“Late review of January 2011 stay...Stunning & unforgettable honeymoon, but a few things to think about first...”
This place has a real wow factor - beautiful home-made rum punch served on arrival,a wonderful vista of the veranda and views towards the ocean across the garden. We arrived early Jan, so we left a snowy London where we had had a magical winter wedding in an old manor house and a flight later we were hitting heat and those amazing views...and boy, you know you are in the Caribbean! The contrast with London snow and Caribbean sun was just fantastic. A very warm welcome by George & Annie - you kind of felt like a minor celebrity! In this review, I want to do this incredible place & hosts justice, whilst being totally honest about a couple of other things as I hope our observations may be of use other potential guests in the future.
Positives: Stunning rooms, superbly decorated by Annie's exquisite taste. We stayed in the separate buildings with their own verandas near the rock pool. The rooms had beautiful four posters and facilities - spotless too, and beautifully cool. We spent days in the garden sunbathing with rum punch, chatting, reading, swimming in the award winning rock pool with waterfall, savouring our first Caribbean experience ever, and our first few weeks as Mr&Mrs.
We visited Speightstown, where we found some marvellous art & antiques, the beautiful local beach where we swam and ate the most delicious freshly cooked jerk chicken in the whole world, and had some wonderful meals at places George & Annie recommended, including a restaurant where our table was right on the water - we could see the fish underneath!
Drawbacks: Being on honeymoon, I had not quite realised there would be a very loud bell - the hairdryer bell that Sally 428 mentioned - designed to wake everyone up summoning everyone to breakfast at the not overly romantic time of 8:15am without fail every day. Some might love this; we found it a tad intrusive at times - we sometimes fancied a long romantic lie-in. The breakfasts, as all the other reviews testify, are Michelin quality and really filling, which has the added value that you really can then wait for your evening meal and not feel a jot hungry or only need the odd snack which is great (food is not cheap in Barbados). Annie is an incredible chef - that goes without saying, she conjures up exquisite food. And so is George for that matter. However, every breakfast is with all the other guests, which is practical if you are cooking that many courses for so many people I suppose...but the communal table breakfast every day with the obligatory morning conversation can get a bit much... I think there should be an option to have a lighter breakfast if necessary in your own room or sit on your own table away from everyone. That said, as it was our honeymoon George & Annie gave us a wonderful private champagne breakfast in the garden on two occasions which was incredibly generous and understanding of them as I think they are very naturally sociable people and perhaps would not understand how communal dining every morning can get a bit much. Maybe this is just our British reserve speaking!
And this brings me to the second main drawback - George and Annie are, as another reviewer from Toronto said, 'big personalities' and very sociable, as are most of the other guests, (I think the B&B accommodates about 12 altogether, there were predominantly American guests when we were there) and it is sometimes hard to get away from everyone and be on your own....breakfast took about an hour every morning with up to 12 people one feels obliged to make conversation with, then there were afternoon/evening drinks/parties on several occasions which it was a teeny bit awkward to avoid without comment...fine if you love that kind of thing, not if, like us, you just want some privacy.
Plus, full marks for cleanliness but the rooms are cleaned every single day, so if you want a day entirely inside on your own or just not adhering to the breakfast/cleaning schedule, it's difficult... on one occasion I do believe Annie came down and knocked on our door as they wanted to clean the room.
Finally, the other guests that mentioned the taxi fares are not speaking without reason. We got another cab driver on one occasion randomly and realised that the cab driver George & Annie recommend basically charges about 50% extra than a normal cab.
So - there's my summary, Sweetfield Manor provided a stunning place to stay and backdrop to our first visit to Barbados, and the hosts were extremely personable and pleasant. Just bear in mind that the convivial social atmosphere frames every morning and evening and after a few days that can be a little wearing. I would say for a short break, this place is simply blissful, but you may want to vary it up if you plan to stay much longer on this beautiful island of Barbados.
It's been two years since we stayed at Sweetfield. In the light of our other travel experiences since (see this reviewer's other reviews!) we felt, on the eve of our second anniversary, more qualified to comment fully and fairly on our stay, and this was our (myself and my husband's) humble opinion - for what it's worth. Bonnes vacances!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.