Rum, sun, beaches and calypos - you'll get it all at our favourite Caribbean island
Why go? The first English settlers landed here in 1627, and we’ve been in love with this tropical island ever since. Barbados is the Caribbean made easy – it’s safe and warm with direct flights, good hotels, high-class restaurants and plenty to see and do. And from late April onwards, the price of a holiday package drops considerably.
Where to stay? Barbados is only 21 miles by 14, with the glitziest hotels lining the west coast. Set beside a sandy beach in St James, the four-star Treasure Beach Hotel (00 1 246 432 1346; www.treasurebeachhotel.com) has just had a makeover, with 35 suites decorated in a relaxing and contemporary Caribbean style. The location’s ideal, with lots of bars, restaurants and shops just a short walk away – or hop on the local bus which costs just 40p – including free reggae.
Where to eat? Aqua (www.aquabarbados.com) is a breezy new all-white restaurant by the pounding waves, with a confident fusion menu and extensive New World wines. Two beachside classics that haven’t lost their touch are Daphne’s (www.daphnesbarbados.com) and Lone Star (www.thelonestar.com) For more options, pick up a copy of the 2007 Best of Barbados restaurant guide from Zagat (www.zagat.com).
What to see? Don’t miss the east coast of the island, with its topsy-turvy green hills and wild Atlantic beaches. For a swim without the crowds, seek out Bottom Bay – a good lunch stop is the Round House Inn at Bathsheba where you can tuck into flying fish pate and breadfruit chips while admiring the views. Barbados has some wonderful historic houses including the recently re-opened St Nicholas Abbey (www.stnicholasabbey.com), which screens an extraordinary film of plantation life in the thirties, discovered in a bottom drawer.
Where to party? A rum shop – just get yourself some glasses, ice and a bottle of Mount Gay and the holiday’s started. On Friday or Saturday night, head out to the famous Fish Fry at Oistins for steaming food stalls, local beats and Lexies, a delightful rum bar where nimble-footed Bajans dance to golden oldies. Harbour lights (www.harbourlightsbarbados.com) is a lively beach club where entry costs a tenner, which includes unlimited drinks, or for cocktails, sushi and a cool DJ, try the new lounge bar at The Cliff restaurant (www.thecliffbarbados.com).
How to get there? British Airways Holidays (0870 243 3406; www.ba.com/holidays) has a wide range of packages to Barbados. In May, a week at Treasure Beach costs from £946* per person, including flights from Gatwick and transfers.
Need to know? For more advice, visit the Barbados Tourism Authority (020 7636 9448; www.visitbarbados.co.uk). Barbados (£7.99, Footprint) is a useful guide.
* Prices correct as of March 2007