For glorious beaches, designer hotels and stunning weather, Barbados can't be beaten. So, whether you're looking to blow the budget or explore on the cheap, check out our guide to the best of what the island has to offer…
For glorious beaches, designer hotels and stunning weather, Barbados can't be beaten. So, whether you're looking to blow the budget or explore on the cheap, check out our guide to the best of what the island has to offer
With the likes of Sienna Miller and Jude Law regularly popping up on the island's beaches, not to mention Simon Cowell who practically lives there whenever X Factor's not in session, Barbados is an absolute A-list favourite - and the perfect place for a holiday-of-a-lifetime trip. The West Coast is home to some of the most exclusive hotels on the island, including the world-famous Sandy Lane, boutique hotel The House and The Colony Club.
While the West Coast of Barbados has deservedly garnered a reputation as a stunning place to visit, savvy visitors head East as they exit the airport to the pink sands of The Crane. The oldest hotel on the island, the original building is still in place with a number of highly sought-after rooms, but recent developments have seen The Crane expand into a 42-acre resort with an abundance of brand new buildings housing the biggest rooms imaginable. The views are stunning, the beach beautiful and, with many of the suites coming complete with their own plunge pools, you'll never have to fight for a sun lounger.
It's hard to write a guide about Barbados and not mention Sandy Lane. Extravagant, chic and glamorous, it's where the A-list like to spend New Year's Eve and the rich and famous top up their winter tans. If you're not related to Michael Winner and are still waiting for your Lottery numbers to come up, that doesn't mean you can't experience a little slice of Sandy Lane hospitality with its beach-front restaurant, Bajan Blue, open to all (abeit those who've remembered to book in advance). The menu changes regularly, but you can be assured of fabulous antipasti, great pastas (go for the lobster version if it's on the menu), delicious grilled fish and meats, and a break-the-bank wine selection.
You could holiday on Barbados for a whole summer without eating in the same place twice, but for special evenings head to Daphne's. The Caribbean outpost of the London favourite is right on the beach, nested in the grounds of boutique hotel The House, and serves sumptuous, high-jinks Italian cuisine. Arrive early, in time to watch the sun go down with a cocktail or three, and then tuck into Fisherman's Linguine, Prawn and Scallop Piri-Piri or freshly caught Mahi Mahi. Slightly more casual and a little less expensive, The Beach House in Holetown, just a five-minute drive from Daphne's, is an absolute must-visit if you want scrumptious food and a great night out.
Stop press: You can go to Barbados and not come back bankrupt! While it would of course by nice and most definitely possible to dine on lobster every night (if you didn't care about your midriff, obviously), there are plenty of places to eat great food without maxing out your credit card. Our favourites? Angry Annie's in Holetown, where the food is as colourful as the brightly painted walls, and the Flying Fish restaurant in The Gap, St Lawrence, where you can try multiple variants on the national dish, flying fish.
Taxis on the island are in plentiful supply, and if you've already shelled out on a five-star retreat you probably aren't too worried about spending a few dollars more to get to the nearest restaurant, however, the local buses - at a bargainous 50p a journey, no matter how far you go - are much more fun. Unless you're feeling very brave, don't attempt to walk any great distance, pavements are in short supply.
Package holidays (five-star ones, need you ask) remain the most popular way to visit Barbados, and if you pick your time right, there are some great offers to be had. Prices peak around Christmas and New Year, but just a few weeks later, occupancy falls at even the chicest of hotels, ensuring high-end stays at far more affordable rates. Head to virginholidays.co.uk to search for the best.