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A mix of British and West African influences within an idyllic island setting, Barbados is a place packed with fascinating history, gorgeous scenery and plenty of nightlife. From the picture perfect beaches to the chic strip of Sandy Lane and the no-frills fun of the Friday Night Fish Fry, high glamour and relaxed island vibes combine to make a destination that can be hard to define, but extremely fun to visit.
Most people visit the island between December and April when the weather is hot, dry and sunny, often in comparison to cold weather in many other parts of the world. And while the “rainy season” - May through November - is less popular with tourists, the weather is still sunny and warm, but with higher humidity and more frequent rain showers. Barbados lies just outside of the hurricane belt, which means storms are less of a worry than in other Caribbean destinations.
Hit the links
Barbados boasts some of the best championship golf courses in the Caribbean, and with arguably some of the best views to boot. Sandy Lane is at the top of the list - with three courses, each impeccably maintained and with their own unique challenges. If you need further evidence, Tiger Woods got married here. The top course of the three is the world-renowned Green Monkey course, which is reserved only for guests staying at Sandy Lane. Designed by Tom Fazio, and built in the environs of an old stone quarry, it is on the bucket list of any serious golfer. The good news is that you can access the course when you stay at one of our luxurious Sandy Lane villas .
Just a few miles down the road, the Royal Westmoreland is another golf club with an international reputation. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, every hole on the course comes with a view of the Caribbean Sea, and the back nine is especially challenging. To enjoy the course at it’s best to choose a later afternoon tee time, so you can enjoy the golden sun as it hits the greens. For tee times and kit rentals, speak to your Luxury Retreats concierge.
Rum - the soul of Barbados
Drinking rum is a national pastime on Barbados - and while it features heavily in cocktails on the island, for many locals, rum is considered a sipping drink to be enjoyed slowly, not mixed with cola or other fizzy drinks. There’s even a festival dedicated to the drink, which runs for four days in November. The history of rum on the island goes back to the 1600s when Barbados was home to numerous sugar plantations. The plantation slaves discovered they could make alcohol from sugar molasses, and the drink was born.
Perhaps the island’s most famous rum is Mount Gay - which was also the first rum distillery in the world. To learn more, you can take a tour at the Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre, and also pick up some samples to take home. Our top choice for rum aficionados is a visit to St Nicholas Abbey, where you can see the rum-making process up close using traditional distillation methods that have been in place for hundreds of years. You can also walk through the rooms of the Abbey; built in 1660, it’s the oldest plantation house still standing on the island.
Throughout the month of July, the whole island turns into one long party, for the annual carnival - known as Crop-Over. With its origins in celebrations for a successful sugar cane harvest, the festival has been going for over 200 years. The festival starts in late June with the crowning of the carnival king and queen and continues for 6 weeks until the closing parade - known as the Grand Kadooment - with colorful costumes, Soca bands and plenty of rum, which takes place in the first week of August. The Grand Kadooment attracts visitors from all over the world and is a great way to experience Barbados like a local.
Experience the luxury of our Barbados House Rentals
From expansive estates with classic colonial architecture to well-appointed condos with modern amenities, our luxury homes in Barbados are ready and waiting to welcome you for a relaxing getaway. With properties in some of the island’s most sought-after locations, you’ll be well placed to explore the many delights of this relaxed destination.
Sandy Lane Properties
A byword for glamour, Sandy Lane has been welcoming well-heeled visitors to Barbados since the 1930s. Just a few miles from bustling Holetown in St James, you’ll find historic homes, a beautiful beach, world-class golf courses and more. Our Sandy Lane villas are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this beautiful part of Barbados, with shaded verandas, landscaped grounds, beautiful swimming pools and more. Some of our Sandy Lane homes offer access to resort amenities such as golf, tennis and spa facilities, and many include butler, housekeeper and chef.
Villas at Sugar Hill
If guaranteed access to resort amenities is part of your vacation wish list, our homes on Sugar Hill Estate are the ideal choice. Each villa in the community has access to the clubhouse and pool area, restaurants, tennis courts and more. There’s even a tennis coach if you want to improve your game. Our homes in the resort have infinity pools, spacious rooms, shaded outdoor areas, chefs, and butlers, so the only thing you’ll need to concentrate on is your serve.
Homes in Gibbs Beach
Just south of Speightstown, near the Royal Westmoreland golf course, Gibbs beach is the epitome of barefoot luxury. The beach itself, a crescent of pure white sand against turquoise water, is one of the best on the island and is great for swimming and snorkeling. Our Gibbs Beach villas all offer access to this special stretch of sand. Many of our homes here are built in classic colonial style with painted wood trellises, beautiful stonework and shaded verandas.