Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Barbados

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Barbados

Barbados is the perfect Caribbean island for escaping the winter because it has Cobbler’s Cove, one of my favourite boutique hotels also boasting the best restaurant on the island. I first came in 2012 and couldn’t wait to get back in 2015 and now to go again in 2018. Here’s why I recommend the island and the hotel, and some of my pre-blogger holiday snaps.

Barbados has…

  • Easy access from London, with direct flights from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic
  • Five-star service, quality, and British charm
  • The best restaurants in the Caribbean
  • Warm and safe turquoise waters, activities, and so much more…
Barbados sunset

Stunning sunsets from the west-facing Cobbler’s Cove Hotel, best enjoyed with a glass of rose

Where is Barbados?

Barbados is a small Caribbean island just north of Trinidad and Tobago, east of St Vincent and the Grenadines. It’s easy to get to, 8.5 hour flight time direct from London. The best hotels and restaurants start just north of Bridgetown, on the west coast, all the way up to Speightstown.

Barbados Beach

Warm turquoise waters at Cobbler’s Cove, Godings Bay

When is the best time to go?

December through to April are the driest, best months to visit the island, with rain starting in June and hurricane season September and October. December is my favourite time to go to escape the British winter when prices are at their lowest and the weather is at its best. Peak season only kicks in mid-December for Christmas when prices double. Book in advance to take advantage of the early bird discounts.

Barbados palms

The view from my sunbed

What’s the best hotel?

The standard of hotels on the island is very high, it’s hard to go wrong up along that west coast. Sandy Lane is the most famous because it’s where the 1% of the 1% go. I’m sure it’s wonderful if you can afford it, but personally, I don’t think it is worth it. You’ll be paying over the odds for the same fresh grilled fish, the same gorgeous warm sea, the same tasty rum. My pick is Cobbler’s Cove. It’s Relais & Chateaux, so that ticks off the fancy box, but the value for money is far better.

Barbados Cobblers Cove

The most perfect fluffy white sunbed mattresses that will have you questioning if you died and went to heaven!

Why Cobbler’s Cove?

It’s a small, luxury boutique hotel, 40 minutes by car from the airport, northwest in Godings Bay. If you prefer bigger hotels, they have that too, but I much prefer the intimacy and quality of boutiques. From the outside the hotel doesn’t look like much. I remember on our first time we passed so many grand hotel entrances on the drive up, George was giving me looks as to say “why did we choose this one?” as we pulled up. But don’t let that deceive you.

Barbados Umbrellas

Cobbler’s Cove signature sun umbrellas, and George, being George.

Once inside, there is a small reception where there will always be someone expecting you, with a refresher towel and bottle of water at the ready. A little paved path leads out through a luscious garden that connects the cottages, each with two suites, split between the ground and first floor. In front of the ocean sits the main house, a bright pastel pink colonial building with stunning views of the ocean. Through there, you’ll find the award-winning Camelot restaurant, the beach, and the pool.

Barbados Pool

The swimming pool in front of the sea, where lunch is served daily (definitely order the lobster!)

Cobbler’s Cove has the best restaurant on the island, and as a food blogger/obsessive, that’s a huge selling point for me. Daily specials, catch of the day, and a weekly BBQ are all devoured during a week’s stay. Prices are reasonable, portions are generous. We went full board once, which includes whatever you want for breakfast and a three-course lunch and dinner. One evening they had a caviar buffet. Incredible! Eight different types of caviar, all you can eat, served alongside as many ice-cold shots of Grey Goose as you can handle. The price was around £100 pp, but included at no extra charge in our full board.

Barbados Dinner

Delicious dinners at the Camelot Restaurant

In addition to the incredible food, service, beauty and charm, there’s one more thing that makes Cobbler’s Cove stand out as one of the best hotels for a relaxing break… Their sunbeds. Their sunbeds are magical. Each sunbed has a heavenly thick white mattress, like laying on a perfectly fluffy white cloud. You have to try it for yourself. And there always is one. No fighting over sunbeds, they know better here. Take your time, lay down, read a book, take a nap, and do try the sorbet!

What’s the best room?

Cobbler’s Cove offer two main types of rooms, garden or sea view. They also have some massive expensive suites if you fancy it for your honeymoon or if that’s just how you roll. Each suite has an indoor living room and a balcony with two sun loungers. It feels like you’re in your own little summer house. My favourite room is Clinketts, garden view, top floor. I love the sound of the garden at night, laying out on the balcony in the warm evenings sipping a cool beer, the sky full of stars and so much natural life heard from the rustling palms, island birds and song of the whistling frogs!

Barbados Room

Clinketts, our garden view suite

What’s a whistling frog?

That’s a very good question. Barbados has a lot of them. Only if it rains will you see them, but you will most definitely hear them. They whistle all night, it’s a distinct noise, one you either love or hate. I fall in the love category. I really love the whistling frogs, it’s the sound of Barbados! It makes me feel like I’m somewhere far away from London, somewhere warm and tropical and there is life all around me. Here is a little video if you’d like to hear them!

What else is there to do in Barbados?

You don’t come to Barbados to do a lot, you come to relax and recharge! Cobbler’s Cove offers several watersports and activities for both adults and kids for free, they also have a tennis court. We always do a boat tour around the island’s shipwrecks and to swim with the sea turtles, an absolute must. It’s an incredible experience, they are huge and friendly and you can stroke their backs as they swim under you.

Barbados Boat

“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain!” Boat trip time.

We’ve also done the tour of Harrison’s Cave, which was beautiful and interesting. Many tourists like to take a trip to the south to Oistins Friday Night fish fry, but we’ve never been.

Barbados Cave

The Jurassic Park looking buggie that took us into the caves

And look out for the local band Two Guitars. Your hotel can find out where they’ll be playing. Great musicians and a lot of fun to hang out with! Oh and drink plenty of rum. Rum punch.

Barbados Sandy Lane

That one time when we got very drunk and followed Two Guitars to Sandy Lane!

What are some of the other restaurants?

Barbados is really famous for its food scene. Specifically, fine dining, such as world-famous The Cliff (£135 per person average spend), Cin Cin by the Sea (£60), The Tides (£70) and Daphne’s (£60), among others. Most restaurants, including Camelot, follow a formal dress-code, which is the same as any good restaurant at home: no shorts or sandals for men. Dinner is typically served early at 7 or 8 pm and advance reservations are recommended. It’s not a crowded island, but tables do sell out, sometimes well in advance. There are also more casual, local restaurants at much lower prices.

Barbados Sea

A beautiful photo of the sun just beginning to set, which captures the serenity of holidays at Cobbler’s Cove

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