Barbados is all about dazzling beaches and turquoise seas, but also a distinctly home-from-home vibe. And what could be finer than hunkering down in a luxury villa on its prestigious Royal Westmoreland estate
Words: Sandy Cadiz-Smith
The tiny nation of Barbados in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles is the perfect get-away-from-it-all destination with its dazzling white, sandy beaches and turquoise seas. Lush landscapes and friendly, welcoming locals complete the picture – and we feel instantly at home from the time we land in the airport arrivals hall after our direct flight from London.
There’s a distinctively British vibe on this English-speaking island paradise. Reminders are everywhere – from the passion for cricket (even an Oval cricket ground) to the Instagram-worthy red postboxes – and it’s a magnet for A-listers seeking winter sunshine without travelling too far.
“Our home-from-home is the stunning Royal Westmoreland estate, set over a sprawling, beautifully landscaped 750 acres”
Our home-from-home island destination is the stunning Royal Westmoreland estate. Set over a sprawling, beautifully landscaped 750 acres in St James on the island’s prestigious West Coast, this is all about life’s pleasures. Our luxury villa is set in lush tropical gardens with a sparkling communal pool and azure sea views from the fabulous covered terrace.
Inside there’s plenty of space to relax with an airy living area, large bedroom and luxury ensuite – so the perfect base. We are impressed by the other swish accommodation on site here, ranging from modern golf cottages to elegant townhouses. Everything is designed to catch the cooling breezes and provide great views of sea or tee.
If you are feeling active, the resort is a sports lovers’ dream with its immaculate Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed golf course, superb clay tennis courts, well-equipped gym and plush new wellness centre. The elegant clubhouse serves tasty light meals with emerald fairway views and the vibrant Rum Shak is open all day for local food and cocktail treats.
“Barbados is a sport lover’s dream, and here we have exceptional facilities, from golf to wellness”
When you fancy a change of scene, it’s a short drive from your villa on the complimentary shuttle to the private beach club Mullins. This is the place to while away hours in sandy, sunshine heaven sampling exotic cocktails and enjoying indulgent beach-side service. It’s also a real treat for seafood aficionados.
One of the great things about Barbados is that you’re never more than 20 minutes from the sea, and it’s an easy island to navigate. This is just as well, as there’s plenty to discover. Just down the road, Holetown is the site where John Powell landed in 1625 to claim Barbados in the name of England’s King James. There’s lots happening here – great restaurants, myriad shopping opportunities and buzzing beach bars where everyone wants to talk to you and rum punch is sold by the gallon.
Speaking of rum, our visit to nearby St Nicholas Abbey proves fascinating. Built in 1658, it’s one of the island’s oldest surviving plantations. We explore the great house, surrounding gardens and rum distillery, tasting some of that Bajan liquid treasure along the way.
While the West Coast is the main focus for many visitors due to its mirror-glass flat sea, there’s plenty more to see further afield. The Animal Flower Cave nestles below the dramatic cliff tops of the island’s northernmost point. We are glad we made the journey to explore its spectacular, huge chambers before taking in the far-reaching views while sampling tasty local dishes in the restaurant.
“Mullins is the place to while away hours in sandy, sunshine heaven sampling exotic cocktails and indulgent beach-side service”
Another must visit, this time on the east coast, is the quaint seaside village of Bathsheba. It is home to the small churning bay known as the Soup Bowl. A favoured spot with surfers, it’s amazing to watch its crashing waves even if you don’t feel bold enough to ride them. And at Dina’s overlooking these fabulous seascapes we sample more of that delicious rum that seems to punctuate every step of our journey round the island.
Of course, we also have to take to the sea. Sailing the azure waters onboard a luxury catamaran, cocktail in hand, life doesn’t get much better. We drink in the views, stopping along the way for a lazy dip in the balmy waters full of magical sea turtles. Barbados does feel rather like heaven on earth and for us Royal Westmoreland is definitely the place to be.
Barbados explorer: Royal Westmoreland
At Royal Westmoreland guests can experience villa rental but also have opportunities to purchase Fractional Ownership. This means you purchase just the time you need to ensure a regular return to this Bajan paradise. For more details about villa rental or fractional ownership visit royalwestmoreland.com
* Sandy Cadiz-Smith is a food and travel writer. To read more about her journeys, visit eatingcoventgarden.com
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