Here's Why You Need to Plan a Spring Trip to Barbados

The Brandman Agency

Barbados certainly has a lot going on for it at the moment. In November, the country officially became a republic, replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with the nation's first female president, Dame Sandra Mason.The island, too, has only just begun lifting its strict pandemic protocols, with its nightly curfew no longer in place as of mid-February, and the government recently allowing travelers to provide either a negative rapid antigen or rapid PCR test (as opposed to an RT-PCR test), taken within one day of arrival.

The recent developments come just in time for spring break, and college students and families alike will find a little bit of everything here to shake off the doldrums of winter and pandemic stress. The birthplace of rum, the country offers up distillery tours and more than 1,500 rum shops, which in combination with some of the best restaurants this side of the Caribbean, make Barbados feel like gastronomic heaven. Adventure seekers, meanwhile, will want to take to one of the country's 80-plus white-sand beaches for surfing and snorkeling, and in the neighborhood of Speightstown, art lovers will find galleries and museums galore.Add all this to the fact that the springtime months see the driest weather of the year, and a trip to the island country right now feels particularly dreamy.

And while it's hard to fit it all—food, art, beach, wellness, and booze—in one trip, Barbados-based hotel group Elegant Hotels will certainly encourage you to try (and very well succeed).

The Brandman Agency

Acquired by Marriott International in 2019, Elegant Hotels incorporates seven luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts on the island: Crystal CoveTamarindThe HouseTreasure BeachTurtle BeachWaves Hotel & Spa, and Colony Club. Each resort has its own unique quality: Treasure Beach, for example, is the go-to spot for culinary delights and arts and crafts, whereas Waves Hotel & Spa is the premier resort for wellness-focused R&R.

The first hotel that we stayed at, Colony Club, is Elegant Hotels flagship property and the only one of the seven that did not fall underneath Marriott’s all-inclusive portfolio. Complete with 96 guestrooms and suites—each with a private balcony or patio—Colony Club features four freshwater swimming lagoons, a swim-up bar, two tennis courts, and complimentary water sports, including water skiing and snorkeling. 

While any of these things would make the resort stand out on its own (paddling up to a poolside bar and ordering a rum-based cocktail was a luxury I never knew could be so… well… luxurious), the true standout of the resort is its one-of-a-kind Rum Vault.

Rum Vault, Colony Club

The Brandman Agency

Tucked inside an intimate, eight-person room off the main lobby, the Rum Vault has been offering more than 150 rums worldwide since it first opened in October 2018. With weekly events and activities like signature dinners, rum tastings, and rum and chocolate pairings, the Vault welcomes novices and enthusiasts to celebrate rum in the very place where the spirit was first made.

We signed up for the Storied Rum Dinner (BDS $230), a three-course affair with Colony Club's Executive Chef Wayne Maynard at the helm. While indulging in rich and delicate dishes made with local ingredients—rum-glazed pork belly with butternut squash purée and smoked golden apple chutney; coconut-crusted barracuda with Thai curry cauliflower; and warm banana bread and butter pudding, topped with rum sauce—we were served rum-based cocktails. Paired with each course, every drink had been carefully chosen and crafted by Rum Ambassador Corey Sobers to enhance the flavors of our meal (the pork belly, for example, came with spiced sorrel rum sour).

As we sipped our way through the dinner, Sobers excitedly taught us about all things rum, imparting extensive knowledge on everything from the spirit's history, to how it's made, to local rum makers. We were treated to a rum and chocolate flight featuring Mount Gay Black Barrel, Angostura, and Doorly's at the end of the night.

The Brandman Agency

Although Colony Club is not all-inclusive (the only complimentary meal is breakfast), guests here can take advantage of Elegant Hotels' Dine Around Program, which encourages them to freely enjoy the dining and theme nights at any of the hotel group's sister properties (the House excluded) as if they had booked a stay there themselves. (In fact, a complimentary water taxi, which runs every 20 minutes, takes guests between select resorts in the Elegant Hotels portfolio.)

Elegant Hotels Water Taxi

The Brandman Agency

The Rum Vault aside, the food was perhaps no more exquisite than at Treasure Beach. The on-site restaurant, Tapestry, is run by award-winning executive chef Javon Cummins, a previous James Beard House honoree and, we were told, the "best chef" on the island. While we partook in the Chef's Table in the Wine Cellar (prices vary), any Elegant Hotels guest can grab a seat at Tapestry for an à la carte lunch or seasonal dinner menu, and tuck into Cummins' innovative twists on classic Bajan fare. (If it's on offer, be sure to try the deconstructed souse—crafted with braised pork, pickled cucumber gelee, beetroot sweet potato pudding, and mango Scotch bonnet gel—or the smoked pork, made with charred corn risotto, spiced vanilla squash cream, and grape port reduction.)

Tapestry Restaurant

Tapestry Restaurant / Facebook

While the food alone is worth a stay at (or water taxi trip to) Treasure Beach, art lovers will also appreciate the modern décor at the 35-room all-suite hotel and the cultural activities on offer. For one, the resort hosts weekly art crawls, where guests can check out art galleries and museums around Speightstown, including the Gallery of Caribbean of Art and Arlington House Museum, and get a chance to meet local artists. We signed up for a painting workshop with Artist Made Barbados during our stay, posting up by the sea with easels and paint kits to create colorful parrots and sea turtles. It was a perfect reminder of our catamaran cruise and snorkeling excursion with Calabaza Sailing Cruises the previous day.

Waves Hotel & Spa

The Brandman Agency

But for those booking a flight to Barbados primarily to disconnect and bliss out on the beach, you can find it at the self-described "eco-chic" Waves Hotel & Spa. Here, wellness is the primary focus: With 70 guest rooms and suites—many of which overlook either the Caribbean Sea or serenity pool and garden—Waves Hotel & Spa treats its guests to up to two spa treatments per day in its adults-only spa, yoga and Pilates classes, cabanas and daybeds, and in-room amenities from Elemental Herbology. Like the other resorts in the Elegant Hotels portfolio, they offer complimentary beach and pool ambassador service—but in between hot stone massages and kayaking around the sea, lying on a beach lounger with a rum punch feels extra indulgent.

Rooms at Colony Club start at $291 a night; rooms at Treasure Beach start at $405, and rooms at Waves Hotel & Spa start at $362 a night.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. National Public Radio. "Barbados Elects A Woman As Its First President As It Moves Toward Becoming a Republic." October 22, 2021.

  2. Barbados Government Information Service. "Curfew to Be Lifted From Valentine's Day." February 12, 2022.

  3. Visit Barbados. "The Barbados Rum Shop." Accessed March 8, 2022.

  4. Visit Barbados. "Beaches & Activities." Accessed March 8, 2022.

  5. Visit Barbados. "Birthplace of Rum." Accessed March 8, 2022.