Back in 1999 to 2001, I worked onboard luxury cruise liners and got to travel the world, enjoy a rich and fulfilling lifestyle, visit new and exotic locations, meet people from all walks of life, and work as I’ve never worked before! Don’t get me wrong, working on a cruise ship, in my experience, was a ton of fun, but it certainly was not easy work. Some workdays would start at 9 am and end by around midnight or later.
But one of the biggest perks was getting to visit the most exotic islands in the Caribbean!
One of my absolute favourite ports of call in the Caribbean was Barbados. I have so many incredible memories of spending hours and hours at the Boatyard, working on my tan and getting certified as a Level 1 Padi Diver.
Well, over 20 years went by since I last worked onboard and re-visiting Barbados was always on my bucket list, and today, here we are!
We were delighted to stay at the Radisson Aquatica Resort in Bridgetown for 5-nights and it was absolutely lovely!
We live in Vancouver, Canada, so to get to Barbados, we had 2 connections, both Air Canada. The total trip was about 18 hours and 10 minutes. The first flight from Vancouver to Toronto went by really fast as it was on a 4 and a half hour flight! We pretty much watched movies the entire flight, and by the time we landed in Toronto, we were quite tired since it was around 1 AM.
Then leaving Toronto, it was another 5 hours before we would land in Barbados at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
Flying in was amazing! I was sitting in the aisle seat, so I could just get a glimpse as we were landing, and it was such an exciting feeling.
Peaking out of the tiny plane window and seeing a lush paradise filled with the greenest palms and endless ocean was so incredible. I felt like a kid, with my excitement level sky high!
When the plane landed, everyone cheered and clapped, and I knew I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t wait to enjoy beautiful Barbados!
Once we all disembarked safely, busses were waiting to pick us up and take us to the main terminal. And from there, it was just lovely – staff that welcomed us in were all smiling – genuine smiles, welcoming us in, and everyone was incredibly friendly – so the first impression right off the bat was remarkable.
Once we collected our luggage, we hailed a cab and went straight to our hotel, our new home for the next 5 nights – The Radisson Aquatica.
Arriving At The Radisson Aquatica
Our taxi driver dropped us off at the main entrance, where we were welcomed by 2 smiling and pleasant staff members.
The smell of the fresh nighttime air, the gentle crashing sounds of the waves hitting the beach, ceiling fans lighting humming and the cute sounds of the tiny whistling frogs all made for a pleasant ambiance. We felt at home right away!
Check-in was a breeze, and before we knew it, we already had our room keys in our hands and our Wi-Fi code.
I knew that once we arrived that that hotel, we would both be exhausted after 24 hours of travel, and starving. So I had to plan our dinner ahead of time, especially since both of us are vegans. Luckily I found a 100% Vegan restaurant that delivers, so I contacted Chef Adde, the Green Lime Eco Cafe & Juice Bar owner, just before our flight from Toronto to Barbados and ordered dinner. I told him what time our flight would arrive, and he took care of the rest.
Our arrival was made even better when the receptionist handed over our pre-ordered takeout all-vegan dinner, which was dropped off just minutes before we got there. I’m so glad I planned it out.
As soon as we entered our room, we dropped our luggage, jumped in the shower and then ate our still warm, absolutely delicious dinner and crashed!
Even though there was a 4-hour time difference between Vancouver and Barbados and it was still early evening, all that travel was exhausting. So laying down and just being horizontal felt incredible. Within minutes we were completely knocked out.
I’m pretty sure I slept for a solid 10-hours.
We got a gorgeous oceanview room that had a balcony overlooking the pool and Carlisle Bay. The room itself was very spacious and comfortable with a king-size bed, mini-fridge, free Wi-Fi and a work desk, large bathroom (with a bathtub, shower and double sinks). I have to say the room was spotless!
I have a very “delicate” back due to a car accident. I have arthritis in my spine, so finding a hotel that offers comfortable beds can be challenging. Well, I was very, very happy with the quality of my bed.
I slept like a baby – no tossing or turning. And when I woke up in the morning, my back was perfectly fine – no aches or pains, which is a blessing for me.
Waking up every morning is exactly what I imagined it to be like! Listening to the sounds of gentle waves and birds chirping, the sun shining and looking out at the turquoise waters of the Caribbean is truly magical!
The beach is excellent! Soft white sand, crystal-clear water, very gentle waves and every now and then, you’ll even see some little fish swim by. I spend endless hours just playing in the ocean while my hubby rented a stand-up paddleboard a couple of times and had a blast.
We also rented a double kayak and tried catching a couple of waves, which was super fun!
Other guests were found sunbathing, snorkelling, swimming, paddleboarding, diving. Some of them also rented equipment and had a go at sailing, which looked like a lot of fun. There are plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas and fresh, clean beach towels available.
If you are up early, you might even get a glimpse of the local racehorses swimming on this beach!! My husband wakes up earlier than me and happen to see it and tried waking me up, but I was so jetlagged, there was just no way I was waking up.
The Atmosphere & Resort
I have to say the staff at the Radisson Aquatica Resort were just lovely! From the moment we checked in to the moment we checked out, everyone we encountered was pleasant, cheerful and very welcoming.
The reception area has a charming, welcoming, relaxing and tropical vibe to it. It’s spacious and wide open, and as you look out to the left, you’ll see lush plants and flowers followed by a glimpse of the turquoise ocean! The lobby too is large, spacious and has several seating areas.
Because we spend most of our time at the beach, we didn’t have a chance to use or hang out at the pool.
The location is definitely a huge plus! You can easily get around town by taxi or bus, and if you do feel courageous enough to rent a car and drive on the opposite side of the road, you’ll be glad to know that there is free parking!!
The resort does have a restaurant and two oceanfront bars, and of course, you can order room service. There are also about three restaurants about a two-minute walk from the lobby.
While some other travellers left reviews on sites like Google and Tripadvisor, saying that the place needs an upgrade, we didn’t feel that this took away anything from the resort itself. For me, cleanliness, excellent service and having a good night’s sleep are among the most important factors. This resort got a 10 on all three! And this resort is immaculate! Not once did I see anything that looked as if it needed attention or cleaning because they keep this resort sparking.
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♡ Love, Nash