Velvety white sand, a mesmerizing turquoise sea, and an endless supply of rum set the scene for the perfect Barbados getaway. From grand beachfront resorts to relaxed family-friendly all-inclusive Barbados stays, you will be blown away by both the sophistication and the laid-back Bajan lifestyle.
The Ocean Hotel Group offers the very best of all-inclusive Barbados hospitality. This Barbadian family-owned hotel caters to every preference, and we experienced their two unique all-inclusive experiences on the island’s south coast. Sea Breeze Beach House provides a relaxed luxury boutique showcasing its true Bajan charms. O2 Beach Club & Spa offers an elegant five-star all-inclusive stay where luxury is at the forefront.
The best time to visit Barbados is between mid-December and mid-April, during the dry season. You will experience less rainfall and temperatures will average around 30 degrees celsius. The wet season lasts from July to November in Barbados, with a few daily showers that are instantly followed by hot and sunny weather.
Both properties we visited are located on the southwest coast of the island on Maxwell Beach (only 5 minutes away from each other). St Lawrence’s shopping and nightlife area is only one mile away, and Oistins’s famous fish market is easily accessible by local taxi or bus, which can also take you up to the capital, Bridgetown. The airport is a short 15-minute car ride.
Each coast of Barbados is different. Being on the south coast means that the sea is livelier than that on the west coast but calmer than in the east or north of the island. The south coast is suitable for swimming and is a hotspot for surfers and snorkelers.
Sea Breeze Beach House
This 4.5-star all-inclusive Barbados beachfront resort offers 122 rooms. Having undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment, the resort has still been able to maintain its relaxed and easy going charm. The local island way of life is reflected in Sea Breeze Beach House’s laidback atmosphere and friendly services, an undeniable allure for the many repeat visitors that have fallen in love with the property.
The hotel and facilities
Set on 3 acres of prime beachfront, a rarity on the island, where most resorts are limited to a narrow strip of sea, beach lovers get the privilege of enjoying Sea Breeze’s 1000 ft of sandy beachfront, meaning you can choose a spot suited to you, whether you’re interested in water-sports or a more secluded spot for swimming. The property is meticulously groomed with beautiful palm trees, greenery, and exotic floral shrubs dotted throughout the space.
If your preference is for pools, you are in luck! There are three swimming pools. One is for adults only, with two inviting hot tubs and is lined with plush loungers with thick padded cushions. Another is a lap pool, and the third is a family-oriented pool. What impressed me instantly was the clever layout and spacing of the buildings and pathways, creating an organic flow of traffic, never feeling crowded, or the overlapping of each area within the resort.
In addition to the multiple choices of pools and beautiful beaches, guests can make use of the kayaks, footballs, snorkelling gear, and regular fitness classes, which are all included. Other amenities include an on-site kids’ club, a small gym and an outdoor recreation area with a pool table, ping-pong table and a basketball court.
Our Suite (No.449)
We stayed in the Luxury Two Bedroom Ocean Front Suite. My first impression was awed by the sheer size of our room, bigger than most average London flats, spanning across 850 sq ft. The spacious room comes with a deluxe king-size bed and, in a separate bedroom, two twin beds. The room was decorated in a vibrant and modern Caribbean style, with natural wood floors and colourful artwork depicting sea turtles. Moving onto the bathroom, it includes a spa-worthy free-standing bathtub and a separate rainfall shower. The airy living space accommodates a cosy sofa and a large flat-screen TV, which opens out onto the balcony, offering a sprawling view of the ocean and coastline. Kitted with a seating area, you can immerse yourself in the sound of the sea breeze.
Designed with sustainability and functionality in mind, expect up-cycled mahogany originally from the property throughout the interior, from the mirrors to the coffee table. All of the lamps in the room are equipped with USP chargers, making life easier. The floor plan layout of the hotel is particularly excellent for families and groups as it is laid out in such a way as to make it possible to adjoin rooms together, allowing families to stay in one suite rather than have to stay in different rooms.
The all-inclusive food and drink experience
With five different restaurants, there is plenty of variety at meal times.
The Mahogany Lounge serves as the main all-day food hub, offering a variety of Bajan and Caribbean cuisine with a modern international flair. Breakfast is a wide-ranging cold and hot buffet, including items such as fruit salads, pancakes, sausages, and bacon, with omelettes made to order. For those looking to try something more local, we recommend trying the fried chicken gizzards and neck, a local delicacy that’s super tender and flavourful.
Aqua Terra serves fresh seafood and steaks for lunch and dinner. The dining area is set above the beach, the open-air space is a casual-chic affair. We started with a selection of freshly prepared sushi, then moved on to the catch of the day, which was the marlin. Grilled to perfection, the generous portion of fish was soft and seasoned with every bite.
The Flying Fish is a great perfect spot for a bite by the pool. Located by the family pool area, the ethos here is relaxed barefoot dining. Serving made-to-order pizzas, pastas, salads, and dishes fresh off the grill. Be sure to ask for the house-made pepper sauce which has a delicious depth of flavour and a decent kick of chilli.
De Rum Shop Café offers homemade Baja pastries, “Bajan cutters” (filled rolls), and sweet treats, along with a variety of fresh local juices, coffees, smoothies, healthy shakes, and ice cream to cool off.
Cerulean is the resort’s fine dining restaurant. The menu features international dishes, which are served in a romantic space that overlooks the ocean. The setting is intimate, with a stage for performances. We ordered the blackened prawn, cooked with penne pasta, cream sauce and garnished with sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
For a supplement, head to the Chef’s Table for a superb five-course menu paired with premium wines created by Sea Breeze’s executive chef, in selected pop-up locations around the property.
The hotel’s four bars have a wide variety of drinks on offer. Local beers like Banks alongside others are available, as well as various local rums such as Mount Gay and premium branded spirits. The team can mix up classic cocktails as well as lots of local creations.
Why is Sea Breeze Beach House special?
The hotel’s friendly, non-pretentious, and familiar atmosphere is where guests can talk to staff like old friends, with many people returning religiously every year. All this while set in a beautiful and intimate all-inclusive Barbados resort perched on a magnificent stretch of beach that is equally suitable for couples and families, with designated areas set a comfortable distance apart.
To discover more, visit: sea-breeze.com
O2 Beach Club & Spa
Newly opened at the end of 2021, the O2 Beach Club & Spa is the newest five-star all-inclusive Barbados beachfront resort and boasts world-class facilities. All 130 exquisitely appointed rooms within the resort feature private balconies with breath-taking views of the sparkling aquamarine sea. It is ideal for families with older kids, couples and honeymooners.
The hotel and facilities
Nestled next to pristine beaches and turquoise waters, the O2 Beach Club & Spa is the newest luxury contemporary resort to open in the St. Lawrence Gap area of Christ Church. The property hosts all the facilities and amenities of a five-star resort without isolating you from island culture. The service is obviously five-star yet holds a more relaxed feel where the staff’s personalities shine through.
The property has a total of three pools; a family-designated pool and an adult-only river-style pool. Both are located on the ground floor and have clear views of the beach, with each featuring a swim-up pool bar. In addition to this, there is an adult-only rooftop pool located on the sky terrace roof deck.
Those looking to stay in shape will be impressed by the 24-hour fitness gym on-site, featuring the latest cardio and weight training equipment, including treadmills, weight machines, and many more. Yoga and fitness classes are available in the gym, on the beach and on the sky terrace.
The O2 Beach Club boasts over 1000 ft of white powdery beach and crystal clear blue waters. The secluded bay is ideal for swimming and surfing. The beach is lined up with inviting sun loungers. There are a host of fun activities, from beach sports to the complimentary water sports equipment like kayaks, snorkel gear, and boogie boards. This spot is fantastic for snorkelling, with plenty of marine life. Sea turtles are common residents of the coral reefs in front of the hotel. Seeing these majestic creatures swim in their natural habitat so close to the hotel is truly a remarkable experience.
Room (No. 321)
Our room, the Luxury Ocean View Junior Suite, is a spacious and comfortable space spanning 512 sq ft with a décor that highlights the designs of local artists. The room is designed in a relaxed contemporary style using natural wood flooring and gentle colour tones. Our room was fitted with a super comfortable king-size bed facing the large flat-screen TV, and we enjoyed amenities like the pre-stocked mini-bar, beach bag, and coffee machine. Our en-suite bathroom uses chic white marble, which is complemented by the sleek matte black metal taps and shower. Walking out onto our balcony, we had views overlooking the sprawling grounds and river pool leading out towards the alluring ocean.
For those looking for something roomier, we suggest the penthouse Concierge Two Bedroom Ocean Front Suite. This room sleeps up to 6 guests, spanning over 1450 sq ft, and has its own kitchen with dining room and an unparalleled panoramic view of the sea from the large private balcony.
The O2 Beach Club & Spa all-inclusive food and drink experience
There are six dining experiences and seven bars offering a selection of enticing gourmet dining options, from relaxed beach lunches to wonderfully crafted gastronomic dinner experiences.
Elements is the open-air casual hang-out spot situated in the heart of the resort, offering a regularly changing buffet of cuisines and an a la carte menu. Providing a very clean and sophisticated breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet selection, look out for themed evenings including a Mexican lunch and an Indian dinner feast.
This is a lively affair with both indoor and outdoor seating options. We opted for outdoors by the sun. Staples in the buffet cuisines will be the Bajan fish cakes, perhaps the most popular food in Barbados. Fish cakes can be found on all menus – from luxury resorts to street-side vendors.
Bluefin is a casual dining spot where the theme is the sea. This spot is the perfect place for a bite after swimming or lounging in the sun. Directly next to the sea, it has a gentle soundtrack of the waves hitting the shore. The menu offers open-air beachside grills, homemade burgers, salads, and a fresh fish selection. We opted for the crispy Cajun fried island chicken, which comes with a creamy island dipping sauce.
All-inclusive luxury drinks
Brisa, perched on the roof terrace of the hotel, is the spot to enjoy pre-dinner drinks or to watch the incredible sunsets that illuminate the sky. With refreshing sea breezes and an intimate atmosphere, this place is a romantic hotspot filled with couples. Brisa offers tapas and serves quality drinks, including RL Seale’s Bajan, the quintessential mature Bajan rum, and Minuty rosé from Provence– all part of the all-inclusive price. I ordered a classic rum sour, containing the perfect ratio of dark rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Feel free to ask for whatever your heart desires, the charming bartenders here are very skilful and knowledgeable about their drinks.
Oro Restaurant is the resort’s fine dining experience, located on the top floor of the new tower building and serving European cuisine with a Caribbean twist. From the 9th floor, this is the highest point in Barbados with views of the south coast. Looking down onto the crashing waves, you can sometimes spot sea turtles playing in the waves, creating a magical backdrop and ambiance for a special dinner.
For starters, we ordered the smoked duck salad, which came with a generous portion of smoked duck, orange confit, green asparagus, baby lettuce, and a zesty Cointreau dressing. For the main courses came the Red Snapper, cooked to perfection, keeping the skin on for extra flavour. The tender white meat is mild and slightly sweet, which is topped off by tomatoes, vegetables, basil, lime, and hot peppers.
Why is it special?
The O2 Beach Club & Spa offers the combination of traditional values of standard comfort and luxury services with a fresh, modern, contemporary design, elevating the experience and redefining luxury without needing to lose out on the personalities and characteristics of the staff and local culture.
To discover more, visit: o2beachclubbarbados.com
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All imagery courtesy of Ocean Hotels.
Things to do nearby
With bows and arrows of all shapes and sizes, the Field archery experiences give you the chance to learn new skills while feeling the satisfaction of going for gold. Fields Archery is tucked away amongst St. Lawrence Gap in beautiful surroundings. instagram.com/archeryinthegap
Oistins fish market
A must-do, while you are here, is to visit the fishing village of Oistins, famous for its Friday evening fish fry street party. It is less than a five-minute drive away from the hotels above (or ride on one of the frequent local buses). There are market stalls and plenty of food places to pick from. There is no structured entertainment but the later you stay, the more you get the real feel of how the locals like to party. We recommend trying the Dolphin (don’t worry, it’s not actually dolphin), also known by the locals as Mahi Mahi, a meaty local fish within the region. barbados.org
Catamaran Sailing Cruises
Relax on a spacious catamaran while cruising around the Caribbean on a guided small-group tour. You’ll have the chance to swim and snorkel, spot turtles in their natural environment, and explore the reefs and shipwrecks. Plus, enjoy an open bar on board the boat, along with an all-you-can-eat buffet. elegancebarbados.com