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Settlers Beach

The search was on for somewhere special for a winter sun family holiday before my son Roman started school. It had to suit both grandparents, mum and a lively 4 year old, be relaxing and stress free, and offer a holiday experience that we would all remember.

After much discussion we decided on Barbados, as it had a good infrastructure, was one of the driest islands in April (when we wanted to travel) and was one of quickest Caribbean islands to reach with a non stop flight.

From the moment we stepped into the warm, balmy air and began our drive along the palm-lined west coast road, we were captivated by Barbados.

The flexibility of self catering but the facilities of a hotel

We stayed at the lovely Settlers Beach which was the perfect choice for us. There are just 22 two bedroomed villas (both ensuite with air/con) set in beautiful, established gardens with swaying palms and jasmine around a pool and seconds from the beach. The beach at Settlers is a delight and great for children – soft white sand, shady, calm, crystal sea, quiet. The villas have a large and very comfortable living/dining area, fully equipped kitchens and there's a generous garden area in front of each villa. Some are single storey, others 2 storey with terraces. They are extremely spacious (more room than with any 2 bedroomed suite I've seen) and very comfortable. The flexibility they offered was great – it was so easy to prepare lunch or snacks,and yet you still have the comforts of
hotel service – reception, daily maid service (the beds were changed every day!) and restaurant. We chose a two storey villa, which was right opposite the pool and seconds from the beach and restaurant. We could see the sea from our terrace, where we spent many a lazy moment listening to the sea and the rustle of the warm wind in the palms.

With everything so close to hand, everyone had enormous flexibility. Dad could read in the shade of our garden, mum could swim and rest around the pool whilst we snorkelled, swam and made sandcastles, all of us just seconds from each other. The garden area was great – perfect for children, who can run around (in Roman's case with a kite!) and provided a wealth of entertainment – from the tiny coconuts which fall overnight to the occasional mongoose rustling through the undergrowth. Jet lag wasn't a problem – children adapt really quickly.

Stress-free eating and shopping
The hotel is literally 5 mins walk from Holetown, which has a church, a shopping mall with an excellent supermarket and a variety of very good restaurants. At Settlers however there is a very good restaurant right by the beach – the Starfish. It focuses on fish but also has meat and vegetarian options and a varied lunch menu. It's pretty too – set right on the waters edge, with candlelit tables at night. There's a good bar too, perfect for sunset drinks on the beach. If you're a guest at the hotel you can open an account at the restaurant and simply settle up at the end, which is very easy and they will also provide room service which is useful if you have children. Tucked in behind the restaurant is a calm, air conditioned TV lounge, which again is great for children to relax or nap in whilst you finish eating.

When staying at Settlers you have complimentary membership of Sugar Hill – a new leisure centre just 3 mins drive away up in the hills above the coast. The entrance lounge and pool are stunning, and the Italian restaurant La Bella Collina is a great place for lunch or dinner in a beautiful setting. There is tennis, a gym and a playroom for children.

The perfect location for a relaxing holiday

It was certainly the very special holiday we wanted it to be - Roman learned to snorkel (plenty of fish just feet from the shore, much to his amazement), to jump in the pool and swim underwater, had a hat made of palm leaves, found 'treasure' each day in the garden and on the shore.

The rest of us enjoyed warm, lazy, carefree days in beautiful surroundings with everything to hand, plenty of space in a relaxed, fairly intimate environment, excellent food, very friendly people and great service. It's very easy for a wide variety of age groups to have a completely relaxing holiday which feels very special – Settlers is a beautiful and quite unique spot, ideally suited to families with children of any age – it has such a relaxed, intimate and friendly atmosphere.

We can't recommend it highly enough.
We all have some wonderful memories and are already plotting our return!

Click here for more information/advice/tips on Settlers Beach and Barbados

We travelled to Settlers with Owners Syndicate. They offer excellent service. All documentation very well presented with helpful info, arrangements were very smooth (totally stress free private limo transfer) and the local representation very good. Travel counsellors are very helpful and knowledgeable and really try to find the right holiday to suit each client. Highly recommended. For brochures/info, just click here

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