At last, an example of "good" budget - when no-frills accommodation equates to three-star charm and personality. Low key but stylish in its own casual-chic way, the Butterfly is a great choice for anyone looking for a comfortable, well-located beachfront hotel. A small resort, it does the best it can with the room available. If you're after a small hotel with a relaxed vibe and a bit of soul read on.
The Butterfly Beach Hotel is on the south coast of Barbados, between Oistins and St Lawrence Gap (about a five minute drive to the latter). The property is waterfront, accessed from Maxwell Beach Road. Bridgetown is about a 20 minute drive away, while the Grantley Adams International Airport can be reached after 15 minutes.
WIFI connection is free of charge in the lobby and the bar lounge, whereas wired Internet is complimentary in the rooms. There is also free Internet access in a tiny "cyber café." Disappointingly, guests are charged to use the in-room safety deposit boxes ($USD1.15 per day).
Half board and full board meal plans are available however the B&B option is probably the most popular due to the self-catering facilities available in the majority of rooms.
The hotel infrastructures are well maintained; the interiors were last renovated in 2005 and the exteriors in 2009. The candy-coloured pink building with its white lattice balconies and shutters is eye-catching and a pleasant introduction to the hotel and its facilities. The reception area continues the colourful theme with pastel pink walls, busy flower arrangements and stained glass lamps suspended above the lobby counter. The comfy wicker cane lounge chairs and pot plants complete the homey feel.
Outdoors amongst the tidy gardens and on a raised deck is a cluster of three whirlpools, surrounded by plastic outdoor settings. You'll also find the first of two sunbathing decks (with beach access), shaded by a few palm trees and scattered with blue and white sun loungers. A little further to the right is the hotel's only bar and restaurant the Reef Bar and Grill (see Food & Drink). There are fabulous sea views from each of these facilities.
On the far side of the restaurant is the smallish rectangular-shaped swimming pool (it gets crowded quickly), while a second sunbathing deck boasts unbeatable sea views. Like the other deck, it too has direct beach access. The sun beds look a bit worse for wear but otherwise, this area of the hotel is well maintained. The white picket fence that separates the beach from the property combined with the hotel's pretty candy colours gives the property a kitschy-cool feel. Due to limited space, there are few other facilities on-site (gym, games etc) so we can appreciate that families may look elsewhere for more kid-oriented resorts.
There are several categories of accommodation at the Butterfly Beach, ranging from the superior rooms, to the superior studios, the 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, and finally the penthouse suite, all served by elevators. Some rooms (13 out of 93) are blessed with an ocean view, while others get the so-called "island view" which sounds romantic but actually indicates garden or car park views.
Décor-wise, the rooms feature the same style throughout the hotel; the main differences between the rooms are the views, the self-catering facilities and the style of balcony. The latter can be a traditional, furnished balcony or a 'French balcony' (doors open onto a railing rather than a "real" balcony one can step on to). The studios and apartments feature kitchenettes for self-catering ease, while the superior rooms have a mini-fridge and tea and coffee making facilities only.
Accommodation is simple, clean and comfortable at Butterfly Beach. There is certainly nothing luxe about it but the rooms have a laidback, island charm. The beds are a good size even if they are draped in bright, tropical linen in explosive shades of blue, red, orange and green...to match the curtains of course, but not to everyone's taste! The salmon tile floors and the pink walls tie the theme together. Small inconveniences include the hairdryer and iron/ironing board not being available in the rooms - guests must borrow these from reception.
Butterfly Beach Hotel boasts a waterfront bar/restaurant, the Reef Bar & Grill, which wins more points for its cute décor and fantastic setting than its menu. It's open pretty much all day, for a buffet breakfast in the morning, lunch à la carte, dinner (à la carte/buffet) and afternoon snacks. The menu is a bit limited and can be described as a mix of Caribbean and international cuisine. Monday and Thursday nights are good fun; the first for the management rum punch party, and the second for the BBQ and karaoke night.
The bar and open-air restaurant provide a great place to chill out and just soak up the sea views. The dining area is found on a spacious wooden deck while the bar also acts as a sports lounge with big screen TV and pool table. The large, well-stocked bar separates the lounge from the restaurant and is especially popular at 'happy hour' times. We loved the simple Caribbean chic of the white lanterns contrasting with the sea green rafters.
The hotel is situated right on the beach with direct access from the sunbathing decks via small gates at both ends of the property. The beach is lovely but it is popular with many other hotels in the area (also, all beaches in Barbados are public) so don't come expecting a quiet and secluded spot. The sand is fine and almost snow white and the warm blue waters of the Caribbean Sea often sparkle under the sunlight; on a fine day you've got yourself a picture-perfect scene. While there is a handful of sun loungers positioned on the beach, there is no beach refreshment service, nor shade or water sports facility.
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