Barbados, Hotel Reviews, Newsletter, North America, The Caribbean

The Rockley.  Rockley Beach in Barbados has a stylish new look.

24/05/2024 by .
Michael Edwards feels the Bajan spirit at The Rockley in Barbados.

Michael Edwards feels the Bajan spirit at The Rockley in Barbados.

Reincarnated. Rebranded. Relaunched. The Rockley reopened in March 2024 after a stylish makeover. Previously known as South Beach Hotel, the 49-suite boutique hotel attracts guests who return year after year. Now there is the added attraction of an authentic Bajan vibe.

From the coastal road, the pristine Rockley – bright and white – looks like a condo for well-heeled Floridians. Appearances can be deceptive. Step inside and this is full-on Barbados, with a friendly welcome of a rum punch and a chilled towel for arriving guests. The Rockley’s staff know how to do Bajan hospitality.

A central pillar is topped with place names, from the bus routes, that tell the island’s history. Names such as Bathsheba, Cattlewash, Foulbay and Rendezvous pay homage to all things Bajan. Within 360 degrees the pillar’s art represents many aspects of island life: catamarans, goats, lighthouses lobsters, octopi, palm trees, sunshades and of course rum.

Michael Edwards feels the Bajan spirit at The Rockley in Barbados.

Get a feel for Bajan art in the reception’s People’s Gallery too. Leave space in your luggage to take home an original canvass of traditional Bajan village life or iconic Barbados scenes. All the exhibits are painted by local artists and you may meet one or two of them at the manager’s weekly cocktail party.

At The Rockley your senses live Barbados. You may depart with earworms from reggae beats played around the pool or from steel pan melodies. The Rockley creates a real sense of place.

Throughout our one bedroom suite there are pops of calypso colour from vibrant artwork that contrasts with warm whites. From our balcony the view takes in sun umbrellas and the pool.

Michael Edwards feels the Bajan spirit at The Rockley in Barbados.

Even the soft furnishings develop the Bajan theme. Cushions expand our Bajan vocabulary. In Creole dictionary style, we learn that “bashment” is a party and to suffer from “brek-up” is to feel really tired. That’s an appropriate word following a visit to the fitness room on the ground floor or a swim in the 75 feet pool that runs along the width of The Rockley’s facade.

Beyond the living room, with its sofa bed – for one adult or two children – and dining table, there is a well-equipped kitchen. For self-catering aficionados it is around a 10 minute walk to the Trimart supermarket in neighbouring Worthing.

Finally, after a bathroom with rainfall shower and two wash units, comes a bedroom featuring a kingsize double bed. Air-con and fans provide respite from the heat.

Poolside, the restaurant flows from interior to exterior, serving a buffet breakfast and light lunches. Then, after the second Happy Hour of the day, it’s time to head out to investigate the local culinary scene.

Even though The Rockley is surrounded by fast food options it is worth taking a bus or the short walk to Worthing Square Food Court. The food trucks claim to be international but guests sat at bright red trestle tables tend to home in on Caribbean flavours: roti, rice and peas, fish cutters, goat bowls and buljol – which is chopped salted cod, tomatoes and chillis. And when it comes to drinks, the true locals, Banks Beer and Mount Gay rum seem to dominate.

Michael Edwards feels the Bajan spirit at The Rockley in Barbados.

For a real splurge, it is less than a five minutes walk to Champers, one of the South Coast’s leading restaurants. Oceanside tables look across Rockley’s bay for the most romantic of spots for sunset cocktails. Renowned for impeccable service and the freshest of seafood, Champers also serves up supremely well-presented lamb, pork, steak and vegan options.

Back at The Rockley, book Troy’s five-hour tour for his insider guide to Barbados that calls in on Bridgetown’s historic Garrison area, the West Coast, the spectacular coastal view from Cherry Tree Hill, the wild surfing coast at Bathsheba and St John’s church. It goes without saying that there’s a rum punch stop along the way too. With his finger on the Bridgetown pulse, Troy drives past Rihanna’s original family home and her current massive mansion.

Finally, make time for a stroll along the boardwalk that runs from Christchurch towards Hastings. Alternatively, you can walk it, late afternoon, with Troy as your guide. He’s a busy man.

The Rockley is for South Coast breezin’. You come as you are and leave as a local. Having been immersed in South Coast art, cuisine and culture you may never want to leave.

Tell Me More About The Rockley in Barbados

Rockley at Accra Beach Christchurch, Barbados BB15 139
E: T: 020 3868 9916
Seven nights, including breakfast, in a Junior Suite, begins from £1225.


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