Your luxury holiday to Barbados couldn’t be in better hands than those of Elegant Resorts, because it’s an island very close to our hearts – it’s where it all began for us. We have our own dedicated team of staff, located in St James on the west coast. They know the island inside out and will act as your personal concierge throughout your stay, starting with greeting you at the airport and continuing with any advice you may require. So, if you need a restaurant recommending, a private yacht chartering or the low down on the local beauty spots, feel free to speak to them when you arrive, or ask your Travel Consultant to get in touch before you depart.
Barbados is a tropical island that is positively vibrant, and over the years the west coast (also known as the Platinum Coast) has become synonymous with glamour and sophistication. There are many fashionable restaurants that offer everything from fine dining to authentic Caribbean dishes, and the golf scene cannot go unmentioned either, with the design talents of both Tom Fazio and Robert Trent Jones Junior having been used to optimal effect on several championship courses. Add to this the range of gorgeous designer boutiques and sensational spas and you can see why Barbados continues to be a renowned winter bolt hole for the jet-set, with a social scene to rival London’s. Of course, the trademark coral sandy beaches and turquoise waters have a lot to do with it too, and as well as being popular with sun-worshippers, the setting attracts snorkellers, surfers, scuba-divers and big-game fishermen too. If you wish to inject your luxury holiday with a dose of culture there is plenty to see and do, including taking a tour of an historic plantation house, or for a look at Barbados’ wild, natural beauty, visit the east coast where the spectacular landscape is more rugged and unspoilt.
From the west coast to east coast, with a huge helping of Bajan charm and the warmth of friendly locals in between, Barbados has a unique atmosphere and a wide-ranging appeal. Elegant Resorts offers a range of luxurious accommodation with something to suit everyone, and whether you’re looking for a family resort, an exclusive hotel or a private beachfront villa, you will surely become enamoured with the discreet, intimate and laidback elegance of Barbados.
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Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Food here is a feast for the senses – traditional Bajan dishes and international fine dining are colourful works of edible art. The Bajan style is a blend of African, Caribbean, West Indian and European flavours, with fresh local fish, including tuna, shrimp, kingfish, lobster, Flying Fish and Red Snapper featuring on many menus, along with juicy tropical fruits. Many of the hotels serve up Caribbean feasts, from spectacular buffets with open ocean views, to chic fine dining in luxe mahogany dining rooms.
For gourmet meals, there are many restaurants on the west coast that have long-standing, outstanding reputations, with repeat visitors and some of the island’s most sought-after tables. These include Daphne’s, located next door to The House by Elegant Hotels, where the style of cuisine from southern Italy is authentic and beautifully prepared and the service is that elusive blend of attentive and unobtrusive, yet still warm and friendly. Similarly, The Cliff is a well-established venue with a gorgeous setting built into a cliff alongside the sea, where the menu selection is trend-setting and the food richly delicious.
Another treat to try during a luxury stay in Barbados is the Afternoon Tea. Barbados is, arguably, this English institution’s second home. Under shady terraces in picturesque locations, taking a break from the late-afternoon heat is a much welcome treat – expect only gourmet tea and coffee with tantalisingly sweet delicacies. Alternatively, golfers will relish light, leisurely lunches at the finest course clubhouses, and those who prefer a later start to their day can linger over elegant brunches.
Golf is a major draw of Barbados. The most famed course is the world-renowned Green Monkey at Sandy Lane, designed by Tom Fazio and boasting rolling green fairways and beautiful ocean views. Royal Westmoreland, also nearby, is a championship course with all the professional amenities you could need, while the relative newcomer, Apes Hill Club, which opened in 2009, welcomes players of all abilities to its immaculately kept course.
Cricket is the island’s second sporting passion. As the national sport, great pride is taken in the belief that some of the finest players of the West Indies team hail from Barbados. The Kensington Oval is where you can see big, international matches played during the season, though you can catch local games at any time through the year.
There’s plenty inland to keep explorers occupied, too. Harrison’s Cave is one of the more well-known sights to see, with dramatic stalagmites and stalactites emerging from crystal-clear streams forming a visually striking display of ancient waterfalls. Barbados is also a haven for gardeners, with the lush countryside of Hunte’s Garden and Flower Forest, the beautifully manicured Andromeda Gardens and the dazzling sight of twenty-thousand orchids at Orchid World. Nature enthusiasts can visit Barbados Wildlife Reserve, located in a natural mahogany forest, and see Barbados Green Monkeys in their natural habitat, along with colourful birds and reptiles, or head to Welchman Hall Gulley for a peaceful hike through tropical rainforest.
Beaches and Watersports
It goes without saying that the beaches in Barbados are superb. The west coast – known as the Platinum Coast for its powder-fine white sand and crystalline waters – is the most sought-after area and is where you will find the most luxurious touches. All of our featured five-star luxury hotels here have a beach front location, meaning you can stroll straight from your terrace to your sun-lounger. Guests of Sandy Lane will benefit from the most attentive service, with beach butlers providing anything from cold towels and tropical drinks, to sunglasses cleaning and Evian misting.
Needless to say, there is no need to leave your lounger. However, if you so choose, you could venture out to the east coast, with its coral coastline carved out by the sea, and the south’s contrasting reef-protected beaches – perfect for snorkelling among coral reefs and sunken wrecks and surfing the fantastic waves. Cobblers Cove, meanwhile, offers yoga sessions down on the shore, perfect for truly finding your zen in one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful spots.
On the west coast, the calm waters make perfect conditions for watersports, and many of our featured hotels offer options including kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, banana boat rides and water-skiing, to name a just few.
Heritage and History
Barbados has, perhaps, the most fascinating heritage of the Caribbean islands, with very strong links to Colonial Europe. Many historic buildings have been immaculately preserved, and make for a fascinating trip back in time. St Nicholas Abbey is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere – a beautifully restored plantation home built in 1658, those with an appreciation for architecture will be intrigued. You may also wish to visit George Washington House for an insight into how Barbados played a role in the settlement of America, or those travelling with families could venture to Arlington House Museum in Speightstown for a more interactive museum experience.
The capital, Bridgetown, has plenty of historic significance too, and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The centre of the Barbados Parliament – the third-oldest parliament in the commonwealth – can be found here, along with National Heroes Square, where a statue of Lord Nelson has proudly stood since 1813. You can also see the world’s rarest collection of 17th Century English iron cannon in the Garrison area, and the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, a magnificent building tracing the arrival of the earliest Jewish settlement on the island since 1628.
Friendly, fun and full of natural charm, the culture of Barbados is something to get swept away with. Jazz, reggae and calypso music are the soundtrack here, and as the sun goes down, parties can be found across the island for those looking to get a taste of local life. The First and Second streets of Holetown are gaining a reputation for being the new hotspots and offer a variety of bars and restaurants, but it is the colourful Holetown Festival, with historic parades, pageants and stalls full of artisan crafts and wares, that many come here for.
Being the birthplace of rum, very few people leave without at least tasting the island’s favourite tipple. A favourite day out for many visitors is Mount Gay Rum Distillery. Here, discover the origins of one of the world’s most famous rums, perfected over 300 years. On Friday evenings, Oistin Fish Fry is a big draw, a lively seafood grill accompanied by an arts and crafts market and plenty of live music. Guests can arrange at their hotel desk for transport to and from the festivities.
Visitors to the island who like to shop will love the duty-free shopping (passports are usually required when making a purchase). One of the largest and best places to head for is Broad Street in the island’s capital, Bridgetown. Here you will find department stores, duty-free shops and jewellery boutiques, but for something a little more traditional, Pelican Village, just outside of Bridgetown, sells handicrafts such as batik pictures, straw bags and rum cake.
The Limegrove is the best spot for designer shopping, with big European and American names including Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors and many more gracing shopfronts, along with fine jewellery and high-end make-up stalls. There is also a cinema, a selection of restaurants and events held here throughout the year.
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Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
Our Barbados staff recommend several restaurants for an authentic Bajan dining experience, including Ju Ju’s Beach Bar And Restaurant which serves fresh fish grilled or fried, and Ragamuffins – a Chattel House restaurant serving Caribbean/Creole cuisine. And, the ‘lobster and jazz’ night at Colony Club by Elegant Hotels is laid-back, friendly and lots of fun. For those with an interest in cooking, the Culinary School at Sandy Lane offers guests cooking lessons.
On certain days of the week Coral Reef Club offers its guests guided tours with the Head Gardener to view the hotel’s exceptional and lovingly maintained gardens.