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“Best Hotel”
Review of Island Inn Hotel

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Island Inn Hotel
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Bridgetown
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 28, 2010

A wonderful, welcoming, comfortable, boutique hotel. Accommodation was spacious and very comfortable with more than adequate air conditioning. The food (all found) was fresh, varied, well-cooked and delicious. The staff were friendly, treated us like family rather than guests (hugs and kisses all round when we left), and went out of their way to ensure we had a good time.
The hotel is not on the beach, but only 50 metres from the beach, a great swimming spot. It's not in the heart of Bridgetown but is a comfortable 2 km walk from town.
It's not your usual slick, glass and stainless steel hotel. It's single storey built round a central courtyard. A lot of it is outdoors: sitting in the courtyard listening to the evening tree frogs sipping a local rum drink (us, not the tree frogs); meals were on the verandah, under cover but still outside. The pool was at our room's doorstep and was welcoming and cool. If the heat and humidity got too much it was easy to escape into the air conditioned comfort of a large bedroom.
In a month long trip from Australia taking in Los Angeles, Barbados, St Vincent, Toronto, New York, Scotland, London, and Singapore this was definitely the "Best Hotel".
The downside? Local green monkeys galloping across our room's metal roof at dawn (a bit like possums at home); and three cooked meals a day threatening waistlines!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank Srepip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 22, 2010

We had a lovely 2 week holiday - first time ever to Barbados...and yes we would return to Barbados again. Lovely people, beautiful beaches and sunshine. So our review - I have included everything that I think will help other hjolidaymakers and broken it down into sections.

Airport: No problems at the airport either arriving or leaving. The travel company rep met us promptly both times and guided us into our transport to the hotel. Yes, you have a bit of queuing on arrival off the plane, but no more than usual.

Hotel accommodation: The hotel is still being refurbished. Yes, there are workmen around at times, but they are very polite and unobtrusive, so no problem. We were told only 2 rooms were left when we booked our holiday, so we thought the hotel would be full, however, this was not the case. We think some rooms were not available due to still being refurbished. The most guests staying there during our time was 12 and numbers were sometimes less- just be aware it may be quieter than you expected.

The room we had was lovely, big and airy with a big bathroom and the biggest bed we've ever seen! (4 people could have slept comfortably in it!) There was a walk in wardrobe/cupboard and a room safe and the bathroom had both bath and shower . The cleaners came in daily and everything was kept spotless. The air conditioning worked well and you could adjust it on or off to suit yourself.

There is a kettle, mugs and coffee/tea provided in your room - there is no fridge but we didn't find it a problem. We often took a jug of iced water back to the room and it was fine.The bar will give you plastic glasses to take to the pool/your room.

The bar: No problem with drinks- you can have spirits, cocktails, soft drinks etc. My husband liked the 'yellowbird' cocktail and had one or two; I liked the 'purple rain 'cocktail. The local beer 'Banks Beer' is absolutely fine and refreshing- I often had a shandy. Tap water in Barbados is fine, so you don't need to worry about it or ice. Bar staff were friendly and you only need to ask and they will help.

The restaurant: You do need to watch out for the sparrows who loiter near the tables at breakfast time. There is no problem- staff ensure no food is exposed to them-just don't leave your plates unattended while you go and get a coffee etc and if you have glasses of fruit juice on the table and you leave them for a moment, just put your saucer over the top till you return. The seating area and tables are fine and nicely situated over looking the courtyard. The staff are lovely. Cyreline, Angela and Doris are brilliant and always keen to help you.

Food:
Breakfast-There is always fruit juice, cereal, bread, butter, jams and the toaster machine, so you can help yourself. You can order a comprehensive cooked breakfast, omelettes- and I recommend the pancakes and maple syrup. Again, you only need to ask the staff.
Lunch had menu choices- I often just asked for a sandwich and it was easily provided. We never bothered with the packed lunch option ourselves, but met some guests who did and it was fine.
Dinner: Usually 3 courses (which we had expected from the website), although on a few occasions we were told it was going to be'a buffet' or 'BBQ' which we found overall to be more disappointing, as only a limited amount of dishes were provided and were not replenished to accommodate everyone. There was also little salad.
There was always a meat option and plenty of fish available, which my husband enjoyed. For me, I think there needs to be more consideration for vegetarians, or those who like me, only eat a little meat. The vegetarian option was often too spicy for me, so I often resorted to the soup and pudding when that happened. The chef does like his spices, but for me personallyit was often too spicy. Also, 'vegetables' on the menu were always pumpkin and carrots - by the second week, we stated 'no vegetables' for us. More variety of vegetables, more salad and side dishes like coleslaw would enhance the menu. We would also have liked to have had more local Bajan dishes, like roti etc ,even if there was a Bajan night once or twice a week. Breakfast and lunch were my favourite meals overall.

Reception: The receptionists Carol, Doris, Jeanette, Cheron etc and the hotel manager, Thora too are all very helpful and informative-just ask them anything and they will give you the information that you need. They also will let you use a computer in reception to access the Internet.

Entertainment- This was not 3 times a week (as we'd thought from the website) and again seemed to be because the hotel was not full. We did ask and the same day we asked a guitarist/singer appeared that night and was very good. Apart from that, there was a DJ one night, but we ended up being the only 2 people he was playing for, which was a shame. We did feel it would have been nice to have some steel band music etc, as although you could travel to other places, you would then have to factor in extra travel costs to get their and back. It would have been nice if the hotel had provided a shuttle to/from some entertainment venues, as an option.

Tipping: We waited till the end of the holiday and then gave tips to the cleaners and staff who had given us excellent service- you do need to check their rotas with them to check what days they are working.

The hotel pool is small, but big enough for a swim and cool down and refresh.It is kept very very clean.

Beaches: beautiful! Pebble Beach just around the corner from the hotel was our favourite-even on a bank holiday, always room and peaceful. There are no sun loungers/umbrellas there though- we tended to go down from 3-5pm (after that the sandflies are about!) Lying on our towels was fine.There is a little hut in the carpark by the beach which does drinks, rolls (cutters) and snacks and does a roaring trade. Carlisle Bay is lovely too.Get out and around the island and visit other beaches- they are really great. There are beaches that do hire sun loungers/umbrellas- around $10 each- Mullins beach near Holetown is one. There are many beaches to choose from.

Transport and getting around: There are 3 bus types: blue with yellow stripe (you need the exact change) yellow with blue stripe(they give change) and local smaller white minibus types (they give change) It costs BDS$ 1.50 each for any single bus trip on the island. This is great value and although the buses can get crowded, we found them safe and a great way to get around. I would have no worries, as a female, travelling on one on my own. The nice thing is you can get on and off wherever you feel ike it and if you suddenly see a bus- you can put your hand out and it will stop. We stuck to the blue or yellow buses and the drivers were all helpful and polite. There is a main bus terminal in Bridgetown.

We did a lot of walking- take a sunhat-it does get hot. You do see a lot more on foot and Bridegtown was fine. You cannot get lost. My tip: just follow the bus stop signs- they either say 'to city' which means the route is heading for Bridgetown, or 'out of city' if you're heading away from Bridgetown. If you get stuck at all...ask...local people are absolutely lovely, justifiably proud of their island and very helpful.

'Crop over' celebrations are great fun and the hotel staff and tour reps will give you any info you need. There are lots andl ots of activities you can choose to do around the island. The hotel reception will phone up and book you onto trips, organise taxis etc.

Walk up to the racetrack by the Garrison and join the local people for an informal, very relaxed afternoon watching beautiful horses. You can place BDS$1 dollar bets and join in. With a name like 'Proud Bajan' I thought my choice would win...never mind it was fun anyway!

If you want a truly fantastic catamaran trip, book with Calabaza cruises. Gina and her crew are fantastic and will give you the best time. Unlike many others around, they only take a maximum of 12 people and this makes it special and very relaxed. We had the 5 hour lunchtime cruise US$100 each. This may sound pricy, but it included a wonderful lunch, any drinks you liked and Gina's homemade banana bread and the service Gina and the crew(Andrew, Danny) gave was first class. They take you to swim with green turtles- a truly magical experience and swim at a wreck-amazing fish and we also snorkeled/swam after lunch. The nice thing is, they do not rush you and are very patient with you in the water. We made this trip our main treat and were not disappointed. We recommended them to other guests in the hotel- one of the couples took a 3 hour sunset cruise and were just as impressed. It's a real highlight.

You can visit the sister hotel: Mango Bay. You just need to ask at reception - they will give you a voucher for lunch at Mango Bay and you can spend a few hours there. The day we went it was torrential tropical rain non-stop from when we got off the bus! but we did have a look around, a few drinks and a really nice lunch, then we came back to Island Inn, got our swimming stuff and went down to Pebble Beach(where the sun was still shining!)

Oistens Fish Fry on a Friday night- it's fine and you can catch a bus down and back. Nice fish- for us personally we think it was good to experience it, but once is enough and we would probably just try out other different places that we found ourselves around the island in future, where more local people go. It is a buzzing place though and worth seeing.

The main market day in Bridgetown is Saturday- shopping is fine. The hotel will send you to 'Cave Shepherd' for most things. If you want spices etc go to the local supermarkets for more choice and reasonable prices.

Mosquitos: Do take a really good repellent for evenings and a spray and spray your legs, especially lower legs and ankles and your arms and back of neck in the evenings. I did get a few rather fierce bites and had to buy a good spray.

Sandflies- new to me-seemed to appear on the beach around 4.45pm onwards- not a major issue at all-just be aware of them.

Sunburn- be careful. 8.45am on day 1 and 30 minutes by the pool and I got a bit too much sun on my back without realising it! Use a high factor to start and spray your hair parting if you snorkel a lot.The sunshine is great...just take care.

I think I've covered all the main points. Finally, Barbados is great- the place and people are special. Enjoy your holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank sunpookie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2010

We did not visit this Hotel but had booked it for a week from the 26th December 2010 taking with us new visitors to Barbados. The Hotel did advise when we paid the deposit that there was a refurb in progress and there might be an increase in the price for our booking. We booked in March 2010 and on retruning from holiday in July received an e-mail advising us of a price increase of 63% for each room. There was no explanation of why there was such a dramatic increase in the price.
The Hotel price originally was very competitive but we have no cancelled this reservation and booked wit a Hotel that rates at 92% recommendation on Trip Advisor. It was a pity that Island Inn decided on such a massive increase as we were looking forward to staying in that Hotel.
We are 4 time visitors to Barbados and recommend the island as a ''must visit''.

  • Stayed: July 2010
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1  Thank BarbadosManchesterUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2010

We have just returned from a fanastic stay at the Island Inn. Although we were apprehensive from reading messages on travel forums our worries proved to be unfounded. Yes the refurb wasn't 100% complete but the remedial work being carried out did not spoil our stay, there was minimal noise (couldn't hear a thing by the pool though) & public areas were kept clean & tidy. The refurb has been done to a high standard, the bedrooms & bathrooms have a modern contemporary feel, there are new covered seating areas, air-conditioned communial lounge, stylish new bar & still the hotel hasn't lost it's unique charm & character. The staff are fanastic - they all went the extra mile to make our stay so special, we always felt welcome from the moment we arrived till we reluctantly left. The food was excellent, something for everyone - plenty of fresh fish, a personal favourite, but you only have to ask if you fancy an alternative.
The Island Inn is in a great location - Bridgetown is a comfortable walk away along the beach or path (approx 25 mins) & bus stops are ony a few minutes away on the main road. The beach was spotless & only a couple of minutes walk away with beautiful soft white sand & calm waters is a real pleasure. It was well worth getting up early one morning to go & see the horses being exercised in the sea, which made up for not spotting the turtles but maybe next time...
If ever you're looking for a truely relaxing holiday this is definately the place to stay, we were & will again.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Andy675
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2009

A belated and brief review of our one week stay here last year.

We loved Barbados and were very at home at the Island Inn. It feels like a 'real' place, not tremendously touristy. Some people might not like that, but we did. It kind of felt like a house party.
Our fellow guests were , for the most part, not regulars, although there were some that were. We really got on with them, lots of really nice people!

I found the quantity of food and drink was more than generous and perfectly pleasant, I don't think we were ever hungry.
The service we experienced was excellent . Our abiding memory is of reserved and very professional courtesy and beyond that, very warm and genuine friendliness from all staff: bar , reception, restaurant , ladies who cleaned our room - just lovely.

Our room was an 'end of terrace' and we woke up on our first morning to the monkeys being naughty. The night time frogs were loud!
I really liked our room and the little terrace outside. It was hugely atmospheric and frankly , the rather 'basic' nature of the bathroom just added to it. It was always spotless anyhow and we had everything we needed. Evenings were quite quiet - again, that suited us.
I don't see the point about people making a squawk about these sorts of things because if boring homogeneity is your thing, then go get it - at another hotel!

The location is, as others have mentioned, right by a lovely beach. For the first time in my life, I had a reason to get up really early and actually do something before breakfast! Yes, a bit of yoga and a lot of flopping about on the beach-amazing.
The surrounding area is of significant historic interest and well worth wandering around. We heartily recommend the Museum, George Washington House and the lovely coffee/snack/amazing ice cream shop.

It is a warm walk (!) into town but possible.
Hiring a car is well worth it, allowing visits to historic houses and interesting places, especially useful to see those places slightly off the beaten path (I found this as I was looking into family history) .

We recommended my in-laws stay there for a big anniversary . They loved their time there and were really looked after well.

Can't wait to get back with newest family member - Sorry guests who don't like kids!

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank AMLLL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2009

I stayed at the Island Inn in August 2008 with my family comprising three teenage daughters. Booked it with Best at Travel Barbados for an unbelievable price. I wasn’t expecting the Ritz for the price I paid, but was very pleasantly surprised upon arrival. Staff are extremely friendly and attentive; hotel situation close to Pebbles Beach (best beach on the Island) was superb. Ok the room are rustic and a little dated especially the bathrooms, but are clean and a little quirky which we all liked. Food was excellent, with a wide variety and good quality, loved the afternoon tea at 4pm. Overall great place to stay, ignore the bad reviews on this hotel the majority cant be wrong.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank PhilBarker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2009

Location of the hotel is great as you have superb beaches on the doorstep with no vendors, there were two public holidays while we were there and the locals were out in force enjoying the beautiful waters as much as us. No trouble, no hassle and some great beach cricket to watch (also Sunday afternoon). Service, cleanliness and food in the hotel were excellent and our room though a little dated was large and spacious with an unusually (in my experience) quiet and efficient air conditioning unit, the room was cleaned meticulously each day. Pool is small but all you need to cool down in after a day out and about or on the beach. All inc is a great deal with a lovely selection of fresh fruit along with the usual breakfast and even an afternoon tea of sandwiches and cake available to squeeze in. Tea / coffee available 24 hrs and a good selection of spirits for the cocktails and the local Banks draught on tap. Only half of the rooms were taken during our stay and we met and spoke to just about everyone who was there, a very friendly low key atmosphere with entertainment a couple of nights a week. All in all a very enjoyable two weeks and we might easily go back some time.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank j4ackg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Island Inn Hotel

Address: Aquatic Gap, Garrison Historic Area | St Michael, Bridgetown, Barbados
Location: Caribbean > Barbados > Saint Michael Parish > Bridgetown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Bridgetown
Price Range: $241 - $480 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Island Inn Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Island Inn is a quaint, 24 room, all inclusive property with meeting and function facilities. Situated less than a mile from the centre of Historic Bridgetown and within the Garrison Area – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel is footsteps away from the beach at the beautiful Carlisle Bay and Pebbles Beach and is conveniently close to shops and restaurants. Island Inn will amaze you with its disarming simplicity and old world charm. Whether you’re here alone, with the family, or with a group, travelling on vacation or on business, the Island Inn Hotel offers an unrivaled warmth of atmosphere, with contemporary trappings and a true Bajan experience. Originally constructed in 1804 as a Rum Storage facility for the British Regiment, Island Inn Hotel is now part of the historic Garrison area of Barbados. The building was designated a national treasure of Barbados. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Island Hotel Bridgetown
Island Inn Barbados
Island Inn Hotel Barbados/Bridgetown

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