Ah, the crazy weather has finally died down and allowed us all to escape its wintry vortex. Since I last blogged Christmas, Crimbo, Winter Light Festival, or whatever you wish to call it has now passed, as have the New Year celebrations (more on that later). And as I have consumed my own body weight in champagne and cake during the festive season, I have had to turn my mind to sunnier thoughts to get through the grimmest (and flabbiest) weeks of the year. So it’s back to Barbados and bikinis …
Barbados, home of rum and Rihanna, has long been one of the top celebrity destinations in the Caribbean. The West Coast in particular with its white beaches, warm waters and cocktailed-coloured sunsets is the place to spot some celebrity eye-candy. Simon Cowell, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and the Rooneys, to name a few, have all splashed out on sqillion dollar villas in the area. You’ll also find as many Sirs and Dames in Barbados as you would on Her Majesty’s New Year Honours list; Sir Cliff Richard, Dame Judi Dench, Joan Collins, Lulu and Sir David Frost are just a few of the island’s illustrious guests.
While I was there, a team of ex-sports stars, including my parent’s old football buddy Gordon Strachan, were gracing the Bajan greens at a charity golf competition. The Linekers were in town to celebrate Gary’s 50th Birthday and during a paddle in Payne’s Bay I could have sworn I spotted the actor Ralph Fiennes having a little shore-side snorkel – in the name of reportage, I waded in as discreetly as I could but as the mystery swimmer moved through the water faster than an Egyptian shark, I’ll never know if it really was the man himself …
There are some very well known luxury hotels in Barbados by my favourite is the discreet and elegant Treasure Beach hotel that I featured in my last blog. The hotel’s General Manager was charming but remained tight lipped about his celebrity guest list but the hotel’s customers, on the other hand, were more than happy to tell me about their famous fellow-guests. Over an al fresco breakfast, I was fed on bacon, eggs, and stories of barbequing with Ainsley Harriet, dining alongside Dame Judi and lunching with Living Doll legend, Sir Cliff Richard. One thing though that all the guests insisted on was that every guest is treated the same, every guest is special and – just like you and me – wants to feel comfortable and be taken care off. There are no stuffy staff here. They are both professional and super-helpful. As one guest told me “It’s heaven, nothing is ever a problem”.
As I said, star treatment at the Treasure Beach’s is all about making celebrity guests feel normal. The huge suites are private enough for the stars to feel like they are staying in a private luxury home and come with lots of (high-end) homely touches. If guests do want to stray away from their plush surroundings and private plunge pools then they can enjoy blending into the hotel’s chic and relaxing atmosphere.
hotel sits right on the snow white beach and its outdoor areas and gardens are infused with the kind of colonial charm that fills so much of the island. And right on its doorstep is the celebrity world’s aqua-playground – luxur yachts drift by like floating mansions while PYTs race around on brightly-coloured jetskis – and if you go for a dip at the right time you can also swim with the island’s Green Turtles. This little hotel is truly exceptional. Small but beautifully formed, with genuinely friendly service, it’s obvious why its guests, celebrity or otherwise, return year after year.
It’s all about the beach in Barbados so some seriously stylish swimwear is in order. One girl who knows how to work her beachwear is local lovely Rihanna, who was spotted over Christmas in this panther print “We Are Handsome” one piece.
Available from Net-A-Porter and Harvey Nicols £190