VIP trip to Barbados

Suzanne Barney on 20 October 2021
When I was offered a work trip to Barbados - it didnt take me long to say yes! It was only for 3 nghts so very much like a long weekend very similar to my trip to St lucia last year It was flying from Manchester on the Inaugural flight service from Manchester to Barbados with Aer Lingus. Fantastic news as the north of England do not have many direct services to the Caribbean as majority of services are from London I stayed over night at the Clayton hotel which has a free shuttle bus to the airport close to terminal 3 ( which was closed) I was heading for terminal 2 and prebooked my free shuttle the night before with reception.

There was balloons and steel bands near the check in desk to mark the occasion so you couldnt miss it! . I also pre paid for express at security which was a godsend as the airport was busy . We all met at the executive lounge 1903 before heading for the gate where we sipped sparling wine (at 8am) and helped ourselves to a cooked breakfast. We had been upgraded to business class which was an added bonus. At the gate I realised how VIP it was with hundreds of cupcakes and refreshments in the lounge for all passengers which was a lovely touch .Plus lots of photos from the press! The flight was really smooth with great food ( prawn cocktail to die for) and afternoon tea too later in the flight . With a few drinks along the way and a couple of films to watch before getting a few hours shut eye in my full sized bed . The staff were so helpful and extremely friendly on Aer Lingus and nothing was too much trouble.

On arrival at Barbados there was a band to welcome us on the tarmac, more photos and then we went through all the immigration processes with folder in hand! We had to have a test ( no more for Barbados this has now stopped ). Show our vaccinatinon certificates, negative test certifictae , immigration qr form and then arrived at the Crystal Cove hotel on the west coast in a wonderful room 346 on the third floor overlooking the resort . We had to wait for our covid results before we could go on the beach but were allowed to move around in the hotel . This is now stopped by the way for vaccinated people. There was mask wearing in teh public areas of the hotel and also outside .

Crystal cove is a premium all inclusive hotel on the west coast of Barbados and has just 70 room so quite boutique. It was half term so lots of families staying here . It is part of the Elegant Group of hotels which also includes Waves , Tamarind and Colony Club with a boat taxi that runs 5 times a day to the sister hotels if you wanted a change of scenery. Over the next 3 days we had a great time seeing the best features of Barbados with great hospitality making us feel VIP. The staff were really friendly and made us really welcome for our 3 days . I was in room 346 which had an amazing view of the resort and sea .It had a safety deposit book , iphone charge point , alarm clock , ironing board and iron . All toiletries were also provided too and nice fluffy towels! The bed was really comfey plus the view was to die for

We also visited a couple of hotels on the South coast . I have stayed on the south side before several years ago . The beaches are still stunning but the water is a little choppier. We spent time looking around new hotels 'Sands' which opened in December 2019 and also the O2 Beach Club and Spa a place where I will be staying in June 2022 which has changed from a self catering property to all inclusive. There is still some building work going on putting the finnishing touches to the property to be ready in Dec 2021 it wil be stunning when it is finnished it had a fabulous roof top bar and really nice padded sun loungers cant wait to return in June!

We went on a catamaran cruise on Silver Moon where we will able to swim with turtles on a sunset cruise which was a wonderful experience with food and drink included . We went on an 'Island safari'on the rigged land rovers to the rugged north and east coasts which has a completely different landscape. Finnishing our whistle stop tour with a visit to St Nicholas abbey which has been lovingly restored by its artitect owner. We did a bit of rum tasting on an old sugar mill plantation and even went on a steam train ( restored in Tamworth Uk - just up the road from me ) around the grounds. We ate some amazing food in the Fairmont Hotel on the west coast and also in st Lawrence gap at the' Cocktail Kitchen 'which was a caribbean fusion restaurnst . The chef here was awarded CHTA Caribbeab Chef of the year in 2018 . Plenty of rum and cocktails were drunk over the time we spent in Barbados . It seemed we were there longer than we were ! we were economy on the return to be honest plenty of leg room so the seats were not uncomfortable though you did have to pay for drinks . TBH we had so much to drink over the last few days it was nice just to have tea/coffee and a snooze . It felt like we had been away for weeks not 4 days! An amazing break and an amazing island full of very friendly people waiting for your return