we stayed one night there as well. It was very nice. It had another great pool for kids and it was a perfect location for restaurants and some basic shopping. If you are looking for a basic room it was also very nice.
CHRIST CHURCH: BOUGAINVILLEA BEACH RESORT
Liz & Family (baby 14mos.)
We just returned from two weeks at the Bougainvillea. Overall we had a very nice time. It was not our first trip to the Caribbean but it was our first stay on Barbados. We have a 14 month old baby.
The good points are:
- Our room was very well kitted out for a family with young children. We had a kitchenette with a microwave, fridge, hobs and all basic utensils. We had a balcony with a lovely sea view. We were on the third floor but able to leave our buggy at the bottom of the stairs quite safely. The hotel gave us a cot and we could have had a high chair but we’d brought a portable one with us. The room had full blackout curtains which were really handy for daytime naps.
- Great beach – waves were rough some days but generally lovely for boogie boarding and for paddling with baby. Watersports staff really helpful and friendly. Lovely hammock to sit and read in.
- Great pools – 3 pools and 2 kids pools. Lots of shady areas too.
- Friendly staff – the bellmen, housekeepers and most of the restaurant staff were really friendly and took a real interest in chatting with our baby.
- Library – the hotel has a room with all the books/magazines left by other guests so you can borrow them one at a time. Some of these were really brand new titles and you needn’t bring reading material if you don’t have room in your case.
- Kids room – inside, air conditioned, really good for a break from the heat. It has a lego table and other things too.
- The restaurant is open air, right on the beach. It’s a lovely location and they do a good selection of meals, especially from the lunch menu. They do takeaways which you can take and eat in your room too, if you dont’ want to use the babysitting service. However, be warned: they won’t let you do this on buffet night!
Those are the good points and on the whole, our experience was positive. However, there were a couple of negatives, one which really made some of our evenings very stressful:
- The hotel has 2-3 nights a week where they put on an entertainment show and it is REALLY loud. We are not party-poopers and had we not had a baby asleep, we would probably have gone and watched ourselves. We could also watch from our balcony. However, the music was so loud that even when we shut our balcony doors, it was as if it was in the room. You could not watch TV over the noise and it woke our baby up several times and our baby is a deep sleeper. We complained and it was apparently turned down for us, but it was hard to tell. I spoke to the manager when we left and said that it was contrary to advertise as a family friendly resort and play music this loud, and she was quite rude to me. I am not averse to music being played and it looked like the show was good, but from 7-10pm at that level was too much, it was like staying in a noisy nightclub.
- The location of the hotel is not really in any main town – more in the middle of a suburb/residential area. You can walk to St Lawrence Gap but it would take 20 mins to get to the edge of it and probably 30 mins to get to the heart of it. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so incredibly hot which makes the walk seem longer. We hired a car and it was a godsend although the baby seat supplied with it was quite primitive!
- Smoking is allowed in the restaurant. 9 times out of 10, nobody would smoke but if you have one inconsiderate family (as we did) who puffed all over our baby, it can be irritating. There are also cigarette butts all over the beach which is a real pity.
On the whole, I would say that if you have children who you consider too young to take down to watch evening activity, then I would maybe try and find a quieter hotel closer to a resort centre. If your kids are old enough to go down and watch the shows, then the noise won’t be a problem but the location might.
CHRIST CHURCH: ACCRA BEACH HOTEL & RESORT
Jennie & family (baby 7mos.)
My husband, 7-month-old son and I recently stayed at the Accra Beach Resort and loved it. We had originally booked a standard room, on the street side. However when we arrived, we were upgraded to a suite in the brand new section of the hotel overlooking the pool and ocean. The section was still “under construction”, but most of the rooms on our floor were finished. The construction never began before 10am and the workers were all very nice. I accidentally knocked a can of paint over and they actually apologized to me for having it in the way.
The front desk staff was wonderful too. They had great suggestions of where to eat, what to see and always had smiles on their faces. The airline had lost our stroller on the way down and one of the ladies at the front desk not only found us a place to rent one, but price shopped for us and found another company that was less expensive. We travel often and rarely see anyone go out of his or her way to help, like she did.
The pool area was amazing, especially for anyone traveling with kids. On one side, they actually have an area that is super shallow (for crawling babies). For adults, they had a great swim up bar which served really delicious, yet inexpensive drinks. The only negative thing is that the cruise ship people came one day during our stay. We learned a curious fact about cruise people; they need 4 towels at a minimum to lie out, so we had to bribe the staff to get a couple before they were all gone.
The ocean off the resort was awesome. It’s not calm Caribbean, but it’s not rough either. They have loaner snorkels, masks, fins and boogie boards and a really cool artificial reef a short swim off the beach. They also have chairs and umbrellas, to lie out on the beach. Be careful of the occasional stray dogs though. There was one that friendly with all of the adults but got aggressive when he saw the baby crawling. There is a little set of shops next door, if you are in the market for a Bob Marley tee, hair braiding or something that I was quite surprised to be offered considering I was holding an infant! The restaurant staff was slow, but that’s how it’s been in every island we’ve traveled to. Everything is a little more relaxed. Also, don’t expect to do anything on Sunday. We had intended to drive around the island that day, but were told not to bother, as most of the sites and attractions were closed or not giving tours that day.
The location of the hotel was perfect. It’s 10 minutes into Bridgetown, and less than a 5-minute cab ride to where all of the great restaurants are. It also has a great little shopping center across the street that has a little convenience store, places to eat and souvenir shops.
In summary, we really like the hotel, especially for the price. My in-laws stayed in a hotel across the street (by the time they booked their trip, Accra had no vacancy). They were paying roughly the same price as us, but Accra was 5 stars compared to theirs.
ST. JAMES: ANGLER APARTMENTS
Pazzi & Family
My husband and I stayed here for 5 days at the end of May. We LOVED the beach access and nearly-private beach just across the street. There were no frills, but the owner is very generous and helpful. The Indian restaurant on-site is also very good, particularly when you have been out all day and don’t want to go out *again*.
We were satisfied with the clean and functional accommodations (my sister, staying in a different unit, found the absence of a microwave unacceptable when in need of a fast meal for a sick toddler). It does appear that the apartments are not standardized; our furnishings in a 2nd story apartment varied in age and assortment from those in my sister’s ground-level unit, but neither was objectionable to us. For my husband and me, this just made the Angler seem more like comfortable, basic beach digs — better than we expected from the reviews.
We’ve stayed in 5-star hotels in US and Europe; we’ve been on cruises; we backpack and camp. The Angler Apartments are worth checking out for your beaches-in-Barbados trip; there are fancier places, but if you’re there for the beach, you’ll find giant turtles and cool things to see when snorkeling, nearby sailboat rental, local fish market, and easy bus access to everywhere else.
ST. JAMES: COLONY CLUB
We have just returned from a really great 8 days at the Colony Club and despite not being one to return to hotels, this is somewhere I would definitely re-visit.
We knew the weather was likely to be changeable as the hurricane season is not yet over so were not surprised that it rained most days but these were mostly showers and they were over pretty quickly. Certainly not enough to ruin a lovely holiday and we still got great tans. We didn’t experience any issues with smell at all but were on the other side of the hotel from the area other guests have complained about.
I have to say, the staff were wonderful to us, but this was possibly partly down to our toddler who managed to charm every single member of staff. However, we really found them to be incredibly friendly and helpful and actually their attentiveness was a huge reason why we had such an enjoyable time.
The room we had (Ocean Front Room) was excellently located. It was a good size (even with a cot in it) and was well maintained (do ask for a fridge as well as your mini-bar so that you can have your own drinks in the room). The only tiny complaint is that sand gets everywhere and the hotel could follow many others on the island and have a “sand shell” outside the room so that you can wash your feet before going in – but that is really a small grouch.
The pool area is done very well and was perfect for us with the baby – there were a few other young-ish families there and the children seemed to enjoy the pool enormously. However, if you are not overly keen on kids, there are definitely places where you can lie and not be disturbed. The beach is good, quite large compared to others I have been to, and although you are slightly hassled by the traders, who wouldn’t want to have reflexology whilst lying on your sunbed? Mr Nice was excellent (as well as doing back massages etc) and reasonably priced.
The Spa was excellent and a facial was probably one of the best I’ve had. The gym is small but has everything you need and is well maintained.
I would agree with another reviewer who recommends only B&B, there are so many amazing restaurants on the island, you really don’t want to restrict yourselves by staying at the hotel. That said, the quality of food was excellent and we enjoyed the Lobster/Jazz night as well as the Calypso evening. The breakfast buffet was good and we really enjoyed our lunches on the sunset deck. Local restaurants The Cliff, Lone Star and the Fish Pot are all well worth a visit — but do book in advance to ensure you get a waterside table (also, take a full wallet to the Cliff as it’s not cheap!). Happy Hour at 5pm on the Sunset Deck is a lovely and relaxing hour, even with our toddler, and the large cocktail list is well worth trying out!
My husband and I are well travelled across the world and stay in 5* properties wherever we go and this definitely fit the bill. Whilst this hotel could probably do with a touch of paint here and there, it is excellent value for money – especially in the off-season – and we would heartily recommend it. All in all a lovely holiday with fabulous memories.
ST. JAMES: ESCAPE AT PROSPECT BAY
Dean & Family
Having read many bad reviews online we would like to say having stayed in many expensive hotels throughout the UK and Europe we found that The Escape Hotel & Spa to be the equivalent of anywhere we have previously been. We visited in May 2007 with our daughter; son-in-law; one toddler and one small baby to renew our wedding vows.
Rooms and amenities were immaculate. All the staff was friendly and exceptionally helpful – especially on the morning of our renewal helping my wife get ready which obviously was not part of their job. Nothing was too much trouble especially when it came to trying to accommodate the children.
We have read that some people did not like the wild birds coming into the eating area. We know that in England at any picnic site one goes to there will be birds and part of the enjoyment of eating at this hotel is the open-air nature of the dining room overlooking the sea and this is made clear in the hotel’s description. We did not find that the birds posed any problems whilst you were eating, nor did we hear one person complaining about them. Is it not a compliment to the hotel and its staff that the wild birds feel confident and safe enough to come into this environment? Something one does not find in England. This forms part of the Barbadian culture and as we are privileged to be guests in Barbados (and always will be) we should respect this. If you don’t like the Bajan culture and their way of life why visit Barbados in the first place?
The rooms were spotless (otherwise we would not have let our grandson crawl around on the bedroom floors); the linen was clean and changed regularly and the food (including room service) exceptional (all fresh) and my wife says the lamb shanks were beautiful.
We are already looking forward to returning to The Escape Hotel and Spa in April 2009.
ST. JAMES: MANGO BAY RESORT
Fiona & Family (baby 11mos.)
We have just come back from the most fantastic week at the Mango Bay Hotel in St James Barbados. We took our 11 month old son and flew with Virgin Airlines, which is a really child friendly airline. Nothing seemed too much trouble for them.
The hotel is situated in Holetown, with a shopping centre a few minutes walk away, so nappies, wipes, baby food etc can be bought easily.
Prior to setting off (and after reading some reviews of this hotel on the internet) we upgraded from a superior room to a deluxe room and we really felt we had been given one of the best rooms in the hotel (room 104). It was beautifully and tastefully decorated, the bathroom was huge with a really powerful shower and a bath perfect for bathing our baby as the sides weren’t too high. The room was immaculate and was thoroughly cleaned everyday. We were provided with fresh beach towels and fresh towels each day too. Each evening the bed was turned down while we were at dinner and a little chocolate for each of us was left on our pillow.
Our room looked over the pool and we had our own pool sunloungers right out side the room as well as terrace furniture. This made life with our little boy really easy as when he was having a nap in the room we were right by him, yet were still sunbathing!!!
The food was absolutely fantastic. The menu had been thought through carefully and there was a choice of red meat, white meat, fish or vegetarian at each evening meal. Lunch was also delicious and you could either have a burger and fries or a full three course lunch depending on how you felt. Afternoon tea was an institution and it felt so civilised sipping tea and eating little sandwiches and cakes as the sun went down! My husband was initially a bit concerned about the dress code for dinner (long trousers and collared shirts for men -as he is a t-shirts and shorts guy on holidays) but in actual fact it made dinner a really special experience and we enjoyed getting smartened up for the evening!!!
Most nights there was entertainment which seemed to be of a very high standard (although our little boy was normally asleep by then but we could sit on our terrace and still enjoy the music which was good.) The music was never really too loud, it was meant to be dinnertime entertainment, and so you could always talk over it if you wanted. We could hardly hear anything when we were back in our room with the door closed.
My husband really enjoyed the complimentary watersports and went out every day, either waterskiing, kayaking or hobi-cat sailing. The hotel also provides snorkels and we went on the complimentary catamaran trip which was fantastic. There is also a glass bottom boat trip and a bus into Bridgetown offered by the hotel but we didn’t do that. The catamaran cruise and the glass bottom boat cruise were both suitable for our little boy. There wasn’t much shade on the catamaran but the Captain made sure that we got priority seat under the canopy. On the glass bottom boat trip there was ample shade, but as I said we were too busy swimming in the lovely pool to go on that trip.
There were always seats by the pool (some people reserved seats but it didn’t really seem necessary) and when you went down to the beach the chap from the watersports centre brought you sun loungers and an umbrella there were plenty available so there was always some where to sit !
I have to say something about the staff who were so kind and friendly and showed so much love to our little boy! He was immediately greeted when ever we went to the restaurant and someone would rush over with a highchair for him. They would prepare special meals for him which would be ready as soon as we sat down in the restaurant! The hotel is definitely child friendly and we would recommend it to anyone travelling with a young baby or toddler.
There was a variety of guests at the hotel, honeymoon couples, families, retired couples, single people, groups of friends and the hotel effortlessly catered for everyone’s needs. As a result everyone seemed to be really relaxed and having a wonderful time!
We will definitely be returning!
A few words of advice for anyone thinking of booking this hotel… Don’t book a standard room if you are planning on an early night as the standard rooms are close to local bars which blast out music late into the night. Also, the Ocean view rooms are lovely but are close to the hotel restaurant and bar. Although the hotel entertainment finishes at 11pm some people we met said that they were disturbed by people sitting chatting loudly in the bar until the early hours. So for travelers like us who had young children that needed to be in bed early we would recommend the pool view rooms which are further from the restaurant and bar. Also take plenty of insect repellant. There is a river that runs behind the hotel and although the river is treated and the bedrooms are sprayed every evening with insect repellant the mosquitoes do occasionally get through especially when it rains!
If you do choose this hotel – have a great time! We did!!!