After an eight year absence, we finally returned to Barbados and The Island Inn. We decided to return to the hotel because it is clean, comfortable, small and intimate. We don't like large resorts and as much of the hotel is part of a heritage building it has more of an 'eco' feel to it.
We enjoyed a fantastic three weeks on the island, using the hotel as a base for breakfast, most lunches and some dinners. We were around for evening drinks most days and it's the kind of hotel where you meet all sorts of people to sit and chat to, as well as the the great staff on the bar.
I'm trying not to compare the experience too much to our first visit as this is still a warm, welcoming hotel that provides excellent value for money but there were a few things concerning the food that we thought had impacted negatively. Breakfast is now a buffet and the main components are English breakfast items. I imagine the hotel came under some pressure to serve this type of food this way at some point. We used to like ordering fresh food from the breakfast menu and now, if you are 'late' to breakfast which is 7-10 it's pretty slim pickings. However, any eggs or pancakes can be freshly cooked if you just ask.
Lunch is from a menu on the majority of days but people rarely ordered three courses. As a vegetarian, out of 21 days I had 16 cheese sandwiches - a bit hard-going.
Afternoon tea was not as varied as last time and on the few occasions that we were around for it there were rarely any vegetarian sandwiches.
Evening meals are mainly al a carte and are still tasty, modest, quality portions of food. Vegetarian dinner options were excellent although the BBQ night didn't provide more than salad and potatoes for veggies. We went out to eat on two of these.
We went out or to the beach most days but on a three week holiday it was inevitable that we would use the pool. The new loungers are great but there are still no umbrellas which bothered some guests on very hot days. Pool cleaning seemed a bit hit and miss and there was no skimmer to hand to get rid of leaves and flies which did not seem to be sucked through the filter on days the fountain wasn't turned on. There was also an incident with the ground at the pool area being bleached while we were sunbathing.
So apart from a few veggie-related gripes we had a first class holiday. The staff at the hotel made us feel at home and we really didn't want to leave. If I'm being honest, the only genuine downside were the few moaners we encountered; they were being rude to the staff and complaining about the weather (in rainy season!), food, drinks and anything else they possibly could, whilst rolling their eyes at those of us who were having a good time. These people remain anonymous in large hotels but in a 26 room property you're pretty much stuck with them!
Just a few tiny tweaks and this hotel could be THE boutique property of the island. I think it beats the sister property (Mango Bay) hands-down on atmosphere, staff and environment but it's still worth going over there once or twice to use their beach and go on the boat trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Island Inn is a quaint, 24 room, all inclusive property with meeting and function facilities. Situated less than a mile from the centre of Historic Bridgetown and within the Garrison Area – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel is footsteps away from the beach at the beautiful Carlisle Bay and Pebbles Beach and is conveniently close to shops and restaurants. Island Inn will amaze you with its disarming simplicity and old world charm. Whether you’re here alone, with the family, or with a group, travelling on vacation or on business, the Island Inn Hotel offers an unrivaled warmth of atmosphere, with contemporary trappings and a true Bajan experience. Originally constructed in 1804 as a Rum Storage facility for the British Regiment, Island Inn Hotel is now part of the historic Garrison area of Barbados. The building was designated a national treasure of Barbados. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Island Hotel Bridgetown
- Island Inn Barbados
- Island Inn Hotel Barbados/Bridgetown