History Podcasts

Tile with Stilt-Walkers, Sri Lanka

Tile with Stilt-Walkers, Sri Lanka


San Francisco Staff Picks

Did you grow up watching DJ Tanner navigate through life with her insanely cute younger sisters on Full House? Or maybe you’ve binged watched that same DJ Tanner return to her childhood home as a single mother on Fuller House. Whether you’re hip to the Full House Franchise that introduced the world to Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen or an appreciator of San Francisco’s signature Victorian homes, 1709 Broderick Street is the place to visit.

The home at 1709 Broderick Street is the very home filmed in the opening sequence of Full House. Take pictures in front of the home create your very own opening sequence to Jesse Frederick’s “Everywhere you look”, then head over to Alamo Park for a scenic afternoon picnic. Relive your childhood on a nice day's adventure to 1709 Broderick Street!

Full House is a popular family sitcom that aired on primetime TV from 1987 to 1995. Fuller House, its spinoff, can be found on Netflix. The House from the two shows can be found at 1709 Broderick Street, San Francisco 94115

Stairway to Heaven

The 16 th Avenue Tiled Steps started as a neighborhood project of creating a sea to stars themed mosaic flowing up a 163-step stairway. Now, 14 years later, the wonderfully crafted stairs in the Golden Gate Heights neighborhood serve as a local landmark for all to see.

The members of the local arts community definitely accomplished their mission of beautifying Golden Gate Heights with the luminescent walk up in the center of the neighborhood. Stairway to Heaven perfectly describes the handmade tiles that lead up to a breathtaking view of San Francisco.

Whether you’re hiking the steps for a morning workout or sightseeing with your travel buddies, the 16 th Avenue Tiled Steps are sure to be a wonderful addition to your itinerary. Park at the bottom of the steps, take in the beauty of the carefully crafted stairs, and snap a photo for all your friends to see. Because trust us, they will wish that they were there!

The 16 th Avenue Tiled Steps are located at Moraga Street, between 15th & 16th Ave., San Francisco, 94122

Springtime in San Francisco

As springtime returns to the city of San Francisco, celebrate the reopening of your favorite restaurants, outdoor cafes, and attractions with a stay at Hotel Drisco in Pacific Heights. Featuring affordable room rates and 10% savings when you book a minimum of 14 days in advance, you’ll have plenty of travel dollars left over for entertainment, museums, eco-adventures, and more!

This month, discover the history behind world-famous Alcatraz Island, former home of America’s most notorious criminals Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly among others. Educational self-guided audio tours depart daily from Pier 33 and can be reserved in advance through Alcatraz Cruises online . Leave the city feeling a renewed sense of excitement and adventure, no matter how you choose to spend your time in the Bay Area.

Explore San Francisco by Bike

Trade-in your four wheels for two and experience San Francisco from a different point of view. Take advantage of our complimentary bicycles and hit the streets in style. We like to provide eco-friendly alternatives for our guests, and being green is easy when there are landscapes like these just waiting to be discovered. San Fran is one of the most bike-friendly cities on the West Coast. We suggest exploring the Golden Gate Bridge on your way to Sausalito for breathtaking sights or staying local and riding through the jeweled-toned hills of San Francisco’s charming neighborhoods. For over 500 miles of trails, opt for the San Francisco Bay Trail or try Bicycle Boulevard to experience excellent bike lanes. Oakland Hills provides a scenic route while Hawk Hill has picture-perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Time to begin your adventure by snagging a bike from downstairs. Traveling should set your soul on fire — be creative and enjoy the journey!

Celebrate Love in San Francisco

February is the month of love, and what better way to celebrate your loved one than with a trip to The Bay. Connect with your Valentine while strolling through the city or holding hands along the shore. There is nothing more romantic than a San Francisco vacation, tailored for two.

Our spacious Guest Rooms and Luxury Suites provide the perfect escape — with gourmet continental breakfast and an evening wine reception with artisan cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, and hot hors d'oeuvres — plus extras like Bvlgari bath amenities and dreamy pillow-top beds.

Explore the Presidio and enjoy an alfresco meal together at one of the many restaurants nearby. Want to stay cozy in the comforts of your accommodations? Gourmet take-out is only a call or click away. End your day with a locally-grown bottle of California’s finest wine while watching the setting sun. Leave Hotel Drisco feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and even more in love than before you arrived.

A Whale of a Good Time

A stunning view of a spectacular phenomenon can be seen here each December through February when magnificent gray whales pass by during their annual migration. One of the best views of this migration is from the Point Reyes National Seashore, where about 90 percent of the whales will pass within a mile of the Point Reyes peninsula. January is one of the best times to spot these gentle giants, as it is estimated that approximately 1,000 grey whales will swim past the shore each day. Point Reyes offers one of the best views on the coast, but direct access is restricted during the migration.

The best option for whale watchers here is to board the shuttle bus at Drakes Beach parking lot, which typically runs from New Year's to Easter each year on weekends and holidays, weather permitting. For a much closer look, book a seat on one of the whale watching cruises. These run through the season, which usually ends in early spring. No matter which whale watching option you choose, remember to wear sturdy shoes and dress for warmth and wind, bring nutritious snacks and plenty of water, and pack a pair of binoculars too. For updates on the shuttle schedule, check the "Shuttles, Whales, and Elephant Seals" recording at (415) 464-5100.

A Merry & Bright Holiday Season in SF

Although the holidays may look a little different this year, the city of San Francisco is sure to be aglow with twinkling houses and sparkling trees. Delight in a variety of outdoor attractions and online activities that are sure to brighten your spirit. Here are a few of our favorites:

"Entwined" in Golden Gate Park
December 10, 2020 - February 28, 2021
Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken will transform Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest of whimsical shapes and ever-changing light, complete with illuminated canopies and colorful creations.

Illuminate San Francisco Festival of Light
November 26, 2020 - January 23, 2021
Now in its 8th year, this nearly two-month-long event brings over 40 eco-friendly light installations to the Bay Area for all to enjoy. Choose a neighborhood to explore and create your own light trail by trying to see as many as possible on foot, by bike, or from the comfort of your car.

Joy at the SF Zoo
November 23 - January 1, 2020
Fun for all ages, this safe and socially distant attraction creates the perfect atmosphere to pay a visit to the resident animals at the San Francisco Zoo. Hop aboard the Little Puffer Express, sip on hot chocolate and other holiday treats, and don’t forget a trip to the North Pole to meet the big man himself!

To learn more about all the festivities taking place around town or online, read more here.

Go Green When You Travel

We are dedicated to being a good neighbor and providing a sustainability program that allows our guests to embark on a feel-good journey. While Earth Day isn’t until April, our green policies are practiced year-round and are key to a number of ways we do business as a sophisticated hotel destination. We have been awarded the Green Leader Gold status by TripAdvisor and are certified by the City and County of San Francisco for having complied with the San Francisco Green Business Program standards. We invite all of our guests to join us in our mission to lessen our footprint thanks to a number of simple program offerings, including in-room recycling bins, the option to reuse towels, and utilizing public transportation or our complimentary bikes. And, we recycle all electronic equipment, use certified green cleaning products, purchase 10% of energy from renewable sources, offer water-saving aerators in each shower, donate left-behind items to the local St. Anthony Foundation, and use as many locally-certified ingredients and products as possible. Learn more about our green efforts here and feel good when you travel. Here’s to being green!

Instagram-able Bay Area Views

Embark on an outdoor adventure to capture some of San Francisco’s top Instagram-able spots. A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, “likes”, and all three of our favorite places offer unparalleled Bay Area views. Simply show up, snap a few pics, soak in the scenery, and choose a filter but if you ask us, the natural beauty is so stellar, you might not need one.

Grandview Park – Get in a little workout and head up the steps of 16th Ave. Along your way up the colorful mosaic stairs, you’ll catch sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, and Golden Gate Park. Pro tip: check the weather for fog before you go, clear days are your best bet.

Ina Coolbrith Park – The namesake park of the Golden State’s first poet, this under-the-radar attraction is home to a variety of plants and provides sweeping views of Coit Tower, “The Pyramid,” and San Francisco’s signature skyline.

Tank Hill – Less than a mile north of the more widely-known Twin Peaks, this boutique park offers larger-than-life views for you to admire. You might not even find this one on the map, but just ask our team and we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction.

Road Trip Republic

Plentiful sunshine and epic outdoor experiences are just a few of the reasons why California is the ultimate state to enjoy by road trip. This summer, consider making your way to Hotel Drisco by car. Embark on an adventure that leads to Pacific Heights, and experience a getaway where the journey is truly part of the destination.

Visit California has created Road Trip Republic, which outlines incredible routes for road trips around the state, with itineraries suitable for anywhere from 1-10 days.

More than one of the itineraries will lead you through San Francisco. The &ldquoHighway 1 Classic&rdquo route starts here and leads all the way down to San Diego. The &ldquoCall of the Coast&rdquo showcases iconic attractions along Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Big Sur. Of course, a sojourn in San Francisco makes sense, and our notable neighborhood offers the panoramic views you&rsquoll seek.

Let the open road lead you to relaxation. Pick a route or craft your own, and we&rsquoll look forward to hosting you during your journey.

Whiskey Galore

Calling all whiskey aficionados: head over to the Belle Yacht at Pier 3 on Friday, March 28, for Whiskies of the World. The yacht will remain docked during this elegant event that will feature tastings from hundreds of varieties of Bourbon, Canadian, Irish, Scotch, and additional imported whiskeys from all over the globe. Also, learn more as you sip and sample during seminars advising on the fine art of pairing whiskeys with cigars and food.

Participating brands for sampling will include such label luminaries as Alley 6 Distillery, Bardstown Bourbon Company, Frey Ranch Bourbon, Glengoyne, Kuleana Rum Works, Mosswood, Single Cask Nation, Single Malts of Scotland, Spirit Works Distillery, WhistlePig, and many others. The proceeds from this event will benefit Casa Círculo Cultural (CCC). CCC is a non-profit, grassroots, &ldquomultidisciplinary art organization dedicated to creating cultural programming reflective of the experiences of the Latino communities in the San Francisco Bay Area,&rdquo including such programs as their Community Impact Scholarship Program.

One Sweet Destination

This Valentine&rsquos Day, make the most of a time-honored tradition and indulge yourself and your loved ones with some of the best candy in the country. San Francisco is home to an abundant array of chocolatiers, candy shops, and places to buy unique sweets, and listed below are five of our favorites. Plus, if you can refrain from eating them, many of these items make for interesting souvenirs.

Handmade gourmet truffles, chews, and more. They also sell a variety of seasonal cookies and offer special candies for Valentine&rsquos Day and other holidays.

An enormous selection of chocolate, licorice, European favorites, sour gummies, and rare classic favorites.

Bonbons and dark chocolate truffles stand out here, along with mix and match gift boxes and bulk sweets.

The oldest candy store in the city, Shaw&rsquos offers decadent homemade fudge, toffee, and truffles, along with flavored popcorn, and a variety of Mitchell&rsquos Ice Cream.

Exquisite Swiss chocolate made into a luscious assortment of truffles and bars. Don&rsquot leave without trying a Dom Perignon truffle.

Several Singular Sensations

San Francisco is renowned for hosting a plethora of world-class art and cultural events all year round, including many stellar theatrical productions. A variety of venues throughout the city feature an upcoming line-up of Broadway’s hottest shows, such as these listed below.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s outrageous musical comedy made them the toast of Broadway and won them an impressive nine Tony Awards. Showing at The Golden Gate Theatre from March 31−May 26, 2020.

Winner of nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this tribute to the unsung chorus members is a must-see. This singular sensation will be performed at the Victoria Theater from April 11−May 10, 2020 .

Let’s do the Time Warp, again! Join Dr. Frankenfurter, Brad, Janet, and Rocky in this cross-dressing cult phenomenon that has endured through the decades to become a Broadway smash. You can catch TRHS from April 23−May 17, 2020 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.

One Sweet Christmas

This holiday season promises to be especially sweet, with a different version of a classic ballet favorite, a variation on a beloved Christmas tale, and a visit to the city&rsquos favorite gingerbread house. Check out the list below for details.

This version of Tchaikovsky&rsquos classic ballet has been shortened to 50 minutes making it ideal for families with small children. Foehringer&rsquos choreography features contemporary dance, colorful sets and costumes, and is accompanied by a live chamber orchestra. Showing December 7-22 at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason.

Performed from December 6-29, this version of Dickens&rsquo A Christmas Carol is set in Meiji-era Japan and uses a mix of kabuki, noh, butoh, and kyogen. Under Nick Ishimaru&rsquos direction, you&rsquoll view the tale of Scrooge, Marley, and the Christmas ghosts in a delightful new light.

Every year, the Fairmont Hotel features dazzling holiday décor showcasing a spectacular gingerbread house. Located in the hotel&rsquos grand lobby, this year&rsquos two-story example of every child&rsquos sugary fantasy will contain over 3,000 pounds of royal icing and 1.650 pounds of candy, along with an abundance of house-made gingerbread bricks.

Favorite Holiday Events in SF

All year round, San Francisco provides an abundant array of wonderful events for our guests, but the holidays bring seasonal favorites beloved by locals and visitors alike. A few of our favorites are listed below.

Catch the royally extravagant production of this beloved Christmas ballet from November 5 – December 23. Featuring stunning sets and costumes, performances are scheduled for a variety of venues.

From November 6, 2019, to January 20, 2020, you can glide blissfully across the ice in an urban winter wonderland. Lessons and skate helpers are available for newbies.

This charming version of the classic children’s favorite features a masterful narrative, delightful dance, music, and clever costumes. Ongoing November 29 through December 8, all shows will be performed at YBCA’s Blue Shield of California Theater.

Join Tiny Tim, Scrooge, and a host of ghosts for this production of the Dickens classic. Performances are ongoing at the A.C.T Geary Theatre from November 29 - December 24.

The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

Featuring just about everything a fall festival should be, the 49th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival will take place during the weekend of October 19-20.

Just about everything a fall festival should be, the 49th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival will take place during the weekend of October 19-20. Head over to Main Street in picturesque Half Moon Bay for one of the greatest pumpkin festivals in the U.S. Celebrating a glorious array of oversize, prize-winning gourds and an amazing assortment of family-friendly entertainment, the &ldquoWorld Pumpkin Capital&rdquo is the place to be for this signature annual event. Don&rsquot miss the Great Pumpkin Parade, and gaze in awe at the huge (11 feet high, 10,000-pound) mosaic pumpkin sculpture by artist Peter Hazel.

Browse harvest-inspired crafts, enjoy craft brews and other fabulous food and drink (including the perfect pumpkin pie). Also featured are four stages of awesome entertainment, bungee jumping, contests, and the Sunday-only &ldquoMade on the Coast&rdquo Locals&rsquo Artists Block, showcasing the finest arts, crafts, and demonstrations from local painters, potters, jewelers, glassblowers, photographers, furniture-makers and fabric artists. Be sure to pose for a selfie with &ldquoGourdy,&rdquo the festival&rsquos plump pumpkin mascot, and don&rsquot leave without your own Halloween pumpkin from one of the many pumpkin patches in town.

Northern California's International Dragon Boat Festival

Chart a course this month for Lake Merritt, Oakland, and the 24 th Annual Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival. Happening on September 28-29, the festival will feature a fleet of sleek and brilliantly-colored 40-foot dragon boats, all racing in time to the beat of Chinese drums. Come out to cheer on your favorite teams, including competitive racers from all over the world. Get an airbrush dragon tattoo at the Kaiser Permanente Health and Fitness Pavilion, and don&rsquot miss the opening ceremony on the morning of September 21, when Buddhist monks will perform a traditional blessing and eye-dotting ceremony to awaken the dragons for racing.

This ceremony also includes lion dancing and a performance of the National Anthem by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. In addition to 120 teams of world-class dragon boat racers, you&rsquoll find dazzling cultural performances by Chinese acrobats, Taiko drumming, martial arts displays, roving stilt walkers, magic shows, and Tahitian dancing, a marketplace filled with an amazing array of tasty eats, and a cool, shaded area with picnic tables to enjoy it all. Lastly, be sure to bring the kids, where games, arts & crafts, and other kid-friendly activities await them in Dragon Land.

Celebrate Summer’s End at Sausalito

Mark your calendars now and make a date to join us on Labor Day weekend for the Sausalito Art Festival. One of the country&rsquos most prestigious outdoor art events, this annual fest offers the finest of fine art, fabulous food, world-class wine, and live music on the Sausalito waterfront. From August 31 through September 2, the festival will be rockin&rsquo with the sounds of 19 bands on two stages, featuring such musical luminaries as Blues Traveler, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Andre Theirry, Big Sam&rsquos Funky Nation, and ZZ Ward, along with tribute bands to Santana, The Beatles, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Elton John.

This 67 th edition of the fest also includes the Summer of Love opening night preview party, where you can rub elbows with over 250 juried artists from around the globe while savoring curated appetizers and wine and champagne bars. Along with the 14 categories of art, be sure to check out the new Art-Tech Pavilion, with augmented reality art demos and virtual activations in addition to exhibits by Airstream, Tesla, and Chris Craft. Festival proceeds will benefit the local arts community in the form of grants, scholarships, and community programs.

Stay Cool at the Museum of Ice Cream

Where in San Francisco would you find a pool of brightly-colored sprinkles, a tribute to gummy bears and popsicles, and an interactive gallery of suspended bananas? The answer is the Museum of Ice Cream! One of the most Instagrammable places in the SF, this fun and interactive museum was originally opened as a pop-up but has since earned a permanent place in the heart of the city. With the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the country, the MOIC features rooms of installations depicting delectable sweets in larger than life sizes.

Located near Union Square, MOIC&rsquos ticket price includes samples of other sugary treats along with loads of ice cream samples&mdashand rotating seasonal installations just mean that you&rsquoll always have a good reason to come back for more. Additionally, the MOIC offers special events to celebrate the months and the seasons. July 4 through September 22 will allow kids of all ages to relive or reimagine the experience of summer camp. Attendees can earn &ldquoSprinkle Scout&rdquo badges, make S&rsquomores, and meet the camp counselors. Just like the delectable frozen confection it's named for, this place is totally cool, super sweet, and fabulously fun!

A San Francisco Tradition

Head over to the historic North Beach District this month for an epic street festival featuring an abundance of food, music, art, and fun. Long famous as the home for such &ldquoBeat Generation&rdquo luminaries as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who founded the legendary City Lights bookstore, North Beach has been named one of the ten &ldquoGreat Neighborhoods in America.&rdquo Also known as &ldquoLittle Italy,&rdquo the neighborhood has thrived and grown throughout the last 50 years and celebrates its heritage annually at the North Beach Festival.

June 15-16 will mark the 65 th year of the festival, which is considered one of the original outdoor street festivals in the U.S. You&rsquoll find over 125 booths with a variety of arts and crafts, two stages of live entertainment, poetry readings, gourmet food for sale, a kids&rsquo chalk art area, beverage gardens, and the traditional blessing of the animals at The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. Don&rsquot miss out on this annual San Francisco tradition!

Cool Rules at the Bay Area Maker Faire

For more than 10 years now, a &ldquomaker movement&rdquo that originally begun in the Bay Area has become a worldwide sensation. Featuring some of the most interesting and coolest creations ever, the Bay Area Maker Faire on May 17-19 plays host to an array of works and their creators, including a myriad of artists, engineers, techies, teachers, students, and craftspeople. The result is a display of creativity, resourcefulness, enthusiasm, and often, genius. Join us at the San Mateo County Event Center for a veritable combustion of creativity, with talks, demos, robots, and the opportunity to meet and speak with the creators and their teams.

Attractions include Adam Savage&rsquos &ldquoSunday Sermon,&rdquo lightsaber training, the Tiny Home Zone, the Museum of Future Sports, and the Dance Battle Stage. You can also browse hard-to-find crafts, handmade items, unique art, and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Don&rsquot miss the &ldquoNavajo Mythbusters&rdquo as they demonstrate their unique sustainable energy systems, watch the Space Enterprise at Berkeley team show you how they&rsquore going to take their Eureka-1 Rocket into space, help WeTheBuilders.com with crowd-sourced, 3D-printed sculptures, and interact with many more makers and their exciting visions of our future!

Welcome Springtime at the Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the loveliest of the state&rsquos many native floral offerings, cherry blossoms are a not only a colorful and fragrant harbinger of spring but also represent the U.S.A.&rsquos ongoing alliance with the country of Japan and Asian cultural traditions. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival was created in 1968 to honor this partnership and has since become one of California&rsquos most famous celebrations, as well as the largest such festival on the West Coast. In 2019, the 52nd Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival will take place on April 13-21 in San Francisco&rsquos Japantown.

Don&rsquot miss the festival&rsquos Grand Parade, featuring Co-Grand Marshals: Mayor London N. Breed and Marié Digby. Experience Japanese classical (Buyo) and folk dance (Minyo) performances throughout the parade route. Additional activities include origami and flower-arranging exhibits and demonstrations, tea ceremonies, fashion shows, live music, Cosplay on the Catwalk, and more, including an exciting scavenger hunt to help you discover the treasures of Japantown. Mark the date, and make your plans now to join hundreds of thousands of attendees at this free event honoring Japanese and Japanese-American culture.

Valentine’s Day at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

For a genuinely memorable and exotic experience, the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is the place to go. Inhale (if you dare) the reek of the Corpse Flower blooms from Sumatra, get a close up view of the tiny &ldquodragon faces&rdquo on the Dracula Orchids from South America, and, for a much more pleasant olfactory experience, sniff the White Ginger Lily, whose fragrant and delicate flowers resemble butterflies, or Mariposa, as it is known in Cuba, where it is the national flower. The conservatory features five different galleries to explore: Aquatic Plants, Highland Tropics, Lowland Tropics, Potted Plants, and the West Gallery, each with a variety of rare, remarkable, and frequently endangered plants.

In addition to the galleries, the Conservatory hosts a variety of changing exhibits and events. As a special treat for Valentine&rsquos Day, come out for their latest exhibit, &ldquoAphrodisiacs for the Tropics&rdquo, where you and your special someone can take a trip to the rain forest to view &ldquoaphrodisiac&rdquo plants on February 14. Browse the Conservatory galleries as you nibble on chocolate and sip a complimentary libation. Also included are tarot readings, a Victorian pink velvet photo booth, and a live accordion performance.


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Anse Chastanet

Tucked away between rainforest and silver sands, this enchanting resort offers a blissful escape from the intrusions of everyday life and is perfect for a peaceful or active outdoor holiday. Awaken to birdsong and the breeze rustling in the trees and drift off to a chorus of crickets and tree frogs. Explore miles of hiking trails that wind through the Anse Mamin Valley and have your binoculars at the ready to spot colourful birdlife, including four out of five of the island’s endemic species. Follow the 100 steps down to the beach – or hop on the shuttle – and laze under the shade of a palapa, sway in a hammock beneath coconut palms and enjoy the resort’s legendary hospitality. Keen divers should book an expedition to the island’s award-winning marine reserve where you can discover over 150 species of fish.

Choose from four restaurants and dine in the hillside or by the beach. Gaze over the ocean from the open-air Treehouse Restaurant which offers tropical cuisine or indulge in guilt-free dining at Emerald's which serves organic vegan dishes. Casual lunch options include a beach bar and a beachside restaurant. Sleep off your meal at the Beach House on the north corner of Anse Chastanet Beach – it's light and airy with French doors and windows, and a lovely spot to take in views over the sparkling Caribbean Sea and watch the sunset from the oceanfront garden's brick deck.

The colorful and uniquely designed rooms offer a peaceful sanctuary without the noise of telephones or televisions. Local products have been used extensively, from hand-made woods for the elegant furniture, to colourful cloth fabrics for the bedspreads and cushions. Standard Garden View Rooms are set on either the hillside or at beach level with garden views. Superior Hillside Rooms are octagonal cottages with sea or Piton views. Spacious Deluxe Beachside Rooms are closest to the beach. Premium Hillside Rooms are set high in the hills and some have a fourth wall missing for uninterrupted views of the Pitons. The secluded Piton Pool Suites are available on request, with views over the famous peaks plus a private pool with deck.


Rooms Sugar Bay Barbados

Bougainvillea Barbados

The spectacular setting and exceptional service make this attractive Mediterranean-style resort an ideal choice for a relaxing escape. The platinum-sand beach lapped by turquoise waters is straight out of the pages of a glossy travel magazine, and the resort’s laid-back atmosphere creates a traditional island vibe. The warm waters are perfect for a paddle or watersports including windsurfing. Find a shady spot by the main pool which meanders through exotic gardens and stroll around the waterfalls and rock pools, framed by the resort’s namesake bougainvillea flowers. This is a family-friendly hotel – kids have their own club with activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and games, and there's also a games room with everything from air hockey to table tennis. Calabash Café offers beachfront dining with local favourites such as blackened flying fish. Enjoy a weekly Caribbean buffet and floor show with vibrant entertainment from fire eaters, limbo dancers and stilt walkers. Siam Bar & Restaurant, the seasonal restaurant, serves up Thai-inspired cuisine and cocktails in a themed setting. The studios and suites are generous in size and equipped with a kitchenette or full kitchen, and there's a small shop nearby so you can stock up on essentials. The Two Bedroom Beachfront Luxury Suite – complete with two bathrooms and a living room – is particularly good for families and groups. The Honeymoon Suite on the top floor has stunning ocean views.

Cobblers Cove

Centred around a pastel pink plantation house, this intimate home-away-from-home was awarded Barbados's Unique Luxury Hotel of the Year at the Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2018. Authentic touches such as decorative coral rock and locally crafted furniture reflect the hotel’s Bajan heritage, and you can expect outstanding hospitality as the warm staff go out of their way to keep you smiling. Lounge on the sundeck as staff offer icy water, fruit skewers and sorbet explore colourful tropical gardens in search of hummingbirds and Bajan green monkeys or discover the island’s history on a heritage tour. Renowned as one of the best restaurants on the island, the award-winning Camelot Restaurant serves mouth-watering gourmet cuisine accompanied by an impressive wine list. Feast on local delicacies, such as blackened mahi-mahi. Afternoon tea is served daily in the Pavilion at the Great House – sip tea from fine china cups and enjoy finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. A fruity rum-based ‘Cobblers Cooler’ at the poolside cocktail bar is the perfect way to end your day. The charming suites are set in two-storey cottages in gardens just steps from the beach. Warmly furnished with terracotta tiles and a cosy style, the suites are free of distractions such as televisions so you can appreciate the peace and natural beauty. Garden View Suites are tucked away in the gardens, Ocean View Suites offer sea views, and Ocean Front Suites are just steps from the beach. The elegant Camelot Suites have new bathrooms and a private roof terrace, while Colleton Suites have a private plunge pool, Jacuzzi and stunning ocean views.

Colony Club by Elegant Hotels

Founded as a private club in the 1940s, this award-winning hotel is built from coral stone with a plantation home style and plenty of Bajan charm. There are loads of activities including free motorised and non-motorised watersports, yoga classes and stand-up paddleboarding tours to spot sea turtles. Or just help yourself to sun cream and refreshing lemon water from the pool hut and unwind by one of the four lagoon pools that meander through magnificent palm-filled gardens sprinkled with waterfalls – a stay here can be as active or laid-back as you want. Begin your evening with pre-dinner cocktails at the beautiful and airy Plantation Lounge. Feast on international dishes with a Bajan twist at the Laguna restaurant which serves healthy dishes seasoned with herbs from the hotel's organic garden and offers gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options. Enjoy happy hour and stunning sunsets at the stylish Sunset Bar & Deck which offers themed dining events such as the superb Seaside Grill night. A range of health-conscious treats are also available throughout. Visit the hotel’s Rum Vault, the first of its kind on Barbados and featuring a collection of 150 international rums. Ocean View Rooms are perfectly positioned for admiring sunsets. Access the lagoon pool directly from your balcony or terrace in the Luxury Swim Up Poolside Room and enjoy sea views from the spacious One Bedroom Ocean View Suites.

Coral Reef Club

Follow a sweeping drive lined with mahogany trees to the coral-stone great house of this award-winning resort that blends classic Bajan charm with contemporary luxury. While long-established traditions such as afternoon tea are still in place and loyal guests return year after year, this family-owned and run resort is also attracting new guests keen to experience the resort’s renowned colonial charm, impeccable service and fine dining. Breathe in the sweet scent of the frangipani trees as you follow winding paths through landscaped gardens to the exceptional spa or the golden beach. Dress up for dinner at the elegant Restaurant which offers classic dishes with a Caribbean twist and beautiful sea views. With daily changing à la carte menus you will find plenty to tempt you, including freshly caught seafood and tasty desserts such as flambéed pineapple drizzled with rum. Enjoy cocktails and live music at the chic bar and don’t miss the weekly barbecue which is accompanied by a lively floor show with limbo dancing and fire eating. Each of the colonial-style rooms is named after local flowers, trees and fruits, and range from smaller rooms for solo travellers to spacious villas for families. Garden Room/Cottages are set in the gardens. Luxury Plantation Suites are perfect for honeymooners – they have a four-poster bed, private plunge pool and sea views, and come with inclusions like afternoon tea plus a stocked bar and bottle of Champagne on arrival.

Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels

If you want the personalised service and boutique feel of a small resort, but without sacrificing great dining and a host of facilities, then this chic family-friendly resort is ideal. Take a dip in one of the multi-tiered pools edged with pretty rock pools and cascading waterfalls, breathe in the sweet scent of the frangipani trees and watch hummingbirds hover around tropical flowers. Stay cool on the fine white sands as Beach Ambassadors present you with cold towels and tasty treats such as ice cream and fresh fruit. The ocean is lovely and calm for swimming, and all motorised and non-motorised watersports like waterskiing are included. Younger ones have access to the Flying Fish kids’ club, with a playground and interactive pool and beach games. Reflections is an elegant poolside venue for all meals and you can sample the island’s fantastic seafood at the weekly Bajan fish fry. Enjoy informal meals for lunch and dinner at Drifters Beach Bar which also serves daily afternoon tea – a selection of calming teas served with tasty sweet and savoury pastries. Head to Vista Coffee & Wine Bar for speciality coffees, sweet treats, tapas-style light bites and a variety of red and white wines. Swim under a waterfall to order icy daiquiris at the redesigned Cave Bar which hosts live music several nights a week. The terrace lounge is the perfect place to enjoy the island's incredible sunsets. If you fancy a change of scene head to selected Elegant Hotels sister properties and take advantage of the resort’s dine-around programme. The contemporary rooms are set in clusters of low-rise buildings on a hillside but the walk up is rewarded by lovely views. It's worth upgrading to an Ocean View Room for the views, while the spacious One Bedroom Pool/Garden View Suites are ideal for families as they feature a second bathroom and some are split-level.

Sandy Lane

This chic Palladian-style hotel has sweeping staircases, gleaming marble floors, exemplary service and plush suites – experience the best in Bajan hospitality and prepare to be treated like a VIP. Kick back under the signature pink parasols on the platinum beach and relax as little ones have fun at the fantastic Treehouse Club, which offers a range of activities and games for guests aged 3-16. Whether you're travelling as a family or a couple, are in search of a spa-focused holiday or want to spend as much time on the green as possible, we offer a selection of special packages with fantastic inclusions. Enjoy fine dining and informal meals at the four restaurants, each with their own style and vibe as well as superb menus and settings. Afternoon tea is served on the Lower Terrace, and Bajan Blue is renowned for its sensational Sunday brunch – an array of mouth-watering dishes from sushi, crab and suckling pig to delicious miniature desserts. There’s also a wide choice of bars ranging from casual beach bars to chic lounges and lively entertainment. Each of the beautiful rooms and suites is elegant and airy with a large terrace or balcony. The Orchid Rooms overlook tropical gardens and Luxury Ocean Rooms have sea views. For families or groups the Luxury Orchid Suites or Luxury Dolphin Suites are ideal as they have two bedrooms, a living area and terrace with dining area.

Tamarind by Elegant Hotels

This welcoming and relaxing resort blends Mediterranean and Caribbean styles, with its white-washed buildings and terracotta roofs. Stroll along powder-soft white sands to the watersports centre and try your hand at waterskiing. Wander through landscaped gardens to courtyards dotted with fountains or head to the adults-only pool and relax as pool ambassadors provide you with cold eucalyptus-scented towels, drinks and coconut ice lollies. As part of the hotel's all-inclusive package you can enjoy breakfast on the terrace, beachfront dining at the main restaurant which offers themed menus and live music, and a special dinner menu at the hotel's fine dining restaurant. Inspired by the cool chic of Miami’s South Beach, the Rilaks Deck is a stylish venue for cocktails and light snacks. At the Sunday beach party you can sample local grilled specialities and dance to the steel pan band. Rooms vary from simple Pool/Garden View Rooms to spacious One Bedroom Suites which are ideal for families and groups. Opt for an Oceanfront Room or Suite for the chance to watch fiery sunsets over the sea from your balcony or terrace.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion

This award-winning, colonial-style hotel is set across beautiful pastel-pink blocks framed by towering palm trees, in one of the island’s finest beachfront spots. Spend your time lazing on the idyllic stretch of powdery golden sand and soaking up unobstructed sea views from the hotel’s stylish restaurants. Explore the 11-acre gardens and keep an eye out for mischievous green monkeys clambering in the fig trees, or choose a book from the hotel’s library and unwind in your own private spot. If you're lucky you could even get to enjoy a seasonal swim with the turtles experience. Indulge in open-air dining under the stars with the sound of the waves lapping the shore, and enjoy low-key entertainment from local musical talent. The stylish, beachfront Palm Terrace Restaurant is open for breakfast and serves exquisite local and international dishes, with breathtaking sea views. Poolside restaurant Taboras is a relaxed and romantic setting for à la carte lunch and dinner – enjoy the catch of the day, a barbecue and delicious Bajan cuisine, all accompanied by live music. The newly refurbished rooms and suites have chic Barbadian beach house vibes, with soothing cream and white décor, sleek floors and spectacular sea views. Each room includes daily buffet breakfast, airport fast track service, a weekly Manager's cocktail reception and all non-motorised watersports. Luxury Oceanfront Rooms have glass-fronted balcony rails to enhance your ocean views even further. If you’re staying in a Signature Oceanfront Room, or any of the suites or villas, you’ll have swish extras including in-room amenities, evening canapés and afternoon tea once every seven days.

Turtle Beach Resort by Elegant Hotels

This welcoming resort gives you the option to be as relaxed or as active as you like, with a fantastic selection of family-friendly activities. Sink your toes into talcum-powder sands and go boogie boarding in the crystal-clear waters. Aqua School is the perfect place for kids to enjoy the sand and surf, with free surfing and paddleboarding lessons. Little ones can enjoy games, arts and crafts, baking and films on the beach at the Flying Fish Kids’ Club while you relax by the freeform pools and unwind in the Jacuzzi. You'll also find Beach and Pool Ambassadors on hand to bring you cold scented towels, cool drinks, fresh fruit and ice lollies. Head to three restaurants offering tempting buffet and à la carte menus, and enjoy refreshing smoothies, iced coffees and pastries at the Half Moon Coffee Bar & Deli. Enjoy authentic Caribbean cuisine with Mediterranean flair at the sea-view Sand Trap Restaurant. Dress up for dinner at the excellent Italian restaurant and enjoy authentic Bajan experiences at Chelonia restaurant with regular evening entertainment ranging from live music to limbo dancing. There's also an ice cream parlour if you're craving a sundae, cone or milkshake. The spacious and modern suites have a sofa bed and are suitable for families of four. Pool/Garden View Junior Suites are newly designed and Deluxe Ocean View Junior Suites have incredible sea views. Oceanfront Junior Suites are closest to the sea and One Bedroom Suites feature a separate living room. Larger families can choose Family Connected Ocean View Junior Suites, which comprise two interconnecting Ocean View Junior Suites.

Accra Beach Hotel & Spa

If you're looking for a hotel set directly on a picture-perfect beach with a fantastic selection of shops, restaurants and nightlife on your doorstep, then Accra Beach fits the bill. Cross the bridge over the lagoon-style pool and follow the short winding path through the gardens to the beach. Recline on a sun lounger under the shade of a palm tree and admire the sweeping curve of talcum-powder sand and turquoise waters. Swim beneath the pretty waterfall in the pool to the hidden cave or perch on an underwater stool at the swim-up bar while sipping on a refreshing rum punch. Stroll along the scenic boardwalk which runs alongside the beach to discover local restaurants and bars. If you opt for one of the meal plans then you have a choice of three restaurants. Head to the sea-view terrace at Coco Patch where you can enjoy breakfast and light meals during the day. The Accra Deck offers fine dining on the beautiful oceanfront and the resort's new restaurant, Pacifika, serves Pacific Rim cuisine including Japanese, Thai, Indonesian and Chinese. Entertainment is pretty low-key but there is a lively weekly floor show with steel pan bands, fire eaters, stilt walkers and limbo dancers. The hotel has a variety of rooms and suites which offer various views, ranging from simple Island View Rooms which overlook the resort and busy streets, to the tranquil Oceanfront Rooms where you can relax in a bubbling Jacuzzi on your balcony while gazing out to sea.

Mango Bay

This welcoming resort is ideal for those looking for sun-kissed relaxation, a great all-inclusive package and easy access to Holetown’s shops, restaurants and bars. Sip a deliciously cool rum punch under shady palms and tropical flowers by the lagoon-style pool, feel the ocean breeze in your hair as you sail along the coast, or stroll down the beach in search of secluded coves. Join a catamaran tour for the incredible chance to see hawksbill and leatherback turtles and look for other local wildlife such as monkeys, mongooses and the graceful egrets that come to roost at night. The beachfront restaurant and bar offers a casual setting for all meals and nothing is too much trouble for the friendly staff who are happy to accommodate any dietary requirements. Start your day with an expansive buffet breakfast accompanied by ocean views, and take a break from sunbathing or watersports to enjoy afternoon tea. A range of Caribbean and international dishes are served at lunch and during candlelit dinners where typical dishes include speciality grilled steaks, freshly caught seafood and tempting local desserts such as coconut cream pie. Join the fun at the popular weekly barbecue night and enjoy a range of entertainment, from low-key piano music to lively limbo dancing. The contemporary rooms are set either in the main building or in a separate block. Standard Rooms overlook the front of the hotel or the garden and are closer to Holetown’s lively streets while Oceanfront Rooms offer a more tranquil setting and the chance to awaken to the sound of the waves lapping the shore. Standard One Bedrooms are ideal for families as they feature a separate living room and bedroom.

Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa

This charming and intimate Mediterranean-style resort is tucked in peaceful hillside gardens and is perfect for the best of coast and countryside. Choose your favourite spot from the wooden swing chairs and sun loungers – beneath the shade of a tree or by the pool. The spacious rooms and suites have a living room and balcony or terrace, and some come with a kitchenette. One Bedroom Suites have tropical garden or partial ocean views and the Garden View Suites can interconnect to form a Two Bedroom Suite. Hop on the free shuttle to picturesque Reeds Bay for complimentary sun loungers – it also stops at Little Bristol Beach Bar pub where sun loungers are available to Sugar Cane Club guests, Nikki Beach, Port St. Charles Marina and Speightstown Open Window. Wear comfy shoes for the Gully Walk, where head gardener Rodney takes you on an informative tour of the grounds and surrounding forest before presenting you with a freshly-made coconut drink straight from the trees. Don’t miss the complimentary glass-bottom boat trip and chance to swim with turtles on Friday. There are two open-air restaurants to choose from here, with plenty of choice and changing menus – enjoy fresh soups, fish including marlin and swordfish and delicious desserts like pineapple upside-down cake with coconut ice cream. Hearty breakfasts and lunches are served at La Salsa Restaurant & Bar with panoramic views over the pool and surrounding greenery, and you can book dinner either here or at Sandy's Chattel Bar, a hidden gem on the edge of the property which is tucked on the hillside and overlooks the forest below. Weather permitting, you can also enjoy international and Caribbean buffet dining by the pool on selected days. Finish the day with a delicious rum-based cocktail at the laid-back bar.

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa

Perfect for sun-drenched relaxation on the island’s ‘Gold Coast’, this resort has a peaceful vibe and is within easy reach of lively Holetown. The friendly staff are a real credit to the resort and repeat guests are greeted like old friends. Relax on the sandy terrace set in an elevated position above the sea and walk down a few stone steps to the narrow strip of low-tide beach framed by rocks studding the shore. A short stroll takes you to one of the beautiful larger beaches on either side of the resort or you can follow walkways through the pristine gardens to three pretty pools divided by a whirlpool waterfall. The oceanfront Sunset Restaurant offers all meals, plus afternoon tea and a Saturday night barbecue serving sensational seafood, steaks and chicken. Experience an authentic taste of the Caribbean and mouth-watering local dishes such as mahi-mahi and beef in rum-pepper sauce at the Bajan-style Enid’s Restaurant. Sip cocktails at the laid-back Bajan Rum Shop Bar or explore Holetown’s vibrant night life. Rooms are comfortable with dark wood furnishings and standard amenities. Superior Garden View Rooms offer a balcony or terrace and overlook the pool or gardens. Our Exclusive Kuoni Spa Superior Garden View Rooms are as the Superior Garden View Rooms but with three spa treatments per room at Tranquillity Body & Soul Spa. Ocean Loft Rooms, without balconies, have fantastic sea views from a tranquil fourth floor setting. Listen to the soothing sound of the waves in one of the Superior Oceanfront Rooms which are close to the ocean.

Sandals Barbados

If you are looking for a romantic setting, fantastic dining and a host of activities then this Luxury Included® resort ticks all the boxes. Stroll through the gardens to Maxwell Beach and sink your toes into the soft sand as friendly staff bring cool drinks to your sun lounger. Relax in the beachfront whirlpool while gazing out over the ocean or choose from a range of sports and activities. If you long to explore the island then you can venture out of your tropical retreat to discover the best of Barbados with the resort’s exclusive attraction programme. With 11 gourmet dining experiences there is something to suit every mood and occasion. Discover diverse cuisines from around the world, including Bombay Club — Sandals’ first Indian restaurant, teppanyaki-style dishes at Kimono’s, juicy steaks at Butch’s Chophouse and indulgent desserts at Café de Paris – a Parisian-style patisserie. You can also enjoy regular theme nights and weekly events including a beach party and Caribbean night. Stay cool in the day while sipping cocktails at the swim-up bar and enjoy unlimited and all-inclusive 5-star Premium Liquors in the evening while watching the flickering flames of one of the romantic fire pits. As part of Sandals' exclusive 'Stay at One, Play at All' exchange programme, you'll also have access to the amenities, four bars and six restaurants at neighbouring Sandals Royal Barbados. Rooms are set in three different areas: the Caribbean Village which is nestled in tropical gardens, the Crystal Lagoon Village which overlooks the sparkling lagoon, and the Beachfront Village which offers sea views. Upgrade to an opulent Beachfront One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub for exquisite views over the turquoise sea.

Sea Breeze Beach House by Ocean Hotels

This superbly renovated, intimate all-inclusive resort occupies a magnificent stretch of beach and is equally suitable for couples and families, with designated areas set a comfortable distance apart. Kids can splash around in the family pool before heading to the Lil Dippers Club for Playstation and Nintendo games plus films teens can enjoy gaming, air hockey, table tennis and indoor basketball in their own area, Shore Break Lounge and the adults-only area has exclusive Jacuzzis. Relax in the hot tubs or on the wet deck of the lap pool, or take advantage of a couples’ in-room spa service. Sink into one of the luxurious sun loungers and stay cool without moving a muscle as friendly pool attendants offer icy towels and delicious sorbets. The views across the water to Oistins Bay are spectacular or, to enjoy a different perspective you can swim out to the floating sun deck and gaze back at the coast. Choose a spot along 300 metres of beachfront, whether you’re after an area suited for watersports or a more secluded setting that’s perfect for swimming. The beautiful new Mahogany Lounge serves delicious Bajan and Caribbean cuisine and has a trendy beachside bar. Enjoy fresh seafood and steaks for lunch and dinner at Aqua Terra, with casual lounge seating on a sunset deck. Tuck into made-to-order pizzas, pastas, salads and tasty dishes hot off the grill at The Flying Fish. Dress to impress at the sophisticated Cerulean restaurant for fine dining and exquisite sea views. For a supplement, head to the Chef’s Table for a superb five-course menu paired with premium wines, in selected pop-up locations around the property. Satisfy sweet cravings with a homemade pastry, ice-cream or Bajan Cutter (filled roll) at the newly added De Rum Shop Café, which also offers rum tastings, ice-cold local Banks beer, fruity rum punch and rum-infused gourmet coffees. Enjoy laid-back evenings at a choice of bars with regular live music. For a supplement, indulge in private dining either cliffside, in the gazebo or on the sand. The beautifully renovated rooms and suites are all very spacious with a beach-chic style – picture grey wood, splashes of turquoise and colourful prints. Classic Collection rooms are set in three locations with different views. We recommend upgrading to one of the conveniently located Classic Poolside/Garden Rooms or one of the Classic Ocean View Rooms. The Luxury Collection suites are set in the heart of the property and offer extra space, stunning sea views and luxurious extras such as a daily pre-stocked mini bar and a daily in-room canapé selection. Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suites have a spacious balcony with panoramic ocean views.

Little Good Harbour

This charming hideaway is set in a sleepy fishing village and offers a refreshing alternative to the livelier west-coast resorts. Here, you can experience the best of both worlds – enjoy the friendly service and amenities of a boutique hotel as well as the home comforts, exclusivity and privacy of a villa. Nothing is too much trouble for the welcoming staff who go out of their way to make you feel at home. Sink into a sun lounger by one of the pretty pools or cross the road to the small but beautiful white-sand beach. Go snorkelling in search of colourful fish or head out on Captain Dwayne’s water taxi for the chance to spot turtles. The 17th-Century fort has been carefully restored and houses the celebrated Fish Pot Restaurant which is renowned for its delicious seafood. Set across the road from the cottages, the restaurant offers a romantic setting for candlelit dinners with spellbinding ocean views and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. We recommend booking for dinner as this popular restaurant attracts locals and visitors from all over the island. Kuoni customers can also enjoy an exclusive meal here during the summer. The charming and spacious suites are set in white-washed cottages sprinkled in the gardens or within the historic fort at the water’s edge. Each suite features Balinese furnishings, airy living space and a fully equipped kitchen complete with fridge, oven, stove and microwave. One Bedroom Garden Suites are split-level and overlook the gardens. The Two Bedroom Ocean Fort Suite is even more spacious and is set on the upper level of the historic fort with en-suite bedrooms and incredible ocean views – perfect for families. Kitchens can be pre-stocked with groceries before your arrival so that you’ll have everything you need waiting for you when you arrive.

Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels

This beachfront boutique-style hotel is divided into two sections — the beach side which is home to the family-friendly rooms and lounge pool, complete with cabanas and day beds, or across the road in the peaceful adults-only area where you'll find the spa, serenity pool, whirlpool and yoga pavilion. Guests staying for a week or longer can enjoy between one and four free spa treatments depending on room type, including massages, soothing facials and pedicures. Guests are encouraged to stay fit and healthy with a range of activities, from motorised watersports to fitness classes. When it comes to dining there are plenty of healthy options as well as some indulgent treats. Shiso serves freshly made-to-order Asian dishes and sushi while Seascape offers Mediterranean-infused cuisine with stunning open-air views of the sea. Grab a wrap and latte to go at Kýma, the coffee bar and deli which also offers a range of tempting pastries and ice creams. Relax by the pool or on the beach as the hotel’s ‘ambassadors’ bring round iced water, frozen grapes and ice creams to cool you down. And if you fancy a change of scene you can take the complimentary water taxi to select sister hotels on the west coast and make the most of the group's Dine Around Programme. The eco-chic rooms have neutral tones and splashes of colour. Families are welcome in the Oceanside Building while the adults-only rooms are located in the Spa Building. Standard Guest Rooms include one spa treatment per guest. The Pool View Spa Guest Rooms have a balcony, overlook the Serenity Pool and include two spa treatments per guest. The spacious Oceanfront Split-Level Rooms have incredible sea views and four spa treatments per guest.

South Beach Hotel by Ocean Hotels

This wonderfully central hotel emulates the chic laid-back cool of Miami’s South Beach, with its Art Deco-style lobby and stylish pool area, complete with plush loungers. After you’ve been welcomed with a delicious rum punch, you’ll be itching to sink your toes into the sand or explore the local shops and bars. Lively St Lawrence Gap is just a 20-minute walk away and you can hop in a cab to Bridgetown. Cross over the road to reach one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, where guests can enjoy complimentary beach service with sun loungers, or sip cocktails and keep cool with complimentary ice lollies by the pool which runs along the length of the property. Breakfast is served poolside or in the air-conditioned restaurant, and you can enjoy a range of restaurants within a short walk of the property. Don’t miss daily cocktail specials at the poolside bar and the chance to mingle with fellow guests at the manager’s weekly cocktail party. The spacious rooms and suites have a fresh and stylish design with splashes of yellow and grey plus modern amenities. Junior Suites have a kitchenette and balcony with pool views, while One Bedroom Suites have a balcony, living area and full kitchen. The One Bedroom Penthouse has a large balcony offering the best views over the Caribbean Sea, and if you’re travelling as a family then you might want to opt for a Two Bedroom Suite – an interconnecting Junior Suite and One Bedroom Suite with two private balconies. Make the most of your suite's cooking facilities by arranging for the concierge to stock your kitchen with your favourite food and drinks, ready for your arrival.

Treasure Beach by Elegant Hotels

Treasure Beach lies on the picture-perfect Platinum Coast of Barbados, just a stone’s throw from one of the Caribbean’s most distinguished and desirable coastal hotspots, Sandy Lane. This recently refurbished boutique resort has a culinary and art focus and offers outstanding service, with Beach and Pool Ambassadors on hand to provide extras like refreshing poolside drinks and cool towels. There’s an excellent choice of aquatic and land-based activities your romantic getaway could feature free paddleboarding lessons on the calm seafront, exclusive tours of pottery studios and local galleries, and serene nature excursions. For dining, the hotel’s Tapestry Restaurant has a broad range of enticing menus including brunch, tapas and Chef’s Palette – an inspirational à la carte menu from award-winning chef Javon Cummins which expertly blends Caribbean textures and flavours. Indulge in a Chef’s Dinner for two, enjoy a different cocktail each evening at the complimentary Sundowner Hour each night, or sample the selection of cocktails and late-night happy hour which make Batik Bar a favourite. You may even like to try an authentic sommelier or mixology experience at its Wine Cellar, a charming venue which hosts regular tastings. While Treasure Beach prides itself on mouth-watering local cuisine, guests can also enjoy a variety of signature experiences at nearby sister properties as part of the hotel’s Taste of Elegance Dine Around Programme. It’s easy to get between resorts, too, as Treasure Beach’s personalised Water Taxi service will whisk you along the coastline on your culinary journey. The hotel has 35 luxury one-bedroom suites, adorned with regional and local art. Ranging from the elegance of the landscaped Pool View Room to the serenity of a Garden View Room surrounded by tropical foliage, each has separate living space and a private balcony or patio. To soak up the iconic turquoise waters and marvel at the spotless white sands, upgrade to an Ocean View One Bedroom suite. The Deluxe and Luxury Ocean View suites have a private outdoor plunge pool.

Sandals Royal Barbados

Head down to south-coast Maxwell Beach and you’ll find this recent addition to Sandals’ portfolio, the younger sister to neighbouring Sandals Barbados. It follows the same Luxury Included® concept with great service and an incredible range of facilities and watersports, but also has some particularly neat features. The sleek white-washed design is punctuated with an eclectic mix of Mediterranean-style terracotta roofs and thatched rondoval cottages there’s a glass-fronted infinity pool which cascades down towards the beach, framed by futuristic pyramid-shaped cabanas. Take a break from sunbathing at Sandals’ first four-lane bowling alley, grab a drink from the adjacent Lover’s Lane Craft Beer Bar and unwind in the rooftop pool as the sun sets over Oistins Bay. As well as the usual array of outstanding dining, we love the pair of new restaurants here. Visit Chi Asian Fusion to experience the flavours of China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all in one menu discover the lesser-known delights of US food at American Tavern, from New England Clam Chowder to Maryland Crab Cakes. Be sure to try Sandals’ debut gourmet doughnut shop and Jerk Shack, too. As part of the brand’s exclusive 'Stay at One, Play at All' exchange programme, you'll also have access to the amenities, bars and restaurants next door at Sandals Barbados. Rooms are light, splashed with seaside colour and spread across three areas – Royal Seaside Village opens out onto Maxwell Beach’s white sands, the Rondoval Suites are in the middle of the resort and South Seas Village sits at the other end. Go all out and choose one of the beachfront rooms – the Beachfront One Bedroom Skypool Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub has a private cantilevered infinity-edge skypool, and the Honeymoon Suite is literally steps from the sand.

O2 Beach Club & Spa

The fresh and contemporary O2 Beach Club & Spa is fronted by a sweeping, palm-lined beach with talcum soft sands and an exclusive feeling. The name gives a clue to the vibe here: it’s a cool and contemporary beach club with glistening pools (there’s one for everyone and a couple that are for adults only) and casual bars and eateries only a few steps away from your memory-foam sunbed. The resort’s spa is set to open in November 2021 and will offer a wide range of muscle-melting treatments. You can even gain a few new skills when you are on holiday thanks to the range of hands-on ‘Learn-to’ experiences that range from steel pan playing and rum punch making to Hobie Cat sailing. If you upgrade to the Concierge Collection, you’ll receive one of these experiences free during your stay. Elements is the resort’s main restaurant where a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. In the evening, there’s also the opportunity to enjoy à la carte dishes. An alternative casual option and both lunch and dinner is the open-air Blue Fin Beachside Grill where the dishes come with a side of sea views. For an evening of fine dining, head to Oro which also also comes complete with exceptional views of the Caribbean. On Saturday, the beach becomes a lively dining spot as guests enjoy Bajan specialities with their toes in the sand. Possibly the most spectacular venue at the resort is the Sky Terrace Lounge, a bistro where you can snack on small plates and take in views of the famous Oistins Bay. Each of the rooms and suites is modern in style with splashes of colour and a covered private balcony or terrace. The Club Rooms are located in the main building and have a king-size bed and island views. We highly recommend upgrading to either the Luxury Collection Suites or the Concierge Collection Suites. Alongside the all-inclusive package, you’ll get extra benefits such credit to use at the spa, speciality concierge service and access to Sea Breeze Beach House. Golfers will also love these suites one round per person is included for stays of five nights or more from November to April and unlimited rounds are included from May to October. The Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suites and Concierge Two Bedroom Bay View Suites are just a couple of the options – the latter being great for groups or families.


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East Winds

Caribbean charm meets natural beauty at this idyllic hideaway which offers an authentic Caribbean experience and exceptional dining. Savour the tranquillity and relaxed ambience and enjoy personalised service. Relax under the shade of a palapa on the beach, swim in the bay’s calm waters and watch fishermen bring their fresh catch to shore. Join the head gardener on a tour of the magnificent gardens to discover over 100 different species of exotic flora and 30 species of birds. Exclusive local tours are also available such as a day trip to Pigeon Island, a sunset cruise, rum tasting and a shopping trip. Enjoy four-course dinners at the open-air beachfront Flamboyant Room which is renowned for its innovative menus, romantic dinners in one of the Palm Beach Gazebos, and choose dishes from the all-day light bite menu. Create your own cocktails at the self-service swim-up bar, sip bubbly at the Champagne bar and enjoy live jazz and cocktails at the Bamboo Lounge. The new patio area, Mac and Eric’s Place, is the ideal spot for enjoying cocktails at sunset, while the stylish new Almond Deck area is perfect for a romantic meal on the beachfront. Personalise your stay with a pre-arrival online check list which offers choices including a pillow menu and minibar selections. The hexagonal-shaped Superior Garden Cottages and spacious Deluxe Garden Cottages are sprinkled throughout the gardens. The newly refurbished Oceanfront Rooms are smaller but are closer to the beach and offer a lovely shared open-air lounge and fabulous sea views.

Jade Mountain

Nestled on a hillside with a seamless edge disappearing into the ocean, this exquisite resort-within-a-resort integrates effortlessly with nature and is a hopeless romantic’s dream. The hotel has been innovatively designed above Anse Chastanet to face outwards over the Pitons – St Lucia’s majestic volcanic plugs – and the coastline, a superb combination made possible by the island’s giddy mountain terrain. Immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings at this boutique hideaway, one of the first buildings anywhere to have swimming pools built on every level, and voted the Number 1 Caribbean Resort in both the Travel + Leisure Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. The Jade Mountain Club combines superb dining with spectacular views. Seasonal menus devised by award-winning chef Allen Susser showcase modern fusion cuisine infused with bold Caribbean flavours. The infinity pool reflects the changing colours of the sky and acoustic musicians add to the relaxing ambience. The Celestial Terrace offers a romantic spot for watching sunsets or stargazing. You can also dine at any of the restaurants at directly adjoining Anse Chastanet, which is just a short walk away and also offers two lovely beaches and non-motorised watersports. Individual sky bridges as opposed to stuffy corridors lead to unique sanctuary suites featuring a king-size bed, living area, bath and rain shower, all in one extravagantly sized living space with spellbinding views occupying the space that would usually contain a fourth wall. Without any intrusions such as radios or televisions, you can enjoy the serenity and sounds of nature – awaken to birdsong and watch hummingbirds flit among tropical flowers. Each suite offers 24-hour butler service, Sky Jacuzzi Suites feature a large Jacuzzi and all of the other suites offer a beautiful infinity pool.

Anse Chastanet

Tucked away between rainforest and silver sands, this enchanting resort offers a blissful escape from the intrusions of everyday life and is perfect for a peaceful or active outdoor holiday. Awaken to birdsong and the breeze rustling in the trees and drift off to a chorus of crickets and tree frogs. Explore miles of hiking trails that wind through the Anse Mamin Valley and have your binoculars at the ready to spot colourful birdlife, including four out of five of the island’s endemic species. Follow the 100 steps down to the beach – or hop on the shuttle – and laze under the shade of a palapa, sway in a hammock beneath coconut palms and enjoy the resort’s legendary hospitality. Keen divers should book an expedition to the island’s award-winning marine reserve where you can discover over 150 species of fish. Choose from four restaurants and dine in the hillside or by the beach. Gaze over the ocean from the open-air Treehouse Restaurant which offers tropical cuisine or indulge in guilt-free dining at Emerald's which serves organic vegan dishes. Casual lunch options include a beach bar and a beachside restaurant. Sleep off your meal at the Beach House on the north corner of Anse Chastanet Beach – it's light and airy with French doors and windows, and a lovely spot to take in views over the sparkling Caribbean Sea and watch the sunset from the oceanfront garden's brick deck. The colorful and uniquely designed rooms offer a peaceful sanctuary without the noise of telephones or televisions. Local products have been used extensively, from hand-made woods for the elegant furniture, to colourful cloth fabrics for the bedspreads and cushions. Standard Garden View Rooms are set on either the hillside or at beach level with garden views. Superior Hillside Rooms are octagonal cottages with sea or Piton views. Spacious Deluxe Beachside Rooms are closest to the beach. Premium Hillside Rooms are set high in the hills and some have a fourth wall missing for uninterrupted views of the Pitons. The secluded Piton Pool Suites are available on request, with views over the famous peaks plus a private pool with deck.

Rendezvous

One of the world’s first boutique hotels dedicated to couples only, Rendezvous is perfect for relaxation, fine dining and fun. Enjoy candlelit dinners and couples’ massages, stick your flag in the sand for beach service or relax in one of the day beds in the beautiful rockery garden by the lazy river. Enjoy breakfast and lunch buffets at The Terrace Restaurant, which transforms into a romantic candlelit setting for gourmet dinners. Regular themed evenings include a Caribbean night and popular beach barbecue. Head to the Trysting Place for an elegant fine-dining experience, with delicacies including shellfish bisque and herb-crusted red snapper. Malabar, the intimate à la carte restaurant, sits beneath a giant sail, and the lively Champagne Bar has free tastings at the nightly Bubbly Hour. The rooms feature fine detailing complemented by traditional Caribbean style. As the focus here is on reconnecting with your partner, you won’t find any intrusions such as televisions. Premium Garden View Rooms offer a tranquil setting while the gingerbread-style Beachfront Cottages are located right on the sand. For incredible sea views, choose the spacious split-level Luxury Beachfront Suite.

Sandals Grande St Lucian

From its charming open-air lobby and stylish waterfront restaurants to the warm, personalised service, this elegant resort is a great option for beachfront bliss. Lemongrass-infused cold towels and refreshing cocktails on arrival set the tone, and the fine white sands, aquamarine waters and coconut palms are picture-perfect Caribbean. Gaze out over green hills and sailing boats bobbing on the horizon, find a peaceful spot by the lagoon pool under the thatched shade of a garden hammock or in a private beach cabana, and enjoy a relaxing swim in the calm waters of the sheltered bay. Choose from 12 restaurants including barefoot casual and gourmet fine dining. Menus showcase the island’s delicious seafood plus local and international favourites. As the sun sets, gather for drinks around the fire pit and enjoy nightly entertainment ranging from the soulful sounds of a saxophonist to acrobatic performances. The elegant colonial-style rooms have mahogany four-poster beds and hardwood floors. Club Level rooms offer exclusive extras such as Club Lounge access, an in-room bar and a weekly snorkelling trip. Upgrade to one of the sumptuous suites, such as the exquisite Beachfront Grande Rondoval Butler Suite with Private Pool Sanctuary.

St James's Club Morgan Bay

With a fantastic choice of restaurants and activities, this all-inclusive resort is brilliant for an adventurous or unashamedly laid-back escape, whether you’re looking to try a range of watersports or just kick back in the sun and work your way through the cocktail list. With volleyball and water aerobics on offer it can get a little lively around the pool, but the 25 acres of tropical gardens have plenty of peaceful pockets and the adults-only hilltop pool is a wonderful hideaway with fabulous views. The resort is pretty hilly but you can hop on a golf buggy to get around. There’s a choice of six restaurants enjoy a buffet breakfast at the Palm Restaurant in the pretty gardens, contemporary Caribbean cuisine at the beachfront Bambou Restaurant, light lunches at The Plum Tree Bar and Grill, and romantic dinners over the water at Morgan’s Pier restaurant. Choose from five bars includng the Sunset Bar & Lounge, and be sure to visit the weekly beach party night, Fête De La Mer – enjoy everything from a steel band and stilt walkers to fire eaters and acrobats, before tucking into local dishes from one of the food stalls scattered along the beach. Rooms are set in blocks around the resort with garden, pool or ocean views. Garden View Rooms are in a peaceful setting and Beachfront Rooms are within earshot of the waves. Our Exclusive Kuoni Spa Beachfront Rooms are as the Beachfront Rooms but with three spa treatments per room at Tranquillity Body & Spa, plus one dinner for two at Le Jardin included (within a one week stay). The spacious One Bedroom Ocean View Suites have amazing ocean views.

BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia

This recently renovated resort is framed by forested mountains and sugar-white sands, with an emphasis on customising your experience with an impressive choice of sports, activities and inclusive spa treatments. A morning stroll up to the glass-enclosed treehouse fitness centre is an invigorating way to start your day and your hard work is rewarded with fantastic sea views. With such a strong focus on health and wellbeing, it comes as no surprise that the resort offers the finest food made with fresh ingredients including vegetables from local organic farmers. I-Tal is a fresh new eating concept which focuses on conscious eating and offers a guided experience with an eco-leader and chefs. For a supplement, treat your palate to one of the incredible tasting menus at Cariblue Windows. The beachfront Deli is the perfect place for a light meal, coffee or smoothie while soaking in the sun on the boardwalk — there's also a new juice bar and sushi counter. Afternoon tea is served at The Clubhouse and the Piano Bar is a relaxing evening spot that stays open until the last guest decides to call it a night. The rooms offer a peaceful sanctuary without the intrusion of a television. Garden View Rooms are designed for solo travellers as there's no single supplement. Newly refurbished Luxury Ocean Front Rooms have new bay windows and overlook the beach, while lavish Grand Luxury Ocean Front Suites have superior sea views.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

Follow a winding road through the rainforest to discover a tropical paradise, with platinum sands framed by the Piton mountains and white-washed villas tucked into the hillside. This former sugar plantation has been transformed into a sleek resort, ideal for both couples and families. You’ll meet your butler on arrival and they’ll be contactable at any time – whether you fancy an icy mojito or want to book a romantic dinner. Snorkel in search of colourful marine life or stroll along winding wooden walkways to the enchanting Rainforest Spa, where treehouse treatment cabanas are connected by bridges. Breakfast is served at the Terrace, set in the elegant Great House. Enjoy relaxed al fresco meals at the beachside Bayside Restaurant and Caribbean-influenced dining at the Great Room or head to the Cane Bar, a speciality rum bar, for sushi platters and an Asian-themed menu. On Glenconner Beach there's Pier Bar, where light lunches and drinks are served to close-up views of the Pitons either side of you. Romantic private dining experiences are available with tiki torchlights on the beach or under the stars on your own private terrace. The first-class Rooms, Villas, Beach Bungalows and Residences have a classic colonial style, private plunge pool and butler service. Luxury Sugar Mill Rooms are close to the main facilities while Luxury Villas are set high in the hillside. Luxury Beachfront Bungalows have direct beach access and are just steps from the water’s edge.

Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

Set in 60 tropical acres, this Mediterranean village-style resort has white-washed villas and suites topped with terracotta tiles. Regular shuttles are on hand to whisk you from your room to the beach and main restaurant area. The calm waters are perfect for little ones, and the kids’ club has loads of fun activities such as coconut bowling and limbo dancing. The resort is in quite a remote location and is surprisingly peaceful – relax in one of the in-water hammocks and listen to the waves gently lapping on the shore, unwind under shady coconut palms in the beautifully landscaped gardens, and indulge in treatments at the luxurious spa with views over Labrelotte Bay. Choose from a range of dining options including seafood and steaks overlooking the ocean. The beachside bar and grill transforms into a cocktail bar in the evening with live calypso music. Ocean View Guestrooms have a rooftop sundeck and wonderful views over the ocean. The incredible villas are on a hillside, with the most luxurious closest to the top – the climb up is rewarded with stunning views. All villas are equipped with a full kitchen and many feature a private plunge pool or swimming pool. Luxury Beachfront Villas are just steps from the beach and have two or three bedrooms. The lower-level villas come with an outdoor shower, garden and residential pool while the upper-level villas have an outdoor living area, oversized plunge pool and sun deck with a mini kitchen.

Cap Maison

A consistent winner in Conde Nast's Readers Awards, Cap Maison is perched on a cliff above a crescent-shaped beach, with a scattering of terracotta urns, pretty fountains and courtyards, white-washed buildings and incredible panoramic views. Take the series of steps down to secluded Smugglers Cove Beach, relax by the two-tiered ocean-view pool or lounge on a lawn edged by beautiful gardens of frangipani, hibiscus and jasmine. The Cliff at Cap – one of the island’s finest restaurants, is well known for its award-winning cuisine and unparalleled ocean views. Sink your toes into the sand and have freshly caught seafood and rum punch at the Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill. Intimate Rock Maison is a private area set over the rocks with a zip-line to deliver your dinner and Champagne. The adjacent natural Rock Pool is great for cocktails and The Cliff Bar is a lovely spot for watching the sunset. Two and three-storey Mediterranean-style blocks are topped with terracotta tiles. Watch hummingbirds from the terrace of a Garden View Room or opt for partial ocean views from a Junior Suite. Our Exclusive Kuoni One Bedroom Ocean View Villa Suites with Pool and Roof Terrace have a full kitchen, stunning roof terrace with a private pool, plus indulgent extras including a free couple’s massage and Caribbean cooking lesson – ideal for honeymooners.

The Landings Resort & Spa

Experience luxe living in your lavishly spacious suite with fantastic facilities at The Landings Resort & Spa, home to Saint Lucia’s only private marina – perfect for sailing around the magnificent coastline or taking a water taxi to one of the island’s finest restaurants. Families are welcome here and children can make new friends at the kids’ club and have complimentary watersports at the beach, as well as activities such as picnic trips to Pigeon Island, beach cricket, sand sculpting and treasure hunts. Dishes at the hotel’s three restaurants are full of Caribbean flavours, including tropical fruit, organic vegetables, herbs and seafood. Sink your toes into the sand and dig into a snack at the laid-back Callaloo Beach Bar & Grill, and have daily complimentary breakfast and themed buffets each night at the waterfront Beach Club. The Palms Restaurant has a romantic setting with views of the marina and serves locally inspired cuisine with an international twist, as well as mouth-watering seafood such as fresh lobster cooked on a lava stone grill and served with lemon herb butter. Kids stay free all year round, and stay and eat free from 21 April to 16 December. The elegant residential-style One, Two or Three Bedroom Villa Suites feel like luxurious homes away from home rather than resort accommodation. They’re very private and have everything you need, from spacious living and dining areas to a fully equipped kitchen and washer-dryer – great for families not to mention the incredible views – either overlooking the marina or just steps from the beautiful beach. Upgrade to a Villa Suite with Plunge Pool for private dips on your balcony or terrace, or choose one of the Beachfront Villa Suites to have a butler at your beck and call. And if you’re feeling indulgent, you can arrange for a personally tailored meal to be cooked and served in the comfort of your suite.

Serenity at Coconut Bay

This adults-only sanctuary lies at the bottom of Saint Lucia’s beautiful south-west coast in 85 acres of serene grounds. 24-hour room service and a personal butler, on hand to provide food, daily signature cocktails and arrangements for water and beach activities, set the tone for your romantic retreat. Step outside from the exquisite white beams and light décor of your spacious suite into a private garden space, awash with vibrant Caribbean foliage and complete with superb plunge pool. Soak up breathtaking Saint Lucian landscapes through various activities, from irresistible treatments at Serenity’s oceanfront spa centre, to nearby volcano and waterfall excursions. If you fancy cooling down, take advantage of the pool and its in-water loungers. You’ll experience first-class cuisine at The Greathouse restaurant, whose warm welcome lounge and built-in wine cooler are as enticing as the aromas drifting from the open kitchen. Unwind inside under rustic fixtures and vaulted ceilings, or stargaze on the airy poolside patio. Guests at Serenity also have unlimited complimentary access to the award-winning 4* Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, so for even more choice head next-door to one of eight additional restaurants, whether it’s Caribbean Creole at Calabash or exclusive seafront eating at La Luna restaurant. Unlimited in-suite dining and snacks come courtesy of your butler and room service, who can also deliver to your Private Mail Box if you’d prefer not to be disturbed. A stay here is almost all about enjoying the privacy of your villa-like suite. Each of the hotel’s 36 suites is light and luxurious, with a beautiful mahogany four-poster bed. The secluded patio area has a hammock for two and a wet bar, but it’s the immaculately decked private plunge pool and waterfall which seals the deal. Opt for a Grande Plunge Pool Butler Suite and you’ll also enjoy a superb adjoining living room. We also love the hotel's Grand Romance Package - book for a minimum of 7 nights to enjoy inclusions such as a Private Chauffeured Island Tour, Beach Picnic and Candlelit Pool Cabana Dinner.


Bougainvillea Barbados

The spectacular setting and exceptional service make this attractive Mediterranean-style resort an ideal choice for a relaxing escape. The platinum-sand beach lapped by turquoise waters is straight out of the pages of a glossy travel magazine, and the resort’s laid-back atmosphere creates a traditional island vibe. The warm waters are perfect for a paddle or watersports including windsurfing. Find a shady spot by the main pool which meanders through exotic gardens and stroll around the waterfalls and rock pools, framed by the resort’s namesake bougainvillea flowers. This is a family-friendly hotel – kids have their own club with activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and games, and there's also a games room with everything from air hockey to table tennis. Calabash Café offers beachfront dining with local favourites such as blackened flying fish. Enjoy a weekly Caribbean buffet and floor show with vibrant entertainment from fire eaters, limbo dancers and stilt walkers. Siam Bar & Restaurant, the seasonal restaurant, serves up Thai-inspired cuisine and cocktails in a themed setting. The studios and suites are generous in size and equipped with a kitchenette or full kitchen, and there's a small shop nearby so you can stock up on essentials. The Two Bedroom Beachfront Luxury Suite – complete with two bathrooms and a living room – is particularly good for families and groups. The Honeymoon Suite on the top floor has stunning ocean views.

Cobblers Cove

Centred around a pastel pink plantation house, this intimate home-away-from-home was awarded Barbados's Unique Luxury Hotel of the Year at the Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2018. Authentic touches such as decorative coral rock and locally crafted furniture reflect the hotel’s Bajan heritage, and you can expect outstanding hospitality as the warm staff go out of their way to keep you smiling. Lounge on the sundeck as staff offer icy water, fruit skewers and sorbet explore colourful tropical gardens in search of hummingbirds and Bajan green monkeys or discover the island’s history on a heritage tour. Renowned as one of the best restaurants on the island, the award-winning Camelot Restaurant serves mouth-watering gourmet cuisine accompanied by an impressive wine list. Feast on local delicacies, such as blackened mahi-mahi. Afternoon tea is served daily in the Pavilion at the Great House – sip tea from fine china cups and enjoy finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. A fruity rum-based ‘Cobblers Cooler’ at the poolside cocktail bar is the perfect way to end your day. The charming suites are set in two-storey cottages in gardens just steps from the beach. Warmly furnished with terracotta tiles and a cosy style, the suites are free of distractions such as televisions so you can appreciate the peace and natural beauty. Garden View Suites are tucked away in the gardens, Ocean View Suites offer sea views, and Ocean Front Suites are just steps from the beach. The elegant Camelot Suites have new bathrooms and a private roof terrace, while Colleton Suites have a private plunge pool, Jacuzzi and stunning ocean views.

Colony Club by Elegant Hotels

Founded as a private club in the 1940s, this award-winning hotel is built from coral stone with a plantation home style and plenty of Bajan charm. There are loads of activities including free motorised and non-motorised watersports, yoga classes and stand-up paddleboarding tours to spot sea turtles. Or just help yourself to sun cream and refreshing lemon water from the pool hut and unwind by one of the four lagoon pools that meander through magnificent palm-filled gardens sprinkled with waterfalls – a stay here can be as active or laid-back as you want. Begin your evening with pre-dinner cocktails at the beautiful and airy Plantation Lounge. Feast on international dishes with a Bajan twist at the Laguna restaurant which serves healthy dishes seasoned with herbs from the hotel's organic garden and offers gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options. Enjoy happy hour and stunning sunsets at the stylish Sunset Bar & Deck which offers themed dining events such as the superb Seaside Grill night. A range of health-conscious treats are also available throughout. Visit the hotel’s Rum Vault, the first of its kind on Barbados and featuring a collection of 150 international rums. Ocean View Rooms are perfectly positioned for admiring sunsets. Access the lagoon pool directly from your balcony or terrace in the Luxury Swim Up Poolside Room and enjoy sea views from the spacious One Bedroom Ocean View Suites.

Coral Reef Club

Follow a sweeping drive lined with mahogany trees to the coral-stone great house of this award-winning resort that blends classic Bajan charm with contemporary luxury. While long-established traditions such as afternoon tea are still in place and loyal guests return year after year, this family-owned and run resort is also attracting new guests keen to experience the resort’s renowned colonial charm, impeccable service and fine dining. Breathe in the sweet scent of the frangipani trees as you follow winding paths through landscaped gardens to the exceptional spa or the golden beach. Dress up for dinner at the elegant Restaurant which offers classic dishes with a Caribbean twist and beautiful sea views. With daily changing à la carte menus you will find plenty to tempt you, including freshly caught seafood and tasty desserts such as flambéed pineapple drizzled with rum. Enjoy cocktails and live music at the chic bar and don’t miss the weekly barbecue which is accompanied by a lively floor show with limbo dancing and fire eating. Each of the colonial-style rooms is named after local flowers, trees and fruits, and range from smaller rooms for solo travellers to spacious villas for families. Garden Room/Cottages are set in the gardens. Luxury Plantation Suites are perfect for honeymooners – they have a four-poster bed, private plunge pool and sea views, and come with inclusions like afternoon tea plus a stocked bar and bottle of Champagne on arrival.

Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels

If you want the personalised service and boutique feel of a small resort, but without sacrificing great dining and a host of facilities, then this chic family-friendly resort is ideal. Take a dip in one of the multi-tiered pools edged with pretty rock pools and cascading waterfalls, breathe in the sweet scent of the frangipani trees and watch hummingbirds hover around tropical flowers. Stay cool on the fine white sands as Beach Ambassadors present you with cold towels and tasty treats such as ice cream and fresh fruit. The ocean is lovely and calm for swimming, and all motorised and non-motorised watersports like waterskiing are included. Younger ones have access to the Flying Fish kids’ club, with a playground and interactive pool and beach games. Reflections is an elegant poolside venue for all meals and you can sample the island’s fantastic seafood at the weekly Bajan fish fry. Enjoy informal meals for lunch and dinner at Drifters Beach Bar which also serves daily afternoon tea – a selection of calming teas served with tasty sweet and savoury pastries. Head to Vista Coffee & Wine Bar for speciality coffees, sweet treats, tapas-style light bites and a variety of red and white wines. Swim under a waterfall to order icy daiquiris at the redesigned Cave Bar which hosts live music several nights a week. The terrace lounge is the perfect place to enjoy the island's incredible sunsets. If you fancy a change of scene head to selected Elegant Hotels sister properties and take advantage of the resort’s dine-around programme. The contemporary rooms are set in clusters of low-rise buildings on a hillside but the walk up is rewarded by lovely views. It's worth upgrading to an Ocean View Room for the views, while the spacious One Bedroom Pool/Garden View Suites are ideal for families as they feature a second bathroom and some are split-level.

Sandy Lane

This chic Palladian-style hotel has sweeping staircases, gleaming marble floors, exemplary service and plush suites – experience the best in Bajan hospitality and prepare to be treated like a VIP. Kick back under the signature pink parasols on the platinum beach and relax as little ones have fun at the fantastic Treehouse Club, which offers a range of activities and games for guests aged 3-16. Whether you're travelling as a family or a couple, are in search of a spa-focused holiday or want to spend as much time on the green as possible, we offer a selection of special packages with fantastic inclusions. Enjoy fine dining and informal meals at the four restaurants, each with their own style and vibe as well as superb menus and settings. Afternoon tea is served on the Lower Terrace, and Bajan Blue is renowned for its sensational Sunday brunch – an array of mouth-watering dishes from sushi, crab and suckling pig to delicious miniature desserts. There’s also a wide choice of bars ranging from casual beach bars to chic lounges and lively entertainment. Each of the beautiful rooms and suites is elegant and airy with a large terrace or balcony. The Orchid Rooms overlook tropical gardens and Luxury Ocean Rooms have sea views. For families or groups the Luxury Orchid Suites or Luxury Dolphin Suites are ideal as they have two bedrooms, a living area and terrace with dining area.

Tamarind by Elegant Hotels

This welcoming and relaxing resort blends Mediterranean and Caribbean styles, with its white-washed buildings and terracotta roofs. Stroll along powder-soft white sands to the watersports centre and try your hand at waterskiing. Wander through landscaped gardens to courtyards dotted with fountains or head to the adults-only pool and relax as pool ambassadors provide you with cold eucalyptus-scented towels, drinks and coconut ice lollies. As part of the hotel's all-inclusive package you can enjoy breakfast on the terrace, beachfront dining at the main restaurant which offers themed menus and live music, and a special dinner menu at the hotel's fine dining restaurant. Inspired by the cool chic of Miami’s South Beach, the Rilaks Deck is a stylish venue for cocktails and light snacks. At the Sunday beach party you can sample local grilled specialities and dance to the steel pan band. Rooms vary from simple Pool/Garden View Rooms to spacious One Bedroom Suites which are ideal for families and groups. Opt for an Oceanfront Room or Suite for the chance to watch fiery sunsets over the sea from your balcony or terrace.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion

This award-winning, colonial-style hotel is set across beautiful pastel-pink blocks framed by towering palm trees, in one of the island’s finest beachfront spots. Spend your time lazing on the idyllic stretch of powdery golden sand and soaking up unobstructed sea views from the hotel’s stylish restaurants. Explore the 11-acre gardens and keep an eye out for mischievous green monkeys clambering in the fig trees, or choose a book from the hotel’s library and unwind in your own private spot. If you're lucky you could even get to enjoy a seasonal swim with the turtles experience. Indulge in open-air dining under the stars with the sound of the waves lapping the shore, and enjoy low-key entertainment from local musical talent. The stylish, beachfront Palm Terrace Restaurant is open for breakfast and serves exquisite local and international dishes, with breathtaking sea views. Poolside restaurant Taboras is a relaxed and romantic setting for à la carte lunch and dinner – enjoy the catch of the day, a barbecue and delicious Bajan cuisine, all accompanied by live music. The newly refurbished rooms and suites have chic Barbadian beach house vibes, with soothing cream and white décor, sleek floors and spectacular sea views. Each room includes daily buffet breakfast, airport fast track service, a weekly Manager's cocktail reception and all non-motorised watersports. Luxury Oceanfront Rooms have glass-fronted balcony rails to enhance your ocean views even further. If you’re staying in a Signature Oceanfront Room, or any of the suites or villas, you’ll have swish extras including in-room amenities, evening canapés and afternoon tea once every seven days.

Turtle Beach Resort by Elegant Hotels

This welcoming resort gives you the option to be as relaxed or as active as you like, with a fantastic selection of family-friendly activities. Sink your toes into talcum-powder sands and go boogie boarding in the crystal-clear waters. Aqua School is the perfect place for kids to enjoy the sand and surf, with free surfing and paddleboarding lessons. Little ones can enjoy games, arts and crafts, baking and films on the beach at the Flying Fish Kids’ Club while you relax by the freeform pools and unwind in the Jacuzzi. You'll also find Beach and Pool Ambassadors on hand to bring you cold scented towels, cool drinks, fresh fruit and ice lollies. Head to three restaurants offering tempting buffet and à la carte menus, and enjoy refreshing smoothies, iced coffees and pastries at the Half Moon Coffee Bar & Deli. Enjoy authentic Caribbean cuisine with Mediterranean flair at the sea-view Sand Trap Restaurant. Dress up for dinner at the excellent Italian restaurant and enjoy authentic Bajan experiences at Chelonia restaurant with regular evening entertainment ranging from live music to limbo dancing. There's also an ice cream parlour if you're craving a sundae, cone or milkshake. The spacious and modern suites have a sofa bed and are suitable for families of four. Pool/Garden View Junior Suites are newly designed and Deluxe Ocean View Junior Suites have incredible sea views. Oceanfront Junior Suites are closest to the sea and One Bedroom Suites feature a separate living room. Larger families can choose Family Connected Ocean View Junior Suites, which comprise two interconnecting Ocean View Junior Suites.

Accra Beach Hotel & Spa

If you're looking for a hotel set directly on a picture-perfect beach with a fantastic selection of shops, restaurants and nightlife on your doorstep, then Accra Beach fits the bill. Cross the bridge over the lagoon-style pool and follow the short winding path through the gardens to the beach. Recline on a sun lounger under the shade of a palm tree and admire the sweeping curve of talcum-powder sand and turquoise waters. Swim beneath the pretty waterfall in the pool to the hidden cave or perch on an underwater stool at the swim-up bar while sipping on a refreshing rum punch. Stroll along the scenic boardwalk which runs alongside the beach to discover local restaurants and bars. If you opt for one of the meal plans then you have a choice of three restaurants. Head to the sea-view terrace at Coco Patch where you can enjoy breakfast and light meals during the day. The Accra Deck offers fine dining on the beautiful oceanfront and the resort's new restaurant, Pacifika, serves Pacific Rim cuisine including Japanese, Thai, Indonesian and Chinese. Entertainment is pretty low-key but there is a lively weekly floor show with steel pan bands, fire eaters, stilt walkers and limbo dancers. The hotel has a variety of rooms and suites which offer various views, ranging from simple Island View Rooms which overlook the resort and busy streets, to the tranquil Oceanfront Rooms where you can relax in a bubbling Jacuzzi on your balcony while gazing out to sea.

Mango Bay

This welcoming resort is ideal for those looking for sun-kissed relaxation, a great all-inclusive package and easy access to Holetown’s shops, restaurants and bars. Sip a deliciously cool rum punch under shady palms and tropical flowers by the lagoon-style pool, feel the ocean breeze in your hair as you sail along the coast, or stroll down the beach in search of secluded coves. Join a catamaran tour for the incredible chance to see hawksbill and leatherback turtles and look for other local wildlife such as monkeys, mongooses and the graceful egrets that come to roost at night. The beachfront restaurant and bar offers a casual setting for all meals and nothing is too much trouble for the friendly staff who are happy to accommodate any dietary requirements. Start your day with an expansive buffet breakfast accompanied by ocean views, and take a break from sunbathing or watersports to enjoy afternoon tea. A range of Caribbean and international dishes are served at lunch and during candlelit dinners where typical dishes include speciality grilled steaks, freshly caught seafood and tempting local desserts such as coconut cream pie. Join the fun at the popular weekly barbecue night and enjoy a range of entertainment, from low-key piano music to lively limbo dancing. The contemporary rooms are set either in the main building or in a separate block. Standard Rooms overlook the front of the hotel or the garden and are closer to Holetown’s lively streets while Oceanfront Rooms offer a more tranquil setting and the chance to awaken to the sound of the waves lapping the shore. Standard One Bedrooms are ideal for families as they feature a separate living room and bedroom.

Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa

This charming and intimate Mediterranean-style resort is tucked in peaceful hillside gardens and is perfect for the best of coast and countryside. Choose your favourite spot from the wooden swing chairs and sun loungers – beneath the shade of a tree or by the pool. The spacious rooms and suites have a living room and balcony or terrace, and some come with a kitchenette. One Bedroom Suites have tropical garden or partial ocean views and the Garden View Suites can interconnect to form a Two Bedroom Suite. Hop on the free shuttle to picturesque Reeds Bay for complimentary sun loungers – it also stops at Little Bristol Beach Bar pub where sun loungers are available to Sugar Cane Club guests, Nikki Beach, Port St. Charles Marina and Speightstown Open Window. Wear comfy shoes for the Gully Walk, where head gardener Rodney takes you on an informative tour of the grounds and surrounding forest before presenting you with a freshly-made coconut drink straight from the trees. Don’t miss the complimentary glass-bottom boat trip and chance to swim with turtles on Friday. There are two open-air restaurants to choose from here, with plenty of choice and changing menus – enjoy fresh soups, fish including marlin and swordfish and delicious desserts like pineapple upside-down cake with coconut ice cream. Hearty breakfasts and lunches are served at La Salsa Restaurant & Bar with panoramic views over the pool and surrounding greenery, and you can book dinner either here or at Sandy's Chattel Bar, a hidden gem on the edge of the property which is tucked on the hillside and overlooks the forest below. Weather permitting, you can also enjoy international and Caribbean buffet dining by the pool on selected days. Finish the day with a delicious rum-based cocktail at the laid-back bar.

Sandals Barbados

If you are looking for a romantic setting, fantastic dining and a host of activities then this Luxury Included® resort ticks all the boxes. Stroll through the gardens to Maxwell Beach and sink your toes into the soft sand as friendly staff bring cool drinks to your sun lounger. Relax in the beachfront whirlpool while gazing out over the ocean or choose from a range of sports and activities. If you long to explore the island then you can venture out of your tropical retreat to discover the best of Barbados with the resort’s exclusive attraction programme. With 11 gourmet dining experiences there is something to suit every mood and occasion. Discover diverse cuisines from around the world, including Bombay Club — Sandals’ first Indian restaurant, teppanyaki-style dishes at Kimono’s, juicy steaks at Butch’s Chophouse and indulgent desserts at Café de Paris – a Parisian-style patisserie. You can also enjoy regular theme nights and weekly events including a beach party and Caribbean night. Stay cool in the day while sipping cocktails at the swim-up bar and enjoy unlimited and all-inclusive 5-star Premium Liquors in the evening while watching the flickering flames of one of the romantic fire pits. As part of Sandals' exclusive 'Stay at One, Play at All' exchange programme, you'll also have access to the amenities, four bars and six restaurants at neighbouring Sandals Royal Barbados. Rooms are set in three different areas: the Caribbean Village which is nestled in tropical gardens, the Crystal Lagoon Village which overlooks the sparkling lagoon, and the Beachfront Village which offers sea views. Upgrade to an opulent Beachfront One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub for exquisite views over the turquoise sea.

Sea Breeze Beach House by Ocean Hotels

This superbly renovated, intimate all-inclusive resort occupies a magnificent stretch of beach and is equally suitable for couples and families, with designated areas set a comfortable distance apart. Kids can splash around in the family pool before heading to the Lil Dippers Club for Playstation and Nintendo games plus films teens can enjoy gaming, air hockey, table tennis and indoor basketball in their own area, Shore Break Lounge and the adults-only area has exclusive Jacuzzis. Relax in the hot tubs or on the wet deck of the lap pool, or take advantage of a couples’ in-room spa service. Sink into one of the luxurious sun loungers and stay cool without moving a muscle as friendly pool attendants offer icy towels and delicious sorbets. The views across the water to Oistins Bay are spectacular or, to enjoy a different perspective you can swim out to the floating sun deck and gaze back at the coast. Choose a spot along 300 metres of beachfront, whether you’re after an area suited for watersports or a more secluded setting that’s perfect for swimming. The beautiful new Mahogany Lounge serves delicious Bajan and Caribbean cuisine and has a trendy beachside bar. Enjoy fresh seafood and steaks for lunch and dinner at Aqua Terra, with casual lounge seating on a sunset deck. Tuck into made-to-order pizzas, pastas, salads and tasty dishes hot off the grill at The Flying Fish. Dress to impress at the sophisticated Cerulean restaurant for fine dining and exquisite sea views. For a supplement, head to the Chef’s Table for a superb five-course menu paired with premium wines, in selected pop-up locations around the property. Satisfy sweet cravings with a homemade pastry, ice-cream or Bajan Cutter (filled roll) at the newly added De Rum Shop Café, which also offers rum tastings, ice-cold local Banks beer, fruity rum punch and rum-infused gourmet coffees. Enjoy laid-back evenings at a choice of bars with regular live music. For a supplement, indulge in private dining either cliffside, in the gazebo or on the sand. The beautifully renovated rooms and suites are all very spacious with a beach-chic style – picture grey wood, splashes of turquoise and colourful prints. Classic Collection rooms are set in three locations with different views. We recommend upgrading to one of the conveniently located Classic Poolside/Garden Rooms or one of the Classic Ocean View Rooms. The Luxury Collection suites are set in the heart of the property and offer extra space, stunning sea views and luxurious extras such as a daily pre-stocked mini bar and a daily in-room canapé selection. Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suites have a spacious balcony with panoramic ocean views.

Little Good Harbour

This charming hideaway is set in a sleepy fishing village and offers a refreshing alternative to the livelier west-coast resorts. Here, you can experience the best of both worlds – enjoy the friendly service and amenities of a boutique hotel as well as the home comforts, exclusivity and privacy of a villa. Nothing is too much trouble for the welcoming staff who go out of their way to make you feel at home. Sink into a sun lounger by one of the pretty pools or cross the road to the small but beautiful white-sand beach. Go snorkelling in search of colourful fish or head out on Captain Dwayne’s water taxi for the chance to spot turtles. The 17th-Century fort has been carefully restored and houses the celebrated Fish Pot Restaurant which is renowned for its delicious seafood. Set across the road from the cottages, the restaurant offers a romantic setting for candlelit dinners with spellbinding ocean views and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. We recommend booking for dinner as this popular restaurant attracts locals and visitors from all over the island. Kuoni customers can also enjoy an exclusive meal here during the summer. The charming and spacious suites are set in white-washed cottages sprinkled in the gardens or within the historic fort at the water’s edge. Each suite features Balinese furnishings, airy living space and a fully equipped kitchen complete with fridge, oven, stove and microwave. One Bedroom Garden Suites are split-level and overlook the gardens. The Two Bedroom Ocean Fort Suite is even more spacious and is set on the upper level of the historic fort with en-suite bedrooms and incredible ocean views – perfect for families. Kitchens can be pre-stocked with groceries before your arrival so that you’ll have everything you need waiting for you when you arrive.

Sugar Bay Barbados

This resort is tucked away in tropical gardens edging a protected lagoon and soft white sands the beach is home to nesting leatherback turtles, and the tranquil bay’s calm waters are a great alternative to the crashing surf of other south-coast resorts. The elegant interiors are cool and airy with boho-chic furniture and a blend of contemporary and traditional touches – from sparkling chandeliers and lush plants to bright prints and a wall of colourful chattel house shutters. Lounge by the small pool, sip cocktails at the swim-up bar or enjoy a siesta in one of the hammocks strewn between palms. Reef serves delicious dishes and themed buffets including Caribbean and Mediterranean. There are two superb speciality restaurants – Sizzle Steakhouse and UMI, an Asian-fusion restaurant – and a traditional rum shop for lunch, snacks and drinks, with specialities such as spicy fried flying fish and coconut cream pie. Evenings are fairly low-key with live music and film nights on the beach. The contemporary rooms are set in the main building or on the hillside, with a balcony or terrace, free Wi-Fi and toiletries by The White Company. Signature Rooms offer pool or garden views. Upgrade to a Deluxe Signature Room for extra space or an Oceanfront Room for stunning sea views. The Family Suites have a separate living room with sofa bed and are ideal if you’re travelling in a small group.

Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels

This beachfront boutique-style hotel is divided into two sections — the beach side which is home to the family-friendly rooms and lounge pool, complete with cabanas and day beds, or across the road in the peaceful adults-only area where you'll find the spa, serenity pool, whirlpool and yoga pavilion. Guests staying for a week or longer can enjoy between one and four free spa treatments depending on room type, including massages, soothing facials and pedicures. Guests are encouraged to stay fit and healthy with a range of activities, from motorised watersports to fitness classes. When it comes to dining there are plenty of healthy options as well as some indulgent treats. Shiso serves freshly made-to-order Asian dishes and sushi while Seascape offers Mediterranean-infused cuisine with stunning open-air views of the sea. Grab a wrap and latte to go at Kýma, the coffee bar and deli which also offers a range of tempting pastries and ice creams. Relax by the pool or on the beach as the hotel’s ‘ambassadors’ bring round iced water, frozen grapes and ice creams to cool you down. And if you fancy a change of scene you can take the complimentary water taxi to select sister hotels on the west coast and make the most of the group's Dine Around Programme. The eco-chic rooms have neutral tones and splashes of colour. Families are welcome in the Oceanside Building while the adults-only rooms are located in the Spa Building. Standard Guest Rooms include one spa treatment per guest. The Pool View Spa Guest Rooms have a balcony, overlook the Serenity Pool and include two spa treatments per guest. The spacious Oceanfront Split-Level Rooms have incredible sea views and four spa treatments per guest.

South Beach Hotel by Ocean Hotels

This wonderfully central hotel emulates the chic laid-back cool of Miami’s South Beach, with its Art Deco-style lobby and stylish pool area, complete with plush loungers. After you’ve been welcomed with a delicious rum punch, you’ll be itching to sink your toes into the sand or explore the local shops and bars. Lively St Lawrence Gap is just a 20-minute walk away and you can hop in a cab to Bridgetown. Cross over the road to reach one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, where guests can enjoy complimentary beach service with sun loungers, or sip cocktails and keep cool with complimentary ice lollies by the pool which runs along the length of the property. Breakfast is served poolside or in the air-conditioned restaurant, and you can enjoy a range of restaurants within a short walk of the property. Don’t miss daily cocktail specials at the poolside bar and the chance to mingle with fellow guests at the manager’s weekly cocktail party. The spacious rooms and suites have a fresh and stylish design with splashes of yellow and grey plus modern amenities. Junior Suites have a kitchenette and balcony with pool views, while One Bedroom Suites have a balcony, living area and full kitchen. The One Bedroom Penthouse has a large balcony offering the best views over the Caribbean Sea, and if you’re travelling as a family then you might want to opt for a Two Bedroom Suite – an interconnecting Junior Suite and One Bedroom Suite with two private balconies. Make the most of your suite's cooking facilities by arranging for the concierge to stock your kitchen with your favourite food and drinks, ready for your arrival.

Treasure Beach by Elegant Hotels

Treasure Beach lies on the picture-perfect Platinum Coast of Barbados, just a stone’s throw from one of the Caribbean’s most distinguished and desirable coastal hotspots, Sandy Lane. This recently refurbished boutique resort has a culinary and art focus and offers outstanding service, with Beach and Pool Ambassadors on hand to provide extras like refreshing poolside drinks and cool towels. There’s an excellent choice of aquatic and land-based activities your romantic getaway could feature free paddleboarding lessons on the calm seafront, exclusive tours of pottery studios and local galleries, and serene nature excursions. For dining, the hotel’s Tapestry Restaurant has a broad range of enticing menus including brunch, tapas and Chef’s Palette – an inspirational à la carte menu from award-winning chef Javon Cummins which expertly blends Caribbean textures and flavours. Indulge in a Chef’s Dinner for two, enjoy a different cocktail each evening at the complimentary Sundowner Hour each night, or sample the selection of cocktails and late-night happy hour which make Batik Bar a favourite. You may even like to try an authentic sommelier or mixology experience at its Wine Cellar, a charming venue which hosts regular tastings. While Treasure Beach prides itself on mouth-watering local cuisine, guests can also enjoy a variety of signature experiences at nearby sister properties as part of the hotel’s Taste of Elegance Dine Around Programme. It’s easy to get between resorts, too, as Treasure Beach’s personalised Water Taxi service will whisk you along the coastline on your culinary journey. The hotel has 35 luxury one-bedroom suites, adorned with regional and local art. Ranging from the elegance of the landscaped Pool View Room to the serenity of a Garden View Room surrounded by tropical foliage, each has separate living space and a private balcony or patio. To soak up the iconic turquoise waters and marvel at the spotless white sands, upgrade to an Ocean View One Bedroom suite. The Deluxe and Luxury Ocean View suites have a private outdoor plunge pool.

Sandals Royal Barbados

Head down to south-coast Maxwell Beach and you’ll find this recent addition to Sandals’ portfolio, the younger sister to neighbouring Sandals Barbados. It follows the same Luxury Included® concept with great service and an incredible range of facilities and watersports, but also has some particularly neat features. The sleek white-washed design is punctuated with an eclectic mix of Mediterranean-style terracotta roofs and thatched rondoval cottages there’s a glass-fronted infinity pool which cascades down towards the beach, framed by futuristic pyramid-shaped cabanas. Take a break from sunbathing at Sandals’ first four-lane bowling alley, grab a drink from the adjacent Lover’s Lane Craft Beer Bar and unwind in the rooftop pool as the sun sets over Oistins Bay. As well as the usual array of outstanding dining, we love the pair of new restaurants here. Visit Chi Asian Fusion to experience the flavours of China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all in one menu discover the lesser-known delights of US food at American Tavern, from New England Clam Chowder to Maryland Crab Cakes. Be sure to try Sandals’ debut gourmet doughnut shop and Jerk Shack, too. As part of the brand’s exclusive 'Stay at One, Play at All' exchange programme, you'll also have access to the amenities, bars and restaurants next door at Sandals Barbados. Rooms are light, splashed with seaside colour and spread across three areas – Royal Seaside Village opens out onto Maxwell Beach’s white sands, the Rondoval Suites are in the middle of the resort and South Seas Village sits at the other end. Go all out and choose one of the beachfront rooms – the Beachfront One Bedroom Skypool Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub has a private cantilevered infinity-edge skypool, and the Honeymoon Suite is literally steps from the sand.

O2 Beach Club & Spa

The fresh and contemporary O2 Beach Club & Spa is fronted by a sweeping, palm-lined beach with talcum soft sands and an exclusive feeling. The name gives a clue to the vibe here: it’s a cool and contemporary beach club with glistening pools (there’s one for everyone and a couple that are for adults only) and casual bars and eateries only a few steps away from your memory-foam sunbed. The resort’s spa is set to open in November 2021 and will offer a wide range of muscle-melting treatments. You can even gain a few new skills when you are on holiday thanks to the range of hands-on ‘Learn-to’ experiences that range from steel pan playing and rum punch making to Hobie Cat sailing. If you upgrade to the Concierge Collection, you’ll receive one of these experiences free during your stay. Elements is the resort’s main restaurant where a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. In the evening, there’s also the opportunity to enjoy à la carte dishes. An alternative casual option and both lunch and dinner is the open-air Blue Fin Beachside Grill where the dishes come with a side of sea views. For an evening of fine dining, head to Oro which also also comes complete with exceptional views of the Caribbean. On Saturday, the beach becomes a lively dining spot as guests enjoy Bajan specialities with their toes in the sand. Possibly the most spectacular venue at the resort is the Sky Terrace Lounge, a bistro where you can snack on small plates and take in views of the famous Oistins Bay. Each of the rooms and suites is modern in style with splashes of colour and a covered private balcony or terrace. The Club Rooms are located in the main building and have a king-size bed and island views. We highly recommend upgrading to either the Luxury Collection Suites or the Concierge Collection Suites. Alongside the all-inclusive package, you’ll get extra benefits such credit to use at the spa, speciality concierge service and access to Sea Breeze Beach House. Golfers will also love these suites one round per person is included for stays of five nights or more from November to April and unlimited rounds are included from May to October. The Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suites and Concierge Two Bedroom Bay View Suites are just a couple of the options – the latter being great for groups or families.


Minimum stay: 7 nights 16 Dec-07 Jan. This hotel is not available on selected dates throughout the year. There is a room levy payable locally on departure.

• Enjoy local watersports such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding* • Discover the west coast by water taxi* • Enjoy the ‘fish of the day’ at the local market* • Discover exotic plants at nearby Welchman Hall Gully* • Book a romantic sunset dinner cruise on luxury catamaran* • Hire a car to discover the rugged beaches and breathtaking views of the north coast*


Two Appa's, Umma and Wapamma

It was the best of times in the 1940s in Colonial Ceylon under British rule since 1805. Our parents married in 1943 and moved to #300 Galle Road at Bambalapitiya. Our maternal grandparents, Rasheed Appa & Ummu Thahira (Umma), together with our maternal uncles Zubair (JumMama) and Faiz (FaMama), and aunt Ummu Naseeha, also moved in with us. Our paternal grandparents, Sameer Appa & Wapamma, together with the rest of their unmarried children, our paternal uncles and aunts, lived next door at #298. The married ones had already moved to their own homes in Wekande in Slave Island and Lily Avenue, Wellawatte.

All three of us, Mumtaz, Fazli & Firoze, were born between 1945 and '50 . Growing up in the two sprawling mansions at Bambalapitiya was a truly memorable experience. The extensive land behind both homes stretched down towards the Indian Ocean and encompassed almost an acre. Coconut, fruits, flowers, and vegetables grew abundantly in the rich soil watered by the monsoon rains.

Rasheed Appa, our maternal Grandpa was a very striking human being with an extremely strong personality, kindness, and charm. He ran his own indenting agency business called "Kingston Agencies" from home and represented many famous European brands of food, clothing, soft toys, and other gadgets. All he had was a portable Remington typewriter on which he used to type and send out his mail to his principals in Europe and clients in Ceylon.

Appa, as we called him, was always nattily dressed in his buttoned up shirt, sarong, and jacket. His chiseled face sported a small beard and his hair was always neatly combed sideways. Often he used an umbrella since rains were always a feature of the city in the tropics. His shiny grey Austin A40 bore the registration plate number CN786.

The nature of his indenting business gave him the opportunity to meet and know many British heads of companies in Colombo with whom he had direct dealing in making sure their orders were executed by the principals he represented, overseas. Pearl Barley from Holland was one of his more lucrative products and our garage at the back was always stacked with crates of the stuff awaiting the importers to call over and collect.

It was related to us by Umma (Ummu Thahira), our maternal grandma, that Appa had visited Europe with a few of his friends and relatives sometime before we were all born and had many an interesting story to relate about his sojourn in England, France, Italy, and Switzerland.

On one occasion in the early 50's, one of his principals from Europe decided to visit Colombo. He had to hurriedly convert the front verandah and living room of our home at #300 into a makeshift office to entertain them. The sofas were moved around, writing desks were put in specific corners, his sons and a nephew, were nattily dressed and seated at the desks posing off as employees, and a sign was also put up at the front of the house. Rasheed Appa's maternal first cousin (mom’s sis’s son) Sir Razik Fareed, Kt, OBE, JPUM, who lived a stone’s throw away at Fareed Place in Bambalapitiya, also participated at the discussions. The visitors were extremely impressed at the posh mansion like office that was apparent.

Appa was also a very hot movie goer and didn't miss many of the films that were being aired in the cinemas in those times. Tamil movies were mainly his forte and he, accompanied by his sidekicks, Rahman uncle (aka MammaGhouse Uncle), Junaid Appa (JunAppa), and Samsudeen Uncle used to patronize the late night movies that went on till midnight very often.

Gardening was something Appa cherished all his life and he instilled this valuable trait into all of us by getting us to help him in watering, pruning, clearing, and maintaining the massive plantation that encircled the house both, at the front and back. It was fun and we enjoyed it very much and also learned the importance of plant life.

Animal husbandry was another key factor at #300. We had chickens, ducks, turkey, and even a pair of goats, one black and one white, named Laila and Majnoon. Rounding up the hens in the evening and making sure they were all locked safely in their cages, to protect them from the jaws of the polecat and bandicoot at night, was a task we had to deliver diligently every single day. We also had the glorious opportunity to see Laila & Majnoon have kids. Watching the birth itself was a sensational experience for us little kids. An event that will always remain in our minds. At #298, next door, they also had a pair of deer with whom we spent many a time in fun and frolic.

Rattan-weaving was another wonderful task that Appa taught us. We had several armchairs and lounge chairs that were made of wood and rattan. While the task was arduous and painful to the fingers we still enjoyed weaving the defective chairs as and when it became necessary.

Sometime in 1960 Appa decided to make the pilgrimage of Hajj by ship and we were all extremely excited about it. While we missed him tremendously when he was away, his return brought us great joy as he loaded us with so many goodies he had purchased from Makkah and Madinah. The Tahinah Arabic sweet was the most savored by the family. Others received "worry" beads, prayer mats, skull caps, and Zamzam water.

Hameed (deceased), aka Abu, who was almost my age, came to live with us from his village in Rakwana in the 50s. He grew up with us and Appa took care of him like his own grandson. His parents were employed in the tea estate and they had wanted a better life for their son in Colombo. He went on to become a professional electrician and started his own building contracting business, Island Electricals, located on the seaside at the top of Vaverset Place in Wellawatte, Colombo-6.

Abu's brother Sheriff (deceased), joined the family in Colombo and went on to live with Ummu Naseeha, Appa's youngest daughter, in Kiribathgoda. He went on to become a very popular Chef at one of the leading hotels in the North central Province.

Another brother, Zainudeen Marikkar Hassen known as Deen, also came down to Colombo and was raised by Appa until he too went on to join Island Electricals together with his older brother. Deen married a Moor girl from Panadura and moved south to live and run the business from there.

Alvis, our driver, used to work for S S Issadeen, GA at Matara, and had come to live and work for us after he was relinquished of his services there. He was a skillful artist and had some sensational drawings on the garage wall, at the back of the house, which he also used as his abode. He spent many years with us and moved on only in the early 1990s.

Umma, on the other hand was the most patient lady we have ever known. Quiet, unassuming, confined to her little space in the house, she ran the place like a CEO, managing the kitchen help and ensuring that food was always served on the table. She was Appa's first cousin and the family ties, from the "Shothian" family they both belonged to, were very close between the two of them.

During our teen years we were always bailed out by Umma whenever we needed some extra cash for a movie, ice cream, or other delicacy. She used to keep her cash knotted at the end of her Saree fall that was flung over her shoulder from back to front.

A very significant trait of Umma was that she woke up at 5 am every single day, offered her morning prayers and opened all the doors of the house, front and back. They never feared thieves, robbers, or intruders, in those times.

Under Umma's watch the lunch table was ready and served by 12 noon and we had to eat together with the family. In addition the food would be covered up with a large cane basket and left on the table till almost 4pm. During this time many visitors would come in to the house and partake pf the meal. That was her great delight to sit and chat with them while they ate. And then it was tea time. Biscuits and tea properly brewed in a pot. Served in tea cups with saucers. There were no tea bags then. We had to wash before we sat at the table, especially after a sweaty game of cricket on weekends.

During the Islamic month of Ramadan (fasting) Umma would command the house help to have the Cunjee, Dates, Savories, and Curries all prepared and ready by sunset. She even woke up early to cook the early morning meal of Suhur for the family that was usually served by 3:30 am.

Later on all of Mums siblings married and moved on to their own homes in Colombo and the emptiness in the house was most significant.

Appa passed away in the late 60s after suffering a stroke. It was a sad day for the whole family at #300. Umma moved on much later in 1979. They both had 13 grand children from their four children.

Rasheed Appa (Appa) & Ummu Thahira (Umma)

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Right next door, adjacent to #300 and also attached to it by a common wall at the back, was #298 where our paternal Grandparents, Sameer Appa (Appa) and Raliya Umma (Wapamma), lived with their seven unmarried children. Three, including Dad, were already married and had moved to their own residences.

The oldest, Rameela Aunty (BigMaamee), had moved with her husband AWM Ghouse and their children to Wekande in Slave Island. Saleema Aunty (SmallMaamee), with her husband, MM Sheriff, and children had moved to her own home at Lily Avenue in Wellawatte. The ones remaining were Aunts Noor Jazeela, Sithy Ameena, Sithy Rahma, Khalisa, and uncles Ismail, Farooq and Sadiq.

Wapamma (our maternal Grandma) suffered from acute Arthritis and was confined to a bed or wheel chair as far as we can all remember. Yet, she was the live wire of the family and ran the home all by herself with the assistance of her unmarried daughters who lived at #298. Street vendors used to call at our door each morning and Wapamma entertained them in her bedroom, selecting fish, vegetables, and fruits, that were required for the day. Her enthusiasm to make typical Ceylon Moor sweets on a regular basis was relished by one and all. Kalu Dodol was the hot favorite even though it required a massive logistical effort, in terms of preparation, to deliver. Other delicacies were Sheenakka, SurutAppam, Ada, Takbeer Sweet, Awal Cunjee, and Sego Muscat.

Sameer Appa (aka Appa), our paternal Grandpa, used to work as The Chief Clerk at the Colombo Municipality under the British Raj. On retirement he spent most of his days at home involved very seriously in researching Ceylon Moor history, culture, and genealogy. His works have been published by the Moors' Islamic Cultural Home where he was an extremely active member throughout his life.

Appa used to walk us along Galle Road with his black umbrella held high above us, to Wellawatte, and down to Lily Avenue, opposite the market, to Ms Poulier's Nursery School, when we were very little. His oldest daughter, Rameela (Big maamee) lived right next door to the Poulier's, so he spent the rest of the day there until school was over at 11 am. Then, we walked together along the beach back home to Bambalapitiya watching the trains pass, the birds in the sky, fishermen, vendors, and people. many were the questions we had and he answered them all so very patiently and honestly. The lessons learned were invaluable.

Later on, when we started schooling at Royal Primary School, he used to accompany us by rickshaw every morning to school and back.

A significant activity of his was the monthly trek to the CMC to collect his pension. Usually one of his grandsons would accompany him on this venture as Wapamma was very concerned about his safety and also the safety of his pension. The bus ride to the Town Hall was always a very illuminating one where he would relate many an interesting story about the streets, places, homes, buildings, and businesses that we passed along.

At the CMC, Appa had the grand opportunity of meeting with many of his old colleagues from his working days and enjoyed the chit chat very much. After collecting the pension we would take a bus to the Pettah and go straight to M D Gunasena & Company Ltd. where he would purchase all his stationery needs for his work. Foolscap paper, carbon paper, pins and clips, gum, and other items were his needs. Then we would trudge along to The Bombay Sweet Meat Mart down Keyzer Street and enjoy a cool drink of Faludha while we ordered a whole selection of sweets, Muscat, Halwa, Rose Syrup, Jaggery, and other delicacies for the home. Lunch was always at Pilawoos in he Pettah. The trip back was always by taxi as we had to carry all the purchases and it was also more safer even if it was costlier than the bus ride. I forgot to mention that Wapamma would always give Appa a huge safety pin to attach the pension envelope to his inner jacket pocket for safety, so that pickpockets lurking in the bazaar areas of downtown Colombo wouldn't be able to grab them easily.

On returning home, Appa would give the whole of whatever remained from his pension to Wapamma to manage the domestic expenses. He didnt need any money until his next pension. Their relationship was most exemplary and they lived a grand life until the end. Wapamma was the first to pass and Appa wept like a baby. I can never forget that moment. He moved on a few years later.

Sundays were always family day when all the children and grand children of our grand parents used to gather at #298. We played a game of cricket during the morning while the gals prepared kidu lunch which was always served on long banana leaves on the floor. Sunday Choice in the afternoon was always blaring on the Radio and dessert was Elephant House Family Block Ice Cream. The uncles used to engage in playing cards till the late evening when tea was served with Murukku, Pakkoda, and spicy mixture from Ramjee Lodge, the vegetarian restaurant across the street.


The efforts that Appa executed in researching Ceylon Moor history and genealogy was extensive. Towards the latter stages of his life it was us, his grandsons, who helped him out with the typing as his ageing fingers were getting weary. All his research was neatly typed out on his massive Olivetti typewriter and filed methodically in named archives. Appa and Wapamma had 34 grand children from their ten children.

Sameer Appa (Appa) & Railya Umma (Wapamma)
It is interesting to note that one of the grandsons, Fazli, has carried on Sameer Appa's genealogy research, after his demise, and all of the data is now available online on the internet in the Sri Lanka Genealogy Website.


Reviews

My first trip to India and with Exodus, this certainly wont be my last. Everything ran smoothly and was so informative and magical due to the charismatic and thoughtful tour leader Sam G Benjamin.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

So much culture! Impromtu detours courtesy of Sam which was so interesting and which if we were travelling solo we would of missed. For example the Hindu festival at a temple with elephants, magical. The tuktuk rides! The walk around the rural village.

What did you think of your group leader?

Brilliant could not have wished for better.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

This taster of the tropical south of India offers the traveler a wide variety of locations and experiences, and while some may be more appealing than others there is always something to appreciate and enjoy every day. There are sharp contrasts between the manic street life of cities like Madurai and the peace and calm of the more rural locations such as Munnar, Periyar, and the backwaters of Kottayam. The pace of the trip varies and some days are more full-on than others, but there are opportunities to recover from the more strenuous periods and sufficient optional activities for those with the energy to keep going. The itinerary takes in plenty of interesting diversions, and more than a few extracurricular surprises. At the end you will be amazed by how much you have packed into the trip.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

So many unforgettable moments, it is very difficult to select just one. The trek through the tea plantations at Munnar was an early highlight, although the mists and low cloud obscured what should have been stunning views. The whole experience at Madurai was amazing: a constant wall of sound, with crazy drivers (and a rollercoaster of a tuk tuk ride at night), an unmissable early morning heritage walk (with such a diversity of activities unfolding), followed by a visit to the wonderful Meenakshi Temple, and dining out on street food in the evening. The stop off at the spice garden was informative and offered an opportunity to sample and buy the local products. The cookery demonstration at Thekkady got everyone involved and was highly entertaining (with some tasty food as the end result), while the homestay gave us some of the best food of the whole trip. The houseboat experience was possibly the most inspirational moment, so peaceful and relaxing and a splendid way to wind down towards the end of the itinerary.

What did you think of your group leader?

We could not fault San in any way. He was an exceptional leader with excellent interpersonal skills, and he organised the whole trip in a professional and responsive way. His knowledge of all aspects of local Indian life, culture and society was amazing and he was always ready to offer just the right amount and level of information, whether explaining what we were experiencing or answering questions from the group. His sense of humour engaged with the group and helped to make us a unit. We were aware he was having to deal with a number of issues behind the scenes (the spread of coronavirus was a constant concern) but he managed them calmly and kept us informed about everything we needed to know. We were always confident that he was acting in our best interests and giving us the best possible experience.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

You need to take a travel plug for the basins if you want to use them for washing or shaving, as few - if any - of the rooms have them. Make sure you take plenty of hand sanitizer and apply a rigorous hygiene regime at all times, to avoid any unwelcome bugs if you are careful you should be fine. Take a travel toilet roll or tissues out with you as outside of the hotels few toilets have any toilet paper. There are plenty of opportunities for laundering clothes during the trip and they are very cheap. Using them could reduce the amount of clothes you need to pack.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Don’t expect much from the visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: it really is a matter of luck if you see any wildlife, let alone elephants (our guide tried valiantly but in vain to locate them), and you won’t see much from the boat cruise on the lake there unless you are seated right on the outside or the front. Day 6 in Madurai was very full-on and some in our group found it too tiring towards the end, after an early morning start for the heritage walk followed by visits to the temple and palace before a long evening out sampling the street food. All of these events offered wonderful experiences, however it might be better to have the street food walk on the previous evening (Day 5) to allow for a more leisurely end to Day 6.

When I booked I hoped for a good memorable holiday, what I came home was an amazing experience that will live with me forever! It exceeded my expectations

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Too many too mention all of them! However need to mention ( no particular order) the visit to a local school, the overnight stay on the backwater, the lady making bricks, going to the cinema, the flower market, tuck tuck ride, the food, the people and everything on the itinerary. The overnight stay on the back was extremely relaxing, comfortable accommodation and we where served delicious food for lunch and dinner. Prior to dinner we had a short walk to an uninhabited island on the way seeing local people going about their lives . Visiting the school (3-8year olds) we where given the warmest welcome from the adorable children. They welcomed us by singing songs, in return we sang to them (Old McDonald had a farm!! ) We all had big smiles as we left . impossible not too!!

What did you think of your group leader?

Santo was a great ambassador for Exodus, always well presented, professional, friendly with smile no matter what. Knowledgeable, always offering interesting alternative suggestions to try not on the itinerary. Being responsive to the group wishes, an awareness of each member of the group and ready to accommodate their needs. Whether it was assisting with food suggestions or finding a working ATM (Mondays they often run out of cash), nothing was too much trouble for him.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Grab every opportunity to experience not only what’s on the itinerary but the amazing non scheduled events offered. This gives you a real insight into this amazing country ! All too good to miss! Go with an open mind and be willing to embrace every experience you can even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. You may like me enjoy something new and learn a lot about yourself, Don’t expect it to be perfect, nowhere is and therefore you will be disappointed. Change is good !

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Kerala is open for business following the floods! The infrastructure has been restored. Experienced no problems with travelling or accommodation, everything went smoothly. It’s a beautiful country, well worth seeing don’t hesitate. You will not regret it, I didn’t!

An action packed two weeks in an India I was not expecting. Kerala is a beautiful state (apart from the rubbish everywhere) and seems a more affluent part of India. We were not hassled for money all the time and the local people were all really friendly. We filled every day with new experiences, from going to the laundry in Cochin, to stopping on the road to meet locals making bricks with their hands and feet, then watching the tea pickers working in the hot sun for very little money. Once you get used to the traffic, the cities were fascinating and there was so much to see. The Bollywood film we saw was dreadful, but a great experience. Had to be done. Most of the hotels were of a good standard but the rooms at Kovalan, described as a Comfort Hotel, which I thought was supposed to be better than Standard, were very tired and most of the electric sockets didn't work. I was disappointed that due to a forest fire, we were unable to do the morning jungle walk and the only option was a packed boat trip along the river, where we did see wildlife, but mostly at a distance. The food was very good on the whole trip, and so cheap! I was not aware of anyone being unwell.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

The houseboat was wonderful, made better by buying freshwater prawns from the local fish market. The best meal of the whole trip and our boat was the only one which had them. The early morning walk in Madurai was great, seeing the wholesale traders selling their wares. It seemed like no other tourists went there, so it was more special. I loved the Muhamma Backwater Resort we stayed at, but I had the best room, overlooking the lake. It was such a peaceful, beautiful place to stay. I could have stayed there longer. I was lucky to travel with such a fun group. Even though we were of different ages, we shared a sense of humour and adventure and they made the 2 weeks very special

What did you think of your group leader?

Sibil was an excellent local leader. He filled our days with sights and activities and had a lot of local knowledge. He was not always easy to understand and sometimes he did not understand us, but with a little patience everything worked out OK and he made sure we were all where we were supposed to be. He was very helpful and always cheerful. Even when we arranged our own activities and he had time off, he always was at hand to assist if we needed transport or anything else.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Don't take too many clothes, you can buy very cheap cotton items everywhere, which are ideal in the tropical heat. I took my walking poles for the morning trek amongst the tea plantations, but it was very easy and more of a stroll than a trek and I didn't need them. Take European plug adaptors, they are most commonly used. The Martial Arts display at Thekkady is recommended, but if you book for the Kathakali dance display, don't expect Bangra music and dancing girls! You have been warned! Only one room had a hairdryer, but they were available on request. Be prepared for long drives, travel always took longer than anticipated. Though the bus was comfortable and air conditioned. Take snacks. At the Homestay, take care in the bathroom as the floor is very slippery and one of our group fell and broke her arm. I was advised by people at home to only eat vegetables during the trip, but I did eat fish and chicken with no problems. You can ask for food less spicy, so the heat was never a problem.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would highly recommend this trip

We had 15 people on our group tour. We were from various walks of life and occupations, we were made up of several single people a couple, a mother and daughter, friends travelling together up to 3 people and a family, we were mostly female group with only two men and aged between 20’s up to 70’s. We all got along nicely and enjoyed sharing experiences. Many people were pretty well travelled and at least two of us had never been to India previously. Our trip was made up of people from Britain, Australia and Hungry which made group dynamics more interesting. Kerala and Tamu Nadu offer some of the most scenically beautiful countryside the world has to offer! There is great cultural diversity seen here too. Wildlife is present but perhaps not in the numbers you might hope. This area offers great experiences and some architectural and historical delights. You will see tea plantations, rivers, mountains, forests, wonderful back waters and beaches. It is very green and so can be wet at times which impacted on us at Periyar when walking in the forest so little seen due to mist other than black monkey’s and hearing a lone bull elephant breaking branches (so still exciting!). The hills at Munnar are a pleasant warm temperature, however if you like more sun and humidity you are likely to also experience this on your trip too. This is a fantastic trip although, I think leisurely may not be how I would categorise this as some people struggled a little with the treks and there are long travelling days ahead. 4 to 7 hours although you often stop to see things along the way such as fruit bats, brick factory etc. You will likely experience some cold showers from time to time in the always clean and decent accommodation furthermore, you are likely to have some periods whereby you might benefit from taking along snacks if you need to eat very regularly.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

- Seeing a wild bull elephant at a local village and the journey by jeep to reach it, the atmosphere was electric. - The trek up hill from the tea plantations, surrounding scenery and the magical dragonflies in their hundreds. - The cycle rickshaw ride weaving its way through the crowded streets towards an imposing and beautiful temple at Madurai. - Enjoying “a time that once was” on the backwaters and relaxing on a comfortable houseboat. - Tantalising the taste buds with delectable vegetarian curries and delicious sea food. My friend noted the early morning cultural excursion at Madurai was excellent and I an sorry to have missed it!

What did you think of your group leader?

Sam is a friendly guy who is helpful and tries to provide extra when individuals have specialist requests to see something specific i.e. cultural excursion, Although, he doesn’t appear as interested in nature (as I am!). Sam perhaps left plan updates a little late in the day for our group members, however we was knowledgeable and we felt always felt safe with him around.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Leave room in your case if you would like to buy gifts. This part of India is great for material, silk and cotton garments, textiles, wood carvings, metal and wooden ornaments and spices. Loose breathable fabrics as it can be very hot and humid. Pack an brolly/rain coat and a camera to capture the many splendours. A walking pole is useful when hiking if only to prevent slipping on muddy descents. Bring Snacks if you have a high metabolic rate and burn up calories fast as you might get hungry on the longer journeys. We experienced a few bites but nothing significant so cover up to avoid or use a little deet. Mainly bring with you a sense of humour and do all the activities on offer (although, note some suggested optional excursions in our case were not available. Also take sufficient cash or even better a card, Sam was great at ensuring ATM’s we’re regularly visited but if like me you take cash get plenty exchanged before you go on the one night stays as I had to borrow money off Sam our guide which was very kind of him but I did not ask for too much as I quickly realised others in my group had done the same and this meant I did not have my usual independence to spend as much as I wanted too! My friend and I did not get any sickness or diarrhoea but we ate where Sam recommended, I did not really eat meat but loved the fish. I consumed little in the way of diary although milk is said to be pasteurised and the water was filtered at the places we visited so take a water bottle and fill up on the bus. Have a massage when staying up in the hills at Periyar locality, a number of our group enjoyed them, you will get the same gender and it is worth every penny. Cover shoulders, chest and knees at temples. My friend and I would also recommend you do this in Kovalam too when walking to the harbour as to reduce undue male attention as men here can intensively stare! which can feel unnerving / unsafe at times, keep to tourist areas here too particularly if alone female and do not wander off the beaten track. There is a lot of rubbish outside and some unpleasant odours. The tourist bay itself has some great shops and restaurants. Wonderful sunsets can be seen here and the beach is pleasant but the sea can be a little choppy. The shop owners are friendly in the lovely tourist bay and there is access to tailors for those wanting clothes made up.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

This trip was fun, enjoyable, interesting and I would recommend it! Hope you enjoy it as much as my friend and I did. We saw amazing things, met great people and took in some of the best scenery the world has to offer.

This was such a good trip! I've wanted to go to Kerela for a long time and I wasn't in the least bit disappointed when I finally got there. This trip had something for everyone in it: wonderful scenery, wildlife, food and people! We covered a lot of ground, literally, and the itinerary was wonderfully varied in content.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

One of my highlights was the trek in the Munnar hills where we walked up through the tea plantations to gain breath-taking views of the surrounding area including the highest peak in South India, Anamudi. Made me want to come back and trek next time!

What did you think of your group leader?

Our group leader, Santo, was a star! Knowledgeable, flexible, and engaging with a good sense of humour and attention to detail. Nothing was too much trouble!

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

This is a great way to experience India, especially if you haven't ever been before - the people are so friendly and welcoming and the itinerary offers so many opportunities to learn about the country, its history and its culture.

An excellent, very well-balanced tour around Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It provided a good insight into the life, culture and landscapes of these two states.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

The day spent walking through beautifully green tea plantations in the Kannan Devan Hills from our base in Munnar, and then up up up!! The views were stunning, and actually attaining a summit that at first appeared to be way too high provided a fantastic sense of personal achievement.

What did you think of your group leader?

Our group leader, Philip Rojan, was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the history of the region, its culture, its people, architecture, geography and food! He did a great job, which made for a wonderful holiday.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

A highly recommendable and thoroughly enjoyable tour. You will not be disappointed. However, you should be prepared for rather poor English by some hotel employees, and the occasional lack of hot water in some accommodation.

It’s hard to imagine that so many varied activities could be squeezed into a two week holiday, and our guide Santo James was excellent for the local knowledge that he provided. I came away with a much better understanding of Kerala, its culture and the problems that it has to deal with. Just one tip - don’t bother with the Kathakali dancing unless you have a serious interest in religious rictuals. I’d rather watch paint dry!

What did you think of your group leader?

Santo James was excellent. Helpful, well organised and knowledgable.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Be prepared for high humidity as well as heat - except in the hills where it’s still quite warm.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

A trip to see a Tollywood movie (the Tamil equivalent of Bollywood). Brilliant entertainment.

The trip's title really sums up our impression of Kerala. The vegetation is lush and every tree or plant seems to bear medicinal and /or edible spices,delicious fruit or vegetables. It was a very varied trip - some long journeys, but to see as much as we did, they were necessary and our bus was air conditioned and very comfortable. Our walk through the tea plantations was most enjoyable . I think we will appreciate a cup of tea even more, having seen the pluckers at work. The drive over the mountains to Tamil Nadu was spectacular. Relaxing on our houseboat as we floated past villages was a very pleasant experience. We didn't see tigers or elephants, but still enjoyed our boat trip in the Nature Reserve, although we were slightly surprised by the numbers of humans we saw! Our group was interesting and fun to be with. and we never felt like we were merely following a disinterested guide. Sibil did his best to answer our many questions and every venue had a local guide.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Too many to single out one in particular. We found the people of Kerala very friendly and genuinely welcoming. If I had to then. the spice garden walk, the tea plantations and the houseboat would be my favourite experiences. However, I also really enjoyed our last day relaxing by the sea, the trip over the mountains and the early morning walk through the market.

What did you think of your group leader?

Sibil was anxious to help and tried his best to answer all our questions. He was sometimes a little difficult to understand, but he is able to speak four languages well, so who am I to criticise? He had a couple of tricky situations to deal with and could perhaps have benefitted from some a more supportive back-up in India able to make their own decisions. However one of our group fell and broke her wrist and he dealt with that superbly.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

It was 'unseasonably hot' and humid we were told. I wished I had packed a long skirt ,as I think that might have been cooler than trousers at times. However the bus is air conditioned, as were all the hotels, except for the homestead, so it was all quite manageable. Be prepared for long journeys. Kerala is not the trip for you if you want to see ancient forts and palaces, but it is if you enjoy Nature, spectacular scenery, delicious food and relaxing on a houseboat, watching the world go by.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

This was our second trip to India with Exodus. On both occasions we have travelled with a friendly, interesting and fun group. No-one was ill or eaten alive by mosquitoes. Go with an open mind and you will love it.

Our visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu was a busy and enjoyable experience. There are several long journeys, but our bus was very comfortable (there were only 9 of us so we could spread out!) and there was so much to see on the way, the colourful towns, the traffic! the busyness of India. Cochin was a lovely start we arrived a day early. A tuk tuk driver gave us a grand tour of 2 hours for 100 rupees! The drive to Munnar was lovely through the mountains, but to describe Munnar as a beautiful hill station is stretching it - we thought it a most unattractive town. However the trek through the tea plantations and hills was wonderful. It is quite a strenuous climb and good grip shoes are essential. The picnic at the top was memorable. The rest of the trip unfolded with some visits not on the itinerary, a visit to a family brick making enterprise, heavy work in incredible heat, a school, a lovely temple on the roadside.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

The trek in Munnar The early morning walk around the markets in Madurai. It's early, but don't miss this! The early morning jungle walk in Periyar. Some climbing to spot a wild elephant! The homestay with lovely home cooked food. The houseboat, peaceful, so much bird life to see, people living on the banks, fishing, washing clothes and themselves in the river. Boats carrying various cargoes, fruit, shopping, canoe ferries transporting families and schoolchildren across the river, even small boats carrying bricks and stones. Kovalam, much nicer than we expected, lovely shops, good beach, friendly people.

What did you think of your group leader?

Manoj was an extremely efficient, informative and friendly guide. He set high standards everywhere we went, hotels, restaurants and trips. He advised us on menu choices so that we had a full appreciation of local food. No matter how early we got up, he was there! He gave us an insight into Indian culture that no guidebook can give. We were very impressed.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Southern India is hot and extremely humid in the evenings. Don't forget sunscreen and a hat. The sun is very strong and sunburn can happen in minutes. Mosquitos are pretty well everywhere so spray well! I got a more natural spray in our health food shop called Incognito. It worked just as well. Bring tissues everywhere, there's never any loo paper on coffee/lunch stops! And hand gel, often no soap . The masala chai is lovely, I had it at every stop.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The Indian people are very friendly, and if you engage with people, you get a lot back. I could never remember the Indian phases we'd been told, so a Good Morning will always be returned. We were frequently asked where we were from (Ireland) and a conversation often followed. In cases where I asked if I could take a photo, it was always agreed, and I'd usually show them the photo I had taken. The friendliness of the Indian people was one of the highlights of the trip for us. The hotels are fine, standard and comfortable (which only means as far as we could see the 2 that had a swimming pool). Every hotel had a redeeming feature. The Ayurvedic massage is lovely, I had two, and the last hotel in Kovalam was particularly good. The cost is very low.

It was a taste of the real India rather than the usual tourist holidays. We experienced seeing the day to day living which was a real eye opener. The tour through Indian countryside was scenic and interesting. Watching the women harvesting tea and seeing families washing their clothes on rocks in the river, not to mention the monkeys and fruit bats we passed on our travels. The driving in India is very unlike the UK, but when we expressed our concerns to our guide after day one, he spoke to the driver, who immediately stopped overtaking on blind bends and slowed down to drive in a way that we felt happy. ( the only problem was, other drivers then started to overtake us on blind bends!) The overnight stay on the houseboat was very relaxing, and the number of kingfishers we saw was unbelievable! The rooms on the houseboat were much bigger and luxurious than we had been expecting, and they all had large en-suite bathrooms. The main reason I have scored the trip as very good, rather than excellent, is the comfort of the tour bus. It was an old bus, with over 225,000km on the clock. The seats were not very padded or comfortable for the long journeys that we did, and the suspension was not up to scratch. I did however feel that we had a very competent driver, who completely changed his style of driving after he was aware of our concerns early on.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Getting up at 5.30 to go on a tuc tuc, then a walking tour of the market as the locals were setting up their fruit and veg stalls. The atmosphere, sights, sounds and smells were just spell binding. This was the real India, and it was a privilege to witness and experience it first hand. It’s certainly a morning that I will never forget. I think it should have been promoted more, as half our group decided not to get up early to go on it, but those who did all said they wouldnt have missed it now they knew how fantastic it was! The hike through tea plantations to the top of the mountain was also a fabulous day. The views were spectacular. The peace and tranquility at the top of the mountain, where we had our lovely picnic is also a day which I will always treasure in my memory.

What did you think of your group leader?

Our group leader Manoj was brilliant. He is so well suited to his job. Nothing is too much trouble for him. He was very good at getting things organised. He was particularly good at organising the staff in restaurants to get our orders and bills sorted out with as much simplicity as possible. He always listened to our requests, and did his best to accommodate them. He was able to answer the many questions which we had during the tour. He has a great sense of humour, and really joins in with the group. He took a Yoga class at the home stay one morning, which was a lovely touch for the few people who participated. On the final evening of the holiday, my friend became ill with a stomach bug, which would have meant we couldn’t fly home the next morning. But Manoj saved the day! He organised a doctor to come to our room, with 2 nurses. They gave her an injection and set up 2 intravenous drips and said she would be better within 3 hours. Unbelievably, she was better, and could travel home ok. Surprisingly, the medical cost for this fantastic service, was only £50. Manoj stayed up late to make sure we were ok, and that the treatment had worked. He insisted that he wouldn’t go to bed himself until he knew my friend was feeling better. We both feel that he was extremely caring and went the extra mile over this, which just confirms how well suited he is to his role.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

If you’re unhappy with the driving, feeling that it’s too fast and reckless, say something to the guide early on. Our driver completely changed his style of driving from day 2 onwards. Get up early for the walking tour of the market. It will be a highlight of your holiday, but it’s not marketed or promoted as such, so half of our group missed out.

A very good balanced trip with more activity in the first week and a more relaxed second week. Most of the stays are 2 nights which gives you more time to settle into a place. There are a number of opportunities to experience the frequent Festivals and religious ceremonies which are for the people and are devoid of tourists (apart from us!)

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

We had an evening visit to a Hindu temple standing close to elephants robed in gold with much loud drumming and traditional horns.

What did you think of your group leader?

Manoj our leader was passionate about his country and its traditions of being welcome to all comers. He found out about any special events happening in the next destination so he was briefed to enable us to visit everyday life in Kerala. He was well organised and speedily sorted any problems with good humour. His talks whilst travelling were very instructive if occasionally too long but reflected his love for his country.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

You can travel relatively lightly as most of the hotels have good washing services. Most people thought they had brought too much luggage.

This was an excellent trip but marred by the noisy festive celebration around the New Year in the beach resort of Kovolam the noise continues into the night. The lush tropical scenery was a welcome get away from the dark December days.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Backwaters, temples in Madurai, tea plantations.

What did you think of your group leader?

Sam was fantastic. One of the best. He was highly knowledgeable in all aspects of India and gave relevant commentaries as we journeyed. He was also patient with us on the menu selections.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

The trip was rated as easy walking. I would say on two days it was moderate.

Excellent trip. It was good to get a day at the end in Kovalam. We could have done with 3 days on thew backwaters which was fantastic. Look out for the "Easy to moderate" hike in Tea plantations which is at least medium and on several sections it is a hard tough hike not suitable if you have dodgy knees or not fit. Tour leaders tend to be risk averse or for the sake of "commissions" and take people to "tourist" restaurants for meals. The best food for most of us was always in the local restaurants. Hope Exodus will stop exporting this virus of "Tipping" to India. No Indians tip bell boys to take bags up/down in lifts so why "impose" this negative practice on them? Why don't you just pay the drivers etc. better wages instead.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Home-stay, Walk and talk in the spice garden, On the houseboat

What did you think of your group leader?

He was Good and very hard working although he felt compelled to keep giving commentary despite many people sometimes being marginally interested.

A very good & varied introduction to South India. Very different to `the triangle` around Rajasthan and West Bengal in the north of India. Kerala & Tamil Nadu are relatively wealthy compared to the north. Relatively relaxed itinerary covering about 750 miles during the 12 days (13 nights) with a couple of 5 to 6 hour (maybe longer or shorter depending on the road conditions & congestion) driving days. Lots of interesting & varied sights & experiences. Generally very well organised with optional extra activities/trips if you want.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Not one moment but many (in no particular order). The scenery in and around the tea plantations of Munnar (though I did not go on the trek) and the visit to the TATA plantation. Helping to cook our own evening meal with a local family at their home in Periyar. Visiting the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai (probably the highlight of the whole trip for me). The rubber plantation homestay near Erattupetta. Early morning boat ride on Vembanad Lake at Muhamma to watch the mussel fishermen at work. The houseboat backwater cruise of course. The day trip to Kanyakumarti (southern tip of India). The late afternoon / evening walk to the Muslim quarter and fisherman quays, away from the tourist areas, of Kovalam.

What did you think of your group leader?

The group leader/facilitator, Sam Benjamin, was excellent. He was very knowledgeable on so many topics of Indian life and history. He was friendly, considerate and helpful (he was very helpful when a fellow passenger had a minor crisis during the trip).

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Do not take the group flight make your own way there and own way back. Arrive at Kochi at least 1 or 2 days before the tour starts and depart at least 1 or 2 days from Kovalam after tour finishes to `take-in` and have time to explore on your own or just relax. (Try and get start & finishing hotel details from Exodus in advance to save you changing hotels. Book the hotels directly and not through Exodus as they, Exodus, will add a `mark-up`.) Changing money (with a good exchange rate) and hiring a taxi at Kochi airport is cheap & easy. Although English is widely spoken, try and learn a few words of the local language, Malayalam it may help you to engage more easily with the locals in Kerala. (I managed to pickup a few words from the local taxi & tuk-tuk drivers.) Make sure that tickets for the lake boat ride at Periyar are confirmed in advance of the day of the trip as I, with the tour leader and other members of the group had to queue for 3 hours under the hot sun for a one and a half hour boat ride. I would recommend visiting Kanyakumari (southern tip of India) by taxi. The taxi, from Kovalam, costs around IR3500 (divided by the number of passengers) for a full day (3 hours each way + 4 to 5 hours at Kanyakumari). Note that there is a `priority` queue for the island ferry (for a surcharge) if you want to visit Vivekananda Rock. It will save you a lot of queuing time if you walk directly to the gated entrance of the quay.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If it is your first time in India, have patience, be mellow and `chill`. You might encounter the odd power cut, the odd shower might not work how you wish, the Wi-Fi connection may be intermittent, restaurant service may be variable, the roads may be rough but, if you go there with a relaxed outlook, mind wide open, you will have the experience of a lifetime.

A good introduction to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Some fairly long mini-bus journeys were necessary to cover the ground, but there were also two good walks and lots of sight seeing. Although we changed hotels more frequently towards the end of the holiday the pace became more relaxed so it worked well.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

As expected the walk in the tea plantations and the tranquility of the houseboat were highlights. But equally it was the variety and unexpected - traditional crafts like preparing the incredibly long dyed warp threads for the loom on the pavement around a busy square (presumably the only place with sufficient length), seeing and tasting local foods made on the street, the flower market, the kingfishers, the rare and short-lasting but torrential downpours including one in the rubber plantations where we were welcomed into a traditional home for shelter, the many tuk tuk rides etc etc

What did you think of your group leader?

Sam was a very good leader - the holiday just wouldn't have been the same without him. He was knowledgeable on a very wide range of topics and good at sharing information with us on local customs etc . He was very patient with our slightly unwieldy group of 16 - helping us all to choose meals from the menu and waiting until we had all been served before eating himself. He organised and came to every evening meal (and most of the lunches too) which was much appreciated in our busy schedule. He looked after us all well, and took a mini dental emergency in the group in his stride.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Personally, I was glad of my walking boots on the 2 walks and I wore my waterproof gaiters instead of the anti-leech socks provided which had to be fitted inside ones shoes. However, we only encountered a handful of leeches on this trip and less mosquitoes that I expected, although as always some people got more bitten than others. There was no mosquito screening on the hotel windows or mosquito net provided on the houseboat as I had been told would be the case by Exodus before leaving the UK. A torch was useful in the few short power cuts we had.

An interesting and varied trip which gives a real insight into the way of like in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Although the coach journeys are fairly long (mainly down to the congested Indian roads), there is plenty of walking and visits to various kinds of production, from bricks to fabrics and matting.

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

There was not really 1 powerful moment here. I really enjoyed the long walk and the houseboat trip.

What did you think of your group leader?

Sam is excellent. 1 of the best leaders I have experienced on such trips. He was knowledgeable, considerate, conscientious, friendly. We covered many aspects of Indian life on our trip. He had a good sense of humour, but could also deal admirably with what ever cropped up. He was very aware of our needs and took a lot of trouble helping us make good choices on the menus.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

The pace of this trip is not as leisurely as suggested, especially the first part. The walk is moderate not leisurely, and you will need good walking shoes, or better still walking boots, as the paths are uneven and slippery in places. I had boots and a light walking pole, which were appropriate for this. Depends if you feel it is worth taking boots for 2 walks (also the nature reserve walk). There is not much time to relax other than on the coach, though you do get some free time to yourselves towards the end. This suited me fine, but maybe not everyone. You will not be disappointed in the wonderful insight you get into the way people live, their customs, how things are made. Also the unforgettable sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

What a fantastic trip this was. Our guide Lukas was so knowledgable and willing to share his own opinions of his native country with us as well as his extensive academic knowledge. The holiday was a mix of local, cultural and energetic experiences from walking through tea plantations and spice gardens, cruising on the boat, visiting temples, local shops and markets to cooking and eating our own curry and seeing elephants in the wild and monkeys on our hotel balcony!

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

The most fascinating experience was visiting a local fish market and watching the morning catch come in with all the local hoteliers and restaurants and individuals bartering and buying. I shouldn't think this has changed for centuries!

What did you think of your group leader?

Excellent leader. Friendly, knowledgeable and able to deal efficiently with every eventuality.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

We were concerned about "Delhi Belly" but sensible precautions of hand washing, use of gel and avoiding ice,salads and drinking bottled water kept us all well. We felt very safe in Southern India and only came across friendly people. I cannot believe that with this varied tour wouldn't have highlights for everyone.


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