Turtle Beach

Rating: 

A 4 star hotel on a stunning stretch of white sand and dreamy turquoise waters famous for its resident turtles who nest and hatch every season

 

Turtle Beach is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort, situated in Dover, on the picturesque south coast of Barbados. Bridgetown, the island’s capital city, is just a 20 minutes drive away. Families can look forward to spacious suites and outdoor areas, kids clubs, pristine gardens, swimming pools, water sports and many other attractive facilities and activities for all ages.

Information & Facts

Accessibility

Unlike its sister property Crystal Cove, Turtle is relatively accessible - there are lifts and ground floor suites are ideal with a buggy or for those needing wheelchair access – some of the ground floor ocean view junior suites have roll-in showers. The main entrance does have two sweeping steps, but there is a route around this.

Activities / Excursions Outside the Resort

The round trip to Oistin’s (it’s just a shuttle service, not a specific guided tour) is £5 and takes you to and from the Friday Fish Fry and needs to be booked a day in advance

 

Bridgetown Heritage Tour – Bridgetown is only about 20 mins away but isn’t visited as much as some of the other attractions on island.  The tour includes a guided tour of the capital, looking at the architecture and history as well as a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre which is fascinating, the Kensington Oval which will please cricket nuts and Garrison Savannah, the home of horse racing on the island. There’s time for a bit of duty free shopping followed by a trip to Brown’s Beach for a spot of snorkelling. It costs £12.50 per person.

Best Bits for Kids

The beach is huge and just begging to be played on, Freeze the ice-cream parlour has unlimited ice-cream and the Flying Fish kids club has such a variety of activities on offer, there is no chance of hearing ‘I’m bored’!

Best Bits for Parents

There is something really comforting about being in such an overtly family friendly resort – no one is looking at you when your child screams with delight as everyone is in the same boat. There are also boats, you can go on them with the kids and even better, one of the Aqua School team will do all the hard work, so the fear factor is removed from being on the waves. I particularly loved the Half Moon Coffee Shop as it felt like a ‘proper’ café and was air conditioned, so a real break from the heat of the day.  Also, there’s a dine around programme with the sister all-inclusive hotels, Waves and Crystal Cove (you have to book in advance) with no additional cost or you can eat at all the other restaurants in the Elegant Hotels Group collection on island at special rates.

Best Family Beaches

As you can imagine by the name, it’s all about the beach at Turtle Beach resort – it’s wide and welcoming with soft silky white sand and a perfect turquoise sea.  The sea is a little bit more choppy than on the gentle west coast which is why surfing and boogie boarding lessons are on offer, though it does mean that some days you wouldn’t want to venture in it with little ones. 

 

All the beaches in Barbados are public, so if you fancy exploring, Crane Beach on the east coast, about a 15 minute drive away is a stunner and one that is regularly included in ‘top 10 beach’ features. 

 

Bathsheba further up the west coast is less a beach and more of a view point, but it is absolutely incredible with the ferocious Atlantic Sea bashing against the rocks. For more serene waves, the west coast is the place to head and the beach at Mullins is a must as not only is it beautiful, there’s a great place to eat.  Alternatively, as Turtle Beach is part of the Elegant Hotels Group, you could head over to the sister resort on the west coast, Crystal Cove and soak up the platinum coast beach vibe there.

Check in information

Check in is at 3pm (though most flights arrive from the UK after this) and check out is at noon, but you can ask for a late check out and they are really helpful on that front and you can stay at the resort and use all the facilities until your transfer to the airport.

Digital Detox / Digital Overload

There’s free WiFi everywhere and the Kids Lounge has games consoles with a multitude of unfathomable games and there is satellite TV in the rooms.

Endorsement Quote

I travelled with my husband and two sons James (two) and Luke (one). The pools and ice-cream parlour were a huge hit with the boys. The husband and I loved the dine around programme at other hotels on the island as we felt like we were eating out without the expense. 

Family Traveller's Recommended Family Rooms

It’s got to be either the interconnecting rooms with an ocean view or the ocean view one bedroom suites – the views are just sublime, the ease of access to the beach and play area is perfect with little ones, plus the extra space makes bed time and having an evening cocktail on the balcony all the more relaxing.

Food & Drink

Turtle Beach is all inclusive and that includes all meals – breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner as well as out of meal time snacks and all drinks including wine and spirits except their fine wine and champagne list. There is a special kids’ menu from 12.30 – 9.30pm.

 

Chelonia Restaurant

 

Chelonia Restaurant is the main restaurant – it’s where the huge buffet breakfast (fruit, pastries, eggs every way imaginable, hot breakfast, continental meats etc) is served, afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and cakes is here from 4-5pm and it’s open for dinner with buffets that change nightly so a mix of Bajan and more familiar dishes like Italian and Asian food from 7 – 10pm.

 

The Waterfront Café

 

The Waterfront Café is close to the beach and pool and offers light snacks from 12.30 – 3pm and does dinner, sometimes a la carte, sometimes barbecue from 7-10pm. It is great for families as it’s very relaxed, close to where the kids wanted to be and great for people watching.

 

Asiagos

 

Asiagos is the Italian restaurant and only available for over 12s in the evening.

 

 

Maradonna

 

Also, there’s a member of the team will periodically wander around with treats like watermelon slices or ice lollies – the very friendly Maradonna was usually the chap who did it when we were there and it was like he had a sixth sense for when we were hot or peckish!

 

Half Moon Coffee Bar & Deli / Freeze Ice Cream Parlour

 

If you don’t want to wait for Maradonna, there are two places open all day for a treat – Half Moon Coffee Bar & Deli has paninis, pastries and really really excellent coffees and frappuchinos. There’s also Freeze the ice-cream parlour that does cones, sundaes and milkshakes.

 

Packed lunches are provided when you go out on a day trip – you have to order 24 hours in advance though. Not particularly healthy nor inventive is the all-day dining option which is a self-service pizza and hot dog affair. But the kids liked it. The paninis at Half Moon are a better bet.

 

Regarding the drinks – the white wine is totally drinkable, but in the Caribbean it’s all about the rum punch, which is excellent, as is the cocktail list which is available at the bars at Chelonia, Waterfront and Asiagos.

Getting There

Turtle Beach is about 10 minutes by car from the airport or about 20 minutes from Bridgetown’s cruise terminal.

Hotel Shop

There’s a little which sells a variety of toiletries, magazines, swim wear, Turtle Beach souvenirs and also some goodies for the children. There is also a Diamonds International outlet where you can buy all things sparkly. Both open 9-5pm. 

Hotel Vibe

Turtle Beach is a friendly, lively hotel with a welcoming soul. It’s on the fun-loving south coast of Barbados and lives up to that with plenty of activities to get involved in but also has a stunning sweeping beach with plenty of loungers to while away the day.

Kids Clubs

The Flying Fish Club is the name of the kids’ club and it’s run by absolutely lovely staff. It’s free and open for children aged 3-12 (as long as they are out of nappies).  It’s open for a whopping 12 hours from 9am – 9pm and as you can imagine they pack in a varied schedule of activities for different age ranges including trips on the water with the Aqua School, a catamaran cruise, etc.  Parents can go along as well and can take under 3s with them, so it was good for us as it meant we could go into the air conditioned cool with our little ones and they could play with all the toys and goodies.

 

Teenagers have a lounge where they can play on a Wii or Xbox and there are things like giant board games, ping pong, pool, foosball and generally do what teenagers do best and mooch about.

Location

The majority of the hotels on Barbados are either on the west or south coast. The west coast is the self-proclaimed ‘platinum coast’ and there is a platinum premium as a result.  The south coast is a bit more wallet friendly and as a result loses some of the stuffiness of the west. Turtle Beach is on a stunning wide stretch of sand at the end of St Lawrence Gap – a street with lots of restaurants and bars – and close to Oistin’s which is famous for it’s Friday Night Fish Fry, where locals and tourists come to eat and dance.

Pools

There are two freshwater pools – one large lap pool and a meandering freeform pool with little bridges over it to divide the main part from the kids’ pool. There’s also a whirlpool for the grown-ups.

Rooms

All the rooms are suites and feature sofa beds so a family of four can fit in nicely. The rooms are a really good size, but could probably do with a few touch ups here and there and have a balcony or terrace depending on what floor they are on.  There are some great ocean view junior suites with interconnecting rooms, garden view and ocean view one bedroom suites which are ideal if you don’t want to share a room with the kids

Spa & Pampering for Adults

The spa has treatment rooms and offers body, head and feet treatments as well as beauty treatments – it is nice, but not one of the stand out features of the resort – that accolade belongs to sister property Waves.

Spa & Wellbeing for Kids

The Flying Fish Club does a nail art activity and there are also things like kids manicures, pedicures and hair treatments at the little spa treatment rooms.

Sports

The watersports centre is the star of the show at Turtle Beach – Captain Sam and his team are legendary and they offer boogie boarding, stand up paddle-boarding sailing, surfing, kayaking and windsurfing. Captain Sam himself is there most days and is certainly the coolest dude in town.

 

On dry land the activities team organise things like be beach volleyball, beach cricket, beach football to make use of the huge sweeping stretch of sand.

 

There are also tennis courts with a tennis pro who runs a weekly clinic for guests as well as a fitness centre with all the usual gym equipment and lots of sports options around the resort including aqua aerobics, billiards, croquet, yoga and boxercise.  A recent new addition to the sports offering is a free round of golf at Barbados Golf Club for guests including transfers (it’s a short journey), club hire and green fees.

 

Room Service

Room service is available for a delivery fee of £5 and this includes kids’ food and hot water for formula or hot milk from 7.30am – 10.30am and 5pm – 9.30pm.

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