There aren’t many things in life that soothe the soul and regenerate the mind like a tropical winter break. Leaving the office in London wearing about 7 layers to land in the balmy, sweet smelling air of Barbados is the natural sensory equivalent of receiving a warm sexy hug after a really long hard day working outside in the cold. It’s better than you imagined.
I am no Barbados expert so please don’t take my word as golden – go and explore the island if you get the chance to. Hire a car and use a paper map to find your own way around the island and pick your own favourites but if you do want a pointer or two, then please read on.
We stayed at Fustic House which is on the North West side of the island and is breathtakingly beautiful. Designed by Oliver Messel, it is a place of architectural beauty and faultless design, with genius landscaping to boot. To be honest, the house itself is enough of a destination, especially with the brilliant management team that run it and the chef who is genuinely talented and inventive with every amazing dish he produces. His cheesy bread thins are a thing of tastebud beauty and his ability to cook every type of meal to perfection is delightful. If you’re lucky enough to visit or stay at Fustic House, make sure you go for a swim in the fresh water rock pool and take in the sunset view from the upstairs terrace.
On the Caribbean side of the island, there are a plethora of gorgeous beaches. For a lively yet beautiful beach to sip beer on and enjoy the sunshine, head to Miami beach – there’s food stalls and fresh fruit and more hustle and bustle. If you’re looking for eye-watering beauty and a beach that feels a little more private, head to Gibbs beach. Park your car under the shade of the trees across the road and lay your beach towel under one of the gorgeous palm trees. Ogle at the beautiful houses, swim in the ridiculously azure sea and take a walk up and around the beach to buy some cold beer from Wanda’s beach bar.
Take one day out to take a road trip to the East Coast of the island – please don’t plan to swim there though as the currents are crazy strong and the waves are unpredictable. Make your way over to Bathsheba and marvel at the rock formations and wind-swept palms, then head to Dina’s bar & cafe for a cold Banks beer and a plate of genuine Bajan fare, sat on the park benches facing the ocean. If you fancy a long luxurious lunch then opt for the Roundhouse and take in the Atlantic breeze with a glass of champagne. Carry on driving and you’ll find Crane beach further south, where the sand is pink and the beach is beautiful. You’ll see some lovely churches and old sugar mills on your drive, as well as some awesome views of the island from above where you can really see the difference between the East & West Coast.
In the evenings, there is one restaurant that reigns supreme in terms of decor, food and atmosphere. Make sure you book ahead at Lone Star and enjoy their amazing cocktails (the Cadillac is potent and delicious) and their perfectly executed dishes (crispy coconut prawns being a personal favourite). This place is a Barbados classic and a complete treat. Another lovely beachfront option is Daphne’s, but I would go there for the beach view and a snack in the afternoon – the food is not as good as others.
In the unlikely event that the weather is anything less than perfect whilst you’re there, Barbados has a shooting range where you can practice your archery skills or even shoot a gun in a very controlled and safe environment. There’s pottery and beautiful tropical flower gardens as well as shopping and baby sea turtles hatching on the beaches at night. My lovely man tells me Barbados was named so in Spanish as it resembles ‘two beards’ on a map, but in my vocabulary Barbados may as well mean terrestrial paradise. Take me back!