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BARBADOS: SOUL SANCTUARY

COME HOME TO BARBADOS

Unsurprisingly, when Canadian winters roll around, Bajan escapes are often at the top of travel lists all across the Great White North. But warm waters and gentle breezes aren’t the only draw for your average Canuck — warm smiles play a significant role. Canada has enjoyed a special relationship with this cozy commonwealth for well over a century.

Here’s a timely tip: “limin” is Bajan for hanging out and it’s best done at sunset, cocktail in hand. An easy fix at Festive Fridays — which kicks off every weekend at Pelican Craft Centre with authentic eats, Bajan beats and artisanal finds. From Pie Corner to Silver Rock Beach, and from Diamond Valley to the hub of Bridgetown, all accommodations here seem to specialize in only one thing — making you feel at home on this happy isle. With so much of Barbados’ soul emanating from the people and places that make it incredible, finding a sunny sanctuary here is a cinch, no matter which of its shores you find yourself on.

SANDALS® BARBADOS

Tucked into a silver slice of shore in the sizzle of the St. Lawrence Gap (known to locals as The Gap if you want to blend) sits this iconic, 5-star hideaway where adults-only bliss isn’t just likely, it’s practically house policy. Three charmingly distinct villages, the largest and longest lagoon pool on the island with seamless zero-entry access at every point, refined eateries, Butler Elite service, and ocean-facing suites all define this lover’s sanctuary.

Pro-tip: don’t skip taking to your terrace for a stress-melting dip in a Tranquility Soaking Tub — yes, they fit two comfortably.

SANDALS® ROYAL BARBADOS

No need to waste time hemming and hawing over which room you want here: all 272 dreamy dwellings are categorical Luxury Suites and include coveted variations like the Skypool, Swim-up, and Millionaire (pinkies up). Foodies will note that this Sandals was the first to open a gourmet doughnut shop and international culinary delights are tabled at all seven restaurants on site. Paramours looking to feed their soul instead should opt for the newly added Scents of Love Couples massage at the comfy complex’s signature 15,000-sq.-ft. Red Lane® Spa.

How luxurious is this pleasure property? Attendants come get you in a Rolls-Royce, taking you from airport to beachfront and back again when it’s time to head home. Presuming you want to leave, that is.
And like all Sandals stays, this one is marked by the Luxury Included® Stay-at-1, Play-at-3 philosophy, letting you take your downtime to all Sandals resorts in Barbados.

THE SANDS BARBADOS

Stacked on a secluded stretch of shimmering ocean bay peppered with palms, The Sands serves up an exclusive handful of modern, spacious, boutique-chic condo-style amenities on Christchurch’s coveted southern coast. Aside from epic entertainment every time the stars climb into the Caribbean sky and an open pool skirted by all units offering flexible 'inside out' beachfront access, the shoreline of Sandy Beach is enclosed by a protective reef — making the placid waters here a favourite of snorkellers seeking time with sea turtles, sun bathers tempted by the smooth surf, and serious water sports enthusiasts alike (we’re looking at you stand-up paddle boarders).

► EXCLUSIVE TO AIR CANADA VACATIONS!

THE CLUB, BARBADOS RESORT & SPA

Happily, this club’s exclusive feel lines up perfectly with its truly inclusive philosophy. A proper all-in that — once you set foot on the three-acre resort teeming with lush tropical gardens and every amenity your holiday heart can conjure — invites you to leave your wallet safely in your comfortable room. This adults-only hotspot easily aces lover’s escapes, group gatherings, or festive family fun for anyone over 16 years old in your travel party.

Calypso-inspired rhythms come sundown, unparallelled personal service thanks to intuitive attendants, Caribbean flavours mingling with international favourites at eateries that range from the rustic to the refined, welcome self-love thanks to the spoils of the onsite spa — it’s all here. And you do get it all. Something you’ll realize after a refreshing cocktail at the oceanfront Beach Bar between dips in the salty surf or any of the resort's three freshwater pools.

STARFISH DISCOVERY BAY

Perfectly parent-approved, this kid-friendly haven sits on the Platinum Coast in St. James parish offering up poolside downtime as easily as it does access to the myriad cultural riches and natural wonders of Barbados.

Mom or dad need a little me time? No sweat — psst, the tykes likely feel the same. Just drop the kids off with the educational entertainment team and treat them to a fun-filled, parent-free day with these seasoned resort caretakers. Rest assured, they’ll come back to you safely with some knowledgeable tidbits and trivia about Bajan culture after a day of stimulating activities and creative craft making... leaving you plenty of time to curl your toes in the sand or explore the surrounding area at your own pace.

Pro-tip: any golfers in the family will want to schedule a timely tee off and hit the world-class greens at either of the two Sandy Lane Golf Clubs nearby.

BARBADOS BEACH CLUB

You’ll never feel closed in at this all-in escape on the island’s south coast — private open balconies and ocean or pool views come standard with every room, so balmy wafts of sea mist are yours to enjoy by starlight or sunshine.

For those looking to complement their downtime with some ocean action, a fleet of non-motorized water toys running the gamut from snorkel gear to sea kayaks will get you out on the surf, or beneath it and face to fin with the local marine life.

Want to nurture your need for a little more nature? Luckily, you're just a quick jump by car to the mesmerizing rock formations, secret subterranean rivers and crystal pools of Harrison’s Cave.

TURTLE BEACH BY ELEGANT HOTELS

For festive seafront fam-jams in the sun, Turtle Beach is hard to beat. Their Flying Fish Kids Club will get little ones from toddlers to tweens crafting, baking and playing cricket in the sand — which means they’ll learn what a googly is. Parents won’t feel left out — mixology classes letting them perfect a proper rum punch and gastronomical excursions on the Pepperpot Culinary Tour will keep them busy sipping and snacking. As will the Taste of Elegance Dine Around Programme, which serves up meals at fine restaurants up and down the coast.

Ultimately, everyone gets complimentary access to non-stop fun: easy seafaring expeditions by ocean-going kayak, boogie boarding sessions in gently cresting waves, or Hobie Cat catamaran sailings are all just a leisurely lesson away, thanks to the resort's Aqua School experts.

PART OF THE SPOTLIGHT COLLECTION

ACCRA BEACH HOTEL & SPA

Bursting with welcoming Bajan charm, this resort is your quintessential crowd-pleaser. Right on Rockley Beach, this sunny sanctuary’s every room is just a few short strides from pristine, powder-fine sands and an epic aquamarine seascape. Here’s a tip though: spring for a suite and get your bod full access to a jacuzzi tub right in your living quarters. Still, semi-private soaks are a cinch in the outdoor adults-only pool.

Should you need to raise the bar on some more restorative R&R, the signature Chakra Spa, complete with sauna, steam room, and attentive cosmetic and wellness professionals will sort out your self-care. We suggest a Chakra Ceremony wrap using island spices and Barbadian cane sugar — all ingredients here are fully organic and locally sourced.

Peckish after the pampering? Authentic fare, familiar favourites and international eats are all perfectly plated here, easily pleasing every palate. All that’s left to do is watch the sun sink into the Caribbean over tropical cocktails at the beachside Sunset Bar. Cheers.

► EXCLUSIVE TO AIR CANADA VACATIONS!