Thursday, 10 December 2015

Barbados - the perfect place to relax and unwind

If I lived in Barbados I would like to think that I would appreciate it as much as I do when I visit. It's always warm with the same temperatures throughout the year so you know exactly what you're going to get - even if it rains! The pace of life there is just how I would like mine to be - relaxed- but not tardy. The locals are friendly and welcoming.  
I like a morning swim before breakfast, reading on the sun lounger, and enjoying an afternoon swim and watching the sun set. Then back to the hotel for a shower and a cocktail or two before dinner .. my idea of a near perfect day. That's what vacations are about .. a break away from normal working life.

Sunset at Payne's Bay
The sunrises give a wonderful morning light and the sunsets are different every day and quite simply beautiful. I never get bored of them. Would I though if I had them every day? I'd like to think I would enjoy every single one. In England we have some stunningly gorgeous days but also a lot of dull grey ones. So when we do see a sunset on those seemingly rare evenings we marvel at the sight of it.

Ready for a morning swim
I have written about Barbados before and also had my friend Nigel's guest posting a few months ago, so if you have been following this blog you will already have a sense of what it's like. You will know that the island is relatively small (you can get around it in a day) and there is lots to see and do if you want. There's also the pale sands of the beaches and the warmth and beauty in the colours of the Caribbean Sea.
Shades of turquoise gradually darkening to indigo blue on the horizon, contrasted with the clear blue sky dotted with occasional white fluffy clouds.

I'm reminiscing while I sit here writing looking out from a 15th floor window as the rain clouds build up in the distance ... sigh.

Lunch at the Beach Club
If you are a foodie like I am, my recommendation is that you book your restaurants well in advance. That way you always get priority seating which is usually on the beach/sea side. If you don't book it doesn't necessarily mean you wont get in but it's definitely worth the effort of a little planning to avoid disappointment. I booked all of mine a few weeks before I went and left one night free at the end of the week just in case we wanted to revisit one or find a completely new one. Most reservations can be made by email except at The Cliff. They require a credit card to secure the booking so you need to phone them directly. Bear in mind that if you do not turn up they will charge you for the full amount - that would be an expensive mistake!

Fortunately, a new restaurant 'The Cliff Beach Club', right next door to The Cliff restaurant, opened back in June and was less than a five minute stroll from our hotel. We walked in at lunchtime on the day and managed to get a reservation for that night - at the owner's table (as we kept being told by the staff)!! It was the best table, set on an upper terrace out of the way of everyone else, so you never know your luck. Their aim is to turn it into a bit of a nightclub after 11pm and they are trialing it with DJ's, singers and bands. I hope it works out .. it's a great venue for it and somewhere to go after dinner.
We enjoyed it there so much we went back for lunch on our last day. It was such a delight sitting at a rail side table with the waves crashing against the cliff edge, the sun twinkling on the ocean, watching the boats sail by and listening to smooth afternoon jazz .. I felt like I'd been transported to the 1930's! It had that retro kind of feel.

The way that I planned out the restaurants was to start off earlyish (i.e. 7ish) to get into the swing of the time difference and build from there. Also a good idea to bear in mind the locations so you know how far you have to go and how long it will take to get there. The first night we opted to stay at the hotel and get a few snacks and drinks from the local supermarket and stock up our fridge. If you already have an idea of what you'll be doing during the day whether it be lazing by the pool or on the beach, or taking a trip somewhere you'll know if you want to make the effort to go out to eat or stay in and relax. Of course the reservations you make can always be cancelled last minute (apart from The Cliff) so nothing is set in stone - you can do what you want.

These are the restaurants we went to this time and the contact details - I'd love you to try them yourself - they were all fantastic. Lone Star is my new favourite .. exceptional service and great food with an extensive wine list.

Cin Cin by the Sea
Lone Star
The Cliff
Sandy Lane (for afternoon tea)
Fish Pot
The Cliff Beach Club

We flew there direct with British Airways from London Gatwick. The return flight was delayed by two and a half hours but they let us know in good time meaning we didn't have to go to the airport and wait around. We were able to enjoy a few more hours by the beach .. win-win all round! 

I can't wait until next time.

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