Barbados is a beautiful island and as such, needs to be explored all around. For this matter we prefer "all exclusive" travel: everything booked separately - airline, dwelling, car and local groceries. Obviously, we look for a villa or apartment with free parking, kitchen facilities, wi-fi and easy access to everywhere. Malfranza Apartments satisfied all of these criteria and was affordable, so we made reservation via booking.com. The next day I was contacted by the owners suggesting that I pay for one night via paypal to secure reservation, and I did. I have found out from customers' reviews on booking.com that the property takes cash payments on site but also, from the owners reply to reviews, I found that they would accept "credit card payment vie paypal". One week before our arrival I wrote an e-mail to the owners and offered to pay the balance through paypal but they refused, saying they don't want to incur extra commission charges. So our payment was all in US cash on arrival. We were given apt #2 facing ABC highway. It is a 1-bedroom apt with a shower in the bathroom, and fully equipped kitchen in the living room. A/C unit was in the bedroom only but we could stream some air with a powerful fan from the living room. The noise from the hwy was bearable, however, occasional blast from the motorbikes, day or night, made us wince. (Not at the property only but on the roads too). Beach towels supplied.
The water stream was good. The bed was firm but we like firm. Wi-fi was adequate. TV had plenty of channels, mostly American. The kitchen equipment was older and not up to par. 3 pots of different size, 2 of 3 rusted, and only one lid. One big frying pan, burned and without a lid. The kettle was not always switching off automatically and had scum inside. The toaster did not work and we complained to the owner, and he replaced it immediately with the one that worked 1 out of 3 attempts. The biggest problem was with the stove: not all burners were working but those that did, couldn't be put in any intermediate regime between "on" and "off" so they were either cold as a grave or sizzling hot. Every 30 sec we had to turn it on and off. We assumed that we don't want the hassle of replacing the stove during our stay and did not indicate the problem. Also, there was no phone in the dwelling. I had to place a local call to a rental company, and I had to go around the building and buzz the owners' entrance. They have thrown me the phone from the balcony (owners occupy the 2nd level) and than I had to go back and return them the phone. Same thing happened when the rental company was calling me back.
To finish with the flaws, I should note that there was no housekeeping during our stay. The linen was changed but there was no mopping or vacuuming whatsoever. There is no notice about no cleaning or otherwise, and I cannot blame it on owners, but be prepared to clean yourself.
I'm trying to give the most thorough description of the property, and have to say that the mentioned flaws are minor and could be easily overcame, however, I don't recommend Malfranza for families with small kids and visitors without a car. Otherwise, the property adequately served our purposes and we had great time in Barbados.
If you are new to the island, I recommend:
- in the morning, drive to Folkstone marine reserve for a swim and great snorkel.
- After that, drive around the island and explore one be one North point, Cove bay, Cherry tree hill, East coast and Bathsheba, Bottom bay, Crane beach.
- Wednesday or Sunday go to Atlantis Restaurant Buffet Lunch.
- Visit Hunte's Garden and Harrison cave, close to sunset go to Gun Hill signal station.
- Look at Concorde (hangar near Airport)
- After 3 pm go to Turtle beach (beach beds are free after 3 pm). Drive to Dover hotel and park in front of it, keep left following the sign "public access to the beach".
- Buy fresh fillet fish at Oistins or Paynes beach fish market, try flying fish, barracuda etc, fry them up.
- Be careful with local pepper sauce and appreciate local rum and Banks beer.