by Diana Lambdin Meyer
Located on the popular West Coast of Barbados, the Colony Club is a 96-suite property with a sense of intimacy and sophistication and an air of casual family-friendliness. One of five island properties owned by the Elegant Hotels Group, the Colony Club is all about relaxation and pampering.
Sure, there are plenty of activities to entertain, but this is a low-key environment that specializes in helping guests dial it back a notch. That’s a gentle way of saying that if your family needs high-energy action, music and entertainment, you might consider looking elsewhere.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of entertainment and activity to exhaust the energy of your most gregarious family member.
Do your kids love feeding fish or perhaps have a small aquarium at home? They will love the focal point of the Colony Club’s lobby. Its massive koi pond is filled with dozens of brilliant orange fish that thrive on the attention of hotel guests. At check-in, the kids get a bag of fish food and are welcomed to help out in the care and feeding of these beautiful animals.
And if you are a gardener or have a budding gardener in the family, you will love the property’s extraordinary landscaping. Daily tours of the flora and fauna are popular for guests with a green thumb.
Our Editor Loves
- Beachfront location
- Four swimming pools
- Complimentary kid's club
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Colony Club has six room styles to choose from, each with an airy, casual design and dÃ©cor that encourages you just to kick your shoes off and leave your stress at the door. More than half of the 96 rooms are suites or junior suites, and many of them adjoin with other rooms and suites.
You have your basic choices of ocean view, garden view and pool view in a two-story building. Whatever room size or style you choose, those located on the bottom floor with a patio will enjoy almost double the space. The patios are furnished with a massive day bed for afternoon lounging, along with a generous-sized table and chairs for snacks, games or other family activities.
The bathrooms are spacious with deep-set Whirlpool tubs and showers that might prove a bit challenging when bathing a toddler, but are otherwise quite luxurious with double sinks and big fluffy towels and bathrobes.
All rooms have mini-bars, mini-fridges, iPod docking stations and a strong complimentary Wi-Fi signal. Rooms are not equipped with DVD players, and if your family likes to be over-powered by the size of the flat screen TV's, you might be disappointed here.
Because Barbados attracts a large number of British travelers, the in-room coffee and tea making service is top of the line.
There is no additional charge for cribs, and all rooms are so spacious that you won't feel cramped with a crib taking up floor space.
Here's an important tip: If you choose a ground level room, don't go out the patio door, locking it behind you without first checking that the safety latch is not in place on the primary entrance to your room. The patio door doesn't accept a room key card. If the safety latch is across the primary door, security will have to break down the door to let you back in. Yep, it happened to us, but security was very kind, reassuring us that it happened to others before us. Still, it's rather embarrassing.
We have just returned from a lovely 2 weeks at the Colony Club. Jason and the team gave us such a lovely welcome and staff remembered us and greeted us by name when we met them. The hotel isn’t 5 star, but the rooms are large and comfortable and the grounds and beach our favourite on the island. This was our 5th visit to the island and this stretch of the coast is paradise. Our children thoroughly enjoyed the water sports daily, on the Ringoes, even though our daughter screamed with excitement each time! Jason and the guys that operate the water sports are so friendly and patient. The children’s activities were great; glass bottom boat trip, film night on the beach, cupcake wars, biscuit making, mermaid swimming and the Halloween party which so much effort was made for. The children met up with friends made on previous visits and the girls loved sitting with Sherri on the beach making bracelets with her. We hired a car for a few days and headed north to Animal Flower Caves, Little Bay and down to Bathsheba. The lovely Latinyah on reception organised this so easily for us, and driving was a breeze (make sure you have data to access google maps!) We stayed bed and breakfast as we like to explore local restaurants, but ate one evening in the hotel and the food seemed far improved since our last visit. We are waiting to see what happens with the hotel following the Marriott news, but hope it will be refurbished while keeping its staff and atmosphere. Hopefully we will be back next year, thank you Colony Club.
Pretty disappointed with the direct booking service, which was slow and the price was bumped up part way through the process. Also wouldn't sell us a dinner, bed and breakfast package for half of our 16 day stay, so hotel actually lost out significantly as a result. Despite raising those "complaints" we never actually received a meaningful response. Good sized hotel - about 90 rooms I think. Junior Suite with terrace was excellent apart from over bath shower. Food and drink in restaurant was average and expensive for what it was. Hotel is missing a trick there given the external competition is so expensive. That said the Seaside Buffet and Grill night was excellent. Also the Rum Vault has to be tried - great food and cocktails and great hosts. As others have said, once you get there, superb location on the beach, good quality beach furniture and excellent beach service. The usual guys trying too flog tat which is a downside on the public beaches in this area. Hotel is in need of a thorough upgrade - tired chic. Watersports, water-ski in particular, were underserved with people booking times for the following day ahead of official opening. We have to raise with management and extra capacity was sourced. Service was as you would expect - very friendly but a bit disorganised and operating on "island time".
The beaches on Barbados' west side are considered the best on the island because of the gentle Caribbean surf. All beaches in Barbados are public beaches, but access is somewhat limited in areas. The beach at Colony Club, although public, is spacious and has a sense of exclusivity.
The list of water sports activities is enough to get the heart of even the most devoted couch potato pumping: Snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, tubing and banana boat rides. Daily site seeing cruises depart several times from the beach at Colony Club as well, and are included in your complimentary activities.
If you're intent on scuba diving, the concierge can make recommendations and arrangements for you, but diving is not offered directly at the hotel.
Jet skiing is also a popular activity, but one not offered by the contracted water sports vendor for Colony Club. This hotel and others in the area advise guests to be cautious when making arrangements for jet skiing, as some operators are not licensed, insured or inspected, thus creating a hazard for riders. Before taking out any jet ski, be sure to check for all of the above.
Kids Korner is the name of the children's program, and it is free of charge to all guests. It's a seasonal program, so double check that Kids Korner will be operating during your visit. Based on guest demand, it's usually open during spring break months, the Christmas holidays and an October holiday period for families visiting from Great Britain.
Ideally, the children who participate are all toilet trained and range in age from 3 to 12 years old. A conference room area on the second floor of the main building is transformed into the Kids Korner, including computer and video games, Wii and lots of crafts programs. Of course, the kids don't spend a lot of time in that room, and instead enjoy beach walks, tennis lessons and feeding the fish in the koi pond.
The program also coordinates tours of nearby attractions, such as Harrison's Cave or the Folkstone Water Park. If you would like to go along as a family, just check in with the concierge or the Kids Korner staff. The staff also works especially hard during the holidays to create dinners, crafts and programs especially for the kids.
The pool here is not so much a swimming pool as it is a part of the landscape. No more than about four feet deep anywhere, the water feature winds its way around rock formations, under little bridges and into small pools where families can splash happily together. At the west end of the property, the water feature opens up into a larger, more traditional pool for those who need more space for gathering and swimming. All together, the property has four distinct pool areas, including a lovely hot tub. Basically, everywhere you look there is some aspect of a swimming pool to enjoy. We're quite sure your teenagers won't forget their ear buds, but just in case, plan on bringing ear buds for enjoying music at any time. The emphasis here is on calm and quiet with gentle reminders to keep music and other pervasive noises to a minimum.
Just off the lobby is a cozy den-like library with couches, computers and lots of books and board games. Checkers and chess tables are always set and ready for players. One of the two shops on property offers basic necessities and snacks; the other offers a selection of high-end jewelry. Your location in Holetown puts you within easy walking distance of numerous shops, which carry just about any type of souvenir, clothing or necessity you might require.
Picky eaters and parents hoping for healthy choices on the menu will not be disappointed with the offerings at Colony Club. The Laguna Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While parents will love a wide selection of seafood and continental dishes, kids may be happier choosing from a cup of chicken noodle soup, a bowl of fresh fruit or grilled chicken teriyaki. Sliced carrots, grilled cheese and pasta are also choices. The Laguna offers a vegetarian menu as well.
The kid's menu includes several connect-the-dot images featuring highlights of the island, such as green monkeys, Harrison's cave and sailboats. You may just learn a bit about the geography of the island if you help them connect the dots.
The Sunset Bar and Grill is a delightful swim up bar that kids will enjoy as much as adults. One side is the swim up bar, the other side is a spacious deck with tables under individual umbrellas. It's quite elegant here in the evening, with live music, along with candles and torches providing light as the nearby ocean provides a great ambiance.
Planning & Tips
All about the Extras
Nanny service and in-room babysitting are available at $12.50 an hour for the first child and another $5 per hour for each additional child. If your evening out extends past 11 p.m., you may be responsible for paying your nanny's transportation home.
"Waves" is the name of the hair salon and spa, located in a building separate from the primary resort, behind the tennis courts and parking lot. Because of this location, the general public also has access to the services, which include manicure and pedicure packages, full massages and sunless tanning treatments. An in-room massage is also an option.
The gym was once located in this same building, but growing demand for both services resulted in a new, more spacious work-out facility, located just off of the main entrance. You'll enjoy more than a dozen cardio machines, in addition to free weights, weight machines and a designated area for yoga. Beachfront yoga lessons, along with Pilates and water aerobics, are offered several mornings throughout the week.
When children hit the beach or pool as participants in Kid's Korner, they'll have plenty of beach toys to play with. Otherwise, you might want to pack a few of your own or make plans to purchase them once in Barbados.
Upon check-in, adults are immediately offered a punch featuring the local Mount Gay Rum. Kids, of course, get fruit punch.
The Art of Smart Timing
Find some great deals by planning your vacation to Barbados in the summer time. That's when the Colony Club allows kids 12 and under to stay for free. Sometimes the summer savings are up to 40 percent off winter month rates.
In addition to spring break and Christmas breaks for North American schools, it gets pretty hectic around here in October when many of the schools in Great Britain take a long break. Of course, it's always busy when the snow flies in the U.S. and Canada.
The resort is open year-round, as are most businesses in Barbados.
The Bridgetown Airport (BGI) is on the southern tip of the island. The Colony Club is on the west coast. While the distance is not that formidable, traffic at various times of the day can slow to a crawl. Most days, you can expect the drive to be about 45 minutes, but don't be surprised if it takes longer. The hotel offers a private van pick-up service for about $85; reservations must be made in advance. A taxi will cost about the same.
For Mom and Dad
The Colony Club is located in Holetown, a really hip part of the island. A number of restaurants are within a short walking distance. However, the Elegant Hotels group has a fun exchange program for its restaurants. It's called "Taste of Elegance" and you can basically switch around meals with the other Elegant Hotels properties. Ask your concierge about the details and for help coordinating a fun evening out.