The pink-painted and -upholstered Sandy Lane Resort—a favorite hideaway of Jackie Onassis, Queen Elizabeth, Sidney Poitier, and Jennifer Lopez—celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011.
Newly renovated with interactive exhibits on the island’s seafaring history and plantation culture, the sparkling white Arlington House Museum in Speightstown is often touted for its “single house” architecture so reminiscent of Charleston.
Some historians say the narrow homes with gables on one side are a form that originated in Barbados.
Stays at the Colony Club, which is set on seven beachfront acres, include access to four lagoon pools and free use of boogie boards, kayaks, and other water-sports gear.
The manager holds regular guest receptions at the Sunset Bar
A salad version of the national dish, flying fish and cou cou, is served beachside.
In the hills of St. Peter parish is one of the island’s oldest surviving plantations, the 400-acre St. Nicholas Abbey (c. 1658), with sugarcane fields, mahogany forests, and formal gardens. The great house is a mansion of Jacobean architecture
One of the 17th-century owners was John Yeamans, who sent some of the first sailing ships to the Carolina colony, built a plantation near Charleston, and was appointed Governor of Carolina. Yeamans was also accused of arranging the murder of his business partner, Benjamin Berringer, in order to woo and marry Berringer’s wife and take his plantation (St. Nicholas Abbey)—which Yeamans did.
The great house (far left) is a mansion of Jacobean architecture; and the house, grounds, and rum tasting room are open for tours.
Barbados is hilly but not mountainous or volcanic, with its tallest peak, Mount Hillaby, at a mere 1,115 feet. High season runs from mid-November through April, while June to November are the rainiest months.
Whole fried snapper and a Banks beer at the Waterfront Café (top), where you can sit near bobbing sportfishing boats and the namesake bridge of Bridgetown.
In the island’s interior, Lush Life Nature Resort’s cottages and the Caribbean restaurant Naniki are clustered on a secluded hilltop fringed by the rainforest.
Once a tangle of refuse and vines, a gully in the island’s interior has been transformed by Barbadian Anthony Hunte.
After touring the private garden pathways, visitors are invited to linger on the porch of Hunte’s home for cocktails and conversation.
Brightly painted wooden buildings (opposite) line the streets of historic Speightstown to the north, while buzzing Bridgetown, to the south, is the largest city. To drive between the two is to see the gamut of island scenery: urban streets, laid-back beach cafés and bars, trendy boutiques, upscale restaurants, simple inns, and gated resorts.