Ahhhh, barefoot luxury in Barbados !
A view from The Crane Residential Resort- a destination since 1887.
The footwear I wore longest my first day in Barbados was fins. I spent enchanted hours in the morning, scuba diving through the coral gardens in 88 degree water with schools of neon blue fish for company, off the western resort lined-and-designed Caribbean side of the island.
But the rest of the day, I was indulging in “barefoot luxury in Barbados” – The Crane Resort way – on the eastern, more private Atlantic side of this multi-faceted vacation mecca.
I woke barefoot in a big hand-carved four-poster bed with the rhythmic sounds of the Atlantic surf. The bed, authentic Barbadian furniture, was similar to those used in the resort since it first opened as a hotel in 1887, triggering more than a century of legacy. Locals say that in the late 19th century, the visiting celebrity “Buffalo Bill” Cody paid for his stay by leaving a watch and the gold chain to his timepiece. In the 21st century, 252 accommodations offer golden refuge for travelers from timezones around the world.
I padded across the marble floor to open the tall shuttered doors to my spacious balcony, part of my 1,200 square foot residential suite at the Crane Residential Resort. My refrigerator was already full of fruits and eggs and the makings for great coffee were on the counter. A five-jet shower awaited too. I was well fortified for a drive across island, and relaxing diving.
Catamaran dive boat to explore the Caribbean waters on the western side of Barbados
When I returned to my Crane “home” from easy diving with Hightide Water Sports, my swimsuit was still wet, so I headed barefoot to the Atlantic Ocean that looked so beguiling from my balcony. My toes were tickled as I walked a small part of The Crane’s 40 acres of landscaping (tended by over 20 landscapers) to the cliff’s edge for sweeping views.
The Crane Resort’s elevator to the private beach below the gardens and suites
Both a glass-fronted elevator and steps descend three flights from the cliff perch to powdery sand that massaged my toes. In certain lights, the sand shimmers pinks.
Barbados is the eastern most inhabited Caribbean island and the Atlantic waters on the island’s eastern side can be boisterous for body surfing and bogey boarding.
Atlantic surf below The Crane Residential Resort
It was fun to frolic in waves that were more than 20 degrees warmer than the ones I had last played in, off the California coast. I swam past the breakers and floated on my back reveling that no land mass was between me and Africa! Just leagues and leagues of beautiful sea.
To the side, I could see some old steps along the side of the protecting promontory where two boys fished. I had been told that the steps, dating back to 1769, were a part of a private sanctuary for women who wanted to get around the societal expectations forbidding females to get wet in public. Here, they could enjoy the ocean.
On the beach today, men and women openly swim, body surf, sun on lushly padded lounge chairs or walk with rum drinks served in fresh coconut shells from the beaches’ bar. I was content to gently undulate with the swells on the bathwater warm ocean, my toes pointing to the tropical sky.
POOLS AND BATHS
Options to wash off the sand and salt are many starting with the outdoor showers. The Crane’s grounds have several sets of swimming pools. One set of pools flows over 1.5 acres with cascading connections and jacuzzi. Many of the Resort’s suites come with individual pools either as part of a front yard or as part of an outdoor upper level. I enjoyed The Crane Beach Pool’s proximity to the ocean sounds and sands.
One of The Crane’s swimming pools with Ocean view
My next barefoot foray on this deliciously naked toe day was the Serenity Spa, one of the Crane’s nurturing niches. I received the “Travelers Paradise Express” which weaves together Swedish, Lomi-Lomi (Hawaiian) and Deep Tissue very effectively with talented Lashawn also rehydrating my dry post-airplane skin with almond lotion. I particularly liked – of course – the foot rub part!
It’s enjoyable to try massages that are signature for their geographic and cultural context like a Mayan themed treatment in Cancun, Mexico, or an amber massage in the Baltics, so I had been hoping for some kind of Barbados rum massage or pink sand defoliation (I made those up), but the actual eclectic Serenity blend of massage techniques worked wonderfully and does suggest Barbados’ international legacy. For centuries, Barbados was a key portal for the trade of goods, people, and ideas between the Americas, and Africa and Europe.
My feet were quite glad to receive three kinds of massage blended.
A Zen dinner in the Tatami room. Shoes are parked outside and our legs rest below floor level while we enjoy great Japanese and Thai food without leaving The Crane.
How could this barefoot day get any better?
Answer: Dinner in the Tatami room of the fantastic Zen restaurant on the Crane grounds, a Zagat’s favorite for Barbados. Shoes were parked outside the private room as new friends – travel writers and tourism experts – bared soles and souls with stellar sushi, sashimi, and lots of laughs.
After a day of Caribbean diving, Atlantic ocean play, pools, foot massage, and Zen repose, I returned to my suite with its own jacuzzi bathtub, lounge chairs for star gazing and tradewinds on the balcony, and the luscious four poster bed. What a welcoming sequence to enjoy barefoot luxury in Barbados – the Crane way!
PS: The next two days, I did don shoes when I left the Crane, ironically to check out the big rich history of the little Island that influenced the world and the first President of the United States. I say ironic because for a key period, barefoot slaves helped drive the economic prosperity of Barbados. Now it’s liberated barefoot visitors who help fuel Barbados’ top financial engine – tourism. I am happy to kick off my shoes, and the Barbados Tourism folks can help you plan your own footprints in the sand.
-Lisa TE Sonne for LuxuryTravelMavens.com
Photos by Lisa TE Sonne
Follow her adventures: @ExploreTraveler