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Elegant Barbados

Besotted with Barbados

From being pampered under the palms to rum punches at sunset – Sam Tonkin loves everything about this Caribbean idyll

It was while having the de-stress Swedish massage the realisation hit me - everyone should enjoy this luxury on their holidays.

Mind you, I had the same thought while sipping rum punch on the beautiful white sandy beach, paddle boarding in the Caribbean Sea and watching the sun set over the island's palm trees.

In fact, it was a thought never far from my mind during our entire seven-day stay in Barbados. That's the thing about the Bajans - they not only make you feel welcome, but like you're part of the family.

Pampered under the palms by the friendly and attentive staff at Elegant Hotels

I was offered more cocktails and rum than you can shake a stick at, kept well fed with delicious fresh produce every day (fried plantain, anyone?) and given the chance to try every watersport I could think of (the rubber rings are definitely one to blow away the cobwebs!) - and it all came from the friendliest team I could imagine.

A stay at Waves Hotel & Spa or Tamarind Resort, both owned by Elegant Hotels in the affluent St James area of the west coast of Barbados, is like nothing I’ve experienced before.

Staff are super friendly, attentive and always on hand - but give you enough distance should you want the space and time to yourself.

Relaxing on a lounger with drink in hand under the hot summer sun of the palm trees was definitely one way to forget about the daily routine of work back home for a while.

The barmen conjure up the most delicious cocktails (ask Arden at Tamarind for the chilli mango - it won't disappoint).

Blowing the cobwebs away with a thrilling ride

And the watersports team are just downright fun. Think tubing, sailing, paddle-boarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding and snorkelling - all included in the stay.

The all-inclusive package not only promises fun on the water - but ensures drinks are always flowing, food (and by food I mean delicious fine dining) is abundant, and kicking back and relaxing is simply the order of the day. In fact, you might never want to leave.

The Waves hotel is a chic four-star beachfront property - the modern and contemporary architecture filled with high-end designer beachscape furnishings.

With two restaurants from which to choose (the Seascape overlooking the beach and serving a locally-sourced fresh menu daily or the Shiso - an Asian fusion delight), a cafe serving fresh coffee, delicious hearty salads and homemade cakes all day, afternoon tea and fresh fruit and ice lollies delivered straight to your sun lounger if you wish - you certainly won't go hungry.

And that's before you've tried the cocktail list. I can highly recommend the Off The Lip and Gin Fizz delights.

Enjoying a rum punch at the swim-up pool bar at Colony Club

If that all sounds too heady, the great thing about Elegant Hotels is that you can move freely between each of their seven resorts and an award-winning restaurant on the island.

It means you could enjoy breakfast on the beach at Waves, before a mid-afternoon massage and rum punch at the swim-up pool of Colony Club before enjoying cocktails and a lobster & jazz dance at sunset at Tamarind.

The water taxi ferries guests between each hotel - meaning you can hop on and off as you please depending on where the mood takes you.

We decided to split our holiday in two and spent half our time at Tamarind before moving on to Waves - less than a 10-minute drive further along the coast.

Elegant beach-front dining at Tamarind

Bigger than Waves, with 104 bedrooms to 70, The Tamarind still feels like a private haven.

With ocean-view suites spread along the seafront, there was nothing better than waking up and enjoying a morning coffee on our balcony while watching the waves lap the shore just a stone's throw away.

In fact, the suite was so big (king-sized cloud-like bed included) that you could lounge around the room all day - and sunbathe on the balcony.

But that would mean missing out on all of the beautiful surroundings - and the delicious oatmeal fritters at breakfast weren't going to eat themselves. 

First published in the Mail Online - January 2019

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