Barbados has many great resorts. What is surprising, perhaps, is how built up the west (and best) coast has become. Private villas jostle with swanky resorts, with the odd cheaper package deal hotel squeezed in.
Things have become so 'tight' that the canny entrepreneurs of of the island (mostly white, many the descendents of the old plantation families - their great great grandfathers would be proud) have been attempting to squeeze more and more 'units' and villas onto each plot of land - currently, for example, Four Seasons is midway through a massive construction next to rather an ugly factory complex. Many of the units will be apartments - like a number of other developments along this coast - though how many have already been pre-sold is a moot point. With recession in full flow, a number of developers are in danger of losing their shirts, and possibly shorts too.
But the most famous example of over-development is perhaps Sandy Lane - some years ago, this charming and luxurious Caribbean resort was razed to the ground, and rebuilt in exactly the same winning format - with two essential differences: rebuilding alllowed them to rewire and add all sorts of super high tech facilities (and so increase the rates); and the addition of another floor allowed them to welcome even more Philip Greens and Michael Winners. Result? A luxury resort on steroids, with a beach that is no longer cool and breezy but bakingly hot, because the extra floor has the effect of blocking off the cooling trade winds that sweep across the Atlantic from the east, across the island, though the hotel and down to the beach.
So many former guests have decamped to the Coral Reef Club and its beach a mile up the coast. There, the resort, despite some recent rebuilding, is still a managable size, with spacious rooms, lots of lush gardens, and plenty of space for the winds to do their magic. OK, so the beach is not quite the wide open stretch that Sandy Lane has. But its a darn sight cooler, and the clientele are a darn sight less bling.
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