Beach Bliss in Barbados

A recent survey of more than 70,000 travelers from around the world ranked Barbados as the #1 destination in terms of overall satisfaction. That is high praise indeed, given that the poll included more than 140 popular vacation spots, from the Caribbean to Africa, Asia and more. And yet, despite the fact that it’s right our in our own backyard, Barbados generally isn’t top of mind for Americans. Perhaps, after reading Carissa’s trip report, that will change 🙂

Carissa and Travis came to me for some help with a last-minute honeymoon. They wanted low-key, low-fuss, easy-to-reach, adults-only, all-inclusive, and good food. I think that the beautiful new Waves Hotel and Spa in Barbados delivered on all counts!

Waves Hotel and Spa was spectacular, exactly what we needed!  I don’t know where to start.  The place was VERY relaxing, clean, and well run.  The staff was friendly and got to know us by name.  They would ask what we did that day and seemed to make sure we had a relaxing time.  The staff kept the grounds very well maintained and cleaned.  Waitstaff were quick to clear away empty plates, glasses, etc.  which added to the cleanliness factor.  There was a smoking section under the umbrellas and although I saw people smoking there,we never saw cigarette butts or dirty ashtrays.  Nor did we see any drink toothpicks or straws on the floor or littered about.  Our room was cleaned daily and always felt welcoming and refreshing thanks to the quiet AC.

balcony overlooking the ocean in Barbados

Being in a smaller resort, we got to know other guests by sight and would chat in the common areas or in passing. Vacation friends!  We didn’t talk about work or even get last names, it was great.  Older crowd, mainly British but a few younger couples.  Not the place for late night parties.  At about 8 pm there was live music (a musician or 2) and people sat around in the common living area (very open floor plan which was great) and had a drink and mingled.  On Monday nights there was a limbo show but we went to bed before she started.

We visited Crystal Cove for lunch one day and decided that Waves was more our style.  It was nice but I appreciate the spa feel of the open layout of Waves, the primary color palette of blue, sand, light grey, with pops of coral.  Side by side example of the service:  While at the beach at Crystal Cove, a waitress came around offering little plastic cups of grapes.  Later she came by with a tray of assorted mixed drinks and juices.  At Waves, we were offered frozen grapes on a bamboo skewer served with tongs.  A few minutes later our specific drink orders were taken.  But in the meantime, would we like a cool towel?

With our fancy room we each got 4 spa vouchers!  The vouchers could be used for complimentary treatments or could go towards an upgraded service.  We did both.  The spa was great and the ladies working there were nice.  We had pedicures, facials, massages, and Travis got a body scrub.  I chose to forgo the scrub, I had one recently.  The spa, Asian fusion restaurant, and the big adult pool was located across the street from the main building on the ocean.  It was easy to go back and forth.

luxurious pool and spa at the Waves Hotel & Resort barbados

The food was good although nothing to write home about.  We liked the elegant casual dinner attire requirement.  It got people out of their beachwear.  In addition to the 2 restaurants, there is a coffee shop (air conditioned if you want) which we wish was open after dinner.  We did get sandwiches from there they day we left.

Unfortunately due to high surf conditions all water sports (and turtle adventure) were cancelled during our stay.  Management kept hoping that “tomorrow” will be better but they never gave us false hope.  The waves were so epic that staff was out there taking pictures.  They lost a lot of sand/beach.  We were able to walk to Crystal Cove along the beach at low tide one day and only had to navigate a few high water areas.  I think as more sand went out, it got more treacherous.  Surfers on the West coast of Barbados was a novel sight, we enjoyed watching them every day.

One morning we took the yellow reggae bus to Bridgetown.  Meh.  It was OK.  Interesting architecture but nothing I really needed to buy.  While walking around we were asked by taxi drivers if we wanted a ride back to the boat. hahaha.  When we said we weren’t on the boat, they offered tours of the island.

The FunJet rep met us Tuesday morning and offered up a variety of activities but we declined.  They were however very good with their shuttle service to and from the airport.

This was the perfect place for reading, catching up on naps, and doing a whole lot of nothing.  If we had stayed longer we may have ventured more into the rest of the country.  Eating and resting takes up a lot of energy.

Thanks again for figuring out exactly what we needed.  We would love to go back to Barbados and I certainly got accustomed to the luxury all-inclusive lifestyle.

Any questions?  Have I missed anything??

Best regards,


A Pacific Northwest Adventure

A good honeymoon should reflect the bride and groom’s shared passions and interests. A great honeymoon should be so completely tailored to the specific couple that you literally can’t imagine anyone else taking the same trip. That’s definitely the case with Corkie and Kyle’s honeymoon adventures in Canada and the Pacific Northwest!

Hey Ann!

Thank you for reaching out! We are certainly happy to tell you about our trip!

Delta flight out to Calgary — not my favorite airline in terms of snacks they provide and lack of flight entertainment but when it’s the most cost effective, it’s fine.

Rental Car in Canada — good experience!

Fairmont Banff Springs — Beautiful place, wonderful and friendly staff. We used the valet service which was really nice and cost $35 a day. We didn’t get a room upgrade but we did utilize the free breakfast buffet every morning which retails for two at $70 plus tip. The breakfast was nice, with lots to choose from. One downside of our stay was we had construction going on right outside our window which woke us up at 8 am with men out on a loud metal ladder. We talked to the front desk and they discounted us $100 and said it would probably stop in a day or so, but it didn’t and by Thursday I went down and they discounted us a little more and gave us a room change which was nice because we didn’t get woken up again. Their spa is amazing! They have multiple hot tubs and a mineral pool, which we got access to for the day when we had our massages, which were great. We went horseback riding, played tennis, used the fitness facility and pool and hot tub at the Fairmont and they were all great! As a side note they have a Fairmont President’s Club which we registered for for free and it automatically saved us 10% at the spa, access to the tennis courts and free wifi in the rooms! We also ate at their nice restaurant, Castello. It was really nice! They are only open three hours a night so we made a reservation!

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Banff sightseeing – we did the gondola, a boat tour of Minnewanka, Johnson Canyon (was our favorite), Lake Louise (the wait to eat lunch at the Fairmont there would have been an hour so we left ) we ate at Saltlick, Bear Street Tavern, The Maple Leaf, & The Bison to name a few of the higher-end restaurants. We agreed that the week in Banff was wonderful and relaxing but that we probably would have been happy to stay there for four days and go to a different part of Canada because a week was a long time.

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Flight to Seattle — Nice flight nothing to report.. We did have a moment at the airport of “how should we get to the hotel?” and we were cranky. We opted for a cab.

Olive 8 hotel in Seattle — Really nice, we weren’t able to get an upgrade but our room was nice. The shower has no door and there is a very modern design to the place. You actually need a room key to keep the lights on — very green! They also have a very nice gym. I did get a pedicure at their spa and it was relaxing. We also used their hot tub. We had their included breakfast every day we were there and it was delicious.

Seattle sightseeing — we walked a ton, Pike Place Market was really fun. There were a ton of homeless people, panhandlers and drug addicts near the market and our hotel so we didn’t walk around too much at night. We went to the Experience Music Project and it was fantastic. We actually bought a CityPass and it was a great deal to do the Space Needle, EMP, Aquarium and a ferry ride (we didn’t do that). The Space Needle and the Aquarium were okay. We are glad we did them, and we think they would be fun for kids. We did the Big Ferris Wheel as well — also kind of pricey and touristy. We ate a lot of great food and we went to Capital Hill and saw some great boutiques and local shops, which we loved.

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We stopped in Portland on our way to Cannon Beach and we had an awesome time. Great food and great stores to look at. We did have to Google where to go because it’s hard to find the cool spots if you start out where we did (at VooDoo Donuts). VooDoo Donuts was such a disappointment — touristy and not worth waiting on line, as famous as it is. We stayed in Portland until about 8pm and then checked in late at the Stephanie Inn.

Rental Car to Portland — there was an issue: We were unaware that there was a 9am pick up time and we showed up two hours late we almost didn’t get a car — they didn’t contact us or anything so we are glad we got their last car.

Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach — was our favorite place. Tempurpedic bed and fireplace in the room, with an incredible view. They had fresh baked cookies in the lobby           that Kyle couldn’t stop eating. We preferred that it was smaller than the Fairmont, but just as fancy, which made it more special. We walked on the beach.  We loved going into town — so many cool stores. We took a surf lesson which we booked with Lauren at Seaside Surf Shop and it was amazing!  She took us to “shorties” which is a local surf spot and then we went on our own surfing at Indian Beach. Awesome!

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We then stopped back in Portland hours before our flight and ate more food and saw more cool shops and got to the airport a few hours before our flight.

It was a really wonderful trip! If you have any specific questions lets us know!!!

– Corkie

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)