Find peace in this adults-only escape in Barbados
As adults-only resorts gain popularity, Tempus heads to the Caribbean to discover the benefits of going child-free in Barbados
Picture the scene. The sun is shining, you’re relaxing on the beach, cocktail in hand. There’s silence except for the occasional chirp of a tree frog or a wave lapping on the sandy shore and you’re finally switching off for the first time in weeks when, suddenly, a child dive-bombs into the pool with a shriek and a splash, destroying the peace. This is a scenario that will never happen at The House.
One of the most exclusive resorts in Barbados, the hotel operates an adults-only policy. While controversial to some, child-free resorts are on the rise – favoured by travellers and couples seeking a moment’s tranquillity away from busy city life or parenthood. The newly refurbished resort is located on the west coast of the Caribbean island – the shore which boasts the sandiest beaches on the island. It’s part of Elegant Hotels group – most famous for the iconic Colony Club, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary.
The House is the most exclusive property in its portfolio, making it a natural pitstop for A-listers – previous guests include Barbados-born Rihanna, Queen Latifa, Anthony Joshua and Sir Mohamed Farah – as well as royals seeking peace – the Queen of Thailand once visited along with her giant entourage, one member of staff told us.
While celebrities can occasionally be spotted, the majority of guests are successful American and British couples. Most we spoke to were on return visits. One, on their sixth trip, said they “couldn’t possibly imagine staying anywhere else”, and I could understand why.
Another striking factor of The House is the incredible level of personalised service offered by the hotel’s ‘ambassadors’. As visitors recline on padded day beds by the pool or on the beach, ambassadors busy themselves anticipating guests’ needs, from distributing ice-cold bottles and complimentary snacks – watermelon slices, fresh pineapple cubes, ice lollies and gelato were some of the treats we received – to offering cold towels and sun block to sunbathers. They even clean your sunglasses. And guests needn’t worry about running down before breakfast to save a bed, as ambassadors ensure there’s enough available for everyone. While many hotels offer day passes for outside visitors, The House chooses not to in order to maintain exclusivity. >>
The property has recently undergone an elegant refurbishment, including a fresh look for the rooms and suites, a new outdoor bar and indoor spa, and the transformation of the dining area into an airy open plan space stretching from the entrance to the sea – a fantastic first impression as you enter the lobby through an inner garden. A ‘homely’ ambience is created throughout. Black and white photographs of the island and its inhabitants line the hallway walls like prized family photographs, while simple, soft aesthetics and stylish furnishings create a welcoming and unpretentious environment.
Suites either face the sea or the internal garden and feature private balconies and patios – the garden-facing rooms also have plunge pools to make up for the lack of sea view. Each also comes with a host of amenities, including Elemis bath products, mini-fridge and coffee facilities, and complimentary rum cocktails – a powerful, fruit Barbados speciality – on arrival.
Another welcome treat all guests receive is a complimentary jet-lag massage. Taking place in the spa or, on request, in the beachside pavilion, the massage combines a series of techniques to relax muscles and revive the body after a long flight. The perfect start to a holiday. Also included is a daily afternoon tea by the sea, a Champagne breakfast buffet, activities such as sunrise yoga, and unlimited water sports including paddle boarding, kayaking, banana boating and waterskiing at Tamarind Hotel, next door to The House.
Another highlight is Daphne’s, a fine dining restaurant adjacent to hotel, which has hosted the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and Rihanna. As diners feast on fresh seafood with a Caribbean twist, they may catch the sight of giant turtles emerging from the water – the protected animals are known for laying eggs by the cluster of trees next to the restaurant. >>
For those who prefer a more low-key dining experience, Daphne’s kitchen supplies the restaurant at The House, so that guests can enjoy quality cuisine in the comfort of the hotel. Those who can tear themselves away from the resort should take advantage of the Elegant Hotels “stay in one, play in many” scheme, whereby guests can visit all of the hotels within its portfolio – with the exception of the exclusive The House – and enjoy the facilities of all the group’s properties, accessible via a free shuttle boat service.
To continue the adults-only experience, visit Treasure Beach, the newest addition to the group’s growing portfolio, and another child- free property. The oceanfront boutique resort, located just up the coast from The House, is a hub of culinary and artistic creativity. Guests who enjoy art can enjoy special excursions such as art tours of local galleries and museums, and classes including pottery-making and painting on canvas or mandala rocks. Gourmands, meanwhile, can learn to make pastries alongside the hotel’s award-winning chef, or book an interactive chef ’s table dining experience. As at The House, guests can also enjoy perks such as a complimentary cocktail ‘sundowner hour’ by the pool as the sun sets.
When it comes to accommodation, Treasure Beach boasts a variety of generously-sized rooms with pool, sea or garden views. All are light and airy with artwork by local artists adding a pop of colour to the walls. There’s also a number of deluxe suites with private plunge pools and two beautiful luxury ocean view suites with additional jacuzzi tubs and oversized showers.
A stay at Treasure Beach is an enjoyable experience and, with a lower price tag than The House it’s a bit of a steal, however The House is in a league of its own when it comes to service. It’s the kind of place where you don’t even need to think about what you want or need as the staff have already anticipated it. And the fact that it’s adults-only is a bonus. If I’m lucky enough to return to Barbados in the future, I know where I’ll be checking in.