The Colony Club is a hotel/resort on the ‘sapphire’ west coast of Barbados. I expect it is similar to many of the other resorts, where you really don’t need to leave the hotel if you are on a ‘do nothing’ holiday. You can just swim (sea or pool), sunbake and eat and drink – swim up bar included 🙂
We arrived late in the evening and needed something to eat, so went to the Laguna restaurant at the hotel. I opened the menu and to my surprise, gluten free was marked on the menu and there were quite a few options. Below are the specials and appetizers menus which shows GF and DF, as well as vegetarian options marked up. The menus are also available on the Colony Club website, but the GF options are not marked there.
I immediately relaxed knowing food would not be a problem for our week long stay (but I still did eat all of my ’emergency’ supplies as there was only fruit available for snacking).
As I was not super hungry, I decided to have two starters – the Tomato & Mozzarella salad and Beef Carpaccio.
Breakfast is included in the room rate and it is a buffet style where you can find gluten free options. This includes cheese (4 varieties), cream cheese, smoked salmon, carrot/celery sticks, tomatoes, dried fruit, nuts, fruit salad and some of the cooked foods, such as a grilled chicken, cooked tomato and a freshly made omelette.
Gluten free bread was available (under a napkin which helped prevent crumbs dropping from the other bread), but there was not a separate toaster there – only a conveyor toaster (not sure GF bread would stay in a toaster bag on one of those!). On the last day, a normal pop up toaster did appear which could have been used, so it may be worth asking. The bread was pretty dry and unappealing untoasted (see left), so I would suggest taking your own bread if possible.
Below is an example of smoked salmon and creme cheese using my own DS cornbread biscuits and an omelette with chopped peppers.
Although the lunch and dinner menus were labelled gluten free, strangely nothing at breakfast was labelled gluten free (apart from a sign for the bread). This raised queries (eg ham, bacon, fried plantain, fried potatoes etc). One morning I did ask about the fried potatoes, but when I tasted them I’m sure they had some kind of seasoning that could have been malt based (my experience of frozen ones is that they always contain gluten in Oz and the UK) and they were also incredibly crunchy so felt they may have been coated in flour, so I abandoned them. The next day I did feel as though I had been glutened, but normally it would happen more quickly for me, so I don’t know whether it was gluten or something else. As always, if in doubt, leave it out!
You can also choose from a selection of nuts, seeds and dried fruits, as well as make up a fresh fruit salad, or have a piece of fruit from the fruit bowl.
We ate at the Sunset Deck restaurant a couple of times for lunch. I really enjoyed the beef salad and had it more than once. The standard offering was with blue cheese (which to me is revolting!), but a cheddar substitution was no problem. It comes with a caramelised walnut crunch which is very sweet, but easy to avoid once you’ve had enough. I also had the flying fish salad with grilled plantain mango, pineapple and red capsicum. If you are have issues with onion, there were large pieces that were easily avoided.
As you can see, the portions are quite large. We found that we generally only ate two meals a day – a big breakfast and then a late lunch or early dinner, with some snacks in between. Our room had a fruit bowl in it, which was great, but as I always had fruit for breakfast I generally wanted something crunchy for a snack, so my 1/4 suitcase of food came in very handy. Even if you are not gluten free, I would suggest bringing some snacks with you, or get some from the supermarket in Holetown.
When you are by the pool or the beach, a waiter comes around occasionally with a little treat, such as a little pot of fruit salad or some melon wrapped in Parma ham so that was a nice touch.
Room service is available for breakfast and all day and into the evening, and these menus also had GF marked up (except for breakfast, again). However the breakfast menu also contained a gluten free muffin that was not available at the buffet. We didn’t use room service as we preferred to be out and admiring the views.
If you want to buy some supplies once you are in Barbados, there is a supermarket called Super Centre in Holetown, the nearest town to The Colony Club. I didn’t have a thorough look through the supermarket, but did find some gluten free crackers in the normal food isle. It would also be a good idea to stock up on drinks here to save money.
It is about a 15 minute walk to Holetown along a busy road (sometimes no footpaths), but you can go part of the way along the beach.
We ventured out of the resort to eat four times and ate at The Cliff, Daphne’s, Lone Star and Tides which are reviewed here . All were lovely, but Daphne’s got points for having a gluten free menu and gluten free bread.
The Colony Club also organises activities each day and we were lucky to squeeze onto a bus trip that took us to an old sugar plantation house with a working sugar press. You also get to taste local rum at the plantation. We then moved onto Hunte’s Gardens, which is a private garden that has been created over several years and is worth a visit even if you aren’t really into gardening (like us!).
For a complete list of the gluten free research on cafes and restaurants that I did prior to my visit (and updated with post-visit information), please see the Restaurant Lists page (scroll to the bottom for Barbados). I have reviewed four fine dining restaurants and Barbados Gluten Free has reviewed many places if you want more detail.
Please comment below if you have found the post helpful for your trip!