Adults only. If those two words ring like music to your ears, then pack your bags and get yourself to The House. Situated on Barbados’s chic west coast, this boutique hotel has 34 suites and a strong focus on catering to the needs of adults only.
Now, just to be clear, ‘adults only’ doesn’t mean ‘dodgy extras’, it means complementary daily champagne breakfasts, evening cocktails and jetlag massages on arrival and no, there’s no happy ending or vigorous swinging – this is Barbados, not a brothel, thank you very much.
Guests are given their very own resort ambassador on arrival. Easily distinguished by their white linen attire, they’re at your beck and call during your stay. The House stands out on the Platinum Coast for its white and dark blue colour scheme: white sofas, modern art and dark blue sun loungers set it apart on this high-end coastline (Sandy Lane is just a short wander down the beach).
At night, flickering torches light up the beach for seaside dining. Each Friday there is a themed dinner called ‘Fisherman’s Night’. Live music plays and the menu is strictly seafood; choose your own shrimp, octopus or calamari, watch it be barbecued, and go back for seconds, thirds and more.
Barbados is known as the food capital of the Caribbean, so it’s only natural that eating should play a lead part in your stay. One of the best restaurants is Daphne’s, just next door to The House. This Zagat-rated eatery is the place to go for great service and outstanding watermelon cocktails.
If you can find the time between champagne and cocktails, then book a ride down the coast by boat. The Good Times Catamaran is run by Rastafarians who keep guests amused and hydrated as they navigate their way to the best spots for swimming and snorkelling.
If you’re lucky enough not to suffer from a fish phobia (unlike one lady on my cruise) then make the most of the snorkelling. You can dip and dive with turtles of up to 80-years of age and one-meter in length. The Rastas even hand out fish so you can hand feed the turtles. It’s a ‘do before you die’ experience, and a safe one at that – providing you make sure you feed the turtles fish, not fingers.
The clear, still waters are perfect for water sports aficionados (no sniggering at the back, remember what we established at the start of this piece) and it’s not just cocktails that are complementary at The House: water sports are also free of charge (I said NO SNIGGERING!). For diving (oh for God’s sake!), however, you need to head a little further a field to the Carlisle Bay Marine Park.
It is well worth exploring the most eastern of Caribbean islands. For dramatic scenery head to Bathsheba Bay, whilst culture vultures must visit St Nicholas Abbey – it’s not actually an abbey, and never was, but is one of only three remaining Jacobean-period mansions standing in the Americas.
And, if you’re in to celeb-spotting, watch out for Simon Cowell’s favourite rental, Oprah’s spot of Bajan real estate up on the hill, and Mick Jagger’s place covered with solar panels. Luckily, Barbados is just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, so you’ll be back in time for those evening cock-tails. Fnarr. GABRIEL O’RORKE