Cobblers Cove, Barbados: A paradise of palms and pastels, with sparkling beaches and British interiors

Mary Miers visited a beautiful Caribbean oasis, designed by a theatre designer and Lulu Lytle of Soane Britain.

Airy and elegant, Cobblers Cove encapulates the Caribbean colonial style as reinterpreted in the 1960s by the theatre designer Oliver Messel, who remodelled several houses nearby. Set in a lush garden flanked by beaches, the plantation-style Great House and its encircling chalets feel English yet tropical, unpretentious yet luxurious, evocative of another era, yet contemporary and chic.

Cobblers Cove, Barbados

Lulu Lytle of Soane Britain has captured the essence in her redecoration of the principal rooms – ask for the Camelot or Colleton Suite – with pretty sprigged fabrics, rattan furniture and ‘Messel green’ paintwork. Designer Sam Godsal, whose parents-in-law bought the place in the 1960s, has refreshed the garden chalets, which have painted fretwork verandahs and boarded ceilings with long-sailed fans. Wicker furnishings and screen printed linens complement the Cobblers’ palette of pastel shades and brilliant whites, best seen in its candy-striped parasols.

Cobblers Cove, Barbados

Public spaces are really outdoor rooms, the restaurant (voted the island’s best) an open-air terrace lapped by the sea. In the evenings, we drank lethal Cobblers Cooler rum cocktails as whistling tree frogs competed with the piano’s ‘spouge’ routine.

Recommended videos for you

One night, we dined on the day’s catch in a pagoda-roofed gazebo straight from a Messel stage set.

Inspiring Travel Company offers seven nights at Cobblers Cove from £2,165 per person, based on two adults sharing a Garden Suite including breakfast, flights, transfers and Barbados Airport Executive Lounge. Visit to find out more.

Soane Britain and Miguel Flores-Vianna

While you’re there

  • Take a boat trip and go fishing or swimming with turtles
  • Book Jovaughn Warren of Conquer Terrain for a guided hike across the island (about three hours), from the wilder Atlantic east coast, through typical Bajan villages and up onto a ridge, and then down through sugar plantations to the hotel on the Caribbean coast
  • Wander into Speightstown and enjoy the quaint charm of this early colonial settlement, which dates from 1630 and was once the island’s busiest port

Cobblers Cove Hotel

  • Visit St Nicholas Abbey, a 1650 plant-ation house now preserved as a museum, where the distillery still produces rum. Take a ride on the Heritage Railway steam train, which runs through the estate’s mahogany groves up to the viewpoint on Cherry Tree Hill, evoking journeys on the original Barbados Railway, which operated from 1883 to 1937
  • Attend a Pentecostal service for the full Caribbean evangelical experience. Join in the singing and dancing led by a preacher and choir on stage and marvel at the congregation’s vibrant Sunday best
  • Complementary activities include sailing, snorkelling and other water sports; there’s also a tennis court, gym and spa