The Australian owners of Little Good Harbour have managed not only to create a Barbados boutique hotel that captures the essence of the island’s beach life 20 years ago, but have also opened one of the most impressive restaurants in the country. A scattering of whitewashed coral-stone cottages, the seaside hotel smacks of unpretentious luxury – the perfect in-the-know hidey-hole for Caribbean beach-bunnies.
Get this when you book through us:
A glass of rum punch each; guests staying four nights or more get 50 per cent off one lunch or dinner at the Fish Pot
Double rooms from £142.96 ($199), including tax at 20 per cent.
Rates exclude breakfast.
Fishermen haul their daily catch to the village next door at 5pm every Friday – pick up the finest and the freshest and fix yourself a fish supper in your fully fitted kitchen.
At the hotel
Exercise room, massage room, free WiFi by the pool and in reception. In rooms: four-poster beds, TV, DVD/CD player, full kitchen (fridge, oven, and microwave; two- and three-bedroom suites have dishwashers, Vineyard suites have washer/dryers).
Our favourite rooms
The one-and two-bedroom suites overlooking the little pool encompass two floors and a terrace, all decorated in inimitably Caribbean greens and yellows, and offer as sublime sense of privacy for couples seeking escape. The newer Vineyard suites at the top of Little Good Harbour are more geared to families, with high spec kitchens, spacious showers and large tiled verandas. The most historic rooms are in the three-bedroom Fort Suite, part of the original Fort Rupert building on the beachfront, where you can fall asleep to the sound of the sea.
The hotel has two pools; one is a small, Romanesque affair adorned with greenery; the other is much larger, lined with slick grey slate and flanked with cushioned wicker loungers.
If you plan to explore Barbados, a driver’s licence is an essential – Little Good Harbour is relatively remote. Snorkelling gear will help you make the most of the coast.
Welcome throughout the year – under-12s stay free on rollaway beds. Babysitting can be arranged locally, for $10 an hour, and the restaurant kitchens have a flexible attitude to child-friendly cooking.
Book one of the tables for two on the terrace – these are right on the sea, with enchanting views of the beach and the boast-builders working under the palms.
Not just any old bikini beachwear, we’re talking stylish sarongs, diamante flip-flops and smart summery shirts.
The Fish Pot is one of the most celebrated spots on Barbados, serving a delicious medley of fresh seafood and pasta dishes, accompanied by a wide selection of wines expertly chosen by the owner, who’s something of an oenophile.
Drinks are available from the Fish Pot during restaurant hours.
Lunch hours are midday to 2.30pm; dinner is 6.30pm to 9.15 pm.
Grantley Adams International Airport is located in the south of the island – get here from London Gatwick with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, who also fly there from Manchester. If you’re island-hopping, you’ll also find connections to other Caribbean destinations. Taxis from the airport to the hotel cost around US$30.
If you want to hire some wheels, you’ll find a few car rental desks at the airport. The hotel is located in the north of the island near Port St Charles and Speightstown, along highway 1B.
If you’re arriving by boat you’ll find Port St Charles just a few minutes to the south of the hotel. You’ll need a cruising permit to sail in Barbados waters.
Worth getting out of bed for
As well as snorkelling in the warm waters of the Atlantic just outside the hotel, other watersports (stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, sailing…), and fishing can all be arranged in the area – talk to the hotel. Beach lazing is encouraged, but you could also take a time out in the Little Spa, which has a range of massages, facials, wraps and scrubs, carried out in chill-out cabanas. There’s an exercise room too. For more sedate sports, the golf course at nearby Sandy Lane provides a diverting afternoon on the green. Pick up a picnic from the Fish Pot restaurant and head to Crane beach, which frequently makes top 10 lists. Alternatively, see the island by bike – staff can help you to arrange hire. You could pedal to 17th-century plantation house St Nicholas Abbey or Nidhe Israel Synagogue, and World Heritage Site George Washington House.
You'll likely take your meals at the hotel's Fish Pot restaurant, who do wonders with fresh hauls from the sea. But, if you want to try something different, head north to Moontown Fish Fry (look for Sherman Hall Moon Fort), for catches of the day with a side of karaoke.
It’s one of nature’s curious wonders that sunsets take on a different hue wherever you are in the world, and Barbados is no exception. As we touch down at Bridgetown Airport for our weekend at Little Good Harbour, the horizon blazes a brilliant patchwork of reds and pinks. As welcomes go, they don’t get much warmer than this.
The island is only 20 miles long, yet it still takes us eight requests for directions, five residential dirt tracks, three arguments, two head-banging sessions on the steering wheel and a full one-and-a-half hours before we finally arrive at the hotel. Barbados, a British colony since 1663, may be known as ‘Little England’ but, other than the fact that cars drive on the left-hand side here, the island’s roads bear no similarity to those of its big sister. Where are the road signs for a start?
This is the first question I ask the hotel porter-cum-concierge at Little Good Harbour as he single-handedly carries all the luggage to our room. In storage in Bridgetown,’ he grins. Mrs Smith sprays a mouthful of bottled water across the welcome pack.
Spread across a couple of acres, Little Good Harbour is more a cluster of ‘cottages’ than a traditional hotel. Each residence comes with its own ample-sized kitchenette adjoining a lounge/diner area, and a bedroom and bathroom on the floor above. Fresh whitewashed walls, weathered wicker and wood furnishings, crisp white cushions and local art adorning the walls creates a simple but elegant feel. To our sleepy eyes it seems perhaps a little too basic, but we decide that to analyse the design aesthetic after 16 hours of travelling is probably a bit unfair.
The next day brings an entirely new perspective. As the equatorial sun bursts through the plantation shutters and sends shafts of light across our four-poster bed into our pitched-roofed, white beamed, wooden-floored bedroom, the ambience is nothing less than charming. When we step out onto our balcony, we realise that all that separates us from the glittering Atlantic Ocean is an equally enticing swimming pool and the coastal road we came in on. Perfect. Mrs Smith and I grin and clink our glasses of water together like one of those Cheshire cat-faced couples from a cheesy romcom.
And so to breakfast. The Fish Pot may be one of Barbados’ finest and most popular fish restaurants by night – and one of the most difficult places to get a dinner reservation – but in the morning it’s a far more laid-back affair. We pick a prime table with the beach directly below us and crystal-clear waters lapping just inches away from our feet, and order our start-the-day fare. Mrs Smith sits quietly with a coffee as I finish off my fried flying fish and onions (trust me, it’s delicious), the sunlight dappling across her face. ‘Perhaps it’s previous guests who’ve taken all the road signs,’ she says eventually. ‘Maybe they wanted to keep this place a secret?’
It’s a lovely theory, but one that’s quickly proved false. As we head up to the famously unspoilt north coast of the island in our car, we soon discover that there’s not a road sign to be found anywhere on Barbados. However, we decide, if you’re going get lost anywhere, then this isn’t a bad place to do it. The coastal road takes us through the hustle and bustle of small settlements such as Speightstown and Holetown, and grants us an authentic Caribbean experience no luxury hotel could ever hope to match. Salmon-pink school uniforms, yellow buses blasting out reggae tunes, rickety lime-green timber frame huts and vivid Manga-style religious murals provide the colour, while brightly hued fishing boats bobbing on the water and passing trucks laden with sugar cane are a reminder of the island’s working traditions.
We cruise past windswept cane fields and through rural shanty villages on our way to St Lucy and the Animal Flower Cave at the island’s most northerly point. We’d have loved to wend our way along the dramatic coastline, spectacularly carved by centuries of pounding Atlantic waves, and perhaps spent some time in the famed surfers’ paradise of Bathsheba, but the lack of signage has meant our schedule has gone completely to pot. So we head back to Little Good Harbour for our evening date with the Fish Pot, cursing our decision to leave the TomTom at home.
‘Listen!’ says Mrs Smith, as she emerges from the shower back in our room. ‘It’s the sound of the tropics at night.’ I’m glued to BBC News 24 on the flatscreen TV, and am slightly loth to tear myself away from updates on football matches taking place some 4,500 miles away. ‘Are you sure,’ I ask grumpily. ‘It sounds more like the fan belt going on the air con.’ The resulting thwack on the head with the Barbados in a Nutshell guidebook I receive is, Mrs Smith claims, because she ‘saw a mosquito’.
At 9pm the Fish Pot looks and feels very different to how it did at breakfast. It seats upwards of 65 covers and the place is absolutely buzzing. With the flickering candles on the tables, the sounds of the waves crashing on the nearby beach and the smell of bouillabaisse wafting from the kitchen, the romance factor is as high as I’ve ever experienced.
Even though the restaurant’s signature dish of grilled lobster has just sold out by the time we order, we still have a fantastic meal. I doubt that it could have topped the Ahi two-way tuna and Caribbean shrimp that Mrs Smith and I share, anyway. It’s a fitting end to our stay at this perfect, hidden-away slice of beachfront life. If previous guests really have taken all the road signs, I can certainly understand why.