I have endeavoured to be factual on my contribution to the Hotel Review section, and will therefore allow myself to be slightly more whimsical in this 'Forum' entry.
Walking out the door of the plane, still dressed in the clothes that we left a cold and wet England in, the 90 degree blazing sunshine came as a shock, but then delight, as all the worries regarding weather leading up to this trip evaporated as fast as a spilt bottle of 'Banks' on a hot beach.
The terminal buildings are going through the final stages of fit-out, but will be very nice when finished. The only real problem, was on the return trip, when we hoped to buy some presents, to find that there is no real shopping available in the terminal yet, just lots of empty sections, and a small jewellery and drinks stand. Most disappointing, and the only thing I did not read about here before my travels.
The taxi ride to "Little Arches" was very quick, and we never had a problem with taxi fares, as we always asked in advance what the fare was and confirmed that it was B$, and not US$, a habit that is tricky to learn, being used to normally just working off a cab-meter in England, but one well worth learning.
Our first walk along Miami Beach, was an idyllic occasion, getting there just in time for the sunset, and can thoroughly recommend this small, quiet, attractive beach, as with the several visits to this location, we were never once approached by any beach-sellers, which seemed a part of every other location we went to. This beach appeared to be mainly frequented by locals, particularly when we went down at 6 every morning for our first swim of the day, when there were dozens and dozens of people taking their morning constitutionals (although the beach is practically deserted during the rest of the day), and found that this really is the "Friendly Island", striking up several conversations with total strangers as we strolled up and down the beach.
Little Arches Hotel - see review - but in short, met and surpassed all, my almost impossibly high expectations, following several months of close scrutiny of every written word on TA about this hotel.
Our first meal, was just a quickie at David's Place in the gap, Flying fish and Dolphin, (we still met several people on this trip who were having the odd moment, because of people eating 'Flipper', very amusing), which was a pleasant location, with good local style food and friendly service at a reasonable price. (Going to break into a sub-discussion here about pricing in general, from Taxis to Restaurants. Coming from England, I found the good eateries comparable to similar English establishments, or better value, the only expensive item was wine, and although can understand the cost of shipping European wine across the Atlantic, was surprised at the cost of Latin American wine. Taxis, I thought very good value for the distance travelled, especially as it did not change, no matter how long you sat in the Bridgetown rush-hour. However, can see why it could surprise our American cousins, where prices can be cheaper.)
Day two saw us watching the sun rise over Miami beach with our new found friends, the Oistens Saga Exercise Club, pounding up and down the golden sands.
Following a top breakfast at LA, we caught a cab to Crane beach, where the driver dropped us at the public entrance which saved the issue of trying to break-in to the Crane Hotel. Awesome beach, and spent a couple of very enjoyable hours getting the hell kicked out of us by the waves. We were going to have lunch there, but the hotel did not seem that interested in our custom, and what with us coming straight off the beach, it only offered smart dining which we did not feel up for in our semi-drowned status. Opted to grab a cab to Carlyle Bay, and had a snack at Lobsters Alive, which was OK-ish, but worth it to see their swimming pool size tank, filled with hundreds of Lobsters which they wholesale to the rest of the island. Later tried to find the wrecks in the Bay, but apparently they are up the 'Hilton' end, but luckily this was about the only disappointment of the whole weekend we spent in Barbados.
Dinner at Pisces ( second sub-discussion, dinning at Pisces, was the biggest gamble for me on this trip as whilst fish is my favourite, half the reports raved, and half knocked the service and food of this establishment, therefore, even after a quick sortie the previous night to check the lay of the land, we arrived ready to be disappointed. Consequently could not have been more delighted with our meal at this restaurant. Beautiful location, great service, wonderful food, Cajun Swordfish & Baby Barracuda. Even had the opportunity to chat with the owner after, and could not have been happier with our meal that evening.
Day 3 - Cat Cruise. We chose Silver-Moon One, for the limited numbers, but if you're a party person the big Cats looked a lot of fun as well, you pays your money and takes your choice!! However you do it, the boat trip and swim with Turtles thing, is a must-do when visiting the island. We had a memorable time on SM1, fun with the turtles, being rained on over the reef, great food, watching the sweet honey-mooners racing each other back to the boat, chatting with the level 5's from Arizona, getting soaked in the front netting with Rosie-Bubbles (told you I was getting whimsical), but the highlight was sailing back, watching the flying-fish shoals, exploding out of the water in front of the boat, like a firework display (oh, and getting soaked in the netting with Rosie-Bubbles!!)
We were planning on eating at the Oistens Fish-Fry, but what with us only having four nights, there being a quick thunderstorm at 6:00, and that really the fish-fry is a
Fish Barbie, in a big shed, opposite a petrol station, we gave it a miss, and opted for Cafe Luna, and were very glad we did, top top restaurant, service and food. Double fun as Moo-the-Chef, was having the first of his many 40th birthday parties !!
Day 4 - Rented a car, and toured the Island. Mrs Bunny-Man fell in love with the views from the 'Roundhouse' restaurant down Bathsheba, and I tried to drown myself swimming at Barclay Park, but luckily a nice man came over and told me not to be so stupid, and to get out of the water. (sub-discussion 3 - being English I drive on the right, and am used to narrow country roads, but anyone taking it easy should not have difficulty driving on the island. However, TA rules prevent me from fully commenting on the shortcomings of road signs ( or the lack thereof ). Surely you can nail a couple of planks together, and daub a bit of paint on them, showing just the main routes??!!??.)
Cruised back down the west coast, lunch at Mannie's Suga Suga, and can really recommend the Shrimp Roti, and stopped off with our new friends, Rosie-Bubbles, at the Colony Club and watched their whole beach get washed away in two hours!!! I do mean the whole beach, when we left, 50% of the Casuarinas tree roots were visible and there was a two foot step down into the water to where the beach had been that morning. Fairly zoomed through Bridgetown and tried to find SunnieBGI at St Gabrielle's school fair, which was like no-school fair I'm used to going to, there must have been a couple of thousand people there, and it was great fun, but I would have liked to have found Sunnie, to thank her personally for all the work she, and the other guys, contribute to our holidays, with all the advice they provide.
Dinner back at LA, for the Lobster night which was simply divine, and then off to a hole-in-the-reef bar, for another of Moo's birthday party, heaven only knows what they thought of this strange English guy, with no taste in shirts, wandering about, I'm sure Moo just took sympathy on Mrs Bunny-Man.
Our last morning consisted of a quick dash to watch the sun rise over crane beach, and then a couple of very pleasant hours sitting on Miami Beach. A very tearful farewell to our new family at LA, then back to grey, cold, wet Old Blighty, First Class BA (still the best no matter what Genetic says).
I'm now sitting here 16 hours after leaving the Island reflecting on as good a weekend as you can have.