A break from the norm of a tech blog post on Microsoft. However, I did have some good downtime to write some blog posts during the holidays 🙂
We were trying to decide on where to go for our holiday child free. Last year I introduced my girlfriend to Dubai, as it has great weather in October time. She liked it. We then started thinking back in 2018 on where to go in 2019. I had never been to the Caribbean, but Nicola had, so it was a done deal, Barbados was chosen. Flights booked and we had 10 months to plan.
Queue 2 weeks before leaving, I started to plan where we would go. We did decide that we would not go all inclusive, and just have breakfast at the hotel. This gives us the option to see the local area which I like doing. The next decision was to hire a car or not. In the end we didn’t. We used taxi’s to get around but I wasn’t impressed on the lack of meters in taxis, they use a set price. Also the hotel uses a “taxi” which does seem a little over priced. More on that later.
We had booked at the adults only Treasure Beach on the West Coast, as it was meant to be a nice part of the island. After some research, which I am glad I did, I an itinerary of which restaurants were going to try. This was mainly from reviews on Trip Advisor. One restaurant we were going to try was actually being refurbished, so it was closed and not re-opening until the day we left. Just a note if you do travel in their off peak season. Things pick up from November onwards.
Firstly, we planned to get a taxi to the hotel. I was going to get cash out with my Revolut or Curve card to save on FX fees, but noticed that the taxi accepts cards. Brilliant, no cash needed. I don’t like cash!!! Got to the hotel and presented my card. I was then told there would be a $5 dollar transaction fee. I thought OK, same as getting cash out. The trip was a fixed price of $58 Barbados dollars. The machine said $68 Barbados dollars so I questioned it. Ah yes sir, it is $5 US dollars which is $10 Barbados dollars. Arrrghhhhh. You have one currency, use it and stick to it. She gave me her card which I then put in the bin. Don’t tell me one price and then another!!!
Anyway, checked into the hotel, welcome drink of a rum punch, very good too. Sit down by the pool and chat to some people. Everyone was really friendly at the hotel, and being out of season, it wasn’t that busy. Staff knew you etc, so a very nice place to be. Would definitely come back. However, day three whilst we were there, it was announced that Marriott hotels had put in a bid to purchase the Elegant Hotels group, which has 7 hotels in the Islands. Their intention is to make them all inclusive resorts. Don’t do this. I don’t want to be stuck in the same hotel for a week. I don’t care about dining around at the the other hotels, I want to experience local places and support small business owners. That was the only main concern of the staff when I spoke with them about the plans. If they do All Inclusive only, I won’t be back.
Anyway, onto restaurants in Barbados. This is what I had planned prior to leaving the UK. So let’s take them one by one. The SeaCat looked to have nice reviews. Turned up and it was a small place. Don’t let that put you off. The hosts were lovely and the fish was great.
Next up was Habour Lights. We decided on this was it was a mix of local culture, music, along with a BBQ and drinks included. Was it worth the $99 USD, certainly not. I would have said about $50-$60. Maybe because we are not big drinkers, we didn’t get the best value. The food was delicious from the BBQ and the entertainment wasn’t too bad. What did spoil the evening was the downpour of rain. But at least it wasn’t cold!!
The next evening we went to Zaccios. Again a really nice place, friendly staff and the food was really nice too. The only downside was the heat, it was so humid sitting outside watching the ocean, meant more wine was drunk. I’m guessing during the day it is a really nice place too.
So the traditional thing to do in Barbados on a Friday night is to go to Oistins Fish Fry. So we had to try it. The hotel actually had their “taxi” service to there, so we booked via the hotel and others were there too. It also collected others en route as well. It’s a bit like Borough Market in London. Loads of vendors with different foods, mainly fish obviously. I decided to move towards the back as the front where everyone walks in was very busy. There are staff trying to get your attention and bring you their restaurant. The price of a meal is around $35 Barbados dollars. We found somewhere and had a nicely fresh cooked meal. We could watch them BBQ it next to use.
There is also a great ice cream place at the back too. Delicious!!! Then we walked around, there were local stalls selling mostly handmade crafts etc. Finally we headed over to the main stage where there was a few dancers firstly dancing to local music and then they danced to more well know tracks. Was good to watch, certainly worth a visit. Would I head back if I went again. Probably not. If I had kids with us, then certainly as it would be nice experience for them.
So on Saturday we decided to move our plans around. Reason for this is that we would get a 3 course meal at the hotel included. We decided to have that on Sunday night, and it was very lovely. So we moved our Cariba booking to Monday night, as it was walking distance from the hotel. We walked it in the day to ensure it was ok to walk along the path etc. So for Saturday night we decided to try a recommendation from people at the hotel who we spoke to. It was over at Sugar Hill, where some of the rich and famous have villas. That wasn’t the reason for going, it was for the food!! And it did not disappoint. It was called Carizma on the Hill. They also have a another branch at the sea front. The owner was a lovely lady, who was actually from England and has been out there with her husband for 13 odd years. Again, check opening times of the other Carizma branch as it’s only open certain days. The BBQ food was great, which is the theme on a Saturday night. Tuesday is Taco night and Thursday is Quiz Night.
So Sunday was spent in the Tapastry restaurant at the hotel and it did not fail to deliver. We both went for the fillet steak, it was a nice menu to select from. Again, different nights have different themes on the menu.
So the final night was Cariba. This certainly did not disappoint and probably one of the best meals of the holiday. The chef/owner came round to the tables after he had finished cooking everyone meal and had a chat with everyone. Really nice touch.
And the dessert was also really nice. I’m not usually one to go for bread and butter pudding, but it was a nice twist.
We also used the water sports next door which were included too. Great fun on the tube rides and banana boat. We also tried jet skiing. My word was that difficult. We had 3 lessons over a few days, it was a great learning experience but needs a lot of effort and skill. We both managed to stand up for a short period of seconds
Finally this was our flight home
Upon arriving in London the next morning, the good old trains let us down and got us 2/3rds of the way home. We had to get an taxi from St Pancras. As we exited the station, this was one sight that greeted us.
There were some other recommendations that we never got to try in my original plan. We were also recommended a catamaran boat cruise, that picks you up early morning and you have a BBQ lunch on board. https://silvermoonbarbados.com. It was a maximum of 12 people, so a nice small group. We had seen some big boat parties, think I’m too old for that.