It’s hard to describe how much I was looking forward to my visit to Cobblers Cove, a perfectly pink, picturesque hotel that’s perched on the beachfront of Barbados. The images looked idyllic: a small, colonial style hotel, surrounded by lush, green tropical landscape dotted with pink-and-white striped umbrellas and palm trees. In addition to the tropical beaches and charming images, my every interaction over email with the Cobbler’s Cove team was one of warmth and charming service.
There are direct flights from New York and Miami to Barbados. So, though my boyfriend and I were both coming from work travels, we met in Miami and took a four-hour flight to Barbados.
A former British colony, the island of Barbados oozes charm, warmth, and charisma. The people are happy, warm and welcoming—and there is far less poverty than many Caribbean nations. There are many vestiges of British rule, to name a few: great accents, driving on the left side of the road, and numerous direct flights from London.
After an hour drive from the airport, we were greeted by the hotel staff and ushered through the lush, tropical gardens our suite. Each of the 40 rooms at Cobblers Cove are suites, decorating differently in a tropical, glamorous fashion that would fit best in Palm Beach, calling to mind my visits to the Greenbrier in West Virginia. Dorothy Draper and Lilly Pulitzer would have loved to visit Cobblers Cove. Each room has an outdoor patio or balcony for morning lounging with a cup of coffee.
Your room is stocked with pink-and-white beach towels, Cobblers Cove totes, and seersucker his (blue) and hers (pink) bath robes. Naturally, I spent a good hour gleefully exploring and squealing over every detail upon our arrival. Cobbler’s Cove takes care of the small, sweet, and charming details, from welcome notes from the staff, to complimentary chocolates (spiked with Barbadian rum) and a French press with local beans.
We began and ended each day in the same fashion: starting with coffee on the beautiful balcony looking out onto the ocean and brunch at the charming, waterfront restaurant, Camelot. Each evening, we dressed for dinner and enjoyed a candlelit meal at the same, white-tablecloth restaurant, followed by a night cap with a book on the balcony. It was pure bliss.
If you make it Barbados but don’t stay at Cobblers Cove, it’s worth visiting Camelot, the only Relais Chateaux approved restaurant in Barbados. It serves breakfast/brunch and dinner. Brunch begins with a buffet or fresh pastries, cereals, house-made yogurts, fresh fruit (pineapple, watermelon, mango—the good stuff) and stewed prunes with star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Fresh, house-made bread with divine marmalade (orange and strawberry) is served tableside along with coffee or tea. The beau, who is an Aussie and therefore carb-dependent, went mad for the marmalade. I’ve never seen someone so excited about jelly.
The menu rotates daily at breakfast and dinner, but breakfast always includes options of a full English breakfast, pancakes, toast, crepes, omelets, and a smoothie of the day.
We went absolutely mad for the cinnamon French toast with bananas, candied walnuts, and honey. It was beautiful, light, and satisfying.
We ordered the banana French toast and the crab Benedict twice during our week of brunches. The crab Benedict was not a crab cake, but instead fresh crab, with poached eggs, English muffins, spinach, and a lemon Hollandaise. It was just what you would want in a Benedict, fresh, perfectly executed, with a touch of something memorable. I loved that lemon Hollandaise.
And, we relied on the seasonal, tropical smoothies and the English breakfast to keep us healthy and full. The eggs were divine, as was the sausage—and we loved the roasted tomatoes and mushrooms.
We were very surprised by the top-notch quality of our dinners, too. We chose from a seasonal selection of appetizers—from asparagus with poached eggs and Hollandaise to a divine ceviche.
Each night, we sampled the catch of the day and the filet. While we expected the fish to be delicious, we were blown away by our filet the first night, a moist, tender cut of beef atop a risotto of mushrooms and truffles. It was incredible.
There’s also a soufflé on the menu each night, with a flavor that changes daily: blood orange, coconut, and chocolate were available on different days during our visit. The classic soufflé would make any French pastry chef proud. We sampled the blood orange version, which was light, fluffy, eggy and flavorful.
Beyond the serene setting, Cobblers Cove offers an array of activities, all complimentary, for guests to enjoy. In the sitting area, there are chess boards, checker boards, board games, as well as the United Kingdom’s daily papers printed out for guests to enjoy. Around the corner from our room, there’s a water sports hut, with snorkeling equipment, kayaks, paddle boards, and floats for guests to use. You can rent sailboats for an additional fee.
Across the street, there is a charming gym, built into a cottage, and a sun-drenched tennis court, which is surrounded by chickens. Just ask the front desk for the key and some rackets, and voila, it’s time to work on your backhand!
We both love activities, so we partook in checkers, tennis, waterskiing, snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming—out to the floating dock out in the ocean. I’m pleased to report I beat the beau in both checkers and tennis, though he’s far better at swimming, and kayaking, at which I proved to be rather useless.
In addition to our on-site activities, we also explored the island. Here are our top picks for getting the most out of a visit to this lovely island.
Must-Do Activities in Barbados
• Oistin’s Fish Fry. On Fridays, the town of Oistin hosts an outdoor fish fry and market, with live music, dancing, and fried fish and enormous lobsters from a variety of vendors. It’s crowded and gritty—and those who are faint of heart when it comes to street food should take heed. We loved eating authentic Barbadian fried fish cakes and enormous Caribbean grilled lobsters—served with plates of fried sides of your choosing, while we watched the locals dance to Rhianna (who is a proud Barbadian).
• El Tigre Sunset Cruise. Barbados is known for its friendly sea turtles, so we knew we wanted to do a boat ride and snorkeling excursion. We researched many options, and we chose El Tigre’s three-hour, sunset cruise option, which was highlighted as child-free and for a smaller group of people. El Tigre offers a three-hour open bar, complete with Brooks beer, rosé, and rum punch. The first stop is to swim with the sea turtles, who swim by for food and don’t mind being gently pet. Second, we stopped to snorkel around a shipwreck. Come sunset, there was a delicious buffet of cheese plates, bruschetta, and fish cakes, and a sunset champagne toast. Upon first sip, we were pleased to discover the champagne was brut.
• Mount Gay Rum Distillery. You can’t go to Barbados without a visit to the rum distillery! It’s open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tours throughout the day.
A visit to Cobblers Cove incorporates everything I could ever want: sun, sand, a bevy of activities, and top-notch cuisine in a perfect, posh setting. Better yet? The Piña Coladas were the best we’ve ever had—made sweeter only by the pink straws and flamingo floats. And, as the waiter warned me—but I didn’t listen—they’re quite strong.