Pack your Fendi with your flip-flops. Beloved of the glittery Brit pack, Barbados has all the sea and sun you want from the Caribbean, plus a social scene from the Big Smoke.
“I used to fly both the children from their school in Switzerland to Barbados each Christmas, but it just got toooooo stressful.” The lady patted her tanned, diamond-speckled neck so that her spritzer partner was in no doubt as to whom it was too stressful for. “Now I take one for Christmas week, the other for New Year’s. It’s so much easier.” This snippet – overheard at high tea, as a pretty grey bullfinch flitted delicately from my silver teapot to the top tier of my cucumber sandwiches – went straight on to my list of ‘Things that could only happen in Barbados’. (Recounted without a smidgeon of exaggeration, I might add.) For years, I’ve been keeping an amusing mental record of extraordinary Barbados moments, and had been given a perfect addition as soon we landed at.
A suited gent clutching a gold ‘Sandy Lane’ clipboard was discreetly plucking passengers from the long, sweaty immigration queue and whisking them off to a separate fast-track line.
“Is that allowed?” huffed one red-faced chap. (We weren’t sure, but we were all too British to make a fuss). Then there was the straight-from-Surrey pony club we passed in the taxi (“Practice makes perfect, Imogen!” shouted a David Cameron-alike dad); the kippers at breakfast (“I don’t suppose I could get a spot of lemon with these, old boy?”); and the vintage Bentley transporting an elderly dame from the airport to her cruise ship (well, it is a 20-minute journey). Every one of these moments was a perfect candidate for my list.
Have these moments ever put me off Barbados? No way. Should they you? Absolutely not. It is this unique Tunbridge-Wells-in-the-Tropics personality that earns the beautiful island such loyal fans. It’s serene and sun-kissed like the rest of the Caribbean, but brilliantly entertaining – and, unlike the rest of the Windies, everything just works. Like to go diving, but want the boat to arrive on time, every time? Of course. Want a nanny with Ofsted qualifications and three languages? Sign right here.