A well-known face in "The Gap," the Rostrevor Apartment Hotel is a small, low-key property, as well as being family owned and operated. With no airs and graces, it offers very simple accommodation in an intimate setting. It is a very popular hotel with groups, families and older travellers on a budget, offering good value accommodation in the nightlife hub of the island. There are however, very few facilities on site, so the hotel is really just a place to lay your head for the evening. Activities and excursions need to be arranged with an external company.
Right in the heart of St Lawrence Gap on Barbados's south coast, the Rostrevor Apartment Hotel is a good option for those wanting to be in the thick of things. It is about a 15 minute drive from Bridgetown, the island's capital, and 20 minutes from the Grantley Adams International Airport.
The hotel started construction on a new wing in early October 2010, with completion expected sometime in 2012. Tagged on to the western side of the property, the new wing will feature 25 suites, a gym and a coin-operated laundry. Previously, the newest building to be added is already seven years old.
Bear in mind that St Lawrence Gap is the nightlife capital of Barbados and The Rostrevor has a prime location to enjoy it. However, if you're looking for a quiet, tranquil getaway this hotel should not be top of your list...
The Rostrevor is a small hotel and therefore quite simple to navigate. From the cosy lobby (cane furniture and even a rocking chair) which is separate from the main building, guests cross a small car park at the hotel entrance to access the rooms. The four storey buildings feature colourful trim in bursts of bright green, turquoise and cobalt blue; one colour for each upper level, which means you can't get confused as to which floor you're staying on! Unfortunately only one building has an elevator and there is only one room with disabled access. Seaside you'll find a medium-sized pool, built on a deck above the rocky headland to make the most of those delightful Caribbean views. The pool deck is awash in plastic loungers but there is little shade around the pool itself (we noted very few gardens or greenery). Every Monday afternoon, and Tuesday and Thursday mornings there is a free aqua aerobics session offered to guests. The hotel is built very close to the beach, almost on top of it, and uses up all available space so unfortunately it does have a slight "concrete jungle" feel.
The hotel features 61 rooms; studios, one bedroom or two bedroom apartments, each boasting sea views. They are clean and bright, with cane furniture, cool tile floors and a small, furnished balcony or patio. In the middle of the room is a double bed, draped in blue, green and yellow sea-themed linen, a kitsch detail that carries over to the curtains too... Each room features a kitchenette and a safe, the latter charged at $US5 (£3.15) per day. All rooms have televisions but not all of them boast the flat screen variety yet. Some rooms have ceiling fans only and no air conditioning, although we were told during our visit (November 2010) that this is being installed in phases. The bathrooms are certainly not large and do not feature bathtubs (only shower facilities) but they are clean and do the job.
Most guests at The Rostrevor are there on a B&B plan but the hotel also offers half board meal plans to its guests. Breakfast and lunch is served at the Almond Tree Pool Bar which is open all day until the early evening. This poolside perch is also the only bar on site so is the place to go for that cheeky mid-afternoon rum punch... Happy hour is from 5:00pm until 6:00pm.
The restaurant Harlequin is open for dinner only and is found on the street side of the hotel and therefore part of the lively St Lawrence Gap after-dark scene. It is not only popular with tourists but also a local clientele, its "casual starlight dining" boasting a good reputation. Some might find it a bit pricey though, with starters around $BBD25 (£7.90) and main dishes hovering between $BBD50 and $BBD60 (£15.75 - £19). The cuisine can be best described as international, with a good variety of fish, seafood and meat dishes, and even a sprinkling of Bajan specialties. Harlequin certainly stands out from the rest; its bright lights visible from the street, with fun 'n' festive décor in punchy shades of blue, green, yellow and orange. That said there is still a feeling of intimacy as the restaurant is not so large, with cosy indoor and outdoor deck seating. This is a good choice for dinner before simply crossing the road to continue the evening bar-hopping in The Gap. Diners from the hotel must access the restaurant from the street; there is no direct access from the hotel itself.
Unfortunately for the Rostrevor, the beach is probably the most disappointing aspect of the hotel. It is tiny, no more than 30 metres in length, bordered by rocky headland; and with the hotel practically on top of it, will not be winning any prizes for its aesthetic. All beaches are public in Barbados but this one can only be accessed by those staying at the hotel, or by boat. So although the beach may be somewhat secluded you are better off wandering over to one of the nearby beaches such as the one at Dover. The plus is that it is certainly convenient being only a few steps from the rooms or the pool deck.
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