Nothing quite prepares you for Cobblers Cove, after a five-year refurbishment. It feels more like a retreat than a hotel on the relaxed north-west coast of Barbados. The former plantation mansion stands out with a soft pink and white exterior. Staff offer a warm welcome with a Cobblers Cooler cocktail. The best way to enjoy it is on a lounger under the parasol in front of the Caribbean Sea or by the outdoor swimming pool. Not advised on an empty stomach.



The bedrooms, in keeping with the retreat feel, are free of televisions. It’s quite liberating to escape a daily diet of bad news. I enjoyed many hours sitting on the terrace with a book while overlooking the tropical gardens. The bathrooms feature large, powerful walk-in showers and the bedroom is well air-conditioned. The rooms are provided with an excellent selection of teas, coffees and snacks.



There’s probably no better place to eat in the area than the hotel’s Camelot restaurant, whether it be a full breakfast, a chicken club sandwich at lunch or freshly caught fish at dinner. The lobster tagliatelle and pan fried Catch of the Day were delicious. There isn’t a more elegant setting to enjoy a meal and there is a rich pull of musical talent in the area that is happy to take requests. We were treated to a version of Electric Avenue by one local singer in fine voice with charisma to burn. Eddie Grant is a resident in the area.



Five of us departed the hotel to visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery under a blue sky. The guide was a knowledgeable and lively character with many great stories about the distillery’s 300-year history including tales about the Scots who lived and worked there. We were invited to taste a selection of rare and pricey rums.



The hotel’s pontoon is anchored a short distance in front of the hotel. A short walk onto the golden sands, a swim in the warm blue seas and you can relax in the calm waters in front of the hotel. The Salt Whistle Store on the hotel grounds sells an array of locally produced gifts including cotton dresses and linen shirts. The hotel gardens are a pleasant spot to sit and ponder, and the gardeners are happy to chat about the rare and beautiful species in the garden.



There are many Christian churches dotted around the area and faith is a strong aspect of the culture. Many of the locals talk about having Scottish connections rooted in the church. There are opportunities to visit the wild highlands and go sailing, I opted for the latter and went snorkelling with turtles. Swimming with these compelling creatures was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. The boatman was happy to point out the homes of some famous residents, including Rihanna. The singer was declared a national hero of Barbados shortly after my visit when the country celebrated its new status as an independent republic.

Rates at Cobblers Cove start from approx. £300 per room per night on a B&B basis. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways offer direct flights to Barbados from the UK.