Monday, June 21, 2010

downgrading to upgrade

The hotels in Barbados are small and somewhat intimate. You will find few highrise buildings on the island; most hotels aren't taller than three stories. We stayed at Tamarind Cove, located on Paynes Bay in St. James, on the west side of the island, where the water is very calm and swimming and snorkeling are common activities.

I don't take many beach vacations, but when I do, I value staying in a room with an amazing view. I want to fall asleep and wake up listening to the ocean waves right outside my window. I want to see uninterrupted blue as far as I look in either direction. I want to feel the breeze wafting off the water. In my opinion, a well-located room with a view is worth a splurge.

And, in my limited experience, I've always believed that ocean-front rooms trump ocean-view rooms, correct? Ocean-front rooms are more expensive, which equates to "better" in my mind and is exactly the reason that I paid a little more for an ocean-front room in Barbados. But this was not the case at Tamarind Cove.

Brad and I checked into our room and I immediately ran to the window only to be devastated. Although the room was large and nicely furnished, the view stunk. We were in the hotel's main building, which was set back from the sea quite a distance. And although our room completely faced the ocean, a line of tall, thick, ancient trees stood between our balcony and the sea, revealing the beautiful blue water in patches, but not providing anything close to the view I had hoped for.

Brad and I unpacked and went to grab a quick dinner while I fretted about the room's view for about two hours. I was so disappointed that after dinner, I decided to inquire at the front desk about the hotel's room classifications. Although I often embarrass Brad with my particularity when it comes to hotels and restaurants, I am so glad that I asked about this situation because we were immediately downgraded to the best room in the entire hotel (another benefit of traveling to the Caribbean during the low season--they have the flexibility to do that).

Yes, I said downgraded. And no, we didn't get a refund, but at that point, money was not important. We moved to a room that I loved, and it was worth the cost of initially paying for what we thought was a "better" room. Apparently, Tamarind Cove has three ocean-view rooms that the staff consider the hotel's gems. Why they are classified as ocean-view instead of ocean-front blows my mind. If you ever stay at Tamarind Cove, make sure to request room 305.

I wish I had pictures of our first room as a BEFORE picture, but I don't. Let me show you what we ended up with.

We had a breathtaking view of the sea through the sliding balcony doors on the right in the picture below and a view of the sea and one of the hotel's pools through the other window.

Here is a view of the room from the other end.

We even had a view of the sea from a cute window above the sink in the bathroom.

Our balcony felt as though it towered right over the water.

And it did--look how close we were to the water's edge.

Before we visited Barbados, a friend told me that interacting with the Barbadians was always a highlight of her trips there. And I have to agree with her. Brad and I had several occasions where a Barbadian bent over backwards to make sure we were enjoying our vacation. They were a very accommodating people. I didn't even complain to the front desk clerk about our first room; I simply asked her to explain their classification system. She could sense my disappointment and immediately offered to move us to a better room, no further questions asked. She made it so easy.

And Brad joked that she saved our vacation.


Kerry said...

What a great room! I really want to go back to Barbados :-)

Katie said...

Jealous! Looks like it was so beautiful. If we ever go, I'm going to find out all your plans and copy!

Caitlin said...

Wow! It's gorgeous! I can't believe you how close to the water you were!

Esther O said...

These pictures are amazing! Thanks for sharing :)