Just one restaurant and bar, and food is hit or miss
Not a huge beach area and the pool can get crowded
Rooms facing the back road can be noisy at night
Free Wi-Fi is only available in common areas
The four-pearl Mango Bay is a small-scale all-inclusive offering 76 rooms and a pristine stretch of aqua beachfront -- within minutes of boutiques, restaurants, and bars in historic Holetown. The beach area can get crowded, but calm waves appeal to swimmers of all ages, and freebies like water skiing, scuba lessons, and boat trips are a plus. Rooms differ in size and views, but are spacious and avoid the tacky Caribbean decor found in many resorts. Standard rooms encounter street noise at night, so a higher category may make sense. The lone indoor/outdoor restaurant can feel limiting, but overall, the resort has a casual sophistication that is ideal for groups and romantics seeking an easy vacation. Travelers after an all-inclusive with more dining options could try Sugar Bay.
An intimate beachfront hideaway, catering to adults in chill-out mode
Hidden off the main Holetown drag, Mango Bay greets guests with an elegant British colonial facade and grand lobby with soaring cathedral ceilings over tall stone pillars, and marble flooring. Guests are offered rum punch while they’re checking in at individual desks. Past the lobby, a tropical landscape surrounding the curvaceous pool creates a serene oasis, although the deck chairs surrounding it can fill up fast. The lone indoor/outdoor restaurant serves all meals, and the bar stays open from morning until night, so the spaces are always populated with guests. Along the small beach area, lounge chairs overlook the calm sea where guests spend their days lazing, calmly imbibing, and taking in the nonstop water sports action unfolding out front. Mango Bay sits on its own little stretch of white sand beach (which can get a little crowded), but resorts line the beach in either direction, so jet skis, towables, and water skiing is nonstop. Grounds are far from sprawling, so there’s an intimate feel to this place, which means guests are likely to get to know one another. With only 76 rooms, the resort feels cozy, especially at night when torches are lit around the entrance and along the beach. The crowd is predominantly one of couples, and some families, but given Mango Bay isn’t kid-centric like many other all-inclusives, the vibe here feels more adult -- and the evening dress code maintains a nightly style standard.
On the north west coast, in historic Holetown -- known for its boutiques, bars, restaurants, and calm beaches
Mango Bay takes up a narrow but nice stretch of beach on the west coast of Barbados, 35 minutes from Grantley Adams International Airport. Located in the heart of Holetown, it’s a two-minute walk from the iconic Limegrove Lifestyle Center, where a long list of designer boutiques are on offer, alongside duty free shopping, cinemas, and other commercial businesses. Numerous restaurants and bars, a shopping mall, and a Massy supermarket are located within four minutes walk of the resort. Other nearby highlights include Sandy Lane Old Nine Golf Course (five-minute drive), Harrison’s Cave (15-minute drive), and Folkstone Marine Park and Museum and Petrea Gardens (eight and 10 minutes on foot respectively). The resort offers secure on-site parking for self drivers.
Tastefully decorated, comfortable, and spacious, with mini-fridges and iPod docks, but Standards can be noisy
The six categories on offer comprise Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Ocean Front, Standard One Bedroom, and Penthouse Suite. Higher categories are particularly spacious, with balconies or patios, and all rooms feature comfortable king-sized beds (twins are available on request). Decor is tastefully modern, although some rooms (particularly lower categories), feel a little dated. Warm earthy tones, dark or blond wood furniture, and transparent glass desks on tiled flooring decorate interiors. Bathrooms vary between rooms, but they typically feature large shower/bath combos with a range of bathroom products dispensed from little clay pots.
Deluxes offer recessed ceilings and wooden shutters, which open the bathroom up into the main room for a more open plan feel. The Penthouse Suite has a private plunge pool on the patio and a double whirlpool tub. Standard Rooms are set next to the road that runs along the hotel perimeter, so noise from bars and restaurants can infiltrate rooms and annoy guests at night. However, Mango Bay states this clearly on the website so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. If noise is an issue, opt for a higher category. Rooms include mini-fridges stocked with non-alcoholic drinks; light snacks (like cookies); coffee- and tea-making facilities; cable flat-screen TVs; iPod docking stations; hairdryers; safes; and irons and ironing boards.
Large pool, restaurant and bar, spa, fitness center, and free water sports and boat trips
Features at Mango Bay are especially strong around pool and oceanside fun. The resort's sprawling pool serves as an inviting centerpiece, and there are deck chairs scattered around it, but they fill up fast. The water sports on offer here are a big plus because they include free water skiing -- which is virtually unheard of. In addition to kayaks, hobie cats, pedal boats, and snorkeling, there are also free glass bottom boat tours departing throughout the day, and free catamaran trips to see turtles. Outside water sports vendors also service the resorts on this stretch of beach with jet skis and a range of fun towables. For dining, Julian Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor (open-air) seating next to the beach. Mornings feature the usual buffet trimmings, while lunch and dinner alternates between buffet and a la carte. The menu is Western meets Caribbean and while some guests can't fault it, others find it hit and miss. An evening dress code is in place, and there’s live music in the restaurant every night. Elements Spa offers a range of facials and full body treatments and beauty services. There’s a spacious fitness center, and free Wi-Fi is provided, however it only works in common areas.