Elegant Hotels Group: The ‘Elegantly Bajan’ Initiative

It’s no secret that at House of Coco we love to treat ourselves to a little bit of luxury every so often, especially when it comes to travel. When we think of luxurious travel we imagine white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and deserted coves, traditional culture preserved over tourist tack and of course, delicious food and drink. There’s one place that embodies all of these travel treasures – Barbados. This Carribean Island is one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world and it can all be made possible for you by the Elegant Hotels Group.


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 Elegant Hotels Group owns and operates five of the finest hotels and resorts in Barbados. Set on the most desirable of the island’s legendary beaches on the west and south coasts, each hotel features unique attributes and a distinctive personality. Together, they offer styles to suit every taste, from classic to contemporary, family-friendly to adults-only and traditional to all-inclusive. The hotels share a commitment to superb service and fine culinary experiences. They offer upscale accommodations that remain welcoming and unpretentious, or “elegance with a twist,” – a casual elegance that embodies the best of Barbados.  Elegant Hotels include The House, Colony Club Hotel and Tamarind, as well as the all-inclusive Crystal Cove Hotel and Turtle Beach Resort. The group also includes the acclaimed Daphne’s restaurant on Barbados’ west coast – sister to Daphne’s restaurant in London.

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Delicious dishes at Daphne’s, Barbados

 

New for 2015, Elegant Hotels Group in Barbados has developed a range of new initiatives at luxury resorts Turtle Beach on the south coast and Crystal Cove and Tamarind on the sparkling west coast of the island.

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Designed to further enhance guests’ stay, these new concepts have been devised by the team at the properties to showcase the group’s Barbadian heritage.  With 99% of the on-island staff* hailing from Barbados, from the CEO to the concierge, the team wanted to make sure guests got to experience more of the beautiful island of Barbados whilst staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts.

Each of the new concepts has been developed under the ‘Elegantly Bajan’ banner to identify activities that guests at each of the resorts can take part in that are wholly Bajan with an Elegant twist. Unlike other all-inclusive properties, Crystal Cove and Turtle Beach make a point of encouraging guests to explore Barbados, as do the other resorts including Tamarind, and these new initiatives will also bring a little more of the Bajan culture into the resorts.

Speaking about the new Elegantly Bajan initiatives, Sunil Chatrani, CEO of Elegant Hotels Group, commented: “As someone who was raised in Barbados, I am excited to share our wonderful culture with our guests.  It always gives me a great thrill to hear from guests at our resorts that they want to get involved in all things Bajan, from road tennis to rum tasting. We know that the demand is there so we’ve formalised this to make sure that our guests can get involved as much as they like or if they’d prefer to soak up the sunshine or have a go at some of our free watersports activities, that’s fine by us as well!”

 

Crystal Cove:

 

Crystal Cove is on the platinum west coast of Barbados where the gentle waves lap at the stunning shoreline with the resort on an elevated position offering fantastic views out to sea.  The all-inclusive four star property is in a charming traditional Bajan style and has an elegantly intimate feel that makes it popular with families and parties.  Crystal Cove features three freshwater lagoon swimming pools, a swim-up bar, two restaurants, complimentary watersports for all guests, two tennis courts and a free water taxi to other Elegant Hotels Group properties on the west coast.

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New Elegantly Bajan initiatives at Crystal Cove include:

  • Oistins Night – A weekly culinary sensation, Oistins Fish Fry on a Friday night is where locals and tourists alike head to the south coast to savour some rustic dining on local seafood and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere. Crystal Cove will be recreating the vibes of Oistins with a range of local authentic dishes at Drifters Restaurant for some beachside dining. Guests can look forward to a feast of local fish marinated and cooked live on George’s BBQ grill.  Delicacies include granny’s fish cakes with Mount Gay Rum cocktail sauce, fried flying fish with Bajan pepper sauce, grilled sweet potato, fried plantain, calypso rice and pumpkin & ginger soup.  Musical entertainment will be in the form of a local popular DJ who will be mixing sounds of Oistins with everything from calypso to reggae to set the scene and local artisans will be at the resort selling local crafts and souvenirs.  This experience is complimentary for all Crystal Cove guests.
  • Bridgetown Heritage Tour – Barbados’ capital is often overlooked by guests and offers a genuinely fascinating array of attractions for visitors to the island. Exclusively for Crystal Cove guests, this day long tour will soak up the most beautiful architecture and historic buildings in the capital as well include visits to the Mount Gay Visitor Centre, Kensington Oval, St. Mary’s Church, Parliament Buildings, Garrison Savannah and the Prime Minister’s Office. There will even be time in the itinerary for some duty-free shopping in Bridgetown followed by lunch and a trip to one of Barbados’ most beautiful beaches, Brown’s Beach, for a spot of snorkelling and relaxation.  This tour costs £12.50 per person and includes drinks and snacks.
  • Heritage Night – For an evening like no other, Crystal Cove will have a new Caribbean cabaret floor show with dancers wearing carnival costumes and performing a range of dances and feats including fire eating and limbo dancing. This will be accompanied by the Tuk Band and the famous Calypso King; authentic dishes from around the Caribbean and The Chattel House Bar which will be serving a variety of coconut cocktails.
  • Steel Pan Classes – One of the quintessential sounds of Barbados, this is a chance for guests to get to grips with the steel pans and have a go at producing well known songs as well as calypso classics with some of the best professionals on the island. These classes are free for guests, from beginners to seasoned players.
  • Road Tennis Classes – Road tennis is the little known national sport of Barbados – unique and exclusive to the island, road tennis involves a ‘skinned’ tennis ball, a stretch of road for a court and wooden paddles to bat the ball between two players. Easy to learn and fun to play, Crystal Cove staff will be on hand to show guests how to master this local sport as well as set up some tournaments for a vigorous work out. These classes are free for guests at Crystal Cove.

Rum Shop initiation – It is said there is a rum shop on every corner of Barbados and that liming (Bajan slang for relaxing) at a local village rum shop is an essential part of the Bajan experience. To test this theory, Crystal Cove staff will be coaching guests on how to ‘lime’ and really learn to relax, chill and clear their minds of any stress, by teaching them rum shop games.  Dominos is a national obsession in Barbados and Crystal Cove staff will teach guests how to play slam dominos like a real Bajan as well as drink some rum based forfeits.  Guests can also sample local rum shop snacks including corn beef and biscuits as well as cheese cutters made with local salt bread. This experience is free for guests at Crystal Cove.

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Turtle Beach:

 

Turtle Beach, on the south coast will offer a host of Elegantly Bajan experiences for families, couples and parties alike. A premium all-inclusive property in the lively St Lawrence parish of Barbados, Turtle Beach is popular with families and couples who love the relaxed atmosphere, 1,500ft beach and generalfeeling of space and tranquility the resort offers.  With two swimming pools, three restaurants and bars, two tennis courts and the infamous Captain Sam’s watersports centre with free watersports including surfing for all guests, Turtle Beach also has incredibly friendly staff known for their sense of fun and love of their island.

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Sunset at Turtle Beach, Barbados

 

New Elegantly Bajan initiatives at Turtle Beach include:

  • Turtle Pioneers – Turtle Beach staff are phenomenal and four of the team have stepped forward to become ‘Turtle Pioneers’. More than an adviser, these Turtle Pioneers are an elite team of Barbados experts and are a powerhouse of knowledge about what to do, where to go and when to do it in Barbados.  Hermanius, Maradonna, Nigel and Captain Sam will be on hand to give guests insider tips on the island as well as help work out what guests will enjoy most during their stay.
  • Pastry School – Guests at Turtle Beach can take part in a weekly pastry class with multi award winning dessert chef Ezra Beckles. Known for his sinfully tasty treats, Ezra uses unusual ingredients including noni flour and cactus as well as traditional ingredients from Barbados including local tamarind, cherries and coconut.  He will take guests through how to create local delicacies and most importantly, how to enjoy them.
  • The Pepper Pot Culinary TourGuests will be immersed in Bajan culture while tantalizing their taste buds with local culinary delights. Guests will visit the Speightstown Fish Market, then onto the scenic Jumas Restaurant to sample a variety of Bajan delicacies, a ride through historic Holetown, and then will culminate with an authentic Bajan lunch at Scotch Bonnet restaurant which is owned and operated by celebrated local chef Peter Edey.
  • Caribbean Goes Global Dance Show – the Caribbean is known as much for its infectious music as its beautiful blue waters. The Caribbean Goes Global Dance Show will take guests through the different genres of Caribbean music throughout the years, covering everything from calypso and soca to reggae and gospel. The pulsating rhythms and interpretative dance performance led by a cast of professional dancers is sure to captivate all in attendance.
  • Lemon Arbor Excursion – Guests will enjoy a Bajan Saturday staple ‘pudding and souse’ while taking in the picturesque St. John country views at popular local hangout Lemon Arbor.
  • Q in the Community – Experience a truly authentic Bajan experience at ‘Q in the Community’ the latest event taking Barbados by storm. Known as the ‘moving Oistins’, Q in the Community changes locations across Barbados weekly and features domino playing, line and ballroom dancing and karaoke contests. Informal, open air dining features popular local dishes such as grilled fish and chips, macaroni pie and fish cakes. The event is broadcast live on local radio station Q 100.7, and broadcast on television a few days later. The tour is held every Thursday and guests are accompanied by members of staff known as the Turtle Pioneers.
  • Bajan Music – Guests can also spend quality time together with Turtle Beach’s new entertainment offering this summer. Hotel fun includes performances from a leading jazz quartet by award-winning Trumpet player Ricky Brathwaite, professional calypso dancers and live cooking demonstrations. Kids can enjoy a mocktail party and costume making classes and families can come together in the evenings to enjoy a movie under the stars or make their own Kadooment costume before showcasing them at the resort.

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Tamarind

An inviting blend of Mediterranean design and Caribbean charm, situated on a 750-foot crescent of white sand beach on the famous Platinum West Coast of Barbados, Tamarind is as family-friendly as it is an exclusive adult hideaway. With complimentary breakfast and watersports, three freshwater pools and open-air dining  the luxury resort provides the perfect retreat for all ages.

  • Tamarind’s bespoke Coast-to-Coast island tour invites guests to take in the sights and scenery of our beautiful island. The tour begins with a visit to historic attraction and rum distillery, St. Nicholas Abbey, where guests can enjoy rum tasting and during cane season can view the grinding of sugar cane first hand! Then it’s on to picturesque Cherry Tree Hill and then to Bathsheba on the East Coast of Barbados, where they enjoy a leisurely lunch amidst striking views of the undeniable beauty of this coast. The Tamarind Coast to Coast is US $75 for adults, and US $62.50 for children, minimum 6 persons.
  • Tamtastic Rum Shop Crawl Tour: Barbados is widely known as the birthplace of rum, and its 1,500 rum shops are an integral part of Bajan history and culture, surviving over 300 years. On Tamarind’s Rum Shop Crawl and Scenic Tour, guests get to ‘lime like a local’ at some of the most popular watering holes across Barbados.  Guests are also able to take in the sights and scenery of Barbados, with a scenic stop at the famed Gun Hill Signal Station, while enjoying complimentary rum punch and local Bajan treats along the way. The Rum shop Crawl is US $55 per person, minimum 8 persons.

For more information on any of the Elegant Hotels properties or to book, visit www.eleganthotels.com

Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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