Elite Resort's Club Barbados is an all-inclusive, adult-only resort that sits in the paradise district of St James on the island's Platinum coast (apparently Gold just didn't cut it).
The 161-room hotel is nestled among five acres of lush tropical gardens and boasts three swimming pools, four bars and two restaurants, as well as a gym, spa, a host of water sport activities.
June to October is hurricane season in Barbados ('June too soon; October all over' as the locals say) so if you are planning a Christmas getaway or want to avoid the New Year blues, then you are in luck.
Whether you're a keen water-skier, or prefer bobbing on a lilo with a piña colada, The Club is ideally placed for enjoying the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. The hotel's beach is a modest, man-made affair, but there's enough space to park a deckchair, and unspoilt sandy beaches are just a stroll away.
Our spa suite had a large balcony and pleasant views over the gardens and pool. A bottle of rum and a generous set of spa goodies were waiting on arrival and the room was well equipped.
The hotel's staff are billed as the friendliest on the island and take great pride in living up to their reputation. Returning guests are welcomed like family, and some feel so at home that they've clocked up over 70 visits.
The receptionist was always ready to flash us a big Bajan smile, even in the small hours when we'd locked ourself out the room. Again.
No Caribbean holiday is complete without a bit of pampering, so treat yourself at the hotel's spa. As part of the SpaBados package, we enjoyed a full-body massage, deep-cleanse facial and vigorous body scrub (one to avoid if you're sunburnt).
Eat and drink
One of the best things about going all-inclusive is the daily face-stuffing ritual of the breakfast buffet, and The Club's Sunset restaurant doesn't disappoint. Guests can choose from an array of British breakfast treats, as well as a smattering of local dishes, like fried cod.
Lunch is another help-yourself affair and the food is varied and prepared to a very good standard. There's normally plenty of fresh fish - flying fish, Mahi or cod – as well as Caribbean favourites like macaroni pie, which is just as yummy (and calorific) as it sounds.
The Sunset restaurant also offers afternoon tea, which is said to be better than John Lewis' according to one guest, although we were never hungry enough to partake. The restaurant switches to à La Carte service in the evenings, making dinner a more intimate affair.
Barbados has plenty to offer in the way of nightlife. The Club provides nightly entertainment in the Sunset bar, usually in the form of a live singer belting out ballads (including plenty of Rihanna songs, of course). Night owls will love the hotel's Piano Bar, open until 2am - the booze flows freely and the resident pianist takes requests.
For a more adventurous night out, flag down a 'reggae bus' on the road outside the hotel (these yellow minivans blast out reggae music and are the island's unofficial taxis) and ask the driver to take you to a local rum shop.
What to do
Guests can make use of Club's snorkelling equipment for free and visit the colourful fish who inhabit the reef just off the beach.
Swimming with turtles is a must, although we recommend doing this in the morning. Our boat trip was mid-afternoon by which time most of the turtles had had their fill of tourists and swam out to sea. Luckily for us there was one lame turtle (literally, he had a flipper missing) who could still be tempted by chunks of fish.
One of the great things about Barbados (although the likes of Madonna might disagree) is that all the beaches are public. Whether you're Coleen Rooney or Joe Blogs, no part of the beach is out of bounds, which is good news for any would-be celeb spotters.
For a chance to sunbathe alongside your idols, the world-famous Sandy Lane resort, popular with the Beckhams, is just next door to the Club. For a more realistic view of island-life, the rum shacks and chattle houses of Holetown are a ten minute walk from the hotel in the other direction.
The low down
Seven nights in Barbados with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Barbados, accommodation at the 4V The Club Barbados Resort & Spa on an all inclusive basis with transfers included starts from £1,642 pp, based on two adults sharing.
To book, visit virginholidays.co.uk, 0844 557 3859 or visit one of their nationwide stores located in Debenhams, House of Fraser, Tesco and Sainsbury's.
TOP 5 BEACHES IN THE WORLD FOR OUTDOOR WEDDINGS
EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF WINTER SUN IN THE MALDIVES OR OMAN
MORE TRAVEL IDEAS