Ocean Two Resort and Residences – Visit Barbados and the Choice is Yours!
I was delighted to be leaving the cold rainy English weather behind in pursuit of a sunnier climate in the Caribbean. Remarkably Barbados is only an 8-hour direct flight away from the UK. I was invited on a trip to Barbados to stay with Ocean Two Resort and Residences and celebrate ‘The year of Culinary Experience’. What a fabulous opportunity to discover just how well the Barbadians eat and find out first hand the true delights of the Bajan cuisine. Believe me, I feasted like a queen, eating fresh local ingredients, some of which I had never tried before and experienced both delicious modern cuisine cooked by award-winning chefs and authentic street food.
There is something very vibrant and intoxicating about Barbados. Both the hot climate and beautiful landscape are of course a natural draw, but what makes it an especially wonderful island is the easy charm of the Bajan people who couldn’t be friendlier. Not only was I was made to feel very welcome, but I also very safe. We visited some small rum shops tucked away in backstreets completely off the beaten track, which if I had come across in London’s back alleys I would have put my head down and scuttled past … however here we were treated like locals and tucked happily into some Bajan delicacies and some Mount Gay rum (with a bit of added fizz.. ….ginger ale, tonic or coke). Barbados is not cheap, but rum is!
So as well as finding out about the Bajan cuisine (and its rum of course) I also had an action packed trip where I was able to enjoy some of the great activities on offer including a cultural tour of the historic town of Bridgetown which was named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2012, a visit to St Nicholas Abbey, one of the oldest plantation houses in the Caribbean, food shopping in Cheapside Market, followed by a beachside dinner with acclaimed chef Jason Howard, a visit to the lush tropical landscapes of Welshman Hall Gully whilst getting to see some wild monkeys, an authentic rum shop tour plus setting sail on the Jammin’ catamaran cruise, snorkeling with the turtles and grooving to the sounds of calypso and soca with rum punch in hand.. and so much more… (so please watch out for my following posts)
But first…….Where to stay…
Ocean Two Resort and Residences have three hotels on the island, each of which offer a different experience.
I was staying at the Ocean Two Resort and Residences, which is situated on the South coast of Barbados at the eastern end of Lawrence Gap in the parish of Christchurch, just 5 miles from Grantley Adams International airport. Ocean Two is a 4-star hotel with a lovely friendly independent feel to it. Ideally situated on the picturesque seafront, which is framed by palm trees and a white powdery sandy beach. It has an inviting swimming pool, which follows the curve of the hotel, plus a fully equipped gym and adult only roof terrace with a plunge pool where you can enjoy incredible sunsets over Oistins Bay. The resort restaurant overlooks the beach and offers a swim-in bar plus a drinks service when for when you are lounging on the comfy beach chairs and enjoying the stunning view out to sea.
We arrived to a wonderfully warm welcome; we were given chilled towels to freshen up and a coconut shell cup filled with chilled fresh juice before being shown to our rooms.
I was sharing a 2 bedroom luxury Penthouse suite on the top floor with my fellow blogger Sian. Imagine…… this is more like a large apartment with two private double bedrooms both with luxurious en-suite facilities, the walk-in power shower was the size on my entire bathroom and a double sink offering elegant bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body cream. There were piles of white towels and waffle gowns and my bed was heavenly comfortable with crisp white laundered sheets.
There was the lovely touch of a welcome gift containing a selection of Bajan savoury and sweet treats and a carafe of rum.
The massive living area was truly impressive and easy to make yourself at home. It provided an ample kitchen area including an American style fridge with chilled water on tap (it’s quite safe to drink the tap water here), a coffee machine, breakfast bar, dining table and comfortable sitting area with TV, sofas and armchairs. To be honest, I spent most of my time out enjoying the island and therefore didn’t make much use of the facilities, but it would be the perfect place to stay with friends or family, as you are able to have complete privacy in the bedroom suites but share the large communal living area.
Then for the balcony…..we arrived after sunset so it wasn’t until morning had broken that I was able I to see just what a glorious view we had of the sea and the beach below. As I sat drinking my freshly brewed coffee on the long balcony I could hear the lapping of the waves and the palm trees blowing in the gentle breeze…… heaven, I had really arrived in BARBADOS, civilization in paradise!
Breakfast is buffet style with fresh fruits, pastries, banana bread, a selection of hot food, eggs made to order and a waffle machine, the dining room is covered but outdoors with a view of the beach.
Dinner at Sea Breeze Beach House
We went for Dinner on our first evening at our hotel’s sister property the Sea Breeze Beach House a short drive away. Sea Breeze Beach House is a luxury all-inclusive, located directly on a long sandy beach, with whitewash walls and low-level rooms, which have an attractive laid back feel to them.
It has recently been refurbished; so along with the existing rooms, they will be unveiling 44 new individually designed luxury suites, all with a sea view, very soon. We had a sneak preview of the beautifully furnished rooms with a colourful Bajan seaside look.
There are several gorgeous looking pools to choose from, a spa and six different dining experiences including the Aqua Terrace which serves seafood, grilled steak and sushi, fine dining at Cerulean, beachside dining at The Flying Fish, the Chef’s Tasting Room and a Rum Shop Café.
But what makes this all-inclusive hotel stand apart from the others is that its kitchen is run by award-winning Barbadian chef Michael Harrison.
The food was of an exceptionally high standard, my previous experiences of all-inclusive dining is that the menu can get very boring, with much the same thing to eat day after day… rest assured here it’s something different, there’s real attention to detail, with fresh inventive and beautifully presented cooking using Bajan ingredients with a bit of a twist
We kicked off with some sweet and smooth plantain with pineapple and pretty edible flowers.
The Wahoo carpaccio with a passion fruit dressing, sour papaya, grapefruit and crunchy pieces of popcorn was divine, though it looked strange on paper, the delicate fish worked really well with the fresh fruit and the crunch of the sweet popcorn.
Pan-Fried Flying Fish with smoked tomato breadfruit was fresh and vibrant; the fish was lightly spiced and served with a delicious crunchy cucumber salad and melon salsa. Both Flying Fish and breadfruit are native to Barbados and are used a lot in local cooking; flying fish have small bodies with big wings and can fly up to 39 metres above the water. Breadfruit is a large creamy textured fruit, which grows on huge trees. High in carbs, you can use it as a delicious Caribbean alternative to potato.
In between courses we were served a pallet cleansing strawberry sorbet with a touch of mint.
For main I chose the Surf and Turf – a fabulous combination of tender slow cooked beef with a sweetly spiced sauce and gloriously big meaty fresh prawns served with creamy mash and a crisp pappadam.
We shared a selection of desserts to finish off the evening, even though I was delightfully full I still managed to find some room for the delicious rich melt in your mouth chocolate pudding and some fresh fruits.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Ocean Two Resort and Residences, and would highly recommend it, but if you prefer an all-inclusive holiday Sea Breeze Beach House would be the perfect alternative.
My adventures in Barbados continue please look out for my next post. Meanwhile, why not pin this post for later
Virgin Atlantic flies daily from London Gatwick to Barbados and twice a week from Manchester to Barbados with return Economy fares starting from £453 per person return. For further information and to book please visit www.virginatlantic.com
For further information about Barbados visit the Tourist Board Website
For more about the Year of Culinary Experiences check this link.
For more about Ocean Two Resort and Residences check their website.