Trip report: A week in Barbados on points. Diversification matters
Trip report: Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados by Club Carlson
Trip report: Concorde Museum in Barbados BGI airport
Trip report: Harrison’s Caves Barbados
Trip report: Diving with Barbados Blue Padi Divers
Trip report: Airlines Executive Lounge Barbados BGI airport
Trip report: Final thoughts the island of Barbados – would I go back?
The Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados is located a good distance from the airport and reasonably close to Bridgetown, the latter being a long but possible walk.
As talked about in the first post in this report, we selected this property because nicer hotels and choices in Barbados can be quite expensive per night and we, naturally, wanted to use points to make the stay as reasonable as possible. We did just that and were quite pleased with our choice.
As Club Carlson card holders we were upgraded to a very nice top floor room with an amazing view of the beach and Carlisle Bay. I asked about breakfast as a Gold and the check-in person consulted a printout of the perks for each elite level and said Gold did not include that as a perk. But the upgrade was much appreciated.
So first the King room, #702. There are two elevators in the hotel. One is older and one is newer. One has great A/C the other not so much. Also neither is synced to each other so you tend to get folks hitting the button for both each time. Plus, on the older unit, G looks like floor 6. A minor issue but one to be aware of. Our room has great A/C and it was a welcome treat after arriving in jeans and cold weather gear from the USA.
The King room was decent sized if not spacious. The bed was neither soft nor hard and worked. I am a soft bed kind of guy as a point of reference. The work / desk area was a bit odd. While the chair was comfortable, the desk was at a strange slight angle and it made it hard to type. Again a minor point.
Let’s look at the other bits:
- Lighting – bright including bathroom
- Working mini fridge included
- Power outlets were scarce and had to move side table for more
- A/C worked well
- Wifi was free and was just OK speed wise
- Room (cleaning) service was good
- Bottles of water included each day (2)
- Programmable safe
- TV was large and worked fine
- Staff was very friendly
The bathroom was decent size and had two sinks. Nice touch when getting ready. The shower was reasonably clean but could use some work. The shower head was rather “needle” and if you, like us, happen to get a sunburn it is not the most pleasant. That, and the water temperature went each day from REALLY HOT to lukewarm. Minor issue but frustrating when you combine it with the shower head.
Outside the bathroom was a large closet with a VERY large programmable safe. I really liked this and it was a nice touch. It was pleasantly large enough for us to put two 14″ laptops, tablets and phones and more inside each day. One of the biggest room / hotel safes I have seen. They even included a robe for me. Nice touch!
Also included, as it seems part of the Club Carlson status for Golds is a welcome gift. I don’t know if it is just me but this cake was just nasty. If you want to bring a gift to someone from Barbados get some local rum, not this cake please.
The balcony was nice sized other than the fact that the room A/C unit is a wall unit so when running you are blasted by hot air and that really shrinks the size of the space considerably. Having said that, there was adequate space to enjoy breakfast each day and there was a power outlet outside to use my laptop on the patio. Nice.
Then there was the view. Oh my. Never mind the rest of the room, just look at that view. Worth every point spent!
Not just the view but early in the mornings, since the hotel is near a horse track, the thoroughbreds come down to play and swim (a long way) each day for exercise Just amazing.
And the eye candy never stops. From cruise ships to planes coming in to land at the airport, you really have it all from this side of the hotel.
I have to say the grounds crew do an amazing job to keep the property perfect day after day. Each morning the chairs and umbrellas are setup perfectly and the pool area is swept, scrubbed washed down. The attention to detail is amazing. This property is kept clean and the effort shows. Impressive.
What was slightly less than impressive was the breakfast. Let me say you have to work to find deals when it comes to food in Barbados, but you can do it. We tried the breakfast buffet and paid $25 each US. Ouch.
The fruit was not “that” fresh and was cut down to the rind and the service was lack luster to say the very least. If the price had been half this we would have visited each day. But for $25 each I expect an IMPRESSIVE breakfast buffet and this was not it.
We did not return nor did we dine again at the hotel restaurant as the dinner prices were even more upsetting than the breakfast prices. Perhaps it is because of the retail price for a room at this hotel property, but personally I think they are way off base.
Thankfully there are much better food choices, from a tiny little one man shack around the corner that sells fish wraps to a Yacht Club with amazing blackened fish sandwiches (and good rum punch) to a quickie mart nearby that has many breakfast options for a reasonable cost. Also, for lunch or dinner, there are just south of the hotel within a 10-20 minute walk a number of other dinner spots to enjoy.
The other big perk of this hotel is if you are diver. You can walk down to Barbados Blue as it is attached to the parking lot of the Hilton across the way. That, and the amazing clear water and shallow bay for all sorts of water fun and swimming. Also, pool towels are unlimited and there is no pesky “resort” fee imposed. And, if you need more bottles of water (other than the two in your room each day) just ask they are also free. Another nice touch!
One last bit of note for us AVgeeks. Virgin Atlantic uses this hotel for their crews. They come every other day so if you want to get to know some crew, buy them a Banks beer and have a chat by the beach! We even got to dive one day with a captain and had some fun conversations between dives.
I have to say we really enjoyed our stay at the Radisson and would go back and if you can pick up rooms for 44k Club Carlson per night I think you are getting good value for your points. If you are the kind of person who loves to relax, lay on the beach and enjoy local attractions this is a great spot to consider. – René