Associate editor Cathy Carroll recently spent several nights at
Cobblers Cove Her report follows.
ST. PETER -- Cobblers Cove general manager Hamish Watson
recalled the time a family of three from New York checked into the
small luxury property on the west coast here.
"I said to the receptionist, 'They won't be staying,' and she
was shocked and said, 'What do you mean?' I could tell this was not
the property for them by the questions they were asking: 'Where are
the nightclubs? What is there to do in the evening?' " About 20
minutes later, the family checked out, Watson said.
That is why he encourages travel agents to "see and feel"
Cobblers so they can suggest it to the kinds of clients who will
appreciate its relaxed, yet gentile milieu.
Recent articles in Gourmet, the New York Times and Food and Wine
continue to attract guests to this Relais & Chateau property,
yet Watson noted that the term "luxury" can mean different things
to different clients. "For some, luxury is expected to be big
rooms, central air conditioning and wall-to-wall carpeting," Watson
At Cobblers, however, the atmosphere is more like "a house
party," as the British would say, or "a restaurant with rooms,"
Cobblers' 40 suites are in 10 two-story cottages on three acres.
At the coral stone great house, a common "living room" is
welcoming, with chintz-covered sofas and other British furnishings
that are traditional yet relaxed. Here, Watson hosts weekly
cocktail parties during which guests spill out onto the patio
overlooking a quarter-mile stretch of white sand beach in a quiet
cove of the Caribbean.
With Watson and his wife, Linda, socializing with the guests,
the elements combine to achieve the effect about which Watson
boasts. "Guests are here to do what they want, when they want -- to
treat it as their home or as if they were a guest in someone
else's," he said.
Daily schedules of activities are nowhere to be found here.
Instead, Watson and his assistant, Dale Mapp, invent custom
itineraries for each guest. "Dale will talk to people at the pool.
We get to know our guests and anticipate their preferences. That's
what a good hotel does. We don't just tell them, 'Gosh, you've got
to do this or that,' " he said.
For instance, Watson will direct the guest who is a serious
gardener to sights including Welchman Hall Gulley, a botanical
garden which features tropical vegetation in its natural state;
Andromeda Botanic Gardens, a major collection of indigenous and
exotic tropical flora amid streams and ponds, and the Flower
Forest, with its manicured trails.
The type of clients who will be most pleased here are those who
are interested in food and wine, have traveled extensively and are
not expecting a "typical" Caribbean experience. "Barbados is not
the typical Caribbean island. Some say it is more British than
Britain," Watson said.
Watson sees Cobblers meeting the demand for alternatives to
"superluxury" resorts -- those hotels with multiple facilities such
as a championship golf course, several great restaurants and a spa
and fitness center. "They are going to create a business for me
because my guest doesn't like that," Watson said.
Rates for a deluxe suite, double occupancy, including meals are
$315 from Oct. 1 through Dec. 18; $998 from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2,
and $927 from Jan. 3 through April 11.
Cobblers Cove, Phone: (246) 422-2291, Fax: (246) 422-1460, Web: