Families love this unpretentious beachfront hotel. They love the beach, the game room for kids, the kitchenettes for making a quick meal, and the fact that children under 12 stay free. In fact, the hotel is family-owned and -operated —the same family for more than four decades. What the hotel really has going for it, though, is a marvelous beachfront location.
Guest accommodations are rather basic and simply decorated. Units are designated rooms, studios, or apartments—the main differences being that the rooms have a fridge, microwave, toaster, and electric kettle; the studios have a full kitchenette with all the accoutrements found in the rooms plus a stove; and the apartments, with a separate living area and kitchenette, are located in an annex across the street from the main hotel buildings. The main buildings stretch right along the powdery white sand, and the views and ocean breezes from the private balcony or terrace of each guestroom—all day and into the evening—are nothing short of spectacular. (The apartments in the annex, across the street, have garden views.)
YOU SHOULD KNOW Since the hotel is so close to the road, early morning noise may be an issue.
Bathrooms are quite small. They have all the necessities (except tubs) but are nothing to write home about. In fact, they could use some TLC.
The lobby is a small room with a reception desk, a few seats, and racks of brochures promoting island sights and activities and local tours. Sometimes the lobby can get quite congested with arriving and departing guests
The large terrace between the hotel and the beach has a small rectangular swimming pool, surrounded by loungers and umbrella tables, as well as a cold-water Jacuzzi and a wading pool for little kids.
While there is no spa, massage, mani/pedi, and other spa services can be arranged.
The hotel doesn't have a gym, but Nautilus equipment is available at an additional charge.
The nearly mile-long South Coast Boardwalk begins on the hotel’s beachfront. For good exercise with a view, you can walk, jog…even stroll along the boardwalk.
At the Deck Restaurant & Bar, the complimentary “breakfast buffet” is mainly toast with jam and, perhaps, an apple, banana, or orange—plus coffee or tea. Certainly nothing special, but you can order a hot breakfast and pay for it. Lunch is casual, and so is the menu—hot dogs, burgers, grilled chicken or flying fish sandwiches, pizza, tacos, wings, and so forth. The Sunday buffet lunch focuses on local dishes and is more substantial. Dinner gets mixed reviews, both for the food and the service. Dinner is by candlelight, and the tables overlook the beach. Let’s just say the best part of the restaurant is the view.
The hotel’s Blue Room Sports Bar & Grill, across the road from the main buildings, opens after 5 p.m. Enjoy a frosty beer or tropical drink (or two) and a juicy burger while watching a game on TV (probably cricket!). At the Seagrape Beach Bar, you can get frozen drinks, ice-cold beer, soft drinks, and snacks during the day.
The hotel directly faces a magnificent strip of Hastings Beach, studded with tall, waving palms and shady seagrape trees. The water is a palette of blues, ranging from light teal to aquamarine near the shoreline and turquoise to cobalt at the horizon. It’s a feast for the eyes. The beach is reef-protected, which creates a lagoon, so swimming is safe—even for young children. The hotel sets out plenty of cushioned beach loungers. If you want to snorkel, there’s an additional charge to use the hotel’s snorkeling equipment.
If you’re looking for real adventure, Dread or Dead Surf Shop offers surfing and standup paddleboard lessons, rentals, and tours—and the shop is within walking distance.
The main road at the hotel’s doorstep has frequent bus service to and from Bridgetown or elsewhere along the south coast. The hotel is within walking distance of the Garrison Historic District—Barbados Museum, George Washington House, Garrison Savannah (horse racing), and several other sites. Taxis are always available, too. To explore the island on your own, the concierge can arrange a rental car; the hotel offers free parking. Airport and Bridgetown shopping shuttle services are both complimentary.
Tapas (10-minute walk), about halfway along the South Coast Boardwalk, is open for lunch, dinner, and, of course, tapas anytime—and always with an ocean view.
On the waterfront in Rockley, east of the hotel, Champers (10-minute drive) is a classy but comfortable place to enjoy lunch or dinner. Just west of the hotel in Aquatic Gap, Brown Sugar (5-minute drive) serves a full Bajan buffet (dozens of courses) at lunchtime and a full menu for dinner. And on The Careenage in Bridgetown, Waterfront Café (10-minute drive) is a great place for alfresco dining at lunch or for dinner accompanied (some nights) by live jazz.
Definitely take in the Oistins Fish Fry (20-minute drive), a must-do event on Friday evenings. All along the waterfront, local folks grill fresh fish (and chicken for landlubbers), served with traditional Bajan sides. Seating is at communal picnic tables, servings are huge, prices are low, and music adds to the fun.
Bubba’s Sports Bar (5-minute drive) on the main road in Rockley, just a little east of the hotel, is exactly that: a sports bar. And St. Lawrence Gap comes alive at nighttime. Try The Old Jamm Inn or Scoopie's Jazz (10-minute drive) for drinks, music, dancing, and a convivial crowd.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The beach here is beautiful, and most rooms have unrestricted ocean views. Accommodations are pretty much “no frills,” but for families looking for a reasonably priced vacation, this is a contender.