Peaceful and clear blue skies, pristinely sparkling turquoise waters, eclectic people and cultures rich in history, equally vibrant dining scenes and warm hospitality are the hallmarks of a perfect Caribbean destination. And for discerning travelers with a thirst for adventure on the greens or in the waters, a trip to the southern Caribbean Sea proves to be an excellent bet.
Located in the West Indies of the Caribbean is Barbados, named after the bearded fig trees that once grew in abundance on the island. Barbados is wondrously hot in its tropical summer months but exquisitely warm throughout most of the year. Barbados is home to many of the world’s most renowned luxury properties, with Royal Westmoreland being one of its largest and most prestigious.
Pristine greens and exquisite blues
Encompassing a property bathed in gently rolling fairways and superbly manicured greens, the ultra-luxe Royal Westmoreland estate is the perfect destination for those with a thirst for a Barbados experience unlike any other. Awarded the Best International Golf Development by the prestigious Bloomberg Television International Property Awards, this exclusive property boasts a five-star golf, beach and spa resort along Barbados’s Platinum (west) Coast.
The property’s roots can be traced back to 2004, when renowned leisure entrepreneur John Morphet purchased it. He later added 250 acres of adjoining land to Royal Westmoreland, a move designed to complete his vision for the ultimate luxury Caribbean homeowners’ community. And soon, the world’s most high-profile personalities, sports stars and celebrities flocked to the island for holiday retreats. The property, after all, offers the best of the best, from townhouses that are anything but quaint to the island’s largest bespoke mansions and breathtaking villas. Guests can choose their own properties and craft their perfect Barbados holidays.
In fact, in 2019, Royal Westmoreland celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking the success of the 250 homes built over the years.
At the heart of this property is one of the world’s finest 18-hole, 72-par championship golf courses, designed by none other than acclaimed golf architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The course spans 7,045 yards, weaving through rolling panoramic landscapes, only to be pleasantly interrupted by turquoise waters and, beyond, clear, azure sky. While the views may be breathtaking, the course can be demanding. It offers a mixture of challenging holes, but those who are “green” to the greens can enjoy time on the driving range or practice greens.
Meanwhile, the villas are strategically peppered throughout the greens, nestled among sanctuary-like grounds surrounded by lush tropical trees. Expansive, calm and private streets lead to the villas lining the greens. The overall look is of a secure, exclusive and high-end retreat to which travelers and golf aficionados would be excited to continue returning year after year.
A fine home away from home
The Royal Westmoreland offers a paradise in itself. The 750-acre property is a gated community, home to more than 250 expertly designed, colonial-style villas and luxury apartments. The estate’s exclusive villas offer unparalleled luxury Caribbean living. These are among the island’s, if not the whole island chain’s, most sought-after properties and locations, as the villas themselves are architecturally designed with the finest furniture and finishings.
The streets lined with palm trees and tropical greenery give way to private yet expansive villas unlike the next. Several homes are available for purchase, and each property can be designed to meet any buyer’s exacting needs and demands.
One of the estate’s most coveted properties is The Westerings, which sits on an elevated position overlooking the 13th hole of the championship golf course—a luxurious six-bedroom vacation rental, five of which are in the main house. These five well-appointed double bedrooms each have ensuite facilities and arresting sea views from floor-to-ceiling windows and wide-open verandas. The master suite, meanwhile, is in a league of its own with a private lounge, dressing room, covered terraces and expansive ensuite bathroom boasting of a walk-in shower and tub. The sixth room is housed in the guest cottage, which contains a bedroom, kitchenette and lounge. All these rooms open to views of a bean-shaped and infinity-edge pool below, a perfect place to relax in privacy or entertain guests. The outdoor amenities include a Jacuzzi. The living areas are perfect for parties with dining and bar facilities and complete outdoor kitchens for barbecues.
Back in the main house, guests are treated to a true home-away-from-home ambience. It comes fully equipped with a games room, including a pool table, table tennis, table football, air hockey and video-game console. There is also a dedicated media and entertainment area with widescreen cable television powered by fiber-optic WiFi connectivity. If that’s not enough, the multi-room audio system fills the rooms with sharp sounds for music, movies and other entertainment.
Guests staying at The Westerings have access to the golf course and the nearby beaches, among other activities.
A quaint, idyllic retreat
For those seeking a private yet cozier experience in Royal Westmoreland, Coconut Grove’s West Mount offers relaxation and luxury amongst lush greens. With four bedrooms, this property has a more low-key appeal that is nevertheless not short on opulence. Its soothing palette of cool, neutral shades juxtaposed with bright turquoise accentuate the steady vibe of the villa, incidentally located beside a quiet avenue of the resort. West Mount offers an open plan, with its welcoming main entryway leading to the formal dining room and modern kitchen superbly appointed with stainless German appliances.
“State-of-the-art comforts meet muted furnishings” is the main theme of the villa. The theme continues in each of the four bedrooms, with each having an ensuite bathroom complete with a bathtub and access to the pool deck and well-manicured tropical gardens beyond.
The airy outdoor area is perfect for friends and family. It offers alfresco dining and seating, as well as a barbecue and outdoor shower. Guests are also treated to in-villa spa services, during which they can relax in their own private spaces while enjoying the best treatments from that part of the island.
As with every villa, guests have access to the best in Royal Westmoreland hospitality. From scheduled private charters to table reservations and bespoke sailing itineraries, each guest has every detail of his or her stay satisfied. Through its concierge service, housekeepers and pool person, guests can enjoy the full comfort and hospitality of a luxury holiday with the complete feel of being right at home.
Other amenities include a high-end fitness center, tennis courts and the Royal Westmoreland Clubhouse. Apart from golf, guests can also participate in fishing, cycling, running and a wide range of water sports.
A haven for every type of traveler
For those seeking a more compact space, the Royal Westmoreland also offers the Royal Apartments. Equally prestigious and thoughtfully designed, these luxury apartments provide guests a choice of one-, two- or three-bedroom properties.
These apartments embody understated elegance and are never short on luxury, boasting high-end architecture and furnishings. The apartments also feature generous bedrooms that spill out to the covered terraces overlooking the estate’s manicured greens and the Bajan vista beyond. The marble-lined bathrooms are spacious, with walk-in showers and all the finest fixtures. The same goes for the large kitchens that offer guests a complete experience for cooking and dining as well as entertaining. The apartments provide convenient access to the communal swimming pool exclusive to guests.
For those looking to buy properties within the Royal Westmoreland estate, many offerings suit every budget and fancy. Interested buyers can choose properties based on the number of bedrooms and baths, pool, land area and proximity to certain establishments or streets within the area.
Notable real-estate properties for sale include the beach-front Cove Spring House, Monkey Bay, expansive Batts Rock, tropical Sugar Hill Estate, cool and modern Ocean Grove and stylish Atelier House. Other properties, such as the Lion Castle Estate along the greens and Beach Hut with a private path to the beach, are also available.
Exploring the island
A stay in Barbados should, of course, not pass without soaking up the island’s sights, sounds, smells and tastes. For those fancying a gastronomic treat, the island offers several fine establishments, each providing distinct cuisine with dashes of Caribbean flair. Barbadian dishes are influenced greatly by African, Indian and British cuisine. One thing is true and constant, however: The island’s fresh seafood remains the focal point of many restaurants’ menus. Other local foods to try are roti, a wrap like a tortilla or flatbread; buljol, a salad served with fry bake (or fried bread); cutter, a sandwich that comes with fish, meat or egg served with local salt bread; and, of course, rum punch, a signature rum drink.
The Tides, for example, is one of the most famous on the island. It’s a charming restaurant built from a post-war home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Distinctly an institution within the food scene and a favorite of locals and guests alike, the Tides offers a wide range of dinner choices and drinks. From Sunday lunch, kids’ fare, wines and cocktails, guests can taste the Barbadian spirit through the restaurant’s menu.
Guests can dine in various areas of the restaurant to absorb the place with its vibrant vistas from different angles. The Tree House, named after the Casuarina trees growing through the restaurant floor and roof, offers an eclectic fusion of flavors. The restaurant marries fresh Caribbean seafood alongside global creations with options for vegetarian and vegan diners. The restaurant also features cocktail lounges for those looking for a more laid-back vibe sipping on wine, sparklers or tropical mixes from the bar. The place proves the saying “It’s always happy hour in Barbados” true.
Meanwhile, Nishi offers a vibrant Asian fusion selection, highlighting the fresh finds from the Barbadian seas. Its three distinct dining areas cover English and Caribbean dishes. One of its bestsellers is sushi right off the sushi bar, expertly prepared by its head chef.
Boasting local seafood and produce is the Lone Star Restaurant, headed by its renowned head chef, Wayne Knight. The restaurant features European fare with the familiar Caribbean vibe within its idyllic beachside setting, which many famous patrons love. The restaurant offers wood-stone fire pizza, roasted sea scallops, grilled market fish and a wide range of curries and steaks. Whether it’s Wine and Dine or Happy Hour, guests can also indulge in top-notch wine pairings courtesy of the in-house sommelier or even a splash of cocktails from the Star Bar.
Another must-visit foodie destination is the Friday Night Fish Market at Oistins. With an electric and buzzy atmosphere, the place offers fresh food in a casual and laid-back atmosphere. Already an institution in Barbados, guests can expect to be treated to traditional Barbadian food while listening to upbeat live music in the background.
More to explore
Apart from teeing off at the golf course, basking in the Bajan sun and cozying up in luxe properties, there are plenty of other activities in Barbados. It’s an ideal vacation spot for avid surfers. Those looking to ride the waves flock to Bathsheba Beach on the east coast, thanks to its rock formations. Its famous Soup Bowl is where the best waves can be found; thus, it is a venue for international surfing competitions. However, due to the rocky shoreline, swimming is not recommended in the area.
Those looking for tamer waves for a leisurely swim may opt for Dover Beach. Located in Oistins, Dover Beach has a relaxed vibe. Those who want to engage in more active pastimes can enjoy body surfing, Hobie Cat sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing. Travelers can also take a trip to another nearby destination, Barbados Boardwalk. A few miles from the capital city of Bridgetown, this boardwalk connects two beaches, Accra and Camelot. The boardwalk affords travelers a wonderful view of the ocean beyond and of turtles and crabs, among other marine life gracing the shores. The best times to visit are during the sunrise and sunset to take in the majestic colors on the horizon. Carlisle Bay, on the other hand, is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, thanks to the six shipwrecks in the area and the calmer waters.
For those looking for historic tours of the island, many museums give visitors a peek into the country’s rich history. One is St. Nicholas Abbey, one of the island’s oldest and largest rum distilleries. It also features a charming 350-year-old plantation home, which houses a museum and looks back into the area’s history. Another historic site is the Sam Lord’s Castle, a mansion-estate ruin of the famous Bajan buccaneer Sam Lord. This historic home contained countless historic artifacts before it was turned into a hotel. In 2010, the property burned down, yet visitors flock to the area to admire the beautiful ruins.
When it comes to festivals, the island celebrates some of the most exciting and colorful. One of its most famous is the Grand Kadooment Day, attended by approximately 15,000 revelers—dancing and parading through the streets of St. Michael. This wraps up the island’s Crop Over Festival and showcases participants in costumes and masquerades.
Making the most of Barbados
The best time to visit Barbados is between July through November, which is the summer season on the island. This is also the time of the Crop Over Festival. Nevertheless, the island is warm and inviting the entire year, so travelers can also enjoy off-peak-season getaways.
Traveling to the island is relatively easy, as there are frequent international flights from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom landing at the Grantley Adams International Airport. Another option is to travel to Barbados via cruise ship. Several cruise lines offer itineraries on the island, such as the Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Overall, Barbados fits the bill for a fine Caribbean holiday destination for all kinds of travelers. It offers a relaxed vibe, pristine beaches, beautiful and energetic nightlife, and fun watersports to keep guests busy. However, for the most discerning who crave a luxurious getaway, the island also offers a diverse range of high-end places that boast the best that Barbadian hospitality offers. These destinations inspire the mind to travel to a whole new world of possibilities, basking in the Bajan sun and enjoying the island to the fullest.