by Diana Lambdin Meyer
One of five properties that comprise the Elegant Hotels Group in Barbados, Turtle Beach Resort is an energetic, all-inclusive property on the island’s south shore. With 161 rooms, it’s one of the larger hotels on the island, and certainly one of the most popular for families.
Turtle Beach gets its name, as you might guess, from the many green turtles that come ashore to lay eggs in the sand. It’s not as common on this particular beach as it once was, but be sure to ask about the most recent sightings in the area. Snorkeling with and feeding turtles is a wonderful outing while in Barbados, so be sure to check with your activities director about the options.
You would never know it by looking around, but Turtle Beach was built more than 50 years ago. However, numerous renovations and updates over the years, plus an attentive, meticulous staff, keep the property looking like the doors just opened a few days ago.
Our Editor Loves
- Pools just for kids
- One-bedroom suites
- Ping-Pong and billiards tables
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Turtle Beach is a pleasant 4-story resort that meanders through gardens and along the beach. An ocean view room is certainly fabulous, but a garden view room with a patio opening near the pool is quite convenient if you're the type of family who runs in and out of your room often. If you're too close to the courtyard, the nightly entertainment after dinner might disturb an early bedtime for kids.
The 161 spacious rooms, which underwent renovations in 2011, are either Junior or One-Bedroom Suites, and all have connecting capabilities. You have your choice of rooms with a queen bed and two twins, or two queens. All rooms have sofa beds. Cribs are available at no additional charge.
Each room includes a mini-fridge stocked with water, juices and soft drinks; an additional charge is incurred. Each room also has an iPod docking station and a good-sized flat screen TV, although DVD players are not available. The cable system offers movies on demand, if you're planning on a nice evening in with the family. There are plenty of electrical outlets on the credenza for charging an iPhone and camera. However, here's an oddity -- there are few electrical outlets in the bathrooms. The hair dryer is attached to the wall, adjacent to the mirror, just outside the bathroom. At least the bathrooms are quite spacious with plenty of counter space. Shower and tub combos are the norm.
Bright blue beach towels are provided in each room, but each guest will also receive a towel card for turning in and checking out additional towels poolside.
Be sure to remind the kids to keep the patio door closed with the air conditioning on. Otherwise, the floors develop condensation, creating a slippery surface that contributes to unwanted dampness in your room.
Three adults or two adults and two children fit comfortably in a junior suite.
Four adults or two adults and three children can fit comfortably in a one-bedroom suite.
I was a little taken back by the hotel it’s location is brilliant, it’s clean but a little tired and they are refurbishing it slowly. The staff vary in attitude and service. Some areas are really good such as bar and children’s club. I was sold the hotel as a five star l personally see it as more of a three plus. Generally as long as you don’t have high expectations then you will enjoy. However as we booked this holiday a year ago we have been shocked by the added taxes that we have had to pay such as room tax pp not told if this until the day before our holiday began. And having to pay £140 for the two of us to leave the country the most exit tax l have ever paid. All this after paying more than l have ever paid for a holiday.
Two week holiday as a family!
Let’s start with the rooms- basic but comfortable, outdated furniture, but beds are comfortable. You don’t need anything more as you will spend most of your time enjoying the beautiful sun.
Staff mmmmmmmmm up and down. Some staff are brilliant, some couldn’t care less. Sam the main man running the beachfront is fab and so are his team. Bar staff vary. Some just can’t be bothered others are really helpful. Cleaners are generally lovely and management are always eager to please or help with issues!
Issues, well there are enough of them! Let’s start with the food! The food is TEREIBLE! You end up eating just to fill your belly! No thought goes into the food. Chicken, veg, rice and potatoes just with a different sauce each meal. We are here for two weeks and have spend over £1300 on eating out. Breakfast is same every day. The egg station is always busy meaning you can be waiting up to 30 mins on a queue for your food to then go to the other food (beans etc) to find they have run out and your wait is at least 20 mins again for them to be refilled, even having asked staff several times during this period.
One day they held a private party for a small private group and closed the whole of the restaurant for this small group. They opened the waterfront eatery instead which ran out of food COMPLETELY for about 40 mins, no food, no cutlery, no plates nothing. Children’s options EVERY day are chips, pizza and cheap sausages!
Drinks are ok. Nothing amazing. Local alcoholic beverages if you want anything nice or branded you will have to pay.
Entertainment..... what entertainment?? Nothing in the day and night time has a very butlins feel if anything at all- just poor!
The ice cream shop is nice.
Location is beautiful, set right on the beach front, stunning water, clean beds that is always watched by SAM. Yes locals approach you and it is mainly to offer drugs but once you say no they walk along. They aren’t intimidating just trying to live I guess.
Kids club was great. Can’t say a bad word about it! Lots for them to do and my daughter was more than happy to stay in there for hours playing.
Unfortunately they pride the hotel on their 4-5 star award winning status which is now extremely long outdated!
Would I come back to Barbados? Absolutely. Would I come back rob Turtle Beach? Absolutely NOT.
There are other great places to stay.
I would rate this hotel maximum 3 stars.
You come to an island because of the beach, and Turtle Beach is a good one. Spacious and more than 200 feet long, it's one of the better hotel beaches in Barbados. A gentle surf and white sand make it an ideal location for sunbathing, wading and sandcastle building. Don't worry about packing lots of beach toys for the kids -- the resort supplies quite a few in the pools, around the beach and at the kid's club.
Turtle Beach has three pools. One is an oval shaped kiddie pool (about two feet deep) and there are two other, much larger pools that are about four feet deep. One of the pools will usually have a volleyball net stretched across it and if you don't find a ball floating nearby, just ask at the water activities desk.
Snorkeling equipment is available at no charge. Take out a kayak, attempt to stay upright on a boogie board, or try your hand at sailing or windsurfing. These are also included in your room rate.
The children's program is called Flying Fish -- an actual kind of fish in these waters, and sometimes served in sandwiches around the island. This particular program is for children who are toilet trained, and is available for children ages 3 to 12. The center is bright and colorful, with a designated area for Wii and computer games. Just out the door is a composite playground with a shock-absorbing rubber surface. The entire area is separated from the resort's public area via a long corridor and locked door. And because it is an all-inclusive resort, there is no additional charge for your children to spend the day or evening in the kids' club. This is the same area where you'll find foosball, Ping-Pong and billiards tables for families to enjoy together. The resort staff also coordinates cricket lessons and tournaments on the beach, as well as croquet and Frisbee competitions. Two lighted tennis courts are also located on the property.
Turtle Beach has three onsite restaurants, and of course, room service. Another beach bar offers non-alcoholic drinks in the afternoon.
This is an open-air, buffet-style restaurant that is open for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast includes just about anything you could imagine. Kids will enjoy a selection of dry cereal, pancakes and always a lot of fresh fruit. It's helpful to call for reservations for dinner to avoid a wait. Each night, the buffets take on a different theme, including Mexican, Italian, Hawaiian, so it's always a fresh take. Special seating for children is available at 5:30 p.m., so they may then be ushered off to the Flying Fish Kids Club or settle in with a babysitter, allowing mom and dad some time to themselves. Of course, children are welcome for dinner here throughout the evening.
This upscale Italian restaurant is known for its authentic cuisine and great seafood. Open only for dinner, reservations are required and children under 12 are not allowed. Neither are shorts or sandals. A suit and tie are not required, but you will see some men wearing them. Moms, this is a time to put on a nice dress and enjoy the evening.
The Waterfront Restaurant
Throw a cover-up on over your swimsuit, slip into a pair of flip-flops and grab something yummy from this beachside buffet restaurant. Open from late morning to late afternoon, this is the place you and your kids will head for a hamburger or beach snacks. Healthy choices include salad and lots of fresh fruit. Soft drinks, ice cream and other goodies are served here throughout the day. Kids will love the popsicles.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
In-room babysitting is offered for an hourly fee for your first child, and an additional $5 per hour for each additional child. If you stay out past 11 p.m., you must also pay for the nanny's cab ride home.
The Crystal Executive Spa is located in what was once a garden view suite, adjacent to one of the pools. Although it's a rather limited space, the menu of services is comprehensive. Specific prices are not listed for children's services, but we were assured that guests of all ages are accommodated. Open Monday through Saturdays.
The fitness center is located not far from the Flying Fish Kids Club, overlooking the lighted tennis courts. In addition to basic cardio equipment, a number of free weights are available, along with space for yoga.
If your flight is getting in late at night after the restaurants close, the kitchen staff arranges to have a small plate of refreshments waiting in your room for you.
Two onsite shops offer a small selection of souvenirs and basic sundries, and just about a block away in St. Lawrence Gap, you'll find a couple convenience stores and great resort wear shops. Most Sundays, you'll find a craft market set up in the courtyard at Turtle Beach. Have some fun with that -- the selection of handmade jewelry and art is as good as you'll find in most shops in Bridgetown.
An Internet center includes four computers and several books and games for families to check out on the honor system.
The Art of Smart Timing
This is the Caribbean, so it's wonderful here year round. The majority of resorts, including Turtle Bay, are also open year round. Common sense will tell you that it's busiest in the winter weather months and less so in summer. Because a majority of visitors to the island are from Great Britain, another busy time is in mid-October when many of the UK schools take a fall break.
Take note that Barbados is in the hurricane zone. Although it's been more than 50 years since the island took a direct hit, there's always the chance that heavy rain and winds from hurricanes could ruin a vacation. Travel insurance is always a good idea.
Turtle Beach is located on the south coast of the island, approximately15 minutes from the Bridgetown airport (BGI). The hotel will arrange shuttle service, or you can opt for a cab ride from the airport.
For more serious shopping, the resort provides one free shuttle per day to some of the island's retail districts. These are first come, first-serve, so make sure your name is on the reservation list. Otherwise, additional shuttles are available for $5 per person.
For Mom and Dad
Each night, as the dinner rush winds down at Chelonia, live entertainment begins in the courtyard. With plenty of room to dance under the stars, many couples appreciate a few spins on the dance floor while the kids are in the Flying Fish Club or with a babysitter in their own room.