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!
My contact Helen was exceptional and catered to my every need
Finn Conlon was brilliant as always
No problems with DialAFlight, hotel excellent but Virgin flight not so good.
Darren always goes above and beyond
Joe is so helpful and has a great knowledge of most destinations around the world. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip, the hotel was ideally located on the beach and close to the nightlife of St Lawrence Gap. He never let's us down. Looking forward to booking our next adventure with you!
Kylie delivered exceptionally well...as usual
Not your fault, but the 13 hour delay at Heathrow on our return was awful and not well managed by BA at all.
I love DialAFlight. Kylie is the best travel agent I have ever had. Her attention to detail and her willingness to go the extra mile for us has ensured that all our travel plans have been hugely successful.
Peter was exceptional. He helped us rearrange our plans and our trip to Barbados was fantastic .
Riley is a credit to your team. Many thanks have recommended him to other people.
Everything went to plan.
Excellent service as always. Thanks Neil
Reggie did a great job for us. Everything worked extremely well.
Dominic's customer service is excellent
The new Terminal 2 at Manchester is one of the best terminals in the UK
I have always dealt with Drew and he has always delivered the service. Very happy
Great communication and support throughout.
The only thing that could be improved was Lufthansa cancelling our original flights. Other than that, the package holiday was just what we expected.
Some might remember a TV show of seven years ago called The Young Ones (not to be confused with the comedy series of the Eighties), in which six celebrities in their 70s and 80s attempt to overcome some of the problems of ageing by harking back to the 1970s.
They spent their time in a country house decked out as a 1970s time capsule. The idea was to transport them back to their heyday - they walked on shag pile carpet and watched Crossroads, sipping Dandelion & Burdock, to see if it improved their ailing health and failing memories.
The six were cricket umpire Dickie Bird, dancer Lionel Blair, newsreader Kenneth Kendall, radio presenter Derek Jameson and actresses Sylvia Syms and Liz Smith - and it seems that taking them back to a world where everything was strictly 1975 had a miraculous effect. The experiment, particularly the part involving shag pile carpets, was very successful and they did feel younger.
I mention this because I met a very clever man called Bengt in Bequia, a tiny island just a speedboat dash from Mustique, who is conducting a similar experiment. Bengt is the proud owner of the Bequia Beach Hotel, which is full of couples of a certain age congratulating other couples for being so much younger than all the other couples of almost certainly the same age.
Trapped in time
For Bengt, you see, has created a perfect time capsule. By the time you've checked into one of the 1930s colonial-style rooms with 1950s-style posters, and followed 1960s-style wooden signs to the bar and ordered your first Dark 'n' Stormy, you're already feeling 20 years younger.
It's not just the decor, agreeable though it is. Everything here exudes old-style charisma, a Pathé newsreel picture of how the Caribbean used to be before the big bucks and giant cruise liners steamed in.
There's nothing fusty about the Bequia Beach Club, but everything is as it should be. Charming open-air restaurant on the beach: check. Delicious fresh seafood: check. Friendly but unpushy staff: check. Secluded stretch of sand fringing a gently swelling ocean: check. Cool pool with mysterious rejuvenating powers: check. Friendly faces at the bar swapping rum-punchy gossip about how Carole Middleton put people's noses out of joint in Mustique: check.
The island, which hasn't changed much since Harold Macmillan stayed here (someone told me they'd read he came up with 'You've never had it so good' on the island) is proud of its Royal connections.
Princess Margaret once dropped anchor off Bequia. As a result there's a rather fetching beach named after her. A 30-minute stroll away is the capital, Port Elizabeth, a scruffily teeming one-street town packed with shops, markets and harbourside bars.
Forty minutes away by twin-prop plane is the five-star Coral Reef Club in Barbados, where we stayed for our second week. It, too, exudes old-school cool, although this time for very A-list guests.
Had they wished, the owners of this hotel could have adopted the Bequia naming policy and christened its beach after visiting royalty. Or you could now be staying in a Harold Pinter, Agatha Christie or Prince Harry suite. All have enjoyed the hospitality of the O'Hara family, who have owned the hotel since the 1950s.
But this is the kind of hotel where the rich, famous and we lesser mortals can drift in and out incognito.
No wonder Agatha Christie was inspired to write A Caribbean Mystery here.
There's still an air of exotic mystery about the place, as if a man in tennis whites might appear at any moment among the palms and confess to Miss Marple that yes, it was he who committed the heinous murder in the bougainvillea and he doesn't care who knows it.
Every room is high-spec and the restaurant is high-end. But Coral Reef hasn't lost sight of the good old days. You can bet every dry martini here is shaken, not stirred.
If you hanker after a nightclub, well, that's just a short car ride away - this is hip and happening Barbados after all. But at the Coral Reef it's more cocktails and cool crooners.
The Coral Reef Club is built on good old-fashioned family values. And that's down to the O'Haras. They may look as if they've stepped out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue, with their brilliant white shirts and glossy good looks, but they are a very real sleeves-rolled-up presence in the hotel.
Matriarch Cynthia glides around the reception rooms and hosts an elegant cocktail party once a week, and sons Mark and Patrick patrol the restaurant.
This is not just their livelihood, it's their home, and you are made to feel like their guests, not just hotel guests.
First published in the Mail Online - February 2017
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