Barbados is the Caribbean’s best kept secret. Its pristine sandy beaches and waterfront real estate along with their luxury resorts will have you wondering why you had not discovered this island before!
With destination weddings on the rise, Barbados is a perfect choice for a celebrity style intimate wedding for a fraction of the cost.
During my recent trip to the island in May of 2009, I was able to personally experience some of the islands “best of”. Below you will enjoy a little bit about my adventure and begin your journey to what can be your dream island wedding!
Fun Facts on Barbados:
- Size of the Island: 21 miles long by 14 miles wide
- Language: English
- Climate: Tropical year round with average temps of 72 and 82 degrees F.
- Capital: Bridgetown
- Currency: BDS $1.98 to $1 US dollar
- Religion: Predominantly Christian with over 100 denominations present
- Resources: ZAGAT Best of Barbados
The Colony Hotel
Our hosting hotel was The Colony Hotel, operated by Elegant Hotels Group. Upon the check in we were greeted with the island’s signature drink, the Rum Punch! After a speedy check in, we were taken to our private rooms. Upon opening the doors, I felt like a movie star. The room was beautiful and had a breathtaking balcony overlooking the pool and the crystal clear ocean. I then discovered I had a dish with assorted canapés and a chilled bottle of my favorite white wine! What a welcome!
Located on the west side of the island and approximately 45 minutes from the airport, this magnificent hotel has the following to offer:
- 96 newly renovated guestrooms and suites
- 4 freshwater swimming lagoons and Jacuzzis
- Twice daily maid service with complimentary bottled water
- Complimentary non motorized water sports
- Preferred tee time agreement with Royal Westmoreland Golf course
- 2 Restaurants and 2 bars
- 5 facilities for social/private function
The Crane is a residential resort located on the Southeastern side of the island. Built in 1887, The Crane is the oldest hotel in its caliber, to have been built in the Caribbean. Well before you arrive at this resort you can see the beauty of it from the top of the cliff. This resort is a world of its own. Once you check in there is absolutely no reason to leave the property. The luxuries and conveniences The Crane has to offer are almost overwhelming. The architecture is timeless with private balconies, mesmerizing ocean views and private plunge pools! It was rated one of the top ten beaches by “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and it is no surprise that they often have celebrity guests on site.
The Crane resort along with government officials were kind enough to host a seminar for us which included Mr. William Gittens, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Dave Cox, renowned photographer just to name a few. In this seminar we had the opportunity to ask questions regarding marriage licenses, fees, important documents needed and so on. They were also kind enough to set up a mock reception so that we could see their décor and Caribbean style.
Some of the features this resort has to offer:
- 1.5 acre multi cascading swimming pool and Jacuzzi complex
- Over 150 rooms including suites and unbelievable penthouses
- Full Service concierge service including car rentals, planning activities and restaurant bookings
- 3 restaurants including, Zen Restaurant, Zagats top rated restaurant on the island
Daily maid service
- Continuously expanding to make your stay even more accommodating and relaxing
Sandy Lane is the only 5 star resort on the island located on the Southwest side. It has so much to offer, I feel that this description will not give it much justice. From a multi-million dollar golf courses to the amazing pools, spa building and villas it is just the most amazing property the island has to offer.
The Country Club Golf Course is where the now infamous Tiger Woods married his bride Elin Nordegren, on a perfectly manicured green lawn overlooking the tranquil and serene ocean from afar. As I was standing on the same spot they tied the knot back on October 5, 2004, I could not help but think of how beautiful this location must have looked on that special night! I was told that all the vendors that took part of this huge celebration were very talented locals.
Some of the features this resort has to offer:
- 112 rooms including elite suites, 2 penthouses and a private Villa
- Expansive rooms with exquisite furnishings including marble bathrooms with separate shower and tub
- Personalized in room registration
- Maid Service twice a day
- Packing and unpacking your luggage
- Ultimate concierge service including booking restaurant reservations, water sports and spa retreats
- 4 restaurants and 5 bars on property
- 3 golf courses with a total of 45 holes, assigned tee times
Altman Villa Rentals
The Altman group is a well known and respectable management company that manages villas throughout the island, some which are located on the Sandy Lane property. The properties enlisted with the Altman group are owned by wealthy individuals that seek a tranquil and luxurious home away from home.
The homes and villas are often rented on a weekly to monthly basis and include daily maid /staff service, chefs and security. They are also used to host some of the most elite and prestigious festivities on the island. Some of the homes we were fortunate to visit were: The Stanford house, Elsewhere, Rose of Sharon and Monkey Business.
For additional information on rentals, requirements and regulations, please visit the Altman Groups informative website.
It seems that we were eating the entire time we were on the island! From breakfasts meeting, casual lunches to formal dinners we were eating delicious meals all the time!
This restaurant is situated on the West side of the island and offers ocean front seating.. During the day its a laid back casual atmosphere where you can hang out in your beachwear and flip flops and grab a quick bite to eat.. At night it transforms to a chic and friendly lounge where the sophisticated can experience cuisines from world renowned chefs.
I recall having the most fascinating tuna tar tar and refreshing rum punch here while enjoying the company of local artist, Corrie Scott. www.corriescott.net
Voted Top Food rating (Eclectic), Top Décor and Top Service by ZAGAT
We visited The Cliff for cocktails prior to our arranged dinner engagement. My first impression was unbelievable. I honestly thought I had seen it all until we walked into this restaurant.
I feel in love with this place. It has the perfect setting to have a beach wedding while having the ocean water brush up to your feet and then moving upstairs to have the intimate romantic dinner or a memorable soiree. This cliff side dining favorite is extremely popular with those seeking a beach side venue for private hire for hip weddings!
Because The Cliff is only opened for dinner, it becomes a hip bar/club after-hours where you can enjoy the latest tracks by a live DJ.
Some of the appetizers we experienced were: Carpaccio of Dolphin with honey and soy, seared tuna with wasabi mash, roast loin of lamb, foie gras and unlimited glasses of pink champagne!
You can cook some of the dishes served at this restaurant by purchasing their cookbook online.
Voted Top Italian cuisine by ZAGAT
Daphnes is a restaurant also managed by Elegant Hotels. It is adjacent to The House hotel. The food was exquisite and the service was beyond perfect! Many rehearsal dinners and small private events take place here. They also offer ocean front dining at its finest.
Additional Locations that we toured which are considered Must SEE:
Cove Spring House
This is where Mariah Carey married her honey, Nick Cannon. This house is an amazing property that faces the West side of the ocean. It is a sanctuary for the rich and famous and popular in demand in the celebrity world. The Main house has 10 suites, a theater seating up to 20, a library, a fitness center and a luxurious pool that portrays a lagoon setting. Adjacent to the house is the guest house with 3 rooms which also includes a private chef, 24 hour concierge service and a private beach of its own! Once again, luxury at its finest!
Our greeting to Mr. Hunte’s home was a homemade lunch served in his natural green house where the orchids grow wild and the exotic birds fly freely. We then toured the magnificent property and were treated to freshly brewed tea!
Created by a legendary horticulturist with an unusual flair, Anthony Hunte, these extraordinary gardens will please even the most keen gardeners and enthusiasts. Their placement is really most unusual – in the center of Barbados’ rain forest, in a sink-hole-like gully. Thanks to such interesting location, the garden offers a multidimensional experience, with vigorous plants densely growing on many levels – from sunny and open spaces, down to a mysterious, dark heart of real Caribbean jungle.
Fisherpond Great House
Owned by the very talented John and Rain Chandler (John is often referred to as the “Preston Bailey” of Barbados) this wonderful estate is described as receiving a unique invitation to someone’s great house. Its exclusive private weddings are renowned for use of bright color and phenomenal floral arrangements and for its unique setting – a real hidden gem of a property.
St. John’s Parish Church
Located in Holetown, St. James Parish Church stands on one of the oldest parcels of consecrated land on the Island, often known in Barbados as “God’s acre”. While visiting the church, we experienced a wedding ceremony about to begin!
There is currently one synagogue situated in Bridgetown. Built in the 17th century (1654) it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1831, was rebuilt, fell into disrepair and was sold in 1929. In 1983, it was bought back by the Jewish community and was restored to its present state with its beautiful Gothic arches, and is now a Barbados National Trust protected building and an active synagogue.
To begin planning your ultimate Barbados wedding, please contact Certified Wedding Planner, Alice K. Villar today!