Spending this Thanksgiving weekend at the Barbados Hilton. Currently on the second night. Despite the entire building being demolished and the whole hotel being rebuilt five or six years ago, nobody bothered to make this hotel a particular showpiece: the hotel is solidly 4-star, with public spaces that scream 1970s architecture, a nice-enough (but not particularly palatially large) pool area, and a beach that is, uh, so-so. Not Hilton's fault that the ocean side of the peninsula is rather rough (a breakwater makes a small bay for swimming) and the actual bay side is a little rough too. The crescent shaped bay next to it is rather nice, and at least in late November not particularly crowded. The fish shack "Cuz" is rumored to have great flying-fish sandwiches for 1/4 the price of the pool bar, so I will try it tomorrow and reply here. It is a short walk down the bay crescent of beach. The pool bar itself has an almost unconscionably high price for a lot of things ($10 US for chips and salsa/guacamole; $6 for a local Banks beer---- compare this to US$1.50 at other local shacks, $3 at local restaurants). But there's not anything really close, so a walk up the beach is necessary to save, and we're not really talking prices more than I pay in San Francisco for local beer, and only a little higher than I pay for appetizers...... The room is really very nice--- including al carpet which makes it seem like tile floors and area rug, but the room is essentially a standard Hilton Room from anywhere, with a 6' x 12' deck overlooking the ocean, a minibar, separate tub and shower (bad shower head, kinda drippy) no hand shower, tiny sink counter, unnecessarily hard bed, lotsa wonderful down pillows (bed therefore is excused, my particular back can make adjustments); and expensive taxis to any destination you wish right at the door. (Example: Friday night fish fry at Oisten's, about 10 miles south: BDS$30 ($US15) TO Oisten's; BDS$35 "quote" from hawker at Oisten's to get back, actually walked out on the road and got back for BDS$4 simply by taking a ride in a shared taxi. We had to walk in to Hilton from the main road (probably 10 min.). On arrival, we asked about a junior suite upgrade as Diamonds; they had us look at one, but upon return to the desk started to tell us how much extra we'd have to pay. We decided that just taking the executive level room was fine, this was only four days. And it is; it's just not compellingly luxurious. But it's not bad, either: after a couple days, we like the place. The bar unexpectedly has a happy hour from 5-6 (one hour, and they certainly enforce it). 1/2 price on a bunch of stuff, OK, so it was a good time, and they had a karaoke act on Friday and Sunday nights, very fun. Recommended. However, I was off at the restroom at exactly 6, and after Mrs. SST ordered another drink at last call, I was back in a minute and signalled the waiter for one too; that was charged at full price. Nickle-dime, nickel-dime. Not very impressive. Rather than say something, I decided on a 10% tip rather than my usual 20%. A couple notes: taxi fare to the Hilton from BGI airport is BDS $44 (US$ 22) and takes about half an hour due to traffic at 2 pm. Everyone takes US$, but gives back change in BDS$. Some don't like the US$ but nobody says much. Bus fare on the island seems to be BDS $2, pretty reasonable. People are INCREDIBLY pleasant and like to talk with you. Talk with them. There's at least a couple of mongooses on the Hilton property you will see--- a little strange. They apparently like to eat the endangered turtle eggs. We have not yet had a full meal here, basically because of the reputation and the costs of the hotel. The Executive Lounge is somewhat small, and despite having breakfast billed as lasting till 11, it was pretty picked clean by 10, and they were cleaning it up and slow to replace things. The lounge staff is good, and will give you multiple internet passes you need to connect multiple devices, since the "tight" Hilton system is a real pain with your Kindle, phone and computer. Breakfast was, well, adequate. Phony scrambled eggs from mix, good local smoked fish, assorted cheese (one kind=assorted), cream of wheat, various lackluster pastries, OJ and local Bajan cherry juice. Coffee was good; tea was impossible to get at breakfast because there was no hot water (sheesh!) . No decaf. No capuucino, espresso. Fruit was minimal. Tea time had tea (hooray!) and sweets, but no tea sandwiches or other savories. At cocktail hour they seemed to have some hot things. In all, it is a decent stay; a competent hotel, but far from luxury. More to come.