From the wind-swept Atlantic to the sleepy waters of the Caribbean, Barbados offers an intriguing blend of east and west, rural and metropolitan, old and new. True to form, business and pleasure find a harmonious blend, as state-of-the-art conference facilities mingle with posh resorts and world-class restaurants.
Standing out among the rest, the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, formerly the Sherbourne Conference Center, is the premiere meetings venue on the island, located fewer than four kilometers from Bridgetown
. Offering over 100,000 square feet of flexible space among its 10 meeting rooms, the picturesque Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre is one of the largest conference facilities in the Caribbean.
Barbados is also home to many luxurious hotels and resorts that combine elegant meeting spaces with top-notch accommodations and amenities. The Hilton Barbados features 900 square meters of event space including a boardroom, three meeting rooms, an executive lounge and a 558-square-meter ballroom. Groups of up to 300 people can meet in the expansive Khairoon conference room at the Accra Beach Hotel & Resort, which also boasts an on-site business center and three restaurants. Even smaller groups can gather in style at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion's two indoor meeting rooms and several scenic outdoor spaces.
Beyond impressive traditional meeting facilities, Barbados offers an assortment of unique venues and alternative spaces where groups can enjoy a rare taste of island life. Groups of up to 700 people can gather on the four decks of the Harbor Master, a custom-built floating entertainment center perfect for ceremonies and banquets at sea. Experience the majesty of colonial era Barbados at the Sunbury Plantation House, where up to 25 guests can dine around the estate's 200-year-old Mahogany table. Many of the island's most prestigious restaurants are equally amenable for private dining. Invite attendees to enjoy native dishes such as Bajan Flying Fish braised in a rich tomato Creole sauce at the Tides Restaurant's seaside gazebo.
With so much to offer it is not surprising that Barbados welcomes more than one million visitors per year, making it one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. In fact, Barbados was chosen as the Best Destination in the World in 2008 by TripAdvisor. Enhancing its appeal is the island's accessibility. Barbados' recently renovated Grantley Adams International Airport provides a convenient gateway for flights arriving from and departing to points around the globe. International travelers can reach the island's sunny shores in four hours or fewer from Miami, Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The journey from Toronto, Montréal, New York City and Philadelphia is fewer than five hours long.
The easternmost of all the Caribbean isles, beautiful Barbados was once known as the "Brightest Jewel in the English Crown." Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west, Barbados consists of 430 square kilometers of low-lying terrain divided into 11 parishes. Although the island is just about 33 kilometers long and 22 kilometers wide, it is home to over 270,000 residents, topping other Caribbean destinations of Aruba, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia.
Similar to these Caribbean neighbors, Barbados was originally inhabited by Amerindians, likely from Venezuela. However, the island was uninhabited at the time of the 17th century arrival of the British, who quickly overtook the island as a valuable holding in the world sugar trade. In fact, at its height Barbados was home to one of the biggest sugar industries in the world. For 339 years the British dominated the politics and culture of the island, even establishing the Commonwealth's 3rd oldest Parliament in Bridgetown.
Now a diverse mix of Afro-Caribbean, European, Asian and mixed-race peoples, the Barbadian culture still maintains remnants of its British heritage. Pay a visit to Kensington Oval, a sporting facility primarily used for cricket matches, to see how the English game has grown into both the nation's official sport and intense passion. At the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum and Factory, guests can watch the production process of the crop that played such a major role in the nation's development.
Barbados' diverse heritage is also reflected in the eclectic flavors of its cuisine. Celebrated specialties such as Pepper Pot, Bajan Black Cake, and Fried Flying Fish with Cou Cou, the national dish, are favorites at the many distinguished dining establishments. Guests can discover intimate bistros and lively pubs that line the streets of historic Holetown, or sit down for an elegant meal at one of the fine dining restaurants scattered along the South Coast's St. Lawrence Gap. No matter the location, Barbados' restaurants serve up eclectic fare in a spirited ambiance enlivened by the rhythms of live jazz and calypso music.
The transition from nights spent dining on open air patios to days under the sunny Caribbean sky is an easy one at this tropical getaway. The warm, tranquil waters off the West Coast are perfect for swimming, waterskiing and parasailing. Snorkelers and scuba divers eagerly take advantage of the clear view to the marine life swimming 20 to 25 meters below the surface. Steady trade winds at Barbados' South Coast make it a mecca for windsurfers, while the roaring waves along the East Coast attract surfers from around the globe.
The recreational activities continue on land where visitors can stroll through the charming fishing villages of the North Coast, bask in the blossoms of Andromeda Botanical Gardens or go for a refreshing tropical trek through the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. From the spectacular "Green Monkey" at the famed Sandy Lane to the par-3 challenge of the Royal Westmoreland Golf Club's 12th hole, Barbados is also a haven for golfers of all skill levels. Whether dancing at colorful club or lounging on a sandy beach, visitors are never at a loss for ways to enjoy the unmatched allure of Barbados.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Blessed with mild temperatures ranging between 24°C and 29°C, Barbados enjoys idyllic weather all year. The balmy tropical climate is tempered by cool northeastern trade winds. Barbados' dry season lasts from January to June, while the wet season runs July to November. Similar to most Caribbean islands, short bursts of thundershowers that clear quickly are frequent during the wet season. Overall, Barbados sees an average of 152 centimeters of rainfall per year.
Hurricane season extends from June to November, but due to the island's geographic location most hurricanes bypass Barbados. Although Barbados is a sanctuary of sunshine throughout the year, the very best time to go is between December and May when thundershowers are rare and hurricane risk is low.
Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre
Located just three kilometers from Bridgetown and 15 minutes from Grantley Adams International Airport, the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (formerly the Sherbourne Conference Centre) combines the scenic splendor of Barbados with the latest in technological innovations. Completed in 1994, the facility offers more than 100,000 square feet of floor space spread across 10 meeting rooms, providing room for up to 1,200 guests.
The centre is equipped to provide the latest services including wireless Internet access, state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment, and mass media and video conferencing facilities. Additionally, the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre's phenomenal on-site catering team can provide meal service in a number of dining rooms, including the 230-seat Tiffany Dining Room and the 250-seat Sugar Mill Dining Room. With so much to offer within such idyllic surroundings, it is easy to see why the World Travel Awards named the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre the Caribbean's Leading Conference Centre for several years in a row.
Hilton Barbados Resort
Total Meeting Space - 929 Sq. Mtr.
Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI)
Approximate taxi fare: $36 BBD
Located fewer than 13 kilometers from the capital city of Bridgetown, Grantley Adams International Airport welcomes travelers and flights from all parts of the United States, Canada and Europe. The airport's two terminals are serviced by 22 airlines.
In 2000, an expansion project at Grantley Adams International launched with plans to increase the airport's capacity and upgrade its facilities and services. The US$100 million Phases I and II brought a new runway and arrivals terminal. Phase III will include new departure lounges and improved duty free shopping and restaurants.
For a truly unique and exciting experience, passengers at the airport can visit the British Airways Concorde Museum, just east of the airport grounds. The building holds one of the now retired Concorde aircraft, given to the island by British Airways. When in service, the supersonic Concorde could fly between the United Kingdom and Barbados in fewer than four hours.
Airline carriers serving Grantley Adams International Airport
The Barbados Transport Board operates a clean, efficient and economical bus system throughout the country. The island's fleet of 304 blue buses operates from three main terminals. Although the buses have set stops, drivers will often stop for tourists and travelers at any point along the route. Fare is B$1.50. Exact change is required.
Two private companies provide minivan and bus service in Barbados. The ZR minivans are easily identifiable white vans with a maroon stripe running the length of the bus. The ZR buses operate later into the night than the buses, but often will carry more riders in a smaller vehicle. The privately run, yellow buses run along many of the same routes as the Barbados Transport Board buses. Fare to any part of the island is B$1.50.
Courtesy Car Rentals operates at Grantley Adams International Airport from its reservations desk outside of the arrivals hall. A number of other rental companies operate off-site, including StingRay Car Rentals, Voyager Rent A Car, Southern Rentals, Leisure Rentals, Coconut Car Rentals, Fat Jacks Vehicle Rentals and Top Car Rentals.
Many of the rental companies deliver the car to hotels and arrange for a local driver's permit. A local permit costs B$10 and requires proof of a national or international driver's license.
Taxis in Barbados are plentiful and convenient at the Grantley Adams International Airport and at most hotels. Though rates are set by the government of Barbados, taxis are unmetered. Travelers should discuss fare with their driver before beginning the ride.
Fares from Grantley Adams International Airport average US$18 to Bridgetown, US$23 to Holetown and US$30 to Speightstown. Additional fees apply for waiting time and extra baggage.
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