Heads Up

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Surprise, Surprise! Barbados TravelAdvisor Members Pick Barbados...

...as their top holiday/vacation destination.

Click here to find out why and maybe share your picks also.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Boardwalk Ready For Primetime

Click here for brief report and discussion.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Mullins Beach Webcam Meeting 11/25/08


Glad you got a sense of things going on, it was difficult because the camera angle wasn't great. In answer to your questions, massage lady wasn't part of the group as far as I know. The first couple at the table was Mr and Mrs Shadow, they were joined by Robiv (long hair) and Mr Robiv, TCG appeared briefly and then sat down and you couldn't see her. She has long, blonde, curly hair.

Follow the excitement here and here.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Who Knew There Was A "Private Beach" In Dover???

"Ocean Two is located on its own private beach called Rainbow Beach, which is being enhanced and extended for residents to enjoy the beautiful blue waters. The property is located in Christ Church Parish on Dover Beach and Saint Lawrence Gap. It is within an easy drive of both Bridgetown and Grantley Adams International Airport."
Click here for entire article and discussion.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Global Financial Crisis: Lessons for the luxury west coast and other high end projects in Barbados

"Investment banking has now collapsed, as it were - if you were wondering how that impacts the many, many hotel and resort projects that have been started in the past few years thanks to all that easy money flying around, well, look no further than Turks and Caicos. Here, the up-until-recently uninhabited island of West Caicos was slated to be developed into one of those mixed-use resort communities..."
Click here for entire nypost.com article.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can Graeme Hall Swamp And Worthing Beach Coexist

"FOR MANAGEMENT of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, the sluice gate on nearby Carib Beach, Worthing, Christ Church, is a gateway to preserving the life of their swamp.

But for some beach-users, the door should be slammed shut on the brownish, brackish water making its way through the structure into the sea, turning off sea-bathers.

The controversial gate, which controls the discharge of water not only to and from the nature sanctuary, but also various storm drains in surrounding districts, was at the centre of dispute after last week's heavy rainfall..."

Click here for entire NationNews.com article.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sandy Lane Weathering Economic Strom ... so far

"At the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, rooms cost at least $3,000 a night in season and villas go for as much as $25,000 a night, with a required minimum two-week stay. Families that reserved there for the holiday season before Oct. 15 must pay 25 percent of the total cost in advance, and will have to pay the balance in mid-October. Renting a villa would cost $350,000 for a two-week stay, not including lunch and dinner. For now, the hotel is sold out. But travel agents are watching closely to see what the room availability is after that deadline..."
- more - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/business/04luxury.html?ref=business
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

jprkjr's Jentillia Trip Report

Click here to read jprkjr's report on her recent trip to Barbados staying at the West Coast beachfront cottage - Jentillia, near Mullins Beach, St. Peter.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Having Fun In Barbados With The Bajan Bears

"Anyway, talking of ‘splashing out’, those of you who are already familiar with the delights of ‘The Tides’ will know that the beach-front tables offer the best views BUT the best chance of taking an early bath – when the larger waves crash on the rocks just below their decking ! Today was just such a day when a large wave gave us a good cooling shower - so we thought we might have to eat our fish quickly before it swam home. We don't usually put salt on our food but we had some served up to us by the sea today. Luckily we had almost finished eating..."


Click here for the rest of The Bajan Bears trip report and feedback.
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Boardwalk Update

"In terms of all the major construction, though, that is about 90 per cent [completed].

"The piles, concrete headlands that are to the front of this job, concrete steps, concrete revetments – we have pretty much completed most of those.

"The reason I would tell you that it is overall 85 per cent complete is that we still have a bit of landscaping and tidying up to do. The final project and how it would look in terms of the vegetation and so on has to be done..."

Click here for NationNews article and feedback.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Banyan Tree, Black Bess And Sam Lord's Castle

"...it has recently emerged that Banyan Tree is probably getting together with CLICO on the renovation and expansion of the Sam Lord’s Castle project in St. Philip on the southeast coast..."

Click here for more - Mullins Bay Blog: Reading The Tea Leaves & Rumors At Mullins Beach
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Monday, September 15, 2008

West Coast/South Coast: The Great Debate Continues

With two great coasts from which to choose for your vacation, both with fiercely loyal fans, the great debate about where to stay in Barbados continues.

Click here to join the discussion.
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Barbados property is a winning investment formula

"Property prices in Barbados are appreciating at between 15 – 20% per year at the middle of the market and often even higher at the luxury end.
Such price increases have been driven by a strong economy, well established tourism industry, direct flights, climate and the strength of the pound against the dollar which, even after recent falls, remains historically high. This has all led to a winning formula for British buyers..."
Click here for entire article.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Local Community Activist Comes Out Swinging Against New Marina

"For too long the people of Six Men's have been tossed around. Government after Government has promised to develop the area, but there has always been what seemed to be a legitimate excuse why these developments for the residents never came to fruition.

Now we are hearing that developers are seeking to build another marina just to the south of Six Men's, which will ultimately impact on this historic fishing village... "

Click here for the entire letter to the editor of NationNews.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Crew Aiming To Break Atlantic Rowing Record


"GALWAY resident Peter Williams is to join eleven other oarsmen from around the British Isles in an attempt to smash the current Guinness World Record for the fastest row across the Atlantic ocean. The current record is 33 days, 7 hrs, 30 mins.

The crew will depart from Puerto Mogan in Gran Canaria in a bespoke boat called La Mondiale on December 31 and will aim to arrive in Port St Charles, Barbados in a new record time..."

Click here for entire article.
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Music From The Gap Still A Problem For Some

"Guests staying at various establishments in St. Lawrence Gap are once more protesting the loud music coming from night-clubs in the Christ Church entertainment hub..."

Click here for entire NationNews story.
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Talma paddles around Barbados


"BRIAN "DEACTION MAN" TALMA made history by stand-up paddling around Barbados in 16 hours and 25 minutes last Wednesday.

Stand-up paddling, or SUPing as it is called, is done using an extremely long surfboard and using a paddle to propel oneself through the water... "

Click here for entire NationNews article.
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BTA Crew Bare All

puggydog>>"Now that were all one big dysfunctional family Very Happy Lets get to know one another........Does anybody work or what did they do before they retired Question What do people do for hobbies etc..."

Click here to join the discussion.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Slave Route Signage Project

"IN A QUEST to promote cultural tourism and to honour this country's slave heritage, the Government is embarking on a "Slave Route Signage Project".

To this end, today Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy officially launched the Project with a Plaque Reveal ceremony at the site of Chefette Restaurant, Upper Broad Street, Bridgetown. ..."


Click here for entire NationNews.com article.
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Divi Southwinds Going Green

"...A major component of going green involves minimal use of harmful or harsh chemicals.....like the introduction of a system that considerably reduces the use of chlorine in its swimming pool..."

Click here for entire CBC.bb article.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Impressions

>>puppydog>> "My first impressions after leaving the airport and enroute to my hotel Question Well i saw immence wealth then poverty but i never felt they were poor.I saw chickens and goats in gardens,and locals sat on there varandahs chatting to each other..I saw the most immaculately dressed school children and then i saw the sea wow...The first night i heard the whistling frogs and in the morning as i sat on the balcony and shared my breakfast with the most amazing coloured birds, I thought this is going to be a very special island to me.And it was... "

Click here for other first impressions of Barbados or to share yours.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hastings - Rockley Beach Improvement 2007



The above synth is a collage of photos taken last year (2007) of the beachfront in the vicinity of the KFC restaurant in Hastings, Christ Church on the south coast tourism strip. The project involves the widening of the beach between Hastings and Rockley by building a series of artificial headlands between which sand is being deposited to reconstruct beaches in the area that have been eroded over time. It also involves the construction of a boardwalk stretching the entire length of the project and a small park on the headland by KFC. There are four frames in this synth that were taken in March of 2007 before the project started showing the completely eroded beachfront as it appeared looking south towards Rockley from the KFC location. All the others frames were taken in October 2007 when construction of the headland by KFC was in full swing.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Airport Roof Extension

happydays writes:  "Just been reading that they are going to start to extend the roof over the check in area - can't picture where it means properly - I thought all the check in desks were under cover? Confused the only part I can think of is that they are going to extend into the road?
Also it mentioned that some wanted an enclosed air conditioned check in area Sad but thankfully that isn't happening yet
..."


Click here for discussion.

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Public/Private Beaches

Jprkjr writes: "I see that there is a post on TA re Mullins and the PPB thing again. As I understand it, due to the British past of Barbados, an owner on the land adjacent to a beach owns the land down to the highwater mark (with some controversy over accretion which has to be "gradual", and what is actually the highwater mark). Our family used to own a shack-on-the-beach in North Wales and I know, for a fact, that it was the same for us. So, if that is the case in Barbados, the beach in front of the various hotels is, in fact, private to the highwater line, but it is illegal to block-off access to the beach because it is denying access to the land below the highwater line..."


Click here for forum discussion.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pierhead Project Status

"IN 2007, the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII) continued its work with the private sector in developing its properties. Included on that list of properties was tender procurement for the Pierhead Development Project.

The Pierhead Development Project, which was conceptualised in 1999 and was estimated at $130 million, had a projected time frame of five to seven years with investors coming on board early in 2000.

However, in 2007, the BTII said it had initiated a BOLT [Built Operation Lease and Transfer] Tender Procurement Process during the period under review, with a view to finding a partner to assist it in the construction of the Marina component of the Pierhead Development Project.

This process was ongoing at the end of the reporting period.

In addition, BTII was continuing discussions with its private sector partners concerning the development of the land-based component of the project, following the signing of the Management Agreement with the Le Meridien Hotel chain..."

Click here for entire BarbadosAdvocate.com article.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Solar Trams For South Coast Tours

"There are proposals before the Ministry of Transport for persons to introduce solar-powered vehicles to promote tours in particular areas of our cities and our town centres, like Dover and St Lawrence Gap, and in the city centre itself, outside of the cruise terminal, outside of the harbour to bring persons into Bridgetown for short tours..."

Click here for original NationNews.com article.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Barbados rates high for luxury homes

"Homeowners at the highest end of the real estate market still have a dream house in mind and islands like Barbados play a factor in where some call home, according to the 2008 Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Survey..."

Click here for entire article.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Government hoping Sam Lord's will lift economy

"On this occasion there was a slowdown in construction which had registered growth over the years as a result of preparation for Cricket World Cup, and other infrastructural projects.

However, Government said it will be starting a housing development programme in August, while a major expansion project at Sam Lords Castle is expected to commence later in the year. These will add some buoyancy to construction."

Click here for entire article.

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First Night In Barbados

"Just wondering what other people do on their first night in Barbados after a long flight (food wise..."

Click here for the entire discussion.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tourism 'not falling off'

"MINISTER OF TOURISM, Richard Sealy has stated that in spite of not having a Cricket World Cup (CWC) this year. Barbados' tourism performance almost equals last year's..."

Click here for the entire NationNews.com article.
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Re-engineering Palmetto Bay For The Almighty Dollar


If you like picturesque beaches the way nature intended them, then get out your camera and head to Palmetto Bay before it is eternally too late. If Bottom Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Barbados, then its nearby neighbor, Palmetto Bay, is a close second. But all of that is about to change forever if the once-thought-dead proposals for a 5-star resort on Palmetto Bay see the light of day. According to the second quarterly newsletter from Harlequin, the British company behind the Merricks development, they are proposing to build an offshore partially submerged breakwater to create a "swimming area" for the resort. They claim they are doing the necessary environmental impact studies but one doesn't have to be an environmental scholar to see that any barrier visible above waves at Palmetto Bay (as pictured above [click photo to enlarge]) will fundamentally changed character of that beach.

The Merricks resort development has always been problematic ever since they started advertising their "private beach" on Palmetto Bay some years ago. Now it looks as if they are willing to destroy one of the most beautiful beaches in Barbados to achieve that end. I suppose when you are charging between US $ 1/2 M to 2 M for condos and villas you had better come up with a swimmable beach even if you have to make one, but do you also have the right to sacrifice one of the island's treasures? Don't they have enough water and swimming pools in their current pool-deck design for the resort to realize that even the villa owners and guests could come to recognize that leaving the beach as is and/or completely submerging the breakwater could be a great asset rather than the liability they will undoubtedly create for themselves and the island?

The Merricks was supposedly originally coming on stream this year but is now delayed until the end of 2012. In the humble opinion of this blogger who has been following this development for the last few years, most of the problems associated with it stem from the simple fact that the area in which it is to be located is just not suited for the scale and scope of development they have or had in mind. Maybe a small boutique hotel would work here but certainly not Crane II. This is the reason why their plans have gone through half dozen or so incarnations and none of them seem to work. This latest proposal to re-engineer Palmetto Bay is simply just another grandiose scheme to make their bad plans for the area work. The question is - are Barbadians willing to pay the price?
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Is It Gibbs Or Gibbes

With the rise of the popularity of Gibbes Beach around the bend south of Mullins Beach has come some confusion as to how its name should be spelled and pronounced. Click here for the definitive answer.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tourism Master Plan In Oven Going On 8 Months

"A MASTER PLAN designed to ensure Barbados stays ahead of the competition is on the Barbados Tourism Authority's (BTA) drawing board..."

Read entire NationNews.com article here.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Where To Find A Taxi In Holetown

All you need to know about finding a taxi in Holetown but was afraid to ask.

Click here for our recommendations.
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Monday, August 4, 2008

No Mention Of Pierhead Project In Budget

It is significant that there was no mention of the Pierhead project in last month's presentation of the Budget by the new Prime Minister. Consequently, it is left to us bloggers and other onlookers to speculate as to what might be going down (or going up for that matter). What the Prime Minister did say was that he was talking to deep-pocketed players who want to build islands and marinas off Barbados. Could it also mean that the long awaited Pierhead project is now being merged into this new thinking? If so, are we going to have to wait another dozen or so years for this project to get off the ground or come out of the water? So far only Starwood Hotels has committed to managing a luxury hotel to anchor the project but they are already busily getting into management contracts for their long list of luxury brands elsewhere in the Caribbean, so they are losing nothing the longer the process in Barbados is drawn out. Ultimately, it is the people of Barbados themselves who will miss the boat if they don't "head for the pier" in time.
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Barbados TravelAdvisor's 2 Thumbs Up For Mamma Mia

As summer 2008 begins to wind its way down some will remember it for the music of a generation ago brought back to life on the silver screen in the film Mama Mia.

Click here to join our forum in the discussion.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roadside Grills

When the sun goes down and the moon comes out more and more we are seeing Bajans breaking out the grills and frying pans and setting up for business along the highways and byways. Here is a sampling of the ones I have tried or noticed on the West Coast.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

West Coast Restaurant Update Needed

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Move Over Oistins - "The Street That Never Sleeps" Is Back

Finally the Baxters Road Fish Fry Village opened last week to the beat of steel pans and Soca. Nevermind it never made it in time for Cricket World Cup 2007, after all the Oistins facility didn't make it either and neither did Almond Casuarina and scores of other still half-done projects that were supposed to help put Barbados on the map during that once-in-a-lifetime Primetime event for the island. Ooo, that brings up again the fiasco and embarrassment of the ending of that series in utter darkness at the new 200-odd million dollar Kensington Oval so I better leave it alone even though the unforgiving Bajan public apparently couldn’t let it go when they showed up at the polls last January.

Long before Oistins there always was Baxters Road and it is good to see the nighttime street vendors in the area finally moving into more convenient and sanitary facilities. The open sewers that once lined this famous Bridgetown street have been covered for a while now and street lighting has improved, but the bugaboos that haunted nightlife along Baxters Road when it peaked in the mid 1990s and eventually sent it into a tailspin especially when Oistins got on the map were the sanitation and safety concerns.

There is more space with this move across the road to the corner of Westbury Road and Barbrees Hill and with the parking at the corner of Barbrees Hill and Passage Road this blogger believes Baxters Road could be in for a renaissance. There may be a concern that this move may draw business away from the traditional brick and mortar shops left on Baxters Road proper so it is now up to those businesses to do new things or make the necessary changes to survive. This blogger will still be strolling over to the Pink Star to collect a few leadpipes and turnovers. I do not expect to see a lot of foreign visitors to the island showing up just yet, at least not in the numbers seen in Oistins (even though Baxters is much, much closer to the West Coast and a large part of the South Coast tourist centers), but especially at this time of year - “Crop Over” - the hoards of returning Bajan-Yankees, Bajan-Limies, and Bajan-Canucks together with the locals should more than keep the local vendors happy in their new facilities.

One personal word of advice to the Baxters Road vendors - fry less tuna and more flying fish and dolphin (mahi mahi). Oops, I keep forgetting that the flying fish have gone to Tobago and even though the Trinidadians can buy up whatever they want in Barbados including our scarce land and largest conglomerate - BS&T, and even Trinidadian Brian Lara now buying into Crop Over itself, Bajans still cannot fish in Trinidad & Tobago waters.

Read local press coverage here.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Gun Crime

Reaction to last Saturday night's holdup and shooting death in Bridgetown.

Click here for discussion.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dubaification Of Barbados: Road to riches or Faustian bargain?


Palm Jumeirah off Dubai


One of the proposals announced earlier this month in the first budget of the new DLP Government in Barbados is the creation of "offshore islands and marinas for yachts" to help satisfy the demand for beachfront land for tourism development. The proposal is not new since only last year the then Deputy Prime Minister, now Opposition Leader, mentioned it in connection with the passage of the national strategic development plan. It is curious now that she has not given the current initiative a wholehearted embrace. Of course, back then many who are now on the government benches were at best sniggering when she presented it or outright labeling the entire strategic development plan as not even worth the paper it was printed on as indeed it was described by their intrepid leader, the current Prime Minister and now new champion of the Dubaification of Barbados. As the saying goes - the more things change the more they remain the same.


click photo to enlarge


The massive land reclamation projects the likes of which were hitherto never seen in Barbados or perhaps even the New World, we learned from the Prime Minister that deep-pocketed local and international investors and developers are already lined up to start the digging and the filling. No further details were given by the PM in his 1-page statement (see photocopy above) except that it is all going to cost the Government and the people of Barbados - zip, zero, nada. It will all come out of the pockets of the aforementioned local and international investors. Again, as the saying goes, "if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is," but even if we give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt on the funding, we still have not even begun to count the tremendous environmental, sociological and other costs involved here. A project(s) of this magnitude will fundamentally change Barbados forever. Are we ready for those changes?

For example, it was widely rumored in the last election campaign that the new government plans to introduce casino gambling to Barbados. Without going into all the allegations, it is quite obvious that placing the casinos on the "islands" would immediately outmaneuver the anti-casino gambling lobby in Barbados; but the "mainland" will still have to live with the costs and consequences. The Prime Minister promises to go about his tasks with prudence and care but we all know only too well that coming from a politician usually translates as expedience, and we also know the latter is usually very, very costly.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Atlantis Sinks

One of the oldest hotels in Barbados, Atlantis Hotel, has sadly come to an end.

Click here to read post.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Evironmentalist Challenges Six Men's Marina

"SIX MEN'S BAY in St Peter is the largest remaining coastal pond on the West Coast and a marina should only be constructed there if the developers are prepared to replace what will be lost by destroying the pond.

This is the recommendation of Professor Robin Mahon, director of the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill."


Read rest of article here.
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West Coast Blog: Can The "Hole" In Holetown Continue To Co-exist With Tourism Development In The Area?

West Coast Blog: Can The "Hole" In Holetown Continue To Co-exist With Tourism Development In The Area?
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Favorite Restaurants

Share your favorite South Coast, West Coast, Bridgetown, East Coast and Inland restaurants.

Click here to read post.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunday Brunch At The Crane

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Raggamuffins Rebuilding?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Garrison

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bevan Springer On Barbados Tourism

"Barbados' bedrock tourism sector has been given renewed focus by the Prime Minister David Thompson's new government. There is hope that his leadership along with that of Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, and Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Ralph Taylor, will result in some major organizational changes needed to reposition the destination in the marketplace..." Click here to read entire article.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Virgin/Summer

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The following is an email sent to you by Ombudsman via your account on Barbados TravelAdvisor. If this message is spam, contains abusive or other comments you find offensive please contact the webmaster of the board at the following address:

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Friday, July 11, 2008

10 Year Anniversary

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When Are You Next In Barbados

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tightwads

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$50 To Drive In Barbados

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Yet Another Barbados Travel Forum/Blog

As some already know, I author a few other travel related blogs/forums about Barbados on the Internet including the Mullins Bay and West Coast blogs. One would think that I needed to try to maintain yet another one like I need a nail in the head. Yet, the idea for the Barbados TravelAdvisor came to me a few months ago when I became more active on TripAdvisor and witnessed several of my early posts disappear from the forum for one reason or another which someone(s) felt violated Trip Advisor’s "strict guidelines." TripAdvisor is very successful and very good at doing what they do so I really have no quarrel with them and will continue to contribute there. However, and I am borrowing heavily from the verbiage of the American Declaration of Independence here (4th of July in the air and all) - it has also become necessary to dissolve some the TripAdvisor bonds and to assume that separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle me, and, hopefully, others as well.

Consequently, I have bitten the proverbial bullet and launched Barbados TravelAdvisor which is a combination of a forum and a blog that hopefully will put most of the mysteriousness of TripAdvisor behind us. I am not seeking to be in competition with TripAdvisor but rather to bring another fuller voice to the Barbados travel conversation on the Internet. I believe that both Barbados and the Internet are big enough for both voices to be heard. Unlike TripAdvisor which is an ongoing business venture, this is all a hobby for me although in the interest of full disclosure, I must say, as some already know that I do offer a little cottage on the beach for vacation rental and I do advertise it on the Internet on my blogs and chats.

Chatting on the Internet is something that I have done and enjoyed going back to the days of the BBS, CompuServe and 1200 baud modems long before the birth of the worldwide web. But chatting alone does not build the successful forum or blog like Barbados TravelAdvisor should aspire to be; you have to create a quality database of information people would want to refer to and the kind of atmosphere that keeps them coming back for more answers. Here is where I will be needing the help of those who will be walking with us. As the blog and forum grow we are going to be needing people to volunteer as moderators and creators of information - not just readers and commentators.
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Bertha Passing North

Click here - http://bbtravel.freeforums.org/bertha-passing-north-t17.html
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Drunk Driving Laws

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The Forgotten Webcams

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Sugar Hill Not On Cards For Gordon Brown This Summer

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Links

Click here for post - http://bbtravel.freeforums.org/links-f12.html
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Housekeeping 070508

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

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Mullins Beach

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

One of my favourite parts of Barbados

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Ketchup

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Sandridge Beach

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The post that started it all

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It's raining bucket-a-drop

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This new Barbados Forum

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Welcome to BarbadosTravelAdvisor

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Port St. Charles Webcam



Port St. Charles Webcam

Click here or above to select one of four views.

Webcam courtesy of Port St. Charles

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oasis Hotels & Resorts To Manage Merricks

As earlier speculated on this blog, and according to Harlequin Property's first quarterly newsletter, they are planning for Oasis Hotels & Resorts' parent company, Globalia, to manage all of Harlequin's properties in the Caribbean including Merricks in Barbados. Globalia was selected because of its network of 1,400 travel agents across Europe and the USA, they owning their own airline to provide the necessary airlift, and ongoing their experience already in managing 5-star resorts in Caribbean. The above mentioned newsletter also claims that as a result of a recent meeting with Government officials of Barbados including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, and the need to do an environmental impact study for the project, the completion date for the resort has now been pushed back to December of 2012. Translation: Sorry, early investors, don't look for any construction to start any time soon, but, hey, now that Globalia is onboard (maybe) your "property value" just took off like a rocket - nevermind the current global real estate meltdown.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

New City Rep. Wants Massive Hotels From Bay Street To Pelican Village

Click here for details.
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The Lakes Taking Shape


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Project Probably Dead

The change of government at the last elections in January of this year probably hammered home the last nail in the coffin for the Cove Bay development, at least as was conceptualized by the previous administration. In opposition up until last year the current government was lamenting that Cove Bay was doomed to the auction block and lost as a cherished location to the people of Barbados. However, just last week the new chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority was quoted in the press suggesting that all the remaining coastline should be earmarked for tourism development. So, it sounds like the more things change the more they remain the same.
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Recent News

- Barbados Tourism Investment to own 82 acres at Harrisons Point.

- Construction likely to start August/September this year.

- Ground breaking by yearend.
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Friday, May 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not Last Summer - We Really, Really Meant This Summer

Almost a year after their big announcement that work would have been starting late last summer on the redevelopment of the Sam Lord?s Castle resort, at a press conference yesterday the Chairman of the insurance company which owns the property disclosed that construction will be commencing in August this year. Town Planning approval for the construction of 200 condos on the 53-acre site was already in hand, and it was expected that the same approval for the new 250-room 5-star hotel would be in place by the end of this month , April 2008, with completion now targeted for 2011. The new price tag is $140 M - down from the $200M bandied about last year. Hmmm, and we thought construction costs were going up.

Of course, this years plans could also be a scale back on last year?s plans (neither of which this blogger has seen). Another peculiarity coming from the Chairman (who is also the newly appointed Chairman of state-owned broadcaster - CBC) was that there will be three different projects going on at Sam Lord?s at the same time: the construction of the condos, the construction of the hotel, and the refurbishment of the castle, all being carried out by three different ?groups? whatever that means. It certainly sounds like the recipe for cost overruns and further delays to this unwashed onlooker.

Also, no mention was made of the attached golf course at Bath, St. John. Last year the same Trinidad-owned insurance company, which by some estimates already owns half the parish of St. John, was seeking to obtain a further 300 acres of land in the same parish from the previous Government on which they were going to build a golf course to support both their Sam Lord?s, St. Philip and Villa Nova, St. John resorts. The new Prime Minister may have dismissed this latter idea last night in his nationwide telecast when he reaffirmed his government?s support for the National Park stretching from Archers Bay in St. Lucy to Skeete?s Bay in St. Philip.
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Trying To Keep Up With The Ever Changing Site Plan

It is difficult enough buying into a development you have not seen especially when there is nothing on the ground, but when they keep dramatically changing the site plan then you know you are in big trouble.


The Bare Bones Plan


The Pack'em In Plan


The Pool Deck Plan



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Monday, April 14, 2008

Merricks "scheduled to start soon?"

In an article yesterday in the Nation newspaper dealing with the issue of development along the east and southeast coasts and its impact on beach access and on "windows to the sea," it was disclosed that the Merricks project is "scheduled to start soon." Before any investors start getting their hopes up please Keep in mind that the same newspaper on February 1, 2007 also reported that construction was "anticipated to start soon." You would think that with a project as important as Merricks after more than a year someone at The Nation would have pursued some serious investigative journalism on this issue.

Click here to read article.

Meanwhile, it looks like if Merricks ever gets built it will be run by the Spanish hotel chain - "Oasis" - according to a news release saying that contracts have already been signed for the management of resorts in St. Vincent and the Dominican Republic under construction by the same company behind Merricks.

Click here to read news release.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

What's Going On With The Culpepper Club?

After several big news splashes over the last few years we are hearing and seeing nothing about what's going on with the Culpepper Club resort development. Could it be dead or was it a scam?

Merricks Blog: What's Going On With Merricks?
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What's Going On With Merricks?

It is almost a given that there will be costs and development overruns in any project of any size in Barbados, just look at how difficult a time Almond Resorts are currently having trying to open Almond Casuarina or the government in getting the Pierhead Redevelopment off the ground. The Merricks project at Palmetto Bay in St. Philip, however, is becoming a cause of concern particularly for those who have invested their hard earned money in it. In January and February last year the local media was reporting that nearly all of the apartments, etc., in this development were sold and that construction would be starting within days or weeks with a completion date targeting the 2009-2010 timeframe. To date nothing has started on the site except for the cutting of a road which was never paved and is now overgrown with weeds. Meanwhile, the Internet is full British real estate websites all aggressively trying to market the same apartments in the development which the public was told were already sold last year.

It begs the question - what is going on with Merricks? This is the question being asked on Internet chatrooms. It is the same question that was asked about the Sapphire Cove development in St. Lucia before armies of investors were banding themselves together to try to recover their money. Not that this sort of thing has not happened in Barbados before, but the size and scale of Merricks can give a small country like Barbados a bad name in a hurry. Do we really want potential investors worldwide associating the island with Ponzi schemes and other dubious practices? The latest sales push is to pressure people to invest now before they announce who the 5-star hotel/resort operator is going to be when prices will skyrocket another 20-30%. Which 5-star luxury hotel brand is lining up to ruin its reputation by associating its flag with such gimmickry?
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Of Cruise Ports And Marinas

Last month during the Estimates Debate the new Prime Minister announced that it was the intention of the new government to build a new cruise port in the north of the island mainly because of the security concerns of having half a dozen large cruise liners in the Bridgetown Port at the same time. That debate was joined this week with the island’s largest construction magnate, Sir Charles Williams, suggesting that the new port should be located on the site of the cement plant at Checker Hall in St. Lucy. He seems also to be suggesting that the Trinidad-owned cement plant be permanently closed or moved to the Bridgetown Port site near the flour mill.

Keep in mind that he is making this latter statement only days after the announcement of a hike in the price of cement by as much as BDS$1 per bag, and that Sir Charles owns a huge estate in St. Lucia where construction materials are being mined, which he is already using to resurface roads in St. Lucia and Barbados. He also claims that cement can be imported more cheaply from within the region, by as much as 40% less, than when it is produced in Barbados.

However, getting back to the new state of the art cruise port itself, the polo-playing septuagenarian thinks it will revitalize Speightstown and give tourism on the island a shot in the arm. Sir Charles also claims that even excluding his own Port St. Charles (no pun intended) there is room for three more marinas in the northwest of the inland including the second one he wants to build in St. Peter at Retreat for which he is still awaiting planning permission after several years.

During the recent general elections the whole issue of another marina in St. Peter at Retreat/Six Mens became something of a political football since it included the hot-potato issue of relocating people. The position of the previous government was that some people had to be moved from Six Mens not to make way for Sir Charles’ new marina but for a fishing facility and a lagoon for sheltering boats during hurricane season; and that since a new marina was on the cards next door at Retreat, then environmental and other impact studies were combined.

Of course, the previous government was also accusing the then opposition of moving a planned jetty for Six Mens to St. John for party political purposes the last time they were in power in Barbados. Keep in mind also that during the last regime a jetty was built and the fish market rebuilt in Speightstown at a time when there is very little or no fishing being done in Speightstown. Consequently, there was some talk of the jetty being able to berth cruise liners. So, it will be very interesting in the coming months and years to watch what gets done (if anything) as the major players both in government and the private sector go through the required motions of the song and dance that it takes to get things done in Barbados.

Meanwhile, this just in.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No New News ...

...except perhaps this from The Advocate more than a year ago:

Major development on the cards
Web Posted - Mon Jun 04 2007
By Shawn Cumberbatch

CORPORATE giant CLICO is about to start a more than $212 million transformation of Barbados south-east corridor with the full backing of Government.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur also made it clear that no amount of political provocation would make his near 13-year-old administration engage in whimsical and other vicious relations with the company headed by Leroy Parris. The CLICO Group has interests in insurance, construction, is a major land owner in St. John and is now venturing into the tourism and hospitality sector in a big way.

Arthur announced that by September a massive $200 million restoration of Sam Lords Castle, St. Philip including a 250-room five star hotel and conference facility, plus 200 condominiums would be started by the entity.

Next door in St. John would be the $12 million Villa Nova hotel, with plans awaiting approval for the construction of a 45-unit community there, he added.

Thats not all for that rural parish, however. CLICO has also proposed a golf development along with recreational facilities and condominiums on 300 acres of Government land at Bath, to serve both Barbadians and those who will be holidaying at Villa Nova and Sam Lords.

Addressing management and staff of the Trinidad-owned company during its group awards gala 2005 and 2006 at Sherbourne Conference Centre on Saturday night, the Prime Minister said the region comprising St. John, St. Joseph and St. Philip was the new frontier of development in Barbados.

The west and south coasts were saturated, certainly in terms of the availability of new areas of expansion, he noted.

Each of these [CLICO projects[ falls squarely with Governments development plan for Barbados and particularly the south-east sector.

The regeneration and new growth that will blossom as a result of these developments will be far-reaching, providing considerable employment, new earning capacity and important structures that will service us well long into the future, he said.

Arthur, who was addressing CLICOs management and staff for only the second time in 20 years, said with its substantial landholding acquisitions of Villa Nova and Sam Lords, in addition to a slate of planned projects, CLICO was poised to play a critical role in this countrys development. He also urged other private sector capital investment to follow this future path and take hold of the vast opportunities and modernising of the south-east corridor of Barbados.

The spectacular vistas of St. John, St. Joseph, and St. Philip lend themselves to a wide variety of activities. There is also a need to bring the same level of services and infrastructure enjoyed by the rest of Barbados to these parishes, some of which, like St. Philip, already have substantial residential communities, the Minister of Finance noted.

Governments chief spokesman said the $35 million roadwork programme recently launched in St. Philip was a major signal it was committed to providing the infrastructure to facilitate investment along with the policy framework to stimulate economic activity in the south-east of Barbados. Arthur said Govern-ment would continue to provide the enabling environment allowing companies like CLICO to flourish and further develop the country.

He pledged to stick to his stance communicated at a meeting with the companys top brass following the 1994 General Election, in which he stated no intention of seeking to influence its personnel affairs, nor its operations, and that I was anxious to do everything within the power of the Prime Minister of Barbados to ensure its successful development.

No political provocation can or will cause me to deviate from this position, which has been scrupulously followed, he promised.

I want us to avoid the unfortunate circumstances of so many other better endowed nations, which have failed to realise their potential because of the prevalence and practice of unsound policies, but especially so, because of the deplorable penchant by Governments to engage in whimsical and other vicious relations with their citizens, enterprises and the institutions of the civil society, he stated.

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More Merricks Sales Spiel - No Action On Ground

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Intertest in Pierhead

"Tourism minister Richard Sealy says he has already received several expressions of interest from serious investors about the proposed Pierhead Project.

The project will comprise a hotel, three blocks of condominiums, a retail area, restaurant complex and parking facilities.

Speaking at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association's quarterly meeting, he added that priority should be given to local investors.

"We have to have foreign capital involved but we want the domestic capital as well. I always like to stress that when I talk about investment I do not only mean foreign investment On occasion those two seem to be interchangeable, investment means foreign investment. But investment also means local investment and we have some large enough players in Barbados who have shied away from the tourism industry that I think we can nudge and urge to get involved in something like that the Pierhead /Carlisle Bay activity.""


http://www.cbc.bb/index.pl/article?id=199306
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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pierhead Exciting And Grandiose

Neal & Massey, the Trinidad conglomerate that recently bought out the largest corporation in Barbados - BS&T (Barbados Shipping & Trading), has described the long discussed government/private (BS&T) proposal for the redevelopment of the Pierhead area in Bridgetown as ?very exciting and grandiose? according to the nationnews.com. Whatever that means, one of the upshots of this recent merger could finally be the locating the cash needed to bring this long awaited project to fruition.

The hotel, marina, residential and shopping development became somewhat of a political football during the recent general elections. The then government, clearly frustrated with the slow pace of the development, was threatening to takeover the project entirely complaining that all BS&T was doing was bringing a new ?partner? to the table ever so often but nothing coming of it. The then opposition responded that when the government talks that way ?the fix was in? alluding the governments connections with possibly corrupt partners, and also complained about the message the takeover talk was sending in terms of investor confidence in Barbados. In the final analysis of the elections results this could be one of those mostly behind-the-scenes but telling issues which helped to bring about the change of government on January 15.

If Neal & Massey has the money or can get it, they better do something quickly since the window of opportunity for this sort of development in the area is rapidly closing, i.e. the competition in St. Lucia and Grenada is already eating our lunch. The big players in the growing yachting and marina segments are not exactly sitting around waiting for the Barbados government (whoever that is) and BS&T (whoever owns it) to get their acts together.


Jentillia
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