My family is from Jamaica. I grew up on rum punch. So, I know a pretty good rum punch when I taste one…or so I thought. When we arrived at Accra Beach Hotel & Spa in Barbados we received a ticket good for one free rum punch. Being that I’m not much of a drinker, it took me a day or two to use it…but once I got a taste of that rum punch. I had to have more…but again, being that I’m not much of a drinker, one was enough! You want to talk about strong! O my goodness!! But that’s not all that’s good….great!…about Barbados. There’s much more!
We were at Accra Beach Hotel & Spa for a quick 5 night stay to attend a friend’s birthday party. We arrived on a Friday and were welcomed warmly by the staff. We initially booked a city view room which faced the street. Since the rates were pretty reasonable, I requested an upgrade to an ocean view. After a little bit of looking, I was given a partial ocean/pool view room. It was lovely! The rooms are spacious and very nicely appointed. There are the standard amenities, safe, fridge, shampoo, shower cap (which is a nicety from which hotels are beginning to stray), and lotion. And!!!! FREE WIFI. This is becoming so increasingly important. Hotels that still charge up to $15 a day for wifi are seriously doing their customers a disservice. Accra Beach Hotel and Spa offers free wifi with a good strong signal. I could even get it out on the beach. As a matter of fact, there were several establishments in the area which offered free wifi. What a great way to capture and share your memories with family and friends as its happening….it was great!
So, as I stated, we arrived on Friday. Transportation was already arranged to take us to Olstins for the famous fish fry. What an experience! This is a definite must do for any one vacationing in Barbados over a Friday. There are several food stands with…oh so good! fresh fresh fish. There is fish and chips, lobster, flying fish, dolphin…the list goes on and it is all good!! Then behind the food stands are the dance and shop areas. In Cuba and Jamaica you have dominoes. In Barbados, you have dancing! The mature crowd is dancing to a country island mix. They are foxtrotting and two stepping, and cha-cha-cha-ing all around the square. Walk a little further down and you have the younger generation dancing up to the latest dance hits among which, of course, is Rihanna. It’s no wonder Rihanna’s music appeals to such a wide audience. Her exposure to music through her culture is so varied, from country to Jazz to Calypso to Blues and Rock. Bajans love it all!!
See it on YouTube http://youtu.be/cY0NwofdQRA
On Saturday was the party and what a spread!! It was catered with more flying fish and some rice and peas….sorry, my Jamaican roots are showing…peas and rice and cou-cou. What a spread! And then the music. How Bajans love to dance!! On Sunday we went to his brother’s house for another spread of okra, fish, macaroni and cheese, peas and rice, and barbecue…before we said our good byes for the time being. We were actually very glad to have had the fish fry on Friday, the dinner party on Saturday and the barbecue on Sunday because if there is any complaint to be had in Barbados, it is that the food seems expensive. The conversion is roughly $2 Barbados to $1 US Dollar. An entrée could cost about $75 Barbados and everything was a la carte. Across the street from the hotel however, was a little coffee stand with Starbucks like coffee and pastries and prices, and Just Grillin’ which was another Oh So Good! spot. The prices here felt a little more reasonable. We ate here twice. The first time I had a chicken ceasar salad and the second time I had a jerk chicken ceasar salad. It was scrumptious both times and such a good portion size! My husband had a chicken sandwich, Mom had another dish with vegetables that were incredible, my Aunt had something else and another friend had a different dish…and it was all good!
Monday was spent on the beautiful Accra Beach catching the waves and walking along the boardwalk and exploring the area. Accra Beach Hotel & Spa is located on a perfect stretch of a nice wide beach where the waves are at times very gentle and at other times a little high, but never unmanageable…even for my non-swimming self. And the temperature…mmmm….it was luscious. You could just stay in the water all day long it felt so….perfect. A slight coolness when you first go in, but once you were in it, you felt embraced and washed and good. Accra Beach is actually a public beach, but you would never know it. On one end of this stretch of beach sits an upscale restaurant called Champers owned by Sandra. You have to go out on the street and up a little alley to get to it but the food is wonderful. Before that, is the Tiki Bar owned by Justin. Tucked away behind the Tiki Bar and owned/operated by Justin are actually two short term apartments available for rent. Wonderfully and fully appointed, they are both two bedroom fully equipped apartments, perfect for those who want the autonomy of having a home away from home with a bar right downstairs. Between the Tiki Bar and Accra Beach Hotel & Spa is an expanse of beach where there really isn’t anything. Chairs are available for rent to the general public, but unless you knew better, you’d think this was all for Accra Beach Hotel & Spa. As you walk past the hotel toward the other end, there is this fantastic boardwalk. This is just perfect for strolling, running, walking…and it has these little off-shoots with benches closer to the water where you can just sit and watch the waves and the sunset. Along the board walk are several restaurants like Naru and Tapas. Naru is Asian themed while Tapas is…well, just that, Tapas – but it comes highly recommended. Also along the boardwalk are several other accommodations. Most looked to be privately owned and available through real estate agents. A new Harlequin Hotel (like Harlequin Romance) is also being built along this boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk is the exclusively small and wonderful, newly opened, All Inclusive SoCo Hotel. It is new, it is trendy, it is beautifully appointed in muted colors. There is a pool, bar, wine cellar, and restaurant. The beach here is very small and protected by large natural boulders that stop the waves from crashing in. It’s so calm and so relaxing. I tell you, Barbados was amazing! We met a lovely couple Jenny & Peter, from the UK who were absolutely enamored with this hotel. They usually stay on the West side of Barbados where there is more high end shopping, but said this the SoCo was the absolute best hotel that they’d stayed at in all of the times they’ve been to Barbados. There was very little shopping here, but there was some.
Monday night was Accra Beach Hotel & Spa‘s manager’s special with some of that oh so good rum punch and another drink special. They also had some finger foods and deserts. It was all just so good! So of course I had another rum punch and was feeling very nice. After dinner at Naru, we returned and starting prepacking. The next morning was some last minute sunshine and a departure rum punch (I managed to get another drink ticketJ. I was at the airport with my husband just giggling to myself, feeling nice, reminiscing about the past few days and anticipating the next visit to the wonderful Barbados…Distinctively Charming!