Just got back from a week in Barbados and wanted to share my opinions and advice with others since this forum helped me plan my trip.
My husband and I stayed at the Bougainvillea Resort in a deluxe studio on the 3rd floor. We had a great view of the ocean and overlooked the pool. The kitchen was fully equipped with everything you could need. The people at the resort where great and very helpful. Their beach bar was nice but how good your drink was depended on the bartender. The pool could get crowded so we always went to the adult pool on the other side of the hotel which hardly ever had children and had plenty of lounges. The beach was nice, always a lounge available and no problem getting boogie boards. Only had lunch at the hotel which was decent but nothing great and expensive for small portions. Was able to walk to Super Center (20 min walk) and took a cab back. We were able to make breakfast in the room every morning.
Our favorite dinners were at Josef's and Cafe Sol both in St. Lawrence Gap and Marketfive in Bridgetown ($30bds for 3 courses at lunch). We were very disappointed with Tapas which was under whelming. Found the tapas a hit or miss with only two that we really liked (black bean/chorizo fritters and coconut shrimp). Our favorite meals were the lunches we had from the vans parked outside the hotels. Quality food and cheap prices and very friendly. We also had Sunday brunch at The Beach House. It was nice but next time would have stuck to the vegetarian dishes only since I found the pork dry but my husband loved the chicken. Rarely disappointed by the food, service was slow but still good except for Tapas which I felt was just not good service.
We kept activities to a minimum because of the heat. But we did the 5 hour catamaran with Cool Runnings. I wasn't sure who to sail with but decided on them and they were great. The buffet lunch was fabulous and the drinks flowed freely. What I liked best was there were minimal restrictions. After you swam with the turtles and saw the shipwreck you got to just hang out in the water if you wanted in front of the Sandy Lane beach. My husband and I kept jumping off the boat into 12 feet of water which was so much fun. The crew was very accommodating and always offered us drinks. We spoke with the captain for awhile and he was super sweet and informative. We also took the free hotel shuttle to Bridgetown which saves you about $40bds.
My dislikes are minimal but I wanted to let other travelers know. The only time we felt unsafe was in Bridgetown. We were followed into a small gift shop by a man who I believe was testing his boundaries by gliding his finger across my back and standing very close to us. As soon as I noticed him he proceeded to follow us out and stalk us for lack of a better term. The wonderful shopkeepers saw him and had us come back inside. They noticed his actions and didn't want anything to happen to use. He left after 5 mins. I did not let that affect my trip but you should always be aware. I also found the cab drivers to be annoying at times. If I was having a conversation with my husband in front of a shop 10 of them would keep asking us if we needed a taxi. I had to contain my NY attitude on a few occasions when they crossed the line. I also was not a fan of the fish fry. I have to say that there were too many people and I felt swarmed by taxi drivers and merchants trying to sell me something. I thought the food was ok but certainly not the best fish I had on the island and it wasn't that cheap.
I found Barbados a wonderful and culturally diverse island with good food and nice people. I also loved the $1 vans which we took everywhere once we discovered them. You do have to be firm if you don't want to be bothered and if that is considered rude so be it because there were times that I felt my boundaries were being crossed. When you go enjoy yourself and treat people with respect and you will most of the time get it in return.