When Daily Mail travel reporter Mark Palmer dropped his cell phone (brand unknown) and smashed its screen after enjoying some “full-throttle rum punches”, his working vacation could have become a fiasco, and led to a poor review in the popular British tabloid.
But in a virtuoso display of customer service, his hotel reception desk at Cobbler’s Bay, quickly had the cell phone repaired with a brand-new screen, and normal cell phone service was available for the satisfied customer as soon as he had slept off the effect of the local rum punches.
So much so that he wrote a rave review for his hotel on the “seductive” island, which he described as: ” the redoubtable Cobblers Cove, just outside Speightstown on the north-west coast of Barbados — a much-loved hotel which the Godsals, a British family, bought in 1968 and which has changed little over the years, much to the delight of its more mature guests.
“…The drawing room behind the bar has new wispy curtains that pick up the breeze and billow all day, providing what Soane Britain calls ’emotional air-conditioning’.
“The original house was called Camelot, built in 1941 by wealthy sugar planter Joseph Haynes, who was by all accounts a much-loved politician. He and his family lived there until he died in 1963, which was when the Godsals, who originally came to Barbados during the English Civil War (how old are they?), stepped in.
“Today, Cobblers is everything glitzy Sandy Lane, some five miles south, isn’t. Indeed, the late director and Sandy Lane regular Michael Winner was once regarded as ‘not the right fit’ by Alan Godsal, who died in 2011. Which is to say that Cobblers is intimate, unflashy, old-fashioned and remarkably seductive.
“But, then, the same could be said for Barbados as a whole.
“There’s something for everyone on this big, buzzy island. One morning, on the beach, we bump into a retired couple from Essex who spend a month here every winter, renting a little studio apartment in Speightstown and living more cheaply than they do back home.
“Scruffy Speightstown — a short walk along the beach from Cobblers — also seems to have had something of a face-lift. A new restaurant called Hugo’s has opened, a brother to Cin Cin in Holetown, and one or two chi-chi shops are doing business nearby in adorable little chattel houses.
“It was once the island’s busiest port and what we like is how there is more mingling between locals and tourists in this part of the island than in the smart strip further south.
“When you stay at Cobblers, you get a 15-minute boat ride each day if you wish.
“We take up this option and enjoy boatman Bradley’s commentary as we speed across the water. He points out who lives where, including pop star Cliff Richard’s huge house, which is up for sale.
“The hotel’s restaurant, Camelot, is gorgeous at night and lively during the day on Sundays when it’s given over to a BBQ.
“New additions to Cobblers include the candy-striped beach umbrellas, which were designed in Santa Monica.”
Seems as if Mr. Palmer liked the place, then.