Blessed with sun-dappled skies, candy sands and tie-dyed sunsets, Barbados is affectionately known as "England in the Tropics" courtesy of its ongoing love affair with cricket games and afternoon tea. With, Zagat-rated eateries, championship golf courses, classic calypso and swishy resorts; Barbados has earned unrivaled loyalty from savvy travelers and in-the-know travel agents.
|Beaches in Barbados are sublime (credit: M. Reffes)|
|Sunset at the Tamarind hotel ( credit: M. Reffes )|
With a smile as wide as the sea and enthusiasm to match, Livingstone Alleyne is thrilled and delighted to wax eloquently about his beloved Barbados. Driving a taxi for a decade, he’s a gracious rolodex of information from explaining how to navigate the traffic roundabouts to picking a restaurant for a romantic dinner pour deux. “I’m the driver of choice for guests checking into the Elegant Hotels Group of resorts,” he says with a humble twinkle, “and I can tell you they are the best on the island and where I would take my wife for a special treat .” Operating a quintet of hotels and resorts - The House, Colony Club , Tamarind, Crystal Cove and Turtle Beach- EHG is a powerhouse portfolio of upscale accommodations offering top-shelf amenities, stellar service and generous agent commissions.
|Breakfast by the sea at The House ( credit: EHG)|
|Paradise at Colony Club (credit: M. Reffes)|
|Rum punch at Crystal Cove (credit: M. Reffes )|
Dinner on the beach at sunset is the big draw at The House, a seashell away from hip Holetown on the gold coast. Catering to the luxury traveler, The House impresses with thirty-four junior and one-bedroom suites overlooking the sea and Ambassadors who cater to every whim from arranging snorkeling and sailing excursions to serving dinner beneath seaside white linen canopies as the sun sinks behind the horizon. “No wish is too big for us, “ smiles Marco Pavone, general manager, “our staff takes service seriously and for our guests, just ask and you will receive. “
|Suite Dreams at The House ( credit : EHG)|
With a star-studded guestbook that includes homegrown hero Rihanna and Hollywood glitterati like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Bacon, guests are treated like royalty. “Pampering starts as soon as you arrive, “adds Marco Pavone, general manager, “the property is small, the ambience is sweet and we’re adults-only.” Guests receive a BD$25 credit per person for the next door Daphne’s where Chef Marco Cromer creates pasta magic and the green apple and ginger sorbet is worth the splurge.
At the Tamarind Resort in Paynes Bay, nothing says romance sweeter than a watermelon martini as a saxophonist plays a roster of Lionel Ritchie tune. A couple’s massage with candles and rose petals and watching the sun set from the balcony of Room 202 seal the deals for couples on a romantic getaway. “The romance market is a priority for us with our beachfront to include hammocks, comfy pod chairs and daybeds for two ready by the end of the year.” says Andy Howard, general manager as he recommends the blackened salmon to a couple dining in the open-air 246 Restaurant, named after the island’s area code.
|Spa at the Tamarind ( credit: EHG)|
|Watermelon martini at the Tamarind ( credit: M. Reffes)|
|View from Room #202 at The Tamarind ( credit: M. Reffes)|
For a sublime chill-out, the spa refreshes with an invigorating scrub with Bajan sea salt and aromatic oils, organic Dr. Hauschka products and a gratis jet lag massage ideal for guests arriving from the US.
Framing seven acres of verdant gardens at the end of a Casuarina tree-lined driveway, the ninety-six sophisticated suites at the AAA Four-diamond Colony Club comfortably host families while at the Laguna restaurant overlooking the lush gardens rock-lined lagoon pools and swim-up bar, blackened red snapper is a show-stopper and a mint mojito poured by bartender extraordinaire Sydney Trotman at the Sunset Bar is refreshment par excellence. ‘My bar is vacation heaven, “he says chopping fresh mint, “especially as the sun sets and you take a sip of a frosty mojito.” Save room for a scoop of coconut ice cream made by the Bico, the famed West Indies company tempting taste buds since 1890. “A stay at the Colony is worth a thousand vacation memories, “says Gayle Talma, general manager, “our experienced staff can morph a great holiday into a grand holiday”
|R & R at the Colony Club ( credit: M. Reffes)|
|Divine suites at the Colony Club ( credit: EHG)|
|A moment at the Colony Club ( credit: M. Reffes)|
Also on the west coast, families are welcome at the all-inclusive Crystal Cove where the beachfront cliffs are eye candy and flying fish and creamy macaroni pie is delectable at the Bajan buffet.
|Water, water everywhere at the Colony Club ( credit: M. Reffes)|
On the spirited south coast near the St. Lawrence Gap, Turtle Beach is a casual all-inclusive with the acclaimed Italian menu at Aiago’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser and the Flying Fish Kids ’Club offering steel pan instruction and road tennis tips from nine to nine. For the surfers in the family, lessons are offered for newbies and pros alike.
|Turtle Beach Resort is a family favorite ( credit: M. Reffes) |
|Peaceful nights at the Turtle Beach ( credit: M. Reffes)|
All five properties are participating in the Taste of Elegance dine-around program that invites guests to explore the sister properties. A water taxi shuttles between hotels on the west coast. “This is a wonderful way to experience the a la carte and buffet selections at the different hotels, “says Gayle Talma, general manager, Colony Club, “ guests get a well-rounded feel for what our Chef has to offer.”
|Colony Club is, indeed, elegant ( credit: EHG)|
For an island tour or a pickup from the airport, call Livingstone Alleyne at 246 230 9859.
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