Evoking images of rich spices, rum punches and reggae, Barbados is every bit the laid-back paradise you expect. Hayley Leaver explores this beautiful island.

With its white sandy beaches and crystal waters, Barbados is everything you’d expect in a Caribbean island and yet much more. Combining a fascinating colonial past with a thirst for rum, the fun certainly doesn’t end when the sun sets here. What’s more, whatever your style, whether it is serene, up-market, contemporary or all three, you’ll find a luxurious home away from home here too. Sounds perfect? Well the half a million tourists who visit every year certainly think so.

Barbados has certainly been blessed in the looks department, with miles of white sand beaches and coral reefs making it the picture-perfect holiday destination. Add to that a mild tropical climate and you’d be forgiven for not venturing any further than your sun lounger on Miami Beach during your time on this stunning island.

If, however, you would like to see a little more of the Bajan beauty, then scuba-diving along the west coast is a must. Alternatively, take things up a notch by tackling the surf of the east coast or exploring the vast array of underground caves and lakes that are part of its unique geology.

For a completely different perspective, you could also set sail on a catamaran tour. In addition to basking in the warm sunshine, many offer the opportunity to snorkel over the neighbouring coral reefs or even swim with the famous sea turtles.


Field day

Heading inland the beauty doesn’t stop there either, with the rolling hills and botanical gardens creating an array of scenic walks. A reminder of the island’s fertile nature as well as its colonial past, there is also an array of plantation homes, such as St Nicholas Abbey which offers fascinating tours. As well as learning about the houses, gardens and rum distilleries, groups can enjoy a delicious rum punch with this historic splash of culture.


Party time

Despite your best intentions, when struck with the friendly, laid-back Barbadian way it is difficult to resist

the calypso rhythm. If you’re looking for classic reggae tunes therefore head south to St Lawrence Gap. Here you’ll find plenty of great waterfront restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Alternatively, for some of the island’s best rum cocktails and the chance to do some serious celeb spotting, dine in style on the west coast. Highlights include Daphne’s, the island’s best waterfront Italian eatery thanks to executive chef Marco Festini Crome, and The Cliff – this boasts a view worthy of its name, as well as a menu of modern seafood classics.


Regal dreams

After too much rum, don’t forget to rest your head in style at the end of the day, too. After all, this is paradise. And offering an idyllic corner on this beautiful island, the five-star Fairmont Royal Pavilion certainly aims to help you do this. Whether it’s relaxing in one of the 72 guest rooms or blowing the budget in the Beachfront and Oceanfront suites and rooms, this is one stylish – and, if you want it to be, romantic – resort. This is a factor that has no doubt helped its busy onsite wedding coordinator.

Aiming to bring the outside in, the décor is fresh and contemporary, drawing on the island’s rich heritage in a relaxed colonial Caribbean style. Original artwork, hardwood floors and state-of-the-art technology add

the finishing touches, while dedicated butlers and complimentary evening canapés are some of the other treats in store. A full range of spa services, such as body scrubs, facials and massages, can also be requested for a bit of in-room pampering here.

If you can tear yourself away from the Elite pillow top beds however, a freshwater swimming pool and a choice of water sports, such as paddle boats, sailboats, kayaks and windsurfing, will help you to really enjoy the azure Barbadian waters. When it comes to eating in the hotel, the two excellent restaurants, Palm and Taboras, will help to give you a true taste of Barbados. Choose from a wide range on the menu, with a fine selection of exotic spices, fresh seafood and the best regionally sourced produce and favourite local dishes.

For more details on this and other trips to Barbados, please call Crown Travel on 0151 724 2265


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