December is the best time to go
Early December is my favourite time to escape the British winter when prices are at their lowest and the weather is at its best. Although December through April is the driest time to visit the island, with rain starting in June and hurricane season during September and October, it’s also peak season. Prices double from around mid-December before Christmas, so it’s best to go just before!
Why I Choose Barbados
Barbados is my favourite Caribbean island for several reasons. It’s easy to access from London, just under 8 hours flight time with either British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, making it possible to visit for a shorter break. I also love the British influence on the island, where everyone speaks English and the hotels even serve afternoon tea. But mostly, Barbados just has a really great vibe, it’s relatively safe, and has one of six Relais & Chateaux properties in the Caribbean.
Stay on the west coast
The northwest coast up from Bridgetown is the best place to stay. Upscale hotels have flocked to this side of the island for the most beautiful sunsets and calmer seas. Barbados prides itself on its community of repeat visitors. So choose your hotel wisely, as chances are you’ll be coming back!
Our pick is Cobbler’s Cove, a boutique luxury hotel belonging to Relais & Chateaux in Speightstown, a 40-minute drive from the airport. Cobbler’s Cove offers two main types of suites, garden or sea view, and two extra big suites if that’s just how you roll. Each suite has an indoor living room and balcony with two sun loungers, making you feel like you’re in your own little summer house.
My favourite room is Clinketts, garden view top floor, because I just love the sound of the garden at night. After swimming all day in the sea and lounging at the beach, we love to retreat to the garden in the evenings and crack open a few bottles of beer or wine on the balcony. The hotel also does a cracking Rum Punch!
And the Best Sun Loungers in the World Award Goes to…
Special mention goes to Cobbler’s Cove incredible sun loungers, which have to be the softest, most comfortable sun loungers I’ve ever had the privilege of relaxing on. They are magical, each one has a heavenly thick white mattress like a fluffy white cloud. And there is always one available. No fighting over sunbeds here. Take your time, choose one, lay down, read a book, take a nap, and wait for the staff to bring over your Pina Colada!
Where to Eat
Barbados is also famous for its food scene and fine dining, such as world-famous The Cliff, Cin Cin by the Sea , The Tides and Daphne’s, among others. However, Cobbler’s Cove has another secret weapon, it also boasts the best restaurant on the island! Camelot serves up daily specials, catch of the day, and a weekly BBQ at reasonable prices and generous portions.
There is also a full board option, which includes whatever you want for breakfast and a three-course lunch and dinner. One evening they even had a caviar buffet, serving eight different types of caviar 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 the full board.
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.
Activities and Things to Do
Even though most people don’t come to Barbados to do an awful lot, there are plenty of activities. Cobbler’s Cove has a tennis court and offers several water sports and activities for both adults and kids for free.
I recommend a boat tour around the island’s shipwrecks and to swim with the sea turtles. It’s an incredible experience, they are so big and friendly and you can stroke their backs as they swim under you. Harrison’s Cave is another fun half-day activity, as well as a trip to the south of the island to visit Oistins Friday Night fish fry.
At night, most hotels have live music and weekly socialising events that are a lot of fun. Look out for local band Two Guitars or ask your hotel for when/where they’ll be playing.
We met Two Guitars on our first visit to the island. They were playing at Cobbler’s Cove but when we requested Layla by Eric Clapton, they said they’d only play it if we followed them to their next venue. So we went! Unfortunately, Sandy Lane no longer allow guests of other hotels to visit unless you book dinner.
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 through the night. It’s a very distinct noise, one you either love or hate. Personally, I really love the whistling frogs, it’s the sound of Barbados! It makes me feel like I am far far away from London, somewhere warm and tropical, bursting with life all around me. Here is a little video if you’d like to hear them!