We stayed for 10 days at the Mango Bay Hotel until just before Christmas and, in general, this hotel offers very good value for money with very friendly and helpful staff in very comfortable rooms.
Let's start with the positives. Mango Bay Hotel is locally owned and situated towards the north of Holetown. The hotel is well designed and is at sea level which meant that frail and wheelchair bound people are able to enjoy a holiday here. The facilities are very good, the staff, especially in the restaurant, are extremely friendly and helpful where the service is excellent. The menu has to strike a balance between wanting to offer local food whilst not alienating conservative eaters from Britain and North America, children and vegetarians. Banks beer, the local brew, is delightful and ideal for the climate and of the house wines the white is a very nice, light Californian and better than the red; the rose is the poorest.
Rooms are very comfortable and well serviced but do not book the lowest level standard room (see below). I saw the more luxurious rooms and they are very fine.
Food through the day grows with formality: breakfast is a general wander around, lunch and dinner (both of which must be booked) grow in formality and for dinner one is expected to wear casual/smart, which is perfectly reasonable.
There are plenty of loungers on the beach and the sea is wonderful. One can pop to the bar at any time for a drink and afternoon tea is available from around 4pm (although the little sandwiches are a little strange).
So, why it is 4 star and not 5 star?
We originally booked the basic room which is in a separate block and found that the piano bar on First Street had had heavily amplified 60s and 70s music going until well after 2am and was matched by the reggae bar on Second Street (the two streets are no wider apart than the width of the hotel). We found this level of noise intolerable and were moved to an apartment in a separate block where we had a lounge as well as a bedroom and balcony. We were offered a further upgrade to a room overlooking the pool but refused, prefering to be in the quietest part of the complex.
For me, there were two disappointments with the food. Most of the food really is very nice and excellent value for money but the desserts are very poor; they taste as though they are bought in and are sickly over-sweet and sticky as if they are full of some sort of cheap corn starch and sweetener. My other disappointment was breakfast; I like to eat a healthy breakfast and there was only a healthy option every other day when porridge was available to which I could add maple syrup, yum! - the rest of the time the buffet always offered a "full English" with particularly nasty streaky bacon and sausages and the sort of Kellogg's cereals where it is healthier to eat the cardboard box with sugar and raisins added than the cereal inside. On the other hand, fruit was always available but I was disappointed that there was no unsweetened/unsalted muesli when porridge was not available.
There is live music each night and it is pretty mediocre. 6 of the 7 acts use a rhythm machine, which has to be death to music. In fact, the one act that did use a drummer also had a lead guitarist playing an Epiphone Les Paul which made a very nice sound. In their second set the bassist did a few punchier vocals and started to hit his bass licks harder, the drummer upped his energy and suddenly the rhythm section was moving and the music came alive for 15 minutes. The rest of the time it was pretty deadly, although generally in tune. I don't find have mediocre music live to be classy, I would prefer no music. I take my music seriously having sung in many musicals and operas professionally. But this is a relatively minor criticism.
In conclusion: if you are looking for 5 star quality then you will have to pay 5 star prices but Mango Bay Hotel offers perfectly adequate facilities, is comfortable, friendly, well staffed, well run and the food is good. It is very good value for money and we would happily return although we will never stay in the basic accommodation again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mango Bay Barbados is ideal for those seeking the convenience of an ALL-INCLUSIVE beach vacation combined with the personal and friendly service of a small resort. It enjoys a sought-after beachfront setting in St. James, on the famous west coast of Barbados.There are restaurants, bars, boutiques and cinema just steps away from Mango Bay in lively Holetown, including the brand new, upscale, LIMEGROVE LIFESTYLE CENTRE across the road from the resort. Mango Bay is approximately a 45 minute drive from the airport, and a 25-minute drive south of the hotel takes you to the capital Bridgetown. Mango Bay definitely gives you added value for an all inclusive hotel- included is a complimentary two-hour catamaran cruise to see the turtles, waterskiing & a glass bottom boat ride. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mango Bay Hotel Holetown
- Mango Bay Barbados
- Mango Bay Saint James
- Barbados Bay Mango
- Mango Bay Hotel Barbados
- Mango Bay All Inclusive Barbados/Holetown