Feel Fine: Luxury in Barbados

SPIRIT SATISFYING SANCTUARY

Aside from unspoiled beaches and reef-rich turquoise seascapes, there’s a reason 18 of the world’s billionaires call Barbados home. From the moment your feet touch Bajan soil, the finer things are well within reach. Door-to-door shuttle service can take you from tarmac to top-shelf town car to 5-star luxury with white glove service—right up until you lift off again. Unsurprisingly, the island’s aptly-named Platinum Coast is punctuated with some of the most exclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Upscale sanctuaries like the grandiose Sandy Lane or boutique-chic Coral Reef Club offer true world-class leisure letting you lose yourself in lavishness for as long as you want. Happily, much of the opulence one finds on this sun-dappled British Commonwealth is quite accessible too…

FIRST-RATE FOOD EXPERIENCES

Curiously, Barbados’ geography resembles a curled smile… a dreamer might suggest that’s a reflection of its tendency to make mouths merry. For Bajan locals, food is huge—something that soundly informs the island’s whole identity. With African, Indian and British influences colouring its culinary offerings, the flavour capital of the Caribbean, as per ZAGAT mind you, plates up some seriously chompable fare. And much of it is rare and refined.

Clinging dramatically to its namesake and overlooking the Bajan surf, The Cliff serves award-winning three-course feasts conceptualized by Chef Paul Owens. The Mahi Mahi with Mushrooms Duxelle is a must. Of course, you could do worse than sampling a Seafood Tower built for two at The Tides, an easy-going, elegant eatery in the island’s founding town that houses an art gallery upstairs. For something low-key but just as luxe for your lips, the seafood gumbo at Primo’s Bar & Bistro makes an ideal snack.

If you prefer your gustatory exploits on open water, there’s the unique extravagance of Seaduced Luxury Charters—a private day sail aboard any of their food-centric fleet includes a meal tailored to your tastes and prepped by your onboard chef.

ELITE IDLENESS…

For travellers who take their top-end leisure time seriously, a day at Apes Hill in the lush heart of St. Andrew’s parish is non-negotiable. Tennis courts, polo pitches and world-class golf greens dominate this upscale Country Club’s deluxe estate. Novice polo spectators are invited to figure out what a 6-chucker grass match is, count the number of 4-legged players (psst, it’s 52), and engage in “divot stomping” at half-time, a time-honoured tradition of this historic sport of kings. For something less equestrian, hit the links at the club’s expertly manicured PGA-level courses. But don’t be startled if you feel observed —monkeys are known to watch folks work on their backswing from the surrounding palms.

Superior leisure with a side of sea mist is easily sorted at Nikki Beach Club: nibbling canapés from oversized pool beds or your VIP Cabana as models strut by on beachfront catwalks is standard here. Cue dusk. Pop champagne.

Favour fun that leans more nautical? Playful luxury aboard an Atlantis Submarine will have you sipping cocktails below sea level. Opt for the VIP Tour. You’ll be shouldered up to the captain who’ll personally walk you through unspoiled underwater coral gardens bustling with colourful critters. Cheers!

PEACE, PERFECTLY PACKAGED

Hit up Holetown and indulge in a little duty-free shop therapy at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre. The indoor/outdoor galleria is a stimulating mash-up of restaurants, entertainment, fitness spaces (run by a former Olympian btw), nightlife (think live music and rooftop parties), art installations (an onsite gallery features the works of Bajan creatives) and yes, retail relaxation of the highest order. Michael Kors, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Cartier and HUGO Boss all have stores here. Just about the vibes? Have a drink, watch a movie and go treasure hunting for the famed rainbow-hued cow (hint: check the atrium).

Should shiny new things fail to fulfill you, treat yourself to a shiny new you instead. Private hillside cottages overlooking dense forest canopies on the cusp of the Atlantic provide deep respite at Naniki Retreat—healing Reiki treatments, stress-melting massages and a detoxifying ozone sauna chamber make this yoga camp a must-try. If you’d rather ease into a sun salutation as the early tides roll into the sand, Samudra Yoga is your spot.

Rather be rubbed into relaxation than stretched? The Bajan cane sugar and spice wrap treatment at Chakra Spa is sure to satisfy. Failing that, try their beachfront couples massage as the sun slips lazily into the sea.

TOP 3 HOTELS

Fairmont Royal Pavilion

Elegant, spacious oceanfront suites come standard here. Go Platinum Fast Track and enjoy convenient concierge service from airport customs right to your cozy room and throughout your trip. Wanderers seeking respite should prep to have their expectations soundly surpassed at this unpretentious, upscale hideaway.

The House

This gated sanctuary right in the heart of the Platinum Coast offers up bespoke service with an award-winning attention to detail. Start your stay with a complimentary jet-lag massage at the signature spa. Lovers take note: daily champagne breakfast aside, there’s also a romance concierge—which is exactly what it sounds like.

Sandals Royal Barbados

Tucked away in the famously lively St. Lawrence Gap, this chapter of the iconic adults-only brand boasts a rooftop bar and pool overlooking the Caribbean, Butler Elite service 24/7, refined cuisine and the rare luxury of swim-up suites. Here, every opulent amenity is yours.

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