With a smile as wide as the sea and enthusiasm to match, Livingstone Alleyne is thrilled and delighted to wax eloquently about his beloved Barbados. Driving a taxi for a decade, he’s a gracious rolodex of information from how to navigate the traffic roundabouts to picking a restaurant for a romantic dinner pour deux. “I’m the driver of choice for guests checking into the Elegant Hotels Group of resorts,” he says with a humble twinkle, “and I can tell you they are the best on the island and exactly where I would take my wife for a special treat.” Operating a quintet of hotels and resorts – The House, Colony Club, Tamarind, Crystal Cove, and Turtle Beach – EHG is a powerhouse portfolio of upscale accommodations offering top-shelf amenities, stellar service and weddings on the beach.
Dinner on the beach at sunset is the big draw at The House, a seashell away from hip Holetown on the gold coast. Catering to the luxury traveler, The House impresses with thirty-four junior and one-bedroom suites overlooking the sea and Ambassadors who cater to every whim from arranging snorkeling and sailing excursions to serving dinner beneath seaside white linen canopies as the sun sinks behind the horizon. “No wish is too big for us,” smiles Marco Pavone, general manager, “our staff takes service seriously and for our guests, just ask and you will receive.”
With a star-studded guestbook that includes homegrown hero Rihanna and Hollywood glitterati like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Bacon, guests are treated like royalty. “Pampering starts as soon as you arrive,” adds Marco Pavone, general manager, “the property is small, the ambience is sweet and we’re adults-only.”
At the Tamarind Resort in Paynes Bay, nothing says romance sweeter than a watermelon martini as a saxophonist plays a roster of Lionel Ritchie tunes, a couple’s massage with candles and rose petals and watching the sun set from the balcony of Room 202. “The romance market is a priority for us with our beachfront to include hammocks, comfy pod chairs and daybeds for two,” says Andy Howard, general manager as he recommends the blackened salmon to a couple dining in the open-air 246 Restaurant, named after the island’s area code.
For a sublime chill-out, the Tamarind spa refreshes with an invigorating scrub with sea salt and aromatic oils, seaweed wrap using uniquely hibiscus-infused seaweed and a gratis jet lag massage ideal for guests arriving from the United States.
Framing seven acres of verdant gardens at the end of a Casuarina tree-lined driveway, the ninety-six sophisticated suites at the AAA Four-diamond Colony Club ooze comfort while at the Laguna restaurant, blackened red snapper is a show-stopper and a mint mojito poured by bartender extraordinaire Sydney Trotman at the Sunset Bar is refreshment par excellence. “My bar is vacation heaven,” he says chopping fresh mint, and “especially when you take a sip of a frosty mojito at dusk.” Save room for a scoop of coconut ice cream made by Bico, the famed West Indies company tempting taste buds since 1890. “Our experienced staff can morph a great holiday into a grand holiday,” says Gayle Talma, general manager. On a sunny afternoon, nothing says vacation better than a ride on a ski boat under the watchful eye of skipper Jason Scantelbury. $150.00 buys an hour of bliss on the water with Jason.
Also on the west coast, couples are welcome at the all-inclusive Crystal Cove where the beachfront cliffs are eye candy and flying fish and creamy macaroni pie is delectable at the Bajan buffet. On the spirited south coast, Turtle Beach is a casual all-inclusive with the acclaimed Italian menu at Aiago’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser and surfing lessons the crème de la crème of a vacation in the sun
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For an island tour or a pickup from the airport, call Livingstone Alleyne at 246 230 9859.