by Diana Lambdin Meyer
The west coast of Barbados is considered by many to be the ideal vacation destination on the island. The surf is calmer here and, generally speaking, the beaches are pristine. It’s so ideal that nearly 300 years ago, the first European visitors to Barbados landed just a few hundred yards from where Mango Bay is now located.
Built in 1993, Mango Bay is a pleasant little boutique hotel with just 76 rooms. The hotel focuses on personalized service and the individual needs of each guest. Within minutes of check-in, it seems that everyone on staff knows your name, your children’s names and everyone’s favorite drink.
If you’re coming to the island to celebrate any of the several festivals there, most of which are held in Holetown, you can’t find a more convenient location than Mango Bay. And, if you want to get out and explore the rest of the island without renting a private vehicle or incurring cab fares, the bus stop is just a few blocks from the hotel’s front door.
There are no mango trees at Mango Bay, although we’re told there once were, but you can count on having plenty of fresh mangos available for breakfast and lunch, and the mango sorbet will certainly be a high point of your dining experience.
Because it is a boutique resort, it is also rather quiet. Families with children who are skilled at entertaining themselves will enjoy the property and all of its amenities.
Our Editor Loves
- All-inclusive rates
- Children under 4 stay free
- Close proximity to restaurants
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The room arrangements at Mango Bay provide lots of fun choices. If you're really craving some privacy, the resort manages six one-bedroom apartments, adjacent to the resort, that come with their own small, but private pool. Kitchenettes are included, or you can enjoy all of your meals just steps away in the resort's dining room.
Otherwise, the various room arrangements are scattered throughout the four-level building in a semi-circle around the pool and the gardens. Two penthouse suites occupy the fourth floor, complete with their own private plunge pool and double Whirlpools, multiple televisions and more. Unfortunately, children under 13 are not allowed in these rooms.
Of the remaining guest rooms, only the Ocean Front and Deluxe rooms include refrigerators. Shower/tub combinations are standard for all, along with the typical amenities like an in-room safe, coffee/tea facilities and hair dryer. The bathrooms are particularly spacious, but with limited electrical outlets for hair dryers, curling or straightening irons and the like.
The good news is that there is no additional charge for cribs or rollaway beds. The rooms are of such a generous size that bringing in a crib will not cramp your space.
Wi-Fi is free in the public areas, but the signal does not reach the guest rooms. The rooms don't have individual DVD players but one is available for check out from the front desk at no charge.
Note that after dinner each evening, entertainment begins in the patio area adjacent to the dining room. Although quality entertainment, the music and other sounds permeate through the guest rooms until 11 p.m. or later, possibly causing problems in getting your little ones to sleep.
Beautiful hotel, food, people are very friendly would recommend it to everyone
The only thing is there is only one pool and most of the time is full of kids
Adult only pool would be great
Fabulous weather in August
by Drew T
It is fascinating to read that there are some poor experiences here. I guess if you are exceptionally picky and entirely uptight then you’re going to find a limited wine selection or a speck of dirt to be worth of giving the place one star. Remarkably unkind, given how great the place is.
It does exactly what it says on the tin: all inclusive. You get all your food (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner), all drinks (including alcoholic), watersports (kayaks, snorkelling, pedalos, sailing, stand up paddle boards). You even get a Hershey’s kiss on your pillow every day...
Everyone here is happy to serve you. This is not a place where tipping is expected in order to be served a drink or some food: all waiting staff and bar staff are relentlessly pleased to serve you and talk to you. We were delighted at meal times because you would see the same staff again and again who know your names, room numbers, and remember what you had been doing that day or the previous day is would make the effort to find out how you were. We were especially pleased with Shaneal and Joycelyn who we interacted with often and were the happiest and most fun.
The beach is perfect. Plenty of loungers, with service from the bar at your seats. Loads of great free watersports, as mentioned above, and a tonne of great paid for options from beach vendors. They’re not pushy at all, and many are happy to make polite conversation - especially Herbie (“I’ve been working this beach since 1981...”) I’d recommend some jet skiing and the Great Big Mabel!
The hotel also includes a free catamaran trip, which was excellent and involved us snorkelling with turtles, and a glass bottom boat trip that was similar. Really worth doing.
Will definitely be a returning guest if we come back to Barbados.
As a boutique resort with just 76 rooms, Mango Bay does not offer a specific children's program, or activities that are designated just for kids. However, the multitude of water sports available, a nice pool and Wi-Fi throughout the property will keep most kids entertained.
The beach is not Mango Bay's strongest feature though. It is rather narrow and rocky -- not at all ideal for building sandcastles or long walks on the surf. Property management says they are working on it and have plans to restructure the beachfront, so that may change in the future. Nonetheless, guests have complimentary access to snorkeling equipment, kayaks, Hobie Cats and water skiing. The snorkeling here is some of the best on the island, with more than an occasional friendly turtle swimming up to give you a peck on your face mask. Ask the concierge about "snorkeling with the turtles" experiences up and down the west coast, and don't forget to bring your camera! It might be your favorite experience in Barbados.
You'll need to pack water toys or purchase from the selection at the onsite Mozaic Gift Shop. It carries a nice selection of Barbados-made souvenirs, munchies and necessities. Otherwise, several good shops in Holetown are just a few blocks away.
The single freeform pool ranges in depth from about two to five feet. Kids will enjoy swimming under the wooden bridge that crosses a narrow spot. A volleyball net on the deeper end is ready and waiting. Check the ball out from the front desk and enjoy a game any day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
An inviting guest lounge is a great place to relax at the end of the day, enjoy one of the board games available or check out a book to read around the pool. This is also where the complimentary Internet center is located with two computer stations available for guests.
Although there are no courts for basketball, tennis or other sports, there is a nice grassy area between the beach and the pool where kids can kick a soccer ball, toss a Frisbee and tumble about. The only negative: The property is adjacent to the Holetown Lagoon, which, after a good rain, may overflow and create a mud-soaked play field. Kids will love it, but parents -- not so much.
One restaurant services all of the dining needs at Mango Bay. The small indoor dining room is air-conditioned, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a lovely view of the ocean. But the majority of guests prefer to dine outdoors, either under the awnings or umbrellas. Either way, service is prompt and personal.
High chairs and children's menus are provided.
Breakfast is a generous buffet that includes freshly squeezed juices, an omelet station and a wide selection of cheeses, meats and cereals.
At breakfast, you'll be asked to make reservations for lunch and dinner. The lunch menu is casual with sandwiches, salads and light pastas.
Dinner is more of an event, starting at 7 p.m. However, if your children need an earlier mealtime, the restaurant staff is more than happy to accommodate your needs.
Catering to the many British travelers that frequent Barbados, afternoon tea is a daily, yet informal affair at the hotel.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The Elements Spa, located just behind the lobby entrance, is open Monday through Saturday and offers a wide array of services, including spray tans. Children's services are not listed specifically, but the staff will gladly negotiate a reasonable price.
A spa technician greets guests at check-in with a cool peppermint cloth to revive your senses after a long day of travel.
Nanny and baby-sitting services can be arranged at the front desk.
The gym is on the small-ish side and open 24 hours a day to guests over 16 years old. The cardio and weight equipment is in good condition; the entire facility is spotless.
The Art of Smart Timing
As with most resorts in the Caribbean, Mango Bay is open year-round, and of course, is very popular when the temperatures begin to drop in North America. The weather is near perfect all year, but hurricane season is a reason for concern. Although it's been years since Barbados received a direct hit, those months of late summer through fall often present more cloudy days and rain.
Late spring and summer bargains are frequently posted on the resort's Web site. It's unlikely that you'll find deep discounts during the Christmas holidays or spring break season.
Mango Bay is located on Highway 1 on the popular west coast. Under normal circumstances, the ride from the Bridgetown Airport (BGT) is about 30 minutes, but traffic can be quite heavy, depending on the time of day.
For Mom and Dad
Mango Bay is located in the Holetown area, which means some great restaurants and nightclubs are just steps away from the Mango Bay lobby. One of the most popular spots on the island is Angry Annie's, a brightly colored place that you can't miss, with an equally colorful menu. The Tides is also good, but ask your concierge for more appealing suggestions. For cocktails and good music, try Lexy's Piano Bar.