Declan's help was much appreciated. Thank you.
Fantastic service from Jessie and Callum
Bella arranged my flight at very short notice - if I had not had the luck to find her there was no way I would have made it to Barbados. I sing her praises every day and your company will be my first port of call for future adventures
The service by DialAFlight was great but British Airways has severely declined in quality. Seats were very cramped and poorly designed so the space under the seat in front wasn't clear for bag and feet due to metal structures. Will not be travelling with BA again. Unpleasant start and finish to our lovely holiday.
The usual excellent service. Wonderful trip went like clockwork
All OK except the transfers
I have booked all my transatlantic holidays with you for the last 10 years. Tony Judge is very goodand never lets us down
Simply the best
Oliver Orr is a good agent with excellent customer service skills. Always goes that extra mile.
Bella has been amazing. Harvey was also very helpful. Have already recommended you to many of my customers. Looking forward to dealing with Bella again.
The hotel selected is in bad need of refurbishment
Had to make a change to our return and this was organised quickly and efficiently by DialAFlight.
Lee was amazing. He phoned and emailed me to make sure I checked in and also wished me an enjoyable trip. Really lovely customer service.
All great apart from the car
Well done, Keely Papworth, another excellent job, thank you,
Thanks to Liam!
A shame we didn’t have half board and a transfer.
The team was very helpful.
I had to cut my trip short due to family emergency and they sorted it out very quickly so I could return home. Brilliant service - would not use anyone else
Thanks Rob, fantastic holiday!
Excellent service and trip - can’t wait to make our next booking!
Stuart always goes above and beyond, never lets us down and is always there if a problem arises
Fantastic customer service from Calvin. He was patient and accommodating with our request which helped make our holiday a memorable one.
Great service and a pleasure to deal with
Jamal was amazing - great service, helpful and our holiday was perfect.
Billy Gardner is the best consultant out there
Everything was 1st class as usual
DialAFlight service excellent. Some aspects of Sandals Barbados very good but some aspects very poor. We will probably not use Sandals again.
It was good to have someone you could contact if needed!
They look like wind-up toys. Marching one after another, with clockwork regularity, a stream of baby turtles, miniature flippers whirring into life, emerge from their sandy nest.
Nothing draws the crowds quite like these hatchlings. Word spreads quickly among the dinner guests at Sandals Barbados resort, and soon a sizeable gathering is crouched on the beach.
Sadly, it doesn’t quite play out like Planet Earth. As more and more turtles try to escape into the moonless night many lose their bearings and veer towards the hotel lights. There is a lot of cooing among the frocks and the golf shoes, as we all trip over ourselves in the dark trying not to tread on them.
Sandals staff wisely usher the crowds from the beach as the survivors are packed into boxes, ready to be released when the sea is quieter. Ninety-two, someone counted. 'We always know when the babies have hatched,' I was told. 'It’s the only time the buffet is ever empty.'
Escaping to Barbados for a week or two is the stuff of dreams, so excitement levels are understandably high. The attentive all-inclusive service, fabulous food and comprehensive luxury is enough to keep many within the hotel grounds for their entire stay.
The soft sand of the adjoining Dover Beach is a wonderful place to relax and there are innumerable activities to burn off the calories, from yoga at sunrise to lessons with tennis pros.
For those looking to explore the island's platinum west coast, a catamaran is a must.
The boat is crewed by larger-than-life characters such as Brian ‘deAction Man’ Talma, who serve up a sumptuous spread of jerk chicken, flying fish and exquisite rum cake, while doubling up as ocean guides. We stop for a spot of snorkelling with hawksbills and green leatherbacks – fully-grown relatives of the babies I saw hatching at the hotel, and dive down to submerged wrecks moored to the sea bed.
The shoreline is fanned by palms guarding the palatial villas of the rich and famous.
There is little rising beyond the tree line: the island is effectively a large slab of coral dangling from the south-eastern tip of the Antiles. The flat topography makes it ideal for agriculture, sugar production in particular, which was especially appealing to the British who colonised Barbados in 1627 and didn’t let it go until independence more than 300 years later.
Getting around is relatively straightforward – even strapped into the back of a jeep on one of the island’s eccentric safari tours. The mood is certainly buoyant – there’s something about bouncing around uncontrollably that makes people inexplicably happy.
The tour highlight is Bathsheba on the east coast. Atlantic-facing, the turbulent waters favoured by local surfers have churned up huge coral boulders, which sit shrouded in sea mist like guardians to an ancient kingdom. It is a world away from the raked sands of the west coast villas and offers the luxury of isolation and a landscape of breathtaking beauty.
FRIDAY FISH FRY
Friday night and nearby Oistin’s fish market is heaving. The resort runs a free shuttle bus to this island institution, where row upon row of food outlets serve everything from ‘dolphin’ (not the porpoise but a fish called mahi-mahi) to lobster, all grilled or fried in delicious spices.
Hundreds turn out to eat and dance to the carnivalesque soca music, performed live in the centre of the market.
Barbados is fertile ground for musicians: they crop up here like sugar cane, moving with effortless rhythm, emanating sounds as sweet as molasses. After a rum punch or two I’m soon swaying along awkwardly to the upbeat vocals of raw Rhianna hopefuls.
Next morning, with a sore head, I find myself in the capital Bridgetown, listening to a stout, elderly gentleman and gazing longingly at the shade afforded by his wide-brimmed fedora.
You are standing, says Maurice Greenidge – eminent local historian and my guide to the city – on sacred ground; 1652 is the year, and on this spot rum was born. Barbados loves rum.
I scan the colourful facades of the old harbour market. Carlisle bay sweeps away to the former British garrison. Bright colours blur with the sound of car horns; music is beating underneath it all, and the heat settling down from above.
It is easy to while away the time here at a luxury all-inclusive resort. But venture beyond and you will quickly realise that life in Barbados offers so much more, paradise included.
First published in the Mail Online - May 2017
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