The Bougainvillea is a wonderful resort with a fantastic staff and a lovely beach. We went to Barbados for our honeymoon in Feb. 2007. We booked through Air Canada Vacations and would do so again without reservation.
When we arrived in Barbados, getting through customs was swift and we were promptly directed where to go and driven to our resort. If you haven’t booked through a tour operator and need a cab, there are plenty. One thing you can’t do is use the luggage trollies that are there in the airport. Baggage people will take your luggage for you when you get it for a tip of $1 per bag, however, a polite no thank you and they will leave you alone.
The drive to the resort is pleasant, although they do drive quite crazy over there! The grounds and homes are all well-kept; you do not see poverty everywhere you look like else-where in the Caribbean. The island is well-groomed and very clean. There were some houses that were not as nice but most were still kept-up no matter how modest they might have been. Everywhere we looked there were people picking up garbage on the side of the road and doing clean-up work to keep the island tidy.
When we arrived at the Bougainvillea, before we even got to check in, we were welcomed to Barbados and offered free rum punch. Our flight was early so we went to the pool bar and had a drink and socialized a bit before being showed to our room. Our travel agent told the hotel that it was our honeymoon and they had a bottle of champagne in the fridge for us and a nice card; just an example of the thoughtful service that this hotel is known for. Our room was gorgeous with an ocean view. It was cleaned every day and the housekeeping staff even cleaned our dishes which was much appreciated and not expected.
All rooms have either an ocean view or a pool view. In my opinion, there wasn’t a bad view in any of the rooms so this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Every room has a kitchenette which is great for families traveling with children or those on a budget as you can buy groceries cheaply enough and prepare meals in your room if you don’t feel like going out. There is also a full size fridge to keep things cold. It is well worth it to visit the convenience store to get your liquor as it is more expensive if you buy it from the bar ($3.50 US for a beer and about the same, I think, for a mixed drink). The bar does have great blender drinks though, especially the Mudslides and the Daquiries. Yumm!
The grounds were impeccable and the pools were always clean and never over-crowded. It was very relaxing to sit out and read a book which I did every afternoon. There are gorgeous water falls and beautiful flowers around the pool area.
I cant understand what other reviewers are talking about when they sa the beach was dirty and the umbrellas were unavailable etc. We went in peak season in Feb and the beach was beautiful and never over-crowded. There were always plenty of sun-loungers and Justin at the water-sports hut was always around to get an umbrella for you. And ladies, once you get a look at him, you will want that umbrella every day you are there! ;) What a looker!
We booked an excursion through the water-sports hut and were glad we did. We had planned to do the Jolly Roger but heard from the locals that it was not as much fun as it sounded as they fed you liquor until you could hardly stand on the boat and it was wall to wall the entire time. We instead chose to book a snorkel trip through the water-sports desk at the resort. The owner, JP, took us up the coast while we listened to Bob Marley and we swam with the sea turtles (which are huge!) and snorkeled on a ship wreck which was amazing! You get rum punch while you are out and it is a very intimate trip; only 6 people on the boat. The larger tours take upwards of 50 people and it makes it hard for everyone to swim with the turtles and makes it crowded for snorkeling the wrecks too. It is also much cheaper to do the trip through the resort and they only keep you out about 3 hours instead of the whole day. And they also won’t take you if the conditions are not good. If it is rainy and the water is churned up, the turtles will stay on the bottom and not come up and it makes it impossible to see anything while snorkeling as well. The larger trips will take you no matter what so beware.
We also did the 4X4 Island Safari with infamous tour guide, Cassius Clay. This is a must for anyone visiting Barbados. They pick you up at the hotel and you get on the back of a Jeep and they take you to a rainforest, Bathsheba, a pottery house, through fields of ripe bananas and mangoes and other places that you would not get to see otherwise. We even saw monkeys! It is a beautiful trip with scenery that you wouldn’t believe! It includes lunch and of course, rum punch! It is an all day event though, and you will be tired after the trip. It is a blast though.
The resort is close to the St. Lawrence Gap and many people felt comfortable walking there in the daytime. Most often we went at night so we took a cab. Eddie is the guy to get for a cab and he is right out front of the hotel most of the time. His SUV is clean and he is a great guy. Barbados is very safe and we felt comfortable walking off the resort. We slept with our patio doors open every night and were never afraid. While you need to use the common sense you would use while traveling in any foreign country, we felt that Barbados was safe. It should be mentioned that while some people did walk there and it does say it’s within walking distance to the Gap it’s not really that close. I would say it would take a good 30-40 minutes to walk to the happening part of the Gap where all the restaurants are.
There is a convenience store about a one minute walk from the resort that has all the necessities (beer, rum, pop, chips and other munchies); they also have fresh baked goods that are delicious, especially the rum cake.
We ate several meals at the resort at the Water’s Edge restaurant and they were good but pale in comparison to the restaurants in the Gap. We also ate at Bellini’s (very good, make a reservation for a water front table); McBride’s Pub and the Ship’s Inn. The Ship’s Inn was terrible! The food was absolutely disgusting, to the point that had I not been on vacation I would have complained and not paid for the meal. It seems like the place to go to party however and is very popular. McBride’s was fantastic; the best wings I’ve had anywhere and the service is great there and the atmosphere is awesome; very laid back. But, perhaps the best food we had on the island in terms of down-home Bajan cooking was Leroy’s van which pulls up right across from the hotel very week day at noon. Usually there is a line so go early. For $7 US you get fried or baked chicken (a huge piece) or some type of fish and macaroni pie or potatoes, salad and coleslaw. This is an excellent deal and very tasty!!! Leroy’s wife is from Canada, to boot! He is a real sweetheart and the food is to die for. The Whistling Frog was about a 7 minute walk from the resort and the food there was good as well.
The drinks at the hotel were good (strong as well) and Marguerite, the bar tender at the pool bar is a real sweetheart! All the staff at the hotel, and other places we went, were all the very best. The people in Barbados are the nicest you will meet anywhere, very genuine and friendly.
We did some shopping while we were there and didn’t find the prices to be outrageous for most things as they usually are in other touristy areas.
Also, there are TONS of cabbies everywhere so there is never a problem getting one when you are out in the Gap.
The only complaint we had about the trip was that we were approached many times to buy drugs (3 times on the beach right in front of the hotel!). The guys come right up to you and ask if you want a “smoke” or “green” and they will even approach you under the guise of selling you aloe vera and then try to sell you dope. I found this annoying and a little scary. Although, I must say, with a polite no thank you they left you alone telling you that they were “still your friends.”
We will be going back to Barbados for sure and will be staying at the Bougainvillea again. We had a look at resorts around the island and are certain ours was the best value for the money. The Barbados Beach Club was next to the Bougainvillea and they had a very tiny beach and little choice for restaurants. The all-inclusives in Barbados are few and were not worth it to us as we wanted to visit local restaurants since its safe to do so and experience the island. That’s the reason we went there in the first place, to leave the resort and explore, something you can’t do safely in other Caribbean destinations. Do your research though because we did see some shady establishments that looked a bit scary!
Barbados is a bit more pricey than other destinations like the DR or Cuba but we felt it was well worth the money. Nothing about the holiday was orchestrated or controlled…you could go where you want, eat where you want and take whatever tours you wanted.
One thing to note: this is not a resort for hard-core partiers. There are a lot of older people there (I would say the average age would be about 50) and quite a few families with children. We are 25 and were there on honeymoon so it was perfect for us. However, those wanting to party and carry on until all hours may not find the Boug to be the best place to do that.
Also, unless you are quite adventurous, I wouldn’t rent a car as the roads are terribly confusing and they drive on the left.
We drank the water the whole time we were there without incident and not once did our stomach’s get upset by the food or anything else. We didn’t have to get any shots either before we went.
One tip: it is a long flight from Toronto (about 5 hours). I wished that I had upgraded to a first class seat because Air Canada was so cramped that I nearly had a panic attack! Maybe other airlines are better for this, but fair warning to those flying AC!
All in all, a wonderful place to vacation and a fabulously romantic honeymoon destination. From the moment you step foot out of the cab and enter the resort you feel like time stops and you are in true paradise. The staff goes out of their way to make your stay comfortable and the beauty of the island is breath-taking. I have been to 3 islands in the Bahamas and none compare to Barbados. We will certainly go back!!!
Email if you'd like more info. I'd be happy to answer any questions, I know this site helped me a lot when booking our honeymoon!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bougainvillea Barbados is the one that offers it all. Edged by two beautiful beaches, this 100-room resort is well known for its personal touch and service. Featuring Mediterranean style architecture within a tranquil setting of lush gardens and bougainvillea flowers, this resort is just footsteps from the sand and mere minutes from south coast hot spots. Recommended for couples or families, the roomy suites all have ocean-facing balconies with breathtaking views. As a full service leisure resort, Bougainvillea has three swimming pools, a swim-up bar with daily happy hour, two beachfront restaurants, a well-equipped fitness centre, luxurious Spa services, non-motorized water sports, tennis court, Kids Club, Teen games room and outdoor play park. Entertainment is also offered several nights per week. Bougainvillea Barbados is a green hotel and has been awarded the Travelife GOLD award and the EarthCheck PLATINUM award for its commitment to the environment. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bougainvillea Beach Hotel Christ Church
- Hotel Bougainvillea Beach
- Bougainvillea Hotel Barbados
- Bougainvillea Resort
- Beach Bougainvillea Resort
- Bougainvillea Beach Resort Barbados
- Bougainvillea Barbados Christ Church Parish