The tiny palm-fringed island of Barbados demonstrates a kind of laid-back ease that’s irresistible to its well-heeled visitors. Located between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, this is a place where you’ll find pale green sugarcane blowing in the breeze, azure seas, stunning sunsets, rum cocktails, exclusive hotels, luxe property, and the warm spirit of the Bajan people—offerings you can’t help but immerse yourself in.
“A lot of people come to Barbados and don’t want to leave,” says Chris Parra CEO/founder of One Caribbean Estates, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate on the island. “The island has a rustic sophistication. It has that Caribbean allure, but people visit and feel they can actually live here. It’s not volcanic or on any fault lines, it’s formed of coral stone, has excellent drinking water, and for a long time has avoided the hurricane hazards the other islands have experienced,” he says.
“Also, it has a lot of things that the other Caribbean islands don’t have—good infrastructure, a stable economy, English language, excellent banking and telecommunications, and two or three direct flights coming in every day from Europe and the United States.”
Home comforts aside, the climate is one of the best reasons to stay; the temperature doesn’t usually rise above 85°F (30°C) or fall below 70°F (21°C). The dry season runs from early December to May, and the rainy season—which is known as “liquid sunshine” on the island—is short. “When it rains, it’s more like half an hour to an hour of intense showers and then it’ll be blue again,” says Parra.
West is Best
As a year-round destination, Barbados is ripe for exploring. “Many of my clients say they love just jumping in the car and getting lost because they are always discovering new locations,” says Parra. The island is split into 11 parishes, each with its own personality.
The western “Platinum Coast,” between the capital of Bridgetown and historic Speightstown, is one of the prime stretches of oceanfront in the world and loved by celebrities for its white-sand beaches and luxury accommodation. The northern and eastern coasts are more rugged and less developed, while the south coast is busy, fun-loving, and full of life.
“The island provides a range of investment opportunities that meet the unique needs of the global ultra-high-net-worth population, says Parra, “but the west coast is the best coast for investing in property.”
The parishes of St James and St Peter are the most sought-after in the west. Alongside the simple, single-story wooden houses of the local Bajan community are gated beachfront estates, such as Sandy Lane, luxury resorts like Royal Westmoreland, and palatial individual residences.
Where to Stay
One place that will have you wishing you could call this island home is the Fairmont Royal Pavilion. Located on the desirable west coast, it’s the perfect spot from which to launch a private-hire catamaran to swim with the turtles—and a property hunt. The Wes Anderson-style muted pink of the exterior makes a photogenic backdrop for the lush green grounds, where you can enjoy complimentary yoga classes.
The gentle sound of the waves finds you wherever you are, through the elegant, open arches that characterize the main areas. Each of the 72, newly renovated rooms have ocean views—the upgrade introduced a modern, airy feel featuring soothing tones from the surrounding landscape and the work of local artist Sheena Rose.
You couldn’t be closer to the sand if you tried as the property was built in the 1940s, before regulations insisted that buildings should be a certain distance from the beachfront. So, make the most of a morning swim or paddleboard, and then choose between two restaurants serving lunch.
Things to Do
You’ll be offered a buffet of watersports, from the serene shores of Mullins and Reeds Bay to the surfable waves at Crane and Bottom Bay. There’s also golf, yachting, international polo, aviation, fashion, fine dining, festivals, and entertainment—Barbados covers all the bases.
An island highlight is Hunte’s Gardens, a botanical hideaway created by local horticulturalist Anthony Hunte. Rare tropical plants cascade down and fill a sinkhole that visitors can descend into via intricate pathways, surrounding themselves with exotic flowers and fronds.
Golf enthusiasts will be interested to know there’s a Robert Trent Jones Junior-designed course at Royal Westmoreland, and Sandy Lane boasts The Country Club, an 18-hole course by Tom Fazio with fantastic sea views.
Places to Dine
The restaurants that garner the most accolades on the island are The Cliff, for fine dining under the stars, and Cin Cin, serving up Mediterranean-style seafood with stunning views. Meanwhile, the Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry sees a fishing village turn into a lively street party, attracting locals and travelers alike with its buzzing atmosphere and fresh swordfish, mahi-mahi, and flying fish served straight from the grill. For a unique taste of old high-society Barbados, head to Lancaster Great House where you can sit down to dinner in the home of host and bon vivant John Chandler, while the rum cocktails are free-flowing.
There are plenty of elegant timber colonial houses turned cocktail bars with terraces that open out onto the sand, but at the Barbados outpost of luxury beach club property Nikki Beach, guests can swim up to the bar to order their drinks. And at Port St Charles there’s a beautiful beach, from which you can swim across to the yacht club for a drink and some lunch.
On the Market
Architecturally designed and built with the discerning owner in mind, this is the ideal property for those looking for a luxury, open-plan, turnkey villa they can call their Caribbean dream home. This six-bedroom, four and-a-half-bathroom main residence is on the market with One Caribbean Estates, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in the region.