- - Friday, September 18, 2015

A last-minute summer trip should be to the famed beaches of Barbados, which attracts many newcomers each year to this easternmost Caribbean island.

Nestled in the shadow of Venezuela, the pear-shaped coral island bears palm-fringed trees and gently lapping waves on the calm West and South Coasts. In the opposite direction, the Atlantic East Coast has a more rugged backbone, featuring limestone cliffs and crashing waves. Wherever you are on the island, you will be greeted with the warm smiles and welcoming hospitality from the Barbadian locals.

Starting at the stunning West Coast, you dive in for a snorkel on the luxurious 96-room Colony Club’s beach, where warm waters envelop and strip you of any travel stress. While swimming to and fro, up-close-and-personal encounters take place with the island’s friendliest marine animals, like the once-endangered population of hawksbill and leatherback turtles. Keep a look out for other colorful treasures of the animated variety, like splashing parrot fish, playful barbiers, and skittish angelfish. After a snorkel through the coast’s soothing clear blue waters, a lunch break at the Colony Club’s Sunset Deck overlooks the ocean and treats you to fresh catch, refreshing rum-based drinks, and live music. A swim, good book, and tanning on the beach is enhanced by the pool ambassador’s excellent timing of complimentary ice cream and popsicles.

The Colony Club Beach features the magnificently opulent Heron Bay House, a famous beachfront coral stone house that has played host to a number of important political figures, including Bill Clinton and Sir Winston Churchill and film stars. Built in 1947 by Ronald Tree, a member of the Cabinet under Prime Minister Churchill, Heron Bay House sits among 20 acres of cleverly landscaped gardens, with chandeliers in the trees and a small lake. Tours of the superb property’s features is usually available during Barbados National Trust’s annual Open House Program between January and March.

Next day, grab a beach hat and sunscreen for the resort’s Bait to Plate culinary experience, where a fisherman takes you out on a private boat to land a catch. The resort’s chef will grill up that impressive grouper or snapper in front of you for no charge. Using the ancient methods of fishing with little else but a string and piece of bait, the fishermen explain how the locals use to catch seafood, as well as learn about reef conservation, and the trick to finding the tastiest catch on the island. After a long day of being enamored with Barbados‘ marine life or possibly testing your balance with stand up paddle boarding, a little relaxation is welcome. The in-room yoga mats beckon you to stretch your muscles with vinyasas and downward facing dogs. To wrap up an excellent Caribbean day, the Colony Club’s Wave Spa is ground zero for pampering. You will experience the most thorough pedicure, with tantalizing bubbles from the whirlpool spa and the delicious fragrances of the Jessica Zenspa Scrub.

A must-do in Barbados is the half-day Colony Island Safari, a bespoke island tour that takes guests to the east coast to explore local Barbados treasures. Your itinerary includes the St. Nicholas Abbey, which is a plantation property that explores the local culture, as well as Hunte’s Garden, the lush gardens in the center of Barbados‘ rain forest with exotic plants and rare fruits. If your daily roof of adventure has not been met by the end of the tour, end the day with jump onto a jet ski, parasail, or kayak on the crystal waters.

Colony Club is in a perfect location for purchasing one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories, being situated in the high-end nook of Holetown. Luxury boutique shopping lends cool island wear from stores like Etteza and Un Dimanche à Paris found at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre. For history buffs, a complimentary walking tour of Holetown with a Colony Club expert paints a picture of the island from hundreds of years ago. During the leisure walk around town, you learn about the non-operational plantation houses that line the roads, look inside the first Methodist church in Holetown, and hear stories about Sarah Ann Gill, the national hero of Barbados. You may even run into a small herd of black belly sheep, who were trained to travel from one side of the island to the other on their own.

From the east to west coasts of Barbados, island adventure and relaxation is made possible with the wide variety of tropical pursuits. The destination’s tasty cuisine and centuries-old history will also prove to be a lasting memory for years to come.

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