Barbados is a very civilized Caribbean Island that takes its British heritage seriously, offering families beautiful beaches, a proud and well educated citizenry, and quality accommodations at a price to match. Multigenerational groups will appreciate that this island also has excellent medical facilities if anyone is in need of assistance. Here’s our look at some of the best family resorts in Barbados.
Turtle Beach Resort
Dover, Barbados, WI
For an all-inclusive resort, Turtle Beach stands out for its distinctly good food (complimentary room service is also a real plus) and its 161 larger than average rooms, each 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 attractive Turtle Beach property provides easy access to entertain ages 3 to 12-years round the clock — at least 9am to 9pm — at the Flying Fish Club. During the busy winter and Easter season, the CPR-trained staff offer the usual array of arts n’crafts, ping pong and supervised outings to the pool, in addition to thoughtful marine program, calypso dance classes, golf, scavenger hunts and off-site adventures such as swimming with the turtles. (This is a protected nesting beach for green sea turtles.) 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.
The 1500-foot-long stretch of 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. Older kids can take advantage of Turtle Beach’s Aqua School where watersports classes are held. Another asset 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.
St. James, Barbados, WI
Like Turtle Beach, the Tamarind Hotel is a member of the Elegant Hotels group. The pretty Mediterranean-style complex is on a beautiful stretch of western coast. Rates at this more upscale 104-room resort do not include meals or beverages (and they boast about their healthy kids menus), but all watersports are free, so active vacationers can save some money. Or save up for a spa treatment. 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 up to three kids under 12 and have private patios or balconies.
Hosting many families, the Tamarind runs an organized activity program for children 4 to 12 daily except Sunday from 10am to 5:30pm. The Club Tamarind is a communal teen hangout with video games, air hockey, pool, ping pong and foosball games. Couples seeking a moonlit seaside supper at this smaller and more romantic resort can take advantge of the private nanny service, for a fee.
BB 26025 St. Peter, Barbados, 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 and try some excellent restaurants. 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 a variety of watersports 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, and babysitters can be arranged for an additional cost.
The property feels like an English country house, low-key with manicured landscaping. Every suite has a balcony, a sitting room, and a stocked mini-fridge. When families retire 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, on-site day and night tennis, a celebrated Afternoon Tea, and use of the fitness room are all included in the nightly rate. Golf is nearby. The resort does not accept children under 12 during the winter high season (mid-January through mid-March), but offers special children’s programs and family deals during the Christmas and Easter holiday weeks, and discounted family suites rates in July and August. Otherwise, rates range from affordable to sky-high.
Port St. Charles Marina
St. Peter, Barbados, WI
If a kitchen in your luxe waterfront villa sounds enticing, some very stylish townhouses line the Port St. Charles Marina on the northwest Caribbean coast. Access is by boat across a natural lagoon, and there’s a water taxi to the sand beaches nearby, so this makes a handsome and fun, Venice-inspired complex for visiting families. Fully furnished luxury units range up to three bedrooms making them ideal for multigenerational groups. The marina and yacht club host special meals and organized events during certain seasons. Attracts many return guests and British visitors here to stay for a few weeks holiday.
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