The Colony Club: The holiday high life in Barbados
The Colony Club is the grande dame of Barbados’ west coast. It’s all about understated luxury for the perfect Caribbean escape, says Julianna Barnaby.
The Colony Club commands one of the most beautiful stretches of the Bajan coastline. Built in the 1940s as a private members’ club, the hotel has retained its aura of quiet exclusivity on an increasingly popular island. It’s no coincidence that the hotel has cultivated a reputation for stellar service paired with the best of Bajan hospitality throughout the years.
There are identifiable moments when you fall in love with an exceptional hotel. For some it’s the moment that they first see the room that is to become their home for the duration of the next few nights, for others, it’s the welcome at reception. For me, it was the moment when I watched the sun setting from the Colony Club’s sunset deck.
“You really should make sure that you see the sunset – it’s pretty spectacular,” the manager at the front of house had told us at check in. To be honest, it didn’t take much persuasion, so that’s how we found ourselves a few hours later, sitting in the Sunset Deck Restaurant, sipping a perfectly-made cocktail and awaiting the sunset show.
I’d only been in the hotel for a few hours and yet, as I watched the sun set (and spied the famous green flash over the horizon), I knew that this hotel was something special. Everything was perfectly calm – the other guests were clearly having a great time, confirmed by the snippets of overheard conversations. Of course, the sunset was wonderful, but it was just the final touch to all of the elements, large and small that make the Colony Club such a charming escape.
Luxury hotels in Barbados are no rarity, but the Colony Club still stands out. Few places can boast such a winning combination of high-end service, paired with the luxurious accommodation and beautiful natural setting for which the hotel is (quite rightly) famed.
We’d arrived earlier than expected, a little flustered from the journey and ready to spend some time in one of Barbados’s most famous hotel properties. I’d fully expected a long wait in the lobby until the formal check-in time, but we were whisked up to our room as soon as we’d cooled down with some cold towels and had time to decompress with our welcome drink.
The bedroom was spacious, split over two levels with the bed and bathroom occupying the higher level and a lounge area (complete with a formal cocktail bar and incredibly comfortable sofas) leading to a large terrace on the lower level. I’d have been happy simply spending time on the terrace overlooking the pool and perfectly-manicured mature tropical gardens.
Still, wonderful as the hotel room was, I realised how much of a shame it would have been to have spent the majority of my time in it when I went out to explore the property. Whether you are more of a beach lover or a pool person, The Colony Club has you covered. The series of lagoon pools are impressive – spanning a large proportion of the central outdoor space in the hotel, they meander from the rooms down to the swim-up bar and eventually to a few paces away from the beach.
As you’d expect, the beach is pretty spectacular – with more than enough loungers and parasols to ensure that everyone can soak up their share of the Caribbean sun. The staff are friendly and always attentive in all parts of the hotel, including the beach – I particularly loved the complimentary frozen grapes and ice creams they handed out during the hottest part of the day.
In comparison to the wilder east coast of the island, Barbados’ west coast is renowned for its calm, clear waters. Wade a few metres off the coastline and you can float in the cool waters whilst spying out the local sealife. Safe to say, the snorkelling here is excellent.
The Great Outdoors
While the beach, pool and rooms are wonderful, The Colony Club is a great choice for those looking to get a little more active during their stay too. The hotel is distinct from many other luxury properties in that many of the activities available to guests are included in the price of their stay. Activities range from stand-up paddle boarding (to a secret turtle-spotting spot) to deep sea fishing and snorkelling.
I decided to try the deep sea fishing. Loaded up on sunblock and armed with a wide-brimmed hat and lots of enthusiasm, I made my way onto the boat where our fishing expert gave us a brief intro of what to expect. We sailed away from the shore before we were handed our lines and bait and taught how to cast them out, retracting them a little way from the seabed to ensure the maximum chance of a nibble.
I’ve always viewed myself as slightly unlucky when it comes to these things, no matter how much effort I put in, I never seem to catch anything to bring home but that day luck was on my side. After a few false attempts, I was reeling in catch by catch, as were the other guests. We sat on the deck expectantly, waiting to hear the inevitable shout of delight and reeling in process that heralded another fish. Almost all of them were deemed too small to bring back, so set free again into the water – somehow though, we didn’t mind coming back empty-handed – it had been a wonderful experience.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly you can adapt to your surroundings. Within a few hours, the staff at The Colony Club had made me feel welcome and at home. Within a few days, I had adopted a leisurely routine of delicious breakfasts (the buffet breakfast at the open-air Laguna Restaurant deserves a special mention for the choice and quality of its offerings), followed by spells in the pool and on the beach, sundowners on the Sunset deck and an excellent dinner to round it off. Of course, my stay came to an end, and the routine to which I’d so easily adapted slipped away – but my memories of the Colony Club remain, along with my plans for a return trip.
Address: Porters BB24017, Porters Rd, Barbados
Phone: +1 246-422-2335