All three of the hotels you are considering are great. The Fairmont Royal Paivillion and The Colony Club are bigger, and also a little further north. Look on a map of the island and find Holetown; The House is south of the town and the other two are north, with the Colony Club being the closest. When we were just in Barbados, we took the water taxi to the Colony Club, in addition to driving up there one day. I could stay there very easily, but I prefer the intimacy of The House. We also preferred how less congested the beach was.
One nice aspect of the Colony Club is that there is a huge area that is reserved for snorkeling there, although I did a lot of snorkeling at The House as well. But remember, just a short water taxi ride from The House gets you to that snorkeling area, so you need not stay there to enjoy that benefit.
Just up the beach from The House there is a little cove on Paynes Bay where the large catamarans anchor to bring people for snorkeling with the tortoises. Each year I have walked that short distance up the beach (ca.1/4 mile) and swam out to where the boats are so that I could see the tortoises. It is an amazing feeling to see these magnificent creatures swimming in the crystal clear water. I could touch the shells as they swam past me. They are the hawksbill tortoises, and some of them are almost five feet long... unbelievable site.
Fairmont Royal Pavillion is much larger, but also seems to be very nice. It is the most northerly located. We always go to the "Gatsby's" shop there, as my wife likes to check out the clothes. Gatsby's is a boutique with several locations... a small boutique in Tamarind Cove next to The House, the location at the Fairmont Pavillion, and the very elite main boutique in the Sandy Lane.
Whatever you decide, you can't go wrong. The Barbadian people are some of the most friendly I have ever met; they are gracious, incredibly polite, and hard-working. We treasure the relationships we have developed with the staff at The House; the congenial hospitality of the people is truly what makes this country such a memorable place to visit.
Let me know if I can help you in any other way. If you stay at The House, I can give you names of people to look up who you will fall in love with; however, they are all so great that it is hard to single out just one or two of them.
Hi anesdocno1, Thanks so much for your informative reply. The House sounds just perfect for our short stay on Barbados. There are a number of mixed reviews on others sites, such as TA, so I was waivering. Glad to hear you had such a positive experience. We had one night on Barbados a few years ago, and picked a place (Casuarina) very close to Turtle Beach, near the Gap. This time I was thinking it would be worthwhile to spend another 15 minutes travel time to get to the West Coast. Your response to bonniejoy03 confirmed that also. We did enjoy our stay in Barbados and the Gap area, although the hotel was not the best choice. Swimming with the tortoises sounds amazing. I think I've only see tortoises in the Galapagos, on land. My trip isn't until December, so I'll just have to dream about that crystal clean water until then. Actually, I'm packing now for a ski trip. Will report on that when I return, as it was an LL purchase. Anyway, thanks again!
Hi disneygal and anesdocno1. Thanks so much for shedding light on these hotels. I haven't been to Barbados since 1984! At that time, we stayed at the Cunard La Toc (no longer there.) The island was getting ready for the Grenada situation. I was travelling with my parents and had a great time hanging with the local people! This will be a nice visit to see all of the changes to the island. Because of our flight times, we probably will stay at Turtle Beach on the way in. On the way out we will have more time to enjoy the beach, ambiance, etc so might consider the House. I loved the ice cream idea....what a great way to enjoy eating yet make the excuse that it is an expensive property and that you are "trying to get your money's worth!". Back to the Trip Advisor comments.....this is my issue as I started a prior string message about people's expectations. Sometimes the comments on TA are well founded but other times it seems like some loose cannon trying to be down right mean. Thanks everyone and have a great ski trip disneygal!!! I'm home and dealing with the HOWLING winds and cold temperatures...I know spring is coming though!
Perfect timing. We just finished our bookings yesterday! We will stay at Turtle Beach before and after Cotton House. I think it will be fine for us and for the short time we will be there. I am excited to be visiting Barbados again. I haven't been there since 1984. I know we won't have a great amount of time but it will be a nice comparison since the 80's. We just purchased our air to Barbados also. Did you get yours yet? The prices keep going up and I wanted to lock in now especially with all of the news concerning high gas prices and many routes being cancelled or consolidated. Can't wait to hear about your experience at The House!
Hi bj03, Very exciting! I'm looking forward to hearing about Turtle Beach, and especially Cotton House! Are you going in December? I booked the flights using AA miles. That was one of the factors in choosing the dates, being able to get the flights for miles. I was able to get a late afternoon flight back right after the cruise, so we'll only have one night in Barbados. December is a long way off, so the flights will probably be changed one way or another. I was not happy with Delta on the trip to California last week - what a mess! But had a good experience last time going to the V.I. on AA.
Hi Disneygal. We are flying USair. I had points for one AA flight but the flights were out of a different airport a little farther away from us and we would have had to overnight in Philly or BWI in and out. With that cost, it was only a few dollars more to fly out of our regional airport and have better flight times. I also had a $150 voucher from USAir so that helped the price. Also, it looked like Cotton House was getting more full in December. I think it is more open in November. I can't wait to go! Your cruise sounds wonderful! Aren't you also visiting Canouan? What are your other stops?
I also called about transfers from the airport. Sounds like both of us can just use the regular taxi service. What time will you get int to Barbados? At this point, our flight gets in at 3:30pm and our flight the next day will leave at 12:30pm.
Hi bj03, sounds like you have it figured out! It's great when all the pieces fit together, the LL package, the vouchers....Have you arranged the flight to Mustique? Going on Air Mustique? That's an adventure itself. On our fight to Union Island there were only 2 other passengers. They had just completed the Royal Clipper cruise. That's the reason it stuck in my mind. One of them works for British Airways and they've been everywhere. Over the week we spent on Palm Island I asked many questions about their travels. They said this cruise was one of their best travel adventures, so I've been wanting to try it (they didn't care for Palm Island).
If all goes as planned, we should get to Barbados about 2:30 PM. So I think we'll just take a taxi also. We have one day on the cruise called "Captain's Best Grenadines". I read that they usually stop in Carriacou. Other stops are Bequia, Tobago Cays (love that!), and St. Vincent. We also have stops in Grenada, Martinique and St. Lucia. My hope is that the weather will be conducive to actually sailing. We were on a Windstar cruise a couple of years ago in the Med., and there was no wind at all - they put up the sails a couple of times just for show. Well it's nice to have something to look forward to.... I'm already thinking about 2009.
If you go in November, you may be reporting back before we leave! You'll have a great time.
Hi disneygal. We will fly Air Mustique and Cotton House will be putting that together for us. We have requested our preference of times. Curlene at Cotton House has been AMAZING answering all my thousands of questions about the trip. She is a really good asset to the property. I love working with someone who is patient and has the answers. When you read some of the other posts about people having trouble getting in touch with properties you really feel for them. So far I have been quite impressed with the service at Cotton House.
We are used to flying these small planes. We fly Trans Anguilla in May and Air Sunshine in August. They are both probably about the same size of smaller than Air Mustique. I love the small planes.
Your trip sounds wonderful. I have heard that the Tobago Cays are awesome. Do you snorkel? How big is the boat you are on? Was it an LL auction? We have been to Bequia and enjoyed it. We sailed there and overnighted in the Harbour. (sail package from Young Island) I have also been researching renting a villa there.
Hi bj03, Sounds like you have a wonderful trip in the works! They haven't featured Star Clippers on LL, although I did put in my request long ago. No Windstar on LL lately either - that line has changed hands. So, we'll see if LL expands their cruise offerings in the future. We have snorkeled in the Tobago Keys on our last trip to the area. Really nice! I liked that the water was shallow and quiet. Do you have other trips planned before this one?