This is why Barbados is such an A-list holiday dream

This is why Barbados is such an A-list Discount Holidays © holiday dream

| Stepping off the plane in Barbados, I’m hit by the warmth. Not just the 30-degree heat, though that’s very welcome when you’ve flown in from rain-battered Britain; it’s the friendliness of the people that really stands out.

Barbados – the easternmost isle of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies – is beautiful from shore to shore, but many agree its west coast is best. Fringed with quiet sandy beaches, it attracts billionaires like Bill Gates, and visitors seeking peace and perfection alike.

The Fairmont Royal Pavilion Hotel (Fairmont/PA) I sample a taste of the A-list lifestyle when I stay at one of the island’s most famous and historic hotels, the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, which has recently undergone a refurbishment.

Is this the ultimate Bajan beach bolthole? Perched right on the beach, in the parish of St James, the property originally opened in the 1940s as the 12-room Miramar Hotel, but the building has changed hands several times and grown in size.

This is why Barbados is such an A-list <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday dream

The view from Taboras restaurant (Fairmont/PA) Redeveloped just before laws were introduced requiring hotels to be set further back from the shoreline, all 75 rooms face the sea, and you can be in the water in seconds.

The hotel also has a secluded three-bed villa, where shy celebrities sometimes stay. My room has a king-sized bed and wide balcony overlooking the ocean, along with a circular sofa and a tempting tray for cocktails. The service is exceptional, with friendly, efficient staff, plus a team of butlers to tend to your every need – from ironing your clothes, to bringing delicious canapes to your room every evening.

The on-site attractions are plentiful The hotel’s two main restaurants overlook the white sands and serve international cuisine and traditional local dishes. Run by Bajan Executive Chef Kirk Kirton, they specialise in seafood; fish like red snapper and mahi mahi are served with vegetables from around the Caribbean.

Kirk is happy to show you his kitchen and share his culinary secrets.

This is why Barbados is such an A-list <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday dream

The Fairmont Royal Pavilion’s pool (Fairmont/PA) There’s also a beach club and a poolside bar overlooking the sea, where colourful cocktails are on offer. While strolling around the Fairmont’s gardens, festooned with 200-year-old trees – some 100 feet tall, I’m greeted by the smell of lemon bay leaf.

These are much bigger than British bay leaves and are great for warding off insects if rubbed on your skin. I also see abundant plantain, Bajan cherries, coconuts and little green tail monkeys playing in the high branches.

This is why Barbados is such an A-list <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday dream

Dining at Fairmont Royal Pavilion (Fairmont/PA) There’s no excuse not to get out on the water

The Fairmont offers complimentary activities, such as kayaking, paddleboarding and tennis; or indulge in one of the many spa treatments available, including massage and aromatherapy, in the privacy of your room. If you want an active day out, take a catamaran cruise (around GBP75-GBP120 for a four-hour trip, including lunch and drinks). After being picked up from the beach, we sail along the coconut tree-lined coast, accompanied by flying fish.

This is why Barbados is such an A-list <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday dream

(Thinkstock/PA)

Using snorkels and masks provided, we swim in the clear turquoise water with turtles. There’s something very therapeutic about diving down deep, surrounded by rainbow-coloured fish and coming face to face with a serene looking turtle staring at you, as if you’re just another strange sea creature. Explore the local area by heading out for dinner

Step outside the hotel and just a few minutes walk away, you’ll find golf courses, bars and designer stores in Holetown, a trendy area for visitors attracted by restaurants like Nishi, which offers terrific Asian and Caribbean cuisine, and is also great for parties. Or drive 10 minutes north to Speightstown, where the lovely beachside restaurant The Orange Street Grocer has its own pizza oven.

This is why Barbados is such an A-list <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday dream

Lancaster House Dining (Fiona Webster/PA) Also close by to the hotel is Lancaster Great House, run by John and Rain Chandler, who entertain us with tales of island life and the celebrities they have hosted over the years.

I try pan-seared flying fish with green banana puree and sweet potato mash for a main course, followed by a sublime coconut and pineapple creme brulee.

Three more activities to try in Barbados

Unlike some Discount Holidays © holiday islands, you’ll never be bored in Barbados; there are plenty of things to do, and places to visit which are steeped in history. 1. St Nicholas Abbey, St Peter

This 350-year-old Jacobean plantation house is filled with original antique furniture. They still harvest sugar cane and make rum here. Try one of the richly-flavoured 20-year-old rums, but be warned, they are rocket-fuel potent!

Tickets US£23 (about GBP18). Visit stnicholasabbey.com[1]. 2.

Hunte’s Gardens, St Joseph Discover a horticultural treat in the unusual setting of a former sink hole. Founder Anthony Hunt can talk about his project over a glass of tropical punch at his house – a converted stable – before sending you off down winding paths leading to magical gullies.

Admission US£15 (about GBP12). Visit huntesgardensbarbados.com[2]. 3.

Harrison’s Cave, Allen View Hop on an underground tramway to see prehistoric stalactites and stalagmites, or climb deep into the cavernous caves, with an expert guide. Visit harrisonscave.com[3].

How to get there Destinology (destinology.co.uk[4]; 01204 474 801) offers seven nights in a Luxury Ocean front room on a B&B basis from GBP2,299pp. Includes economy flights from London Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic and private airport transfers to and from the hotel.

Book by December 17, 2018 for travel in June 2019.

For more information about Barbados, visit visitbarbados.org[5].

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References

  1. ^ stnicholasabbey.com (www.stnicholasabbey.com)
  2. ^ huntesgardensbarbados.com (huntesgardensbarbados.com)
  3. ^ harrisonscave.com (www.harrisonscave.com)
  4. ^ destinology.co.uk (www.destinology.co.uk)
  5. ^ visitbarbados.org (www.visitbarbados.org)

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