Who would travel abroad during such uncertain times? Well, my wife and I would. Twice!
We spent 21 fabulous nights in Barbados over Christmas and New Year 2020/21 and returned to the very same resort, Sandals Royal Barbados for another two weeks in July.
After building a great relationship with Susan over the years, we knew that any changes to the rules and restrictions would be quickly advised and that we would be guided through them as easily as possible.
Changes to flight times, getting our preferred seats booked, and complimentary nights built up from previous trips were all effortlessly taken care of, leaving us time and headspace to make sure all our documents were in order.
With PCR tests now more readily available and a little cheaper than previously, we found our nearest Boots, who run a very swift and reasonable service. I would strongly recommend printing off everything you need as this allows sailing through the airport and no need for Wi-Fi or looking for multiple emails with your needed documentation. Barbados prefers a piece of paper, simple.
Another top tip that Susan can advise on: Booking the fast-track system for arrival in Barbados is a godsend. Your negative covid tests and covid passport documents are sent in advance. A nice young man met us directly off the plane with a clipboard with our names on, took our passports, ushered us past the miserable-looking queues, and took us directly to immigration, where we waltzed through before he then escorted us to baggage claim and walked us to our Sandals minibus. All this happened in around 15 minutes - totally superb service.
Sandals Royal Barbados is another short 15 minute or so transfer before being warmly greeted by the concierge with a cold towel and an even colder cocktail (or two in my case!)
The Sandals resort has its own on-site clinic so once checked in, you are taken for your test, which once successfully completed and negative you are then free to use all the facilities.
Our results were back (sent via email) by the time we woke up, leaving us clear straight away to forget about everything for two whole weeks at our absolute favourite Sandals resort of the nine we have managed to thus far visit!
Sandals Royal Barbados and Sandals Barbados are classed as separate resorts but when on site you wouldn't know, as one blends into the other.
Our room not only had a view of the beautifully maintained gardens, but we were lucky to have the sunset right in front of our balcony which had a big soaking tub on, perfect for a glass of champagne before getting ready for dinner.
18, yes 18, restaurants are available which include cuisines from all around the world, French, Japanese, Indian, Italian, the list goes on.
Breakfast and lunches also have a wide choice including a Lobster omelette for breakfast! A mid-morning sweet treat from the doughnut shop, followed by pizza for lunch? Why not?
Drinks options are just as plentiful if you like a tipple! How about starting the day at the Café de Paris for an Alexander Freeze (Brandy milkshake), followed by a mimosa with breakfast, a mid-morning beer in the pool before a glass of white wine with lunch.
Warm afternoons can be complemented with a frozen vodka lemonade or a mudslide. There is always the aforementioned champagne to be enjoyed in the tub from your fully stocked room bar and for dinner perhaps a glass of red wine before finishing the night with a Guinness in the English pub!
All of this is included in your package, along with scuba diving, sailboats, snorkelling and most water sports you can think of.
Another great feature is the variety of pool types ranging from the really lively, with music and games, to the totally tranquil, allowing you to decide if you want a party day or a total chill out.
Off-site excursions are an extra but well worth the price. Catamaran tours, especially COOL RUNNINGS, were a favourite, and our big game fishing trip with BILLFISHER III was one of the most exciting days ever.
Away from Sandals, Barbados is just as great. People are so friendly and respectful you can happily take a stroll feeling totally safe and relaxed. The climate is also perfect for us, hot but not humid at night as in some of the other Caribbean islands.
Being the perfect travel advisor, Susan is of course on hand during your stay, and towards the end alerted us to BA offering a great deal to upgrade our seats for the journey home, staying up late to make sure we got the best ones as soon as they became available. We slept nearly the whole way back.
Thanks, Susan. You are totally the best.