If you are looking for a fairly quick get away from the east coast, or a pre or post Caribbean cruise stopover from the west coast, an interlude in Barbados may be just the ticket. Visiting Cobblers Cove on the northwest side of the island, it proved to be a peaceful and beautiful spot. You might wish to consider it as your next experience and below are some reasons why.
About 30 minutes from Bridgetown, and a 10-minute walk from Speightstown is Cobblers Cove, a 40-suite Relais & Chateau designated hotel property. Cobblers Cove’s main bubble-gum pink structure, originally a grand plantation home, now houses the hotel’s restaurant, bar, library and two glorious ocean view suites. The other 38 suites contained in two-story bungalows are set amid meticulously kept lush, tropical gardens that surround the main structure in a U-shaped fashion. Tropical, melodious birds are ever present and remind you that the nearest metropolis is thankfully far away.
Included in the nightly rate is breakfast served either in room or in the ocean view restaurant. Also included is water skiing as well as a boat ride to a nearby cove where you can jump in the water and swim with graceful sea turtles. These majestic creatures are not at all shy and a minute after I jumped in, the largest of the five I saw, kept swimming up to my mask and tapping it with his head as if heartily welcoming me to his watery domain.
Cobblers Cove’s small gym is located across the street from the hotel along with a complimentary tennis court. Rooms are equipped with a small kitchenette containing a French press coffee maker, a hotpot and a small refrigerator. When I visited, Wifi was strong but there are neither in-room televisions nor radios so bring a portable Bluetooth speaker if you want to relax with some tunes. Tel. 246/422-2291, https://www.cobblerscove.com.
About halfway between Speightstown and Bridgetown is Holetown and the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre. On the top floor is Fusion Rooftop restaurant and bar where the hip sip and patrons enjoy al fresco dining. Try the mushroom baklava and the day’s catch served with sweet potato corn puree. Open for dinner only and closed Sundays. Tel 246/271-1258, www.fusionrooftop.com Friday nights are “Island Nights” at Cobblers Cove where Chef Jason Joseph will impress with local dishes. Favorites were the ‘Pudding & Souse,’ a marinated concoction of pickled pork belly and tenderloin served with cold sweet potato dumplings. Also excellent, the coconut and lemongrass lobster curry served with mango chutney.
Speightstown can be reached from Cobblers Cove by walking along either the beach or the main road. A former port with a dollop of colonial buildings, there is a grocery store, a few shops and restaurants and the restored 18th century Arlington House, a small museum with interactive displays that provides a snapshot of the town’s maritime past. Tel. 422-4064. In the center of Speightstown is Little Bristol Beach Bar with live music outdoors to enjoy the stunning sunsets for which Barbados is famous. Tel 246/439-1592. Another fun spot is Fisherman’s Pub a few doors down, where both local salty dogs and visitors hang out. Tel 246/422-2703.
For such a small town central Speightstown also has an abundance of churches. I counted five, though when I mentioned this to my taxi driver a few days later, he was certain I had missed a few. There is the bright fuschia colored, modern looking Church of the Nazarene, a small Seventh Day Adventist church and the lovely St. James Parish Church. Originally built in 1629 on one of the oldest tracts of consecrated land on Barbados, St. James was rebuilt several times over the years. Many original settlers and notable locals were buried in the adjoining gardens. The current coral stone, high ceiling structure has three intricate stained glass windows and a 17th century bell.
Holetown’s Limegrove Lifestyle Centre will rescue anyone desperately seeking some high-end retail therapy. Tel 246/620-5463, www.limegrove.com. Note that Barbados is both is tax free and VAT free, hence that provides a very good excuse to head to Bridgetown’s Broad Street if time requires a Rolex or a finger is in dire need of a Colombian emerald. Bridgetown also possesses some marvelous colonial structures on charming streets.
On the south side of the island in St. Philips Parish, the Sunbury Plantation House is set on 6.5 manicured acres. Reopened in November 2018 after extensive renovations by its new owners, Sunbury has an amazing array of antiques, including a pair of chairs from Queen Victoria’s coronation and a 300-year-old mahogany table that seats 26. There is also a great collection of housewares, prints, and horse drawn carriages. Tel 246/423-6270.
If old cars float your boat, head over to Christ Church Parish and to the Mallalieu Motor Museum. Here in this private collection, you can see a 1955 Allard P1, a 1947 Bentley Drophead Coupe, and a 1953 Daimler, among several other vintage cars, many of which are in excellent working condition. Open Mondays through Fridays from 8am to 5pm and on weekends by appointment. Tel 246/424-4640.
The Lesson Learned
Warm, clear waters on beautiful beaches, abundant sea life, and swaying palms are always the anecdote to urban living. Add to that good food, friendly locals and tax free shopping and you have a recipe for a perfect several day interlude.
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Travel & Luxury Editor and writes travel features for various major media outlets. She is also an attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com