Discover the all new Cocos Bar and Restaurant
There's a fresh line-up of artists and an exciting menu for 2020 to celebrate the launch of Coconut Court's new restaurant and bar. Among the additions is guitarist Jerome Waithe, who entertains diners on Tuesday evenings. Watch the video for a taster.
The former Deck Restaurant has gone and has been replaced with Cocos Bar and Restaurant. The work was carried out during the hotel's renovation and refurbishment this Autumn.
The Cocos menu has now been completely revamped for the winter and is rotated weekly to give guests who stay longer a greater choice. There are delicious fish and steak dishes and the new menu includes three vegetarian options. It's also very competitively priced.
With Jake's steakhouse across the road, which is also owned and managed by Coconut Court, there are now plenty of great options for dinner while staying at your favourite hotel.
The full line-up of evening entertainment at Coconut Court.
NEW Look OCEAN view Rooms
Sumptuous, tasteful and five star are just some of the words guests are using to describe our newly renovated rooms.
The interior design reflects the hotel’s location. Deep ocean blues and the colours of sun-kissed sand greet new arrivals.
Pictures and prints by the family
All 37 rooms in the west block of Coconut Court Beach Hotel were stripped out and given a completely new look this autumn.
As well as an improved view of the ocean and new sliding doors to the balconies, all the rooms have new beds – we know how important a good night’s sleep is to our guests.
New bathrooms, a kitchenette and new furniture and fittings were also installed. And fantastic tropical prints by Jean and Kia Blades adorn the walls. Jean is married to Charlie Blades, the head of the family which owns the hotel, and Kia is his granddaughter.
“We’ve been really pleased with the feedback from guests who have stayed in our newly renovated rooms,” said Charlie’s daughter Linda. “They’re all fully open and the response has been overwhelming.”
One TripAdvisor reviewer, writing in December 2019, was highly impressed: “We just spent 15 nights at Coconut Court Beach Hotel in the newly refurbished rooms. The standard room block is now just like a five star room. Everything in them is brand new - even the balcony was redone with new lighting. What a great job!”
Bajan roots key to rooms
Linda added: “While we work hard to give our guests a new and improved experience each time they visit, it’s important we don’t lose sight of our Bajan roots or the fact that we are a family-owned and operated hotel.”
As well as a new wi-fi system (the rooms were part of the original hotel and the walls were quite thick) a state-of-the-art fire alarm was installed throughout the hotel.
These rooms in the west block are now known as Ocean View Rooms.
Many of the superior rooms in other parts of the hotel got a complete makeover too. All 44 of these were redecorated and have new soft furnishings. The Annex apartments across the road were not left out either.
The gift shop was also redecorated and restocked. The restaurant and bar area was transformed and renamed Cocos Bar and Restaurant. We’ll be featuring these in future blogs.
Happy holidays from everyone at Coconut Court!
It's what Christmas is all about
You can’t say you’ve experienced Christmas in Barbados unless you’ve been to Queen’s Park to watch the fashion show with a difference.
The Christmas Day celebration in Bridgetown has been a focus for young and old Bajans, all dressed up in their finest clothes, for more than 110 years.
The Band of the Royal Barbados Police Force usually strikes up at 7am for a couple of hours and other performers join in.
Many of the suits and dresses are home-made and families are colour co-ordinated for maximum effect. For many Bajans, Queen’s Park on the morning of December 25th is what Christmas is all about.
The aim of Christmas in Queen's Park is not merely to show up or show off but to be unique and bring some personal flair.
Rich and bright
The outfits are in all colours. There are whites and bright reds to rich blues and deep purples. Even the youngest children take part.
If you are here for Christmas, you won’t want to miss it. While you might want to go smartly dressed, locals will not expect you to match them in their finery.
An ancient millenial
If you’ve got time, don’t forget to check out the Queen’s Park baobab. This huge specimen has a circumference of 25 metres (it would take at least 15 tree huggers to give it a good squeeze) and is thought to be more than 1,000 years old. How a tree from West Africa ended up in the centre of Bridgetown 500 years before the Europeans got here is anybody’s guess. (The tree is there all year, not just at Christmas.)
Pigeon peas at Christmas
If you can’t make it to Coconut Court this Christmas, we’ve got a very special seasonal recipe for you to try at home.
Jug Jug has been a mainstay of the Bajan Christmas lunch for generations. Its main ingredient is pigeon peas – a lentil-like pulse originating in India and now a staple throughout the world.
250 grams each of pork and beef.
1 hot pepper.
500 grams of pigeon peas.
1 tablespoon each of thyme, parsley and chives. 1 onion.
125 grams of guinea corn.
70 grams of butter.
Directions: Cut up meat, chop thyme, parsley and chives. Cook pork for 20 minutes then add beef, season with salt if fresh meat is used. Add pepper, peas and cook for 30 minutes or until peas are soft. Strain and reserve stock. Mince the meat finely. Add peas and pound in a mortar or put in an electric blender. In a pot, add thyme, parsley, chives and onion to reserved liquid and boil for 5 minutes. Add guinea corn slowly and stir briskly for 10 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish.
Meet the Driver
In Safe Hands
Coconut Court guests using the hotel’s airport shuttle bus can rest assured they are in safe hands with former soldier Michael Springer at the wheel.
The man tasked with greeting hotel visitors at Grantley Adams International Airport spent eight years in the Barbados Defence Force driving lorries and large buses before he joined Coconut Court staff two years ago.
But the step into civvy street is not without its stresses. Juggling the needs of jet-lagged passengers who have cleared customs with those whose flights have been delayed, requires planning and clear decision making.
“Usually the flights come in five or 10 minutes apart," said Michael, 35, "so it's no problem. The guests should only wait a maximum of 45 minutes as it’s a shared shuttle. If flights are delayed, I have to put something in place for another driver to meet that customer so the guests already waiting can get to the hotel. It all needs to be planned in advance.”
The airport pick-up service is free for guests who book their stay with the hotel direct and is most popular with those who have visited Coconut Court before.
An "Appy" Man
And the best part of the job for Michael is meeting clients from all over the world and the challenge of communicating with non-English speakers.
“I’ve got a translation app on my phone – although I show them the text rather than try to pronounce the words!” Michael said.
He also runs the hotel’s free Bridgetown shuttle service which takes guests into the city at 9am from Monday to Saturday. “That’s quite popular,” added Michael. “We don’t do a pick-up, but I make sure everyone knows the different options for getting back to the hotel.”
The father-of-two, whose wife is expecting their third child, spends his spare time tinkering with a motorcycle and keeping three of his own vehicles roadworthy. He’s also a keen archer and owns a compound bow, a bow which uses a system of cables and pulleys to bend the limbs.
“Guests save a lot of money using our airport transfer and can often get there quicker. I love meeting people and getting their holiday off to a good start. It can be stressful but it’s worth it.”
Surrounded by happy people
Matching guests with the excursion that suits their budget is just one of the things that makes Vaida Blades’ job so rewarding.
Vaida runs the Activities Centre at Coconut Court Beach Hotel - she's the go-to person for advice about things to do on Barbados - and is married to Ted Blades, son of hotel founder Charlie and owner of Ted’s Tours.
“For a small island Barbados has so much to offer,” said Vaida, who is originally from Lithuania. “Sometimes people have a smaller budget. If they don’t want a taxi or a tour guide, there’s always a local bus to places like Hunte’s Gardens, Welchman Hall Gully or Harrison’s Cave.”
Love blossomed on tour
She’s had a few unusual requests over the 13 years she's been on Barbados. “Guests who got married here 30 years ago wanted me to find the minister who carried out the original service," she said. "I tracked him down and they all got together and renewed their vows. It was lovely.”
Among the most popular things to do is the catamaran tour where guests sail along the west coast and swim with turtles. The dinner show at Harbour Lights and Ted’s Tours is up there too - it was while on a tour as a guest that love blossomed and she met her husband Ted Blades.
Contact with guests
One of Vaida’s favourite activities is Hike Barbados, organised by the Barbados National Trust. It’s popular with locals and free, though a small donation at the end is appreciated to cover the organisers’ costs.
“There are two hikes on a Sunday, one at 6am which I prefer or one in the afternoon. When they go over to the Codrington area of the island on the east coast… that’s just so beautiful.” And her favourite attraction? Hunte’s Gardens in St Joseph.
It’s the contact with guests that she really enjoys. Working at Coconut Court means Vaida is surrounded by happy people.
“I love meeting people, listening to their stories and it’s great to see them return to the island,” she said. “When I see them back again, it makes me think “where has the time gone?””
You can book your excursions through Vaida – she doesn’t charge a fee or a mark-up. This also has the advantage that any activity booked in advance with Vaida can be cancelled.
You’ll find Vaida in the Activities Centre, just above Cocos restaurant. Contact her via the hotel or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is https://www.barbados-funtours.com/.
Connnecting Hearts To Barbados
From Speightstown to the rugged east coast, Ted Blades loves to share Barbados.
But a trip with Ted’s Tours is not just about seeing the sights.
“It’s about about putting the people and the island together, helping them connect,” said Ted. “I want to make them part of the Barbados family – to connect their hearts to Barbados.”
Trip back in time
It’s no surprise that a trip on Ted’s Tours is often the highlight of people’s holiday – just check out Coconut Court’s TripAdvisor comments for proof of that.
Ted has been guiding tourists around Barbados for 36 years and set up Ted’s Tours 32 years ago.
He's part of the Blades family which has owned the hotel for more than four decades. Favourite stops include Speightstown in the north. “It's a trip back in time,” said Ted.
“Everything slows right down there… and that suits me just fine. I want people to go at that pace. I want them to slow down. We don’t do a really fast “zip” tour otherwise you don’t get to savour the flavour. I give people the chance to let Barbados soak in.”
Views and pews
You don’t have to beg Ted for a drink either. He makes a simple punch that everyone loves. And return guests are a feature of Ted’s Tours.
“I had a couple join me for their golden wedding anniversary. They’d also been on a tour with me for their silver!”
Other highlights include Cherry Tree Hill with its rugged coastal panorama and the historic St John's Church where some like to browse for souvenirs, some are mesmerised by the church and others just love the amazing views of the east coast.
Barbados - like a buffet
There's always plenty to explore here and you're not looking over your shoulder, he said. “There are lots of places with sun, sea and sand, but Barbados is special. It's just the right size, still quaint and it’s not so big that you can’t learn it. And of course the people are always smiling and welcoming."
People are central to Ted’s philosophy. He loves meeting clients and making their holiday unforgettable.
“I had a couple here last season. The wife told me they had to come on my tour… her son recommended it.” Turns out the son had been on Ted’s Tours 23 years ago and hadn’t stopped talking about it!
“The island is like a beautiful buffet,” Ted added. “Show people what there is and they’ll take what they want.”
To book a place on Ted's Tours speak to Vaida Blades in the Coconut Court activities centre or contact Ted on (+1 246) 262-8687. For more information go to www.tedstour.wixsite.com/tedstours.
More Rooms with a Tune: Peter Tosh, Lord Melody and Superblue
Ever wondered why each room at Coconut Court has a name? You may not have taken it in as you couldn’t wait to get down to our beach for a swim.
But the name plates are all songs from the Caribbean.
In today’s post, we’re focusing on rooms named after songs by a world legend, while the second and third are calypso heroes from Trinidad.
Freedom and injustice
Peter Tosh was born Winston Hubert McIntosh in 1944 and began his recording career with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer in Trenchtown, Jamaica.
He was a self-taught guitarist who became one of the world’s best known reggae artists, particularly after his duet of Don’t Look Back with Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones.
Part devil, part molasses...
While many new arrivals in the Caribbean associate reggae with the islands, regular visitors to Coconut Court will know that calypso (or soca as it is now more often referred to) is the genre that dominates Barbados and Trinidad.
A popular character in the Trinidad carnival, which is closely linked to the islands’ musical traditions, is the Jab Molassie (sometimes called the Jambolassie), a fictional character, often painted blue, who is part devil and was historically daubed in molasses.
Trinidad soca artist Austin Lyons, aka Superblue, sings about this character, a regular feature in the February carnival (and room 60 at coconut Court!).
Jab Molassie Party on de road
Jab Molassie Jab Molassie
J'ouvert oh! Jab Molassie
Jab Molassie Wine down on de road
Jab Molassie Jab Molassie.
And finally in room 58, Lord Melody, born Fitzroy Alexander in 1926, sings about his rivalry with Trinidadian compatriot and fellow calypsonian The Mighty Sparrow, who he dubbed Cowboy Sparrow. Melody was alluding to allegations that Sparrow had shot someone.
Attention, listen everyone
Beware, Sparrow have a gun
Shooting like Bill Buckaroo in the town
Ach, Sparrow have a gun
The row and rivalry continued for years. The Mighty Sparrow wrote songs about Lord Melody in reply!
You can listen to each song via the YouTube link below, but don't forget to check dates and prices at Coconut Court first so you can enjoy our Caribbean vibe and music in person.
You're Gunner Love The Garrison
It was home to the most famous American of all time, houses one of the most extensive collections of cannon in the world yet a secret lies beneath that few have explored. And the good news is it's just a short walk from Coconut Court.
This is The Garrison, known today mainly for its horse racing and as the only place outside the USA that George Washington lived, albeit for a short period during 1751.
HQ of the British West India Regiment
Here in Barbados, a youthful Washington was impressed with the warm hospitality and genteel behaviour of the islanders - nice to know that something's don't change! It was his first glimpse of a wider world outside his home of Virginia and made a lasting impact.
Just a stone’s throw from The Garrison Savannah race track is the former plantation house where the eventual first president of the USA stayed. Now called George Washington House, it was restored in 1999 and is well worth a visit.
While on Barbados, Washington mixed with the island’s military and civilian elite and noted fairly quickly that Barbados was “one entire fortification”. The Garrison was the headquarters of the British West India Regiment and consequently the most fortified British island in the Caribbean.
Evidence of this remains even today. Dotted around The Garrison and inside The National Armoury (housed in nearby St Ann’s Fort) is the largest collection of 17th century English cannons, including the famous Commonwealth Cannon.
It bears the crest of Oliver Cromwell, the man responsible for the execution of King Charles I of England.
After Cromwell’s death, royalty was restored and the first act of Charles II was to remove all traces of Cromwell’s rule. All of Cromwell’s cannons were destroyed, apart from one which remains here at The National Armoury (the other's in The Tower of London). Less famous cannons are littered around the coast and can also be seen guarding the entrance to Carlisle Bay at Charles Fort, a short walk away at Needham’s Point.
Also inside the armoury is the first Barbados flag, raised in 1966 at The Garrison when the island became independent of Britain. A much larger and newer version flies today at the spot of this historic occasion.
Once a week, there’s a re-enactment of the changing of the sentry. This takes place in front of the 1814 clock tower (that’s not the time, it’s the year it was built).
And below The Garrison is a network of tunnels, built by the British, but only unearthed and opened to the public recently. One of the tunnels runs from George Washington House.
It is thought they were built as open ditches to drain the swamps which were on the site before the British arrived. They were then enclosed with arched ceilings and used as secret passageways to move soldiers around the south coast.
Punch and Duty
Mark Blades is the maintenance manager at Coconut Court Beach Hotel. He has worked at the hotel since 1986 (apart from a four year break from 2003).
Mark also meets and greets guests with his homemade Pirate Punch and makes the family speech at the end of the manager’s rum punch party. Coconut Corner threw some questions his way to find out what makes him tick.
What do you like best about your job?
My job allows me to be creative. I really enjoy meeting people, working with my family and our staff.
What would you do if you didn’t have to work?
Travel and spend time with my family
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Friendly, dependable and punctual
What’s your top travel tip?
Things don’t always go according to plan. Just roll with it!
What do you love most about Barbados?
The hot and sunny climate. We can travel anywhere quickly from Barbados. My family and friends live here.
Do you have any goals or ambitions?
Work at Coconut Court for as long as I can. Enjoy my life and my job with family and friends.
Invisible App Zone