Arriving in Barbados we have no need to rush—no need to worry. Checking in at The Crane Residential Resort, our bags are whisked away, and we’re welcomed with a tropical rum punch elixir to let time…slow…down.
Beyond the limestone walls that surround the heritage-inspired architecture of the courtyard and carp-filled fountain, is a suite of grandeur. Floor-to-ceiling cedar doors reveal hardwood flooring and mahogany furnishings, including a handcrafted four-poster king-sized bed, and then there’s the fully equipped kitchen and Jacuzzi in the marble and coral stone bathroom. Wooden shudders open up to our own private pool and patio with a view of the wind-swept ocean, frothing the cliffs on which we are perched. So this is why people come here…a romantic seclusion in the most historic hotel in the Caribbean.
Protected by a coral reef, warm Tiffany-blue waters lather the soft pink sands of the property’s cove. Sipping rum with pineapple juice and nutmeg from a freshly cut coconut while sampling today’s catch of a meaty grilled, lightly spiced marlin, we’re absorbed by the serenity. On this beach, there is no concern about crowds or noise, and we come and go carefree. Going, we weave along cobbled paths through landscaped gardens and cascading pools. Shall we visit the spa? The fitness centre? Play tennis? Or go for a swim? The debate comes to a mellow halt, when all options are trumped by the sweet smell of waffle cones from the village café. Our cool scoop of “sweet indulgence” is composed of Mount Gay rum, Irish crème, chocolate cake, cheesecake and coffee. Total bliss.
There is no need to leave here—ever—but the Barbadian waters are so clean and clear that we shuttle to Bridgetown for a Tiami catamaran ride that sails us to a crystalline bay for a swim with turtles.
While we laze in the water snorkeling, enormous turtles approach along side us. It is incredible to feel them as they swim by. Seduced by the aquatic views we go deeper, for a dive with Roger’s Dive Shack. Lead by the most happily relaxed instructor imaginable, we glide along the seafloor through multiple shipwrecks teaming with cosmically coloured fish and coral. Before the drive back through sugar cane fields to the Crane, we tour the oldest rum distillery in the world, Mount Gay Rum, to taste the island’s ubiquitous liquor: warm, smooth, blended notes of banana, vanilla, almond and mocha.
Dining at the Crane features the island’s top-rated restaurants showcasing the bounty of the sea. Beginning with a “gospel breakfast” at L’Azure, we forgo a morning coffee in lieu of this uplifting choral serenade. Poolside lunch at The Carriage House, overlooking the bay, we satisfy our craving for local Bajan Flying Fish in salt bread and a crisp salad. With the ambience of a Venetian piazza, D’Onofrio’s offers a snack of individually sized, crunchy Barbadian pizza of salmon, black mussels, calamari and shrimp. Dinner on the veranda at L’Azure, directly above the cliffs, the sun sets over the ocean while we share a salad of tamarind glazed snapper with papaya, pineapple salsa, mixed greens and sprouts in a cumin vinaigrette. Succulent Bajan herb infused pork tenderloin with Four Square spice rum reflects an array of Caribbean flavour, while delicately crusted parrotfish topped with plump, spiced shrimp is a delectable showcase of local warm water fish.
As the sun dips below the horizon, whistling frogs chime from the bushes ushering in the starry night. Aside from its stunning beauty and elegant design, the warmth of this place is in the subtleties of the hospitality. Live music plays from the saloon-styled Bar 1887, where happy hour seems to know no clock. Here, we have escaped and feel replenished.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.