Top Tips for an Active Luxury Barbados Getaway

Port Ferdinand Marina and Luxury Residences is a 16-acre enclave on the northwest coast of Barbados, which features 82 homes built around a 120-berth marina.
Port Ferdinand Marina and Luxury Residences is a 16-acre enclave on the northwest coast of Barbados, which features 82 homes built around a 120-berth marina.

We’re back from Barbados with a wealth of reasons to visit this chic Caribbean island.

Port Ferdinand Marina and Luxury Residences

We say this marina resort, owned by UNNA, is naturally suited for a luxury traveler with a love for yachts, tasty cuisine and some of the best views on the island.

The top rooms here are all of the hotel’s upper level homes. The best option for families are the two- and three-bedroom adjacent homes, which have six bedrooms. Hint: All of the rooms can come with butler service at request but there is limited availability, so we suggest reserving a butler at the time of booking.

For all room requests, luxury travel advisors should reach out to Tracey Harris (reservations@unnaliving.com), reservations manager.

The hotel’s two restaurants are 13°/59° and Relish Dockside. We hear that the tasting menu at 13°/59° is a must. Those making any special dinner requests can contact Janelle Baptiste (1359reservations@unnaliving.com), restaurant reservations manager.

The Sandbox Tree Spa has two treatment rooms, a manicure and pedicure area and an outdoor relaxation space. In-home treatments are also available. Book one week in advance in summer and two weeks in advance in winter.

We recommend the 85-minute Bamford Body Signature Treatment, which starts with a cleansing foot bath followed by a massage, using Shiatsu, Meridian and Swedish massage techniques. Note: Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult to the spa. Tip: The resort offers a supervised Kid’s Club where children can go and play while their parents are having treatments. It also has workshops for mothers and babies to demonstrate how to massage their baby.

The spa can be booked out for events, including bridal showers, birthday parties, etc. Port Ferdinand can customize packages for individuals (think surprise gift) or for a group event.

For special spa requests, advisors should reach out to Veronica Gill (vgill@unnaliving.com), spa manager.

The resort is about an hour from the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) where Port Ferdinand guests get special VIP meet-and-greet service that fast-tracks them through customs. There is also an option for an exclusive UNNA shuttle for an extra fee. Hint: There is a helipad at Port St. Charles, which is three minutes away, and another in Bridgetown that is roughly 30 minutes away.

For all other requests or to further customize a stay, reach out to Andree Estwick (concierge@unnaliving.com), concierge supervisor.

Sandals Barbados has 280 accommodations spanning the Ocean Village, the Crystal Lagoon Village and the Caribbean Village.
 
Sandals Barbados has 280 accommodations spanning the Ocean Village, the Crystal Lagoon Village and the Caribbean Village.

Sandals Barbados

Sandals Barbados opened earlier this year following a $65 million renovation on the site of the former Couples Barbados. The property is in Christ Church on the south coast of the island.

There are roughly 280 rooms across the Ocean Village, Crystal Lagoon Village and Caribbean Village. We recommend any Club Level room or any accommodation that comes with butler service. We stayed in Room

No. 4411, a “Crystal Lagoon One-Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub.” The best features here were the balcony overlooking the swimming pool, the large soaking tub in the bathroom and the 46-inch smart TVs in both the living room and bedroom.

Sandals Barbados, which opened after a renovation on the site of the former Couples Barbados, is looking to nearly double its room inventory.
 
Sandals Barbados, which opened after a renovation on the site of the former Couples Barbados, is looking to nearly double its room inventory.

Luxury Travel Advisor got word that Sandals Barbados is looking to nearly double its room inventory. Roughly 200 more rooms will be added. We don’t have a completion date, but employees told us the new rooms may be ready by the end of next year. Now, at first we were a little disappointed to hear this, as the hotel is currently one of the smallest and easiest to navigate Sandals properties in the Caribbean. But we were told there will be some different categories than the existing ones, and there will also be some additional spa facilities, since the current Red Lane Spa offers six treatment rooms but no sauna, steam room, etc.

Those seeking to make any special spa requests should contact Patrick Huey (patrick.huey@sri.sandals.com), Sandals Barbados’ spa director.

Butch’s Chophouse and Bombay Club, Sandals Resorts International’s first Indian restaurant, are the only two restaurants that require reservations. We suggest making them at least 24 hours in advance to be safe, since these are the most buzzed-about dining options on the property. We must say though, that of the 11 dining options, we were the most pleasantly surprised with Dino’s Pizzeria, which serves an array of personal pies from a brick oven. The pizza was fluffy and warm, and incredibly tasty. This was the perfect mid-day meal to absorb a few poolside Banks beers, which were brought to us by our butler, Nicholas, in a small cooler along with some cold water.

Special dining requests can be made with the assistance of Frederico Moreira (fmoreira@grp.sandals.com), Sandals Barbados’ food and beverage director.

Hint: Clients usually only associate butlers with packing and unpacking luggage, but we learned they can also be used for anything from transporting some frosty adult beverages to shining shoes or ironing clothes.

Club Sandals is available for all guests staying in any Club Level room or any category that includes butler service. The best part about Club Sandals is that you basically have your own private concierge. The Club Sandals Lounge is accessible 24 hours with the Club Sandals Concierge available between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. to assist with reservations for spas, excursions, restaurants and just about anything. This is also where Club Level guests and those with butler rooms check in. Preferred Club Sandals Lounge check-in includes a chilled towel and a glass of champagne.

The go-to person to customize your experience is Ginelle Bell (ginelle.bell@grp.sandals.com), sales manager at Sandals Barbados.

Port Ferdinand’s residences offer an open-plan living space and a large terrace with dining facility.

Port Ferdinand’s residences offer an open-plan living space and a large terrace with dining facility.

Bushy Park Barbados

Port Ferdinand and Sandals Barbados are just a short drive from a unique Caribbean experience that will get the adrenaline pumping.

Bushy Park Barbados is the leading circuit-racing facility in the English-speaking Caribbean. Following three years of planning and consultation, work started in August 2013 on a redevelopment of a venue, which has hosted motor sport since it opened as a dirt track in the early 1970s.

That brought about a new Clubhouse and VIP facility, extensive corporate hospitality facilities and more. Hint: Future phases of development will include the construction of a country club and museum, along with five clusters of Luxury Car Suites, the first of which was completed in late 2014.

Nice Touch: Each cluster will comprise three units, with a two-car garage with workbench, washroom and shower on the ground floor. On the first floor, the living space of more than 600 square feet includes a living room and kitchen area, with a powder room, plus a balcony and entertainment area overlooking the circuit.

We highly recommend the Karting Experience, which offers guests the chance to drive on a specifically designed track that is about a quarter of a mile. Guests get to drive in a Birel kart, capable of up to around 50 mph. Hint: The kart is about an inch from the ground, so 50 mph actually feels more like 100 mph.

Note: Before each experience, there will be a classroom session, with a video explaining the basics, including how to get in and out of the kart, also safety flags and their meaning. Safety helmet, neck brace and balaclava are provided, and enclosed shoes are required. Tip: All karting drivers must have a minimum height of five feet, while the weight limit is 260 pounds. Those 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult during the briefing.

Advisors looking to book a suite or a driving experience for VIPs should reach out to Zoe Manning (zmanning@bushyparkbarbados.com), business development and marketing manager. 

ADVISOR INSIGHT:

“Looking to find the best spot to watch your home team hockey game? You should visit Bert’s Bar for some authentic stone-fired pizza with a daiquiri to top it off,” says Jessica Jeter of Travelink, an American Express Travel agency in Nashville.

“If you are looking for a popular draw among the locals as well as the tourists, you really should check out Oistins Fish Fry with a picnic-style dine-in,” says Jeter. “Foodies will be excited to know that Larry Rogers of Olives and La Terra has opened up an elegant restaurant, Cin Cin By the Sea in St. James area, as well as Champers and Daphne’s, which are two of the best fine dining options.”

“To those looking for a night on the town, clients should not miss checking out the Sugar Ultra Lounge, Barbados’ premier nightclub, for its Caribbean open-air experience with a top-tier sound system,” she says.