Travel Review: Beachside Bliss in Barbados
From the coastal romance of Sea Breeze Beach House to the vibrant colours of O2 Beach Club & Spa, Becci Clubb reviews these two spectacular stays.
Dotted with colourful Chattel houses, fruit and vegetable stalls and fields of tall, swaying sugar cane, Barbados is a Caribbean gem. With average daytime temperatures of around 30 degrees year-round, coupled with light winds, this Caribbean island is one that you can visit at any time of year. Known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as the birthplace of rum and home to superstar Rhianna, Barbados has so much to offer couples and I couldn’t wait to start exploring. Offering the perfect combination of beachfront views and superb cuisine, here are two sensational resorts to spark your honeymoon inspiration...
Best for a laid-back vibe and destination weddings
The Sea Breeze Beach House pools overlooking the ocean
Set within 2.5 acres of tropical gardens, with towering coconut trees and brightly coloured bougainvillea, Sea Breeze Beach House is a charming all-inclusive boutique resort. As I walked through the garden towards the entrance, we quickly got feel for the hotel. The calm and friendly atmosphere instantly eases all of your daily stresses away.
The hotel is situated right on Maxwell Beach. Soft white sands stretch the length of the hotel and beyond. Spend the day at the beach testing out the hotel’s variety of non-motorised water sports, including kayaking, surfing and snorkelling. The Hobie Cat tour as another highlight, which glided us across the sparkling sea to the Oistins Pier and back again, jumping into the water to swim with a passing turtle on the way.
If you prefer to kick back and relax, pull up one of the hotel’s sun loungers and relax on the beach, taking a refreshing dip in the sea and swimming out to the floating sundeck. As well as the beachfront, the hotel has three pools – a family pool, an adults-only pool and a third pool with in-water loungers – and a rum shack with garden benches, so you can choose your favourite location to soak up the Caribbean sunshine.
A Luxury Collection Oceanfront Junior Suite at Sea Breeze Beach House
Sea Breeze Beach House is comprised of three buildings that were originally three different hotels. From the outside, they each have a different style, but inside they have all been refurbished to the same luxurious standard. Inspired by the Caribbean, the rooms are finished with sumptuous furnishings and a modern beach theme, which features across both of the room collections; the Classic Collection and the Luxury Collection.
We were staying in an Oceanfront Junior Suite from the Luxury Collection. As we entered our suite we could hear steel pans being played outside, greeting us with a very authentic welcome! The open plan bedroom suite was decorated in turquoise blue hues, showing off the coastal theme. The floor-to-ceiling, glass doors opened up onto a large balcony with glass frontage, giving us uninterrupted sea views from both the balcony and our extra-comfy kingsize bed. Nothing beats waking up to glorious sunshine and ocean views.
Aqua Terra Restaurant at Sea Breeze Beach House
Five eateries at the hotel ensure you can find something delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy a full buffet breakfast in a choice of two restaurants, Mahogany Lounge and Aqua Terra. Lunch and snacks are available at the Flying Fish Bar & Grill or at the beach bar, Tipsy. If you prefer a full buffet lunch the Mahogany Lounge serves a selection of help-yourself dishes. Dinner is served at a choice of three restaurants, each offering a la carte menus that change daily – check out the day’s menu in the morning and book a table at the one that tickles your fancy.
In between meals there is an ice cream trike riding around the resort. A quiant afternoon tea is also served on the garden terrace daily and Champagne and canapés beckon at the Aqua Terra terrace as the sun sets. We were also treated to a beach barbecue during our stay. With festoon lights above us, the ocean to our side and our toes in the sand, we dined on barbecue grills and enjoyed watching limbo dancers and fire eaters perform in the evening. You can even book private dining and special tasting menus – perfect for celebrating proposals and anniversaries.
Sun loungers by the pool at Sea Breeze Beach House
Although the boutique resort is relatively small – with 122 bedrooms – the wedding offering is vast. Choose from a selection of ceremony locations, including saying ‘I do’ in the hotel's bandstand, decorated with drapes and flowers, or on the beach with the waves breaking ahead of you. After the ceremony, there is a choice of reception locations and dining options. At Sea Breeze Beach House you can make your island wedding everything you have dreamed of.
For more information, visit sea-breeze.com
Best for delicious dining, cocktails and an out of this world spa
Aerial view of O2 Beach Club & Spa
The final leg of our trip took us to Barbados’ newest luxury all-inclusive hotel, O2 Beach Club. From the moment we checked in, we were made to feel like VIP guests. Positioned right on the pristine, white sand of Dover Beach, O2 Beach Club has a modern, luxury beach club aesthetic, with brightly coloured parasols in pink and orange, large luxury sun loungers and inviting pools featuring swim-up bars. St Lawrence Gap, more commonly known as ‘The Gap’, is the area that you’ll find the hotel. A stretch of road dotted with fine restaurants and lively bars, enjoy an evening on The Gap before retiring to your chic and comfortable bedroom.
Our Luxury Oceanfront Junior suite was on the sixth floor, giving us great views over the sea and across the coastline. The open plan suite was beautifully decorated in hot pink and grey, the hotel’s signature colours, with a huge fuchsia rug taking centre stage. Spacious and elegant, the bathroom was equipped with a free-standing bathtub, power shower and The White Company toiletries. As the sun set one evening, we sat on our balcony loungers with a bottle of Prosecco and watched turtles bobbing in and out of the waves – a magical and unforgettable moment.
Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suite at O2 Beach Club & Spa
The hotel features three large pools. Two wind around the complex and have swim-up bars, and a third is on the 8th-floor roof deck terrace. Spend your days sun lounger hopping, moving from the beach to the pool to the rooftop and deciding on your favourite space to enjoy the sun. If you’re looking for the perfect relaxation area, there is a second decked terrace area with soft sun beds and two whirlpool hot tubs with superb ocean views – I can confirm sipping a watermelon cooler from the hot tub watching the sun set on another day in Barbados is as dreamy as it sounds.
At O2 Beach Club you can enjoy a range of activities including daily ‘How To’ classes (which can be anything from how to make crab cakes to how to play steel pans – a skill I tried to perfect with @keimk_music!), sip and paint classes (learning to paint, while sipping cocktails by the beach with @paintandgroove) and non-motorised water sports.
Bluefin Grill at O2 Beach Club & Spa
The food choices here are delicious. The all-inclusive hotel has a variety of exceptional dining options. Elements restaurant serves a wonderful buffet-style breakfast (try the French toast!) and lunch, with both indoor and outdoor seating. In the evening the restaurant offers a la carte dining or buffet dining, depending on the day, and is positioned in the perfect spot for watching the hotel’s evening entertainment from your table.
Oro restaurant is on the 9th floor, with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic views across the sea. A unique fine-dining experience, Oro serves dishes with a modern fusion of European cuisine with a Caribbean twist. I was very excited to try lobster tail for the first time and it was exceptional. Bluefin is a beachside bar and grill offering lunch and dinner, while Brisa is a rooftop tapas and cocktail lounge.
On the 8th floor is one of the very best hotel spas I have visited. The relaxation areas and treatment rooms of Acqua Spa look out across the coast, giving you the perfect calming blue environment to unwind in. Choose a luxurious treatment from the spa menu (I recommend the couples massage for honeymooners) and leave feeling rejuvenated. We enjoyed the massage followed by a Hammam Ritual Bajan Body Revivor. The Hammam taps into Middle Eastern tradition and our session included a body scrub, mask and moisturising oil to apply while relaxing in the steam.
Spa Treatment Room at the Acqua Spa, O2 Beach Club & Spa
The dedicated wedding and events team at O2 Beach Club & Spa can make your big day dreams a reality. With a selection of areas for your ceremony and reception, delicious wedding breakfast options and luxury accommodation for you and your guests, you can make your day totally unique and perfect for you.
For more information, visit o2beachclubbarbados.com
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