With glorious weather all year round and a coastline extravagant in palm-fringed, paradise beaches, it’s no wonder that Barbados has come to epitomise how people imagine a tropical island. While these are certainly some of its idyllic qualities, they are by no means everything the island has to offer. Barbados’ luxury resorts, together with its abundance of unique experiences, promise the discerning traveller a truly unforgettable vacation. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to.
Wreck and Reef Diving
Beneath Barbados’ aquamarine waters of Barbados lies another world just waiting to be explored. On the surface, Carlisle Bay Marine Park at Bridgetown looks exactly like you’d expect a tropical beach to be. However, just a quick boat ride from the shore, the shallow waters hide spectacular coral reefs brimming with exotic sea creatures, together with six fascinating shipwrecks. With plenty of diving tours available and exceptional visibility, you have the chance to discover this undersea world for yourself. Get up close with the tropical fish and friendly sea turtles and swim through sunken wrecks like the 356 ft Stavronikita and the WWI naval vessel, Berwyn. If you have no diving experience, don’t worry, Barbados even has its own tourist submarine, the Atlantis, which will take you there without getting wet.
Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Every Barbadian will proudly tell you that rum was invented on the island. Indeed, they have been distilling it since the 1600s and can mix up the world’s most delicious rum cocktails. For an unforgettable rum-tasting experience, head to the Mount Gay Visitors Centre. Here you can tour the world’s oldest distillery, learn about how rum is made, get taught to mix cocktails and taste some of the finest rums available. They also put on a fantastic lunch.
While the island is known for its natural beauty, Anthony Hunte has taken nature and made it into a work of art. Hunte’s Gardens, in St. Joseph Parish, is a mesmerising collection of small gardens that affects all the senses. Step through verdant foliage, brightly coloured flowers and winding paths that take you to secret corners and breathtaking vistas. Along the way, you’ll discover rare plants, tinkling waterfalls and an array of interesting bird life. It really is a masterpiece of horticultural imagination.
A hidden gem in the truest of senses, the spectacle of Harrison’s Cave is all underground. With a seat on the cave’s electric tram, you can explore the fascinating natural features of this ancient crystalline cavern. Discover deep underground streams and inky pools, meander through the remarkable stalactites and stalagmites that reach out of the limestone and watch in awe as underground waterfalls crash down and a myriad of crystals sparkle in the dim light. It’s an experience you certainly won’t forget.
You can’t visit Barbados without going to the capital, Bridgetown. Take a stroll through the city centre and you can discover its captivating history, explore its UNESCO World Heritage Site or visit the Parliament Buildings of this newly independent country. Alternatively, take refreshments in one of the many charming bars, restaurants and cafés, or browse the delightful shops and lively markets. Whatever you choose to do, it’s a great way to experience Barbados’ unique culture.
Oistins Fish Fry
For a foodie experience like no other, visit Oistins Fish Fry. An event that takes place every Friday, it has become one of the island’s most popular activities, attracting visitors and locals alike. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the Barbadian way of life. Indulge your tastebuds with the traditional Barbadian fayre, served freshly cooked from the numerous street vendors, listen to live music being played by local bands, and wander around the markets selling artisanal arts, crafts and trinkets. Alternatively, just grab a cold beer, sit back and watch the world go by.
The Best of Barbados Resorts
If you are going to have all of these unique experiences, you will, of course, need somewhere to stay. Of all the resorts Barbados has to tempt you with, Royal Westmoreland is the most prestigious. With only 250 villas, apartments and townhouses, it’s a remarkably exclusive and private resort. Set among 750 acres of lush gardens overlooking the west coast, it offers world-class accommodation. If you appreciate open-plan design, generous living areas, designer kitchens with all mod cons, outdoor dining, and en-suite bedrooms then you have found your ideal holiday home. Of course, many villas have private swimming pools and gardens, while there are communal pools for guests staying in apartments and townhouses.
The resort also benefits from several dining options, including a colonial-style Club House, a traditional Rum Shak and a private Beach Club at the nearby Mullins Beach. If you prefer to eat in, the resort offers a private chef service, saving you the need to cook. Other amenities include the championship-standard Royal Westmoreland Golf Club, floodlit tennis courts, a well-equipped gym and a saltwater pool. You also have the benefit of a housekeeper and a well-connected concierge to take care of transport arrangements, reservations and everything else you need, even a babysitter. Of course, the welcome is always warm and the service exceptional. For those who seek the finest in hospitality and luxury, Royal Westmoreland is the definitive choice.