With winter coats, puffy parkas and furs in our hands and snow boots still on our feet, we descend the stairs of the plane and get hit straight in our faces with a wall of heat and a very warm, but very short, tropical rainstorm.
We left freezing New York and landed for a relaxed, hot and beautiful holiday in the tropical paradise that is the Caribbean island of Barbados.
Barbados is a small island of only 167 square miles with around 280,000 inhabitants. Its main industry is tourism and Rihanna is its most famous export. As well as its world famous rum, of course.
Apes Hill Club, a complex of private villas, golf and polo courses set on 470 acres at 1,000 feet above the sea level in the centre of the island is our home for the week.
We delight at the sight of lush tropical plants, cute green monkeys that reside here and the smells and sounds of the tropics.
The next day we rise early and after breakfast head straight to the beach and find azure waters, white sands, palm trees swinging in the wind… it’s a postcard look of the Caribbean.
Barbadians are lucky to enjoy 3000 hours of sunshine per year. The weather here is almost always sunny and warm, with an average daytime temperature of 30 Celsius, but it never feels unbearably hot thanks to the constant north-east winds.
Barbados does have a rainy season and it is within the Caribbean Hurricane Belt, but according to weather experts, hurricanes seem to avoid the island and the chance of it being hit is only once every 20 years.
Barbados becomes a magnet for the great and the good during the European and North American winters. Simon Cowell and Mark Wahlberg have been enjoying the sun and the beach here over the latest festive season and so has Sir Philip Green.
You can go shopping in Barbados: local craft stores are charming and some of the luxury and high street brands have branches here.
Those seeking culture can admire colonial buildings in the capital: Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been praised as an outstanding example of 17-19th century British colonial architecture.
We find that Barbados is best for relaxation and so we don’t really do too much and spend our days at the beach eating and drinking, swimming and snorkelling and soaking up the sun and that vital element for good health, vitamin D.
Read on for our thoughts on the best hotels in Barbados.
Cobblers Cove is a Relais Chateaux property so it’s traditional in style, with a hint to an English country house style (but one by the beach!).
The rooms could do with a soft makeover (they are in the process of doing so), but they’re very well maintained and all are spacious with outdoor space.
Coral Reef Club
Another good option is Coral Reef Club Hotel, which has a lush landscape and country house feel, located on a nice beach.
This is a stretch of beach with a few hotels on it so it feels less intimate, perhaps, than Cobblers Cove, but the decor here is more up to date.
The Lone Star
The Lone Star is definitely the coolest hotel in Barbados – with just 4 suites and a beach house, The Lone Star is intimate and exclusive, but exudes a relaxed, cool vibe. The converted garage also has one of our favourite restaurants (see below),
The most famous hotel in Barbados and home to most of the island’s celebrity visitors, but a stay at Sandy Lane certainly isn’t cheap! With three golf courses, a large spa and several dining options, Sandy Lane offers its high profile guests the privacy and exclusivity they need.
Here is our selection of the best restaurants in Barbados.
On the water’s edge, serving delicious seafood, The Tides is considered one of the best restaurants in Barbados for its food, but the design feels a little dated.
Try the blackened barracuda with curried almond coconut and raisin jasmine rice and chargrilled vegetables with passion fruit sauce and tropical fruit salsa.
The Lone Star gets our vote as the best restaurant on the island. Also on the water’s edge, The Lone Star feels chic and current.
Visit for the delicious seafood and pizzas from its wood fire oven, but it also offers chicken tikka curry and Shepherd’s pie for homesick Brits!
The Cliff is the place to see and be seen in Barbados, and while the food is good, the price tag can be very high.
The setting, however, is stunning, so it’s definitely worth going for some drinks and to enjoy the view. If visiting for lunch or dinner, request one of the coveted tables on the edge of the water.
An out post of the London restaurant of the same name, Daphne’s offers Italian and Caribbean dishes with a setting on the beach with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea.
For really good sushi and sashimi in a more casual setting, visit Nishi in Holetown, close to the town’s upscale boutiques. Pasta and meat dishes are also available.
The ocean-front Camelot restaurant at Cobblers Cove hotel is right on the beach. We tried a delicious barracuda with salad and potato chips for lunch, but food can take a long time to arrive.
A beautiful hotel with a lovely beach club, The Sandpiper is a good option for lunch. A bottle of Whispering Angel rose served on the beach is an even better idea!
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None of the restaurants or hotel featured here paid to be included – we paid for all our own dinners and stays. You can read our editorial policy here.