The new Barbados
Barbados was named the world’s #1 hotspot for celebrities in 2007 and received the Caribbean’s first and only Zagat rating in 2008; a recognition of superior hospitality. A “Best of” guide was published this year, highlighting Barbados’ most worthy attractions and serving as a manual to allow visitors the opportunity to gain a pure and satisfying experience from their next vacation.
If there is a predominant theme in the guide and, in turn, on the island, it is the high level of diversity that saturates the small Caribbean island (460 square kilometers). New attractions create a unique flair throughout Barbados, while older, more established testimonials to its historical flavor are refreshed and given new life in Zagat’s flattering guidebook phrases. With so much to see and do, it would be nearly impossible to address all of their recommendations. Below, in the form of a chocolate sampler, is an eclectic taste of the island.
The Lexy Piano Bar claims to be “sophisticated, elegantly casual and air-conditioned”. Cheesy pun aside, the new nightspot features a glitzy slice of New York and offers a half-show, half-party atmosphere that lasts until 2am. According to the Zagat guide, “Locals and visitors alike make requests and come together…mixed drinks, wine and champagne ensure that all inhibitions drop.”
To enjoy the island’s famous flying fish and rum punch, visitors should stop at the newly renovated Oistins Fish Fry on Friday and Saturday nights. The event is a popular forum for mingling with the Barbados locals, eating delicious seafood and listening to great music.
Hands-on dining presides over the Elbow Room, instituting a do-it-yourself experience where you “choose from a variety of pre-seasoned meats (beef, chicken, and fish) and then grill them over lava stone.” hot.
The Arlington House Museum recently underwent an elaborate renovation. Reopened less than a month ago, the 3-story building has become an interactive tribute to Barbadian history and culture. The ground floor, ‘Speightstown Memories’, gives an insight into the early life of the township on the island. The history of the colonization of the island and the sugarcane industry is found in ‘Plantation Memories’, on the second floor. And a talking pirate guides the third-floor ‘Wharf Memories’ exhibit, a tribute to Speightstown’s former commercial glory.
Barbados’ most popular tourist attraction, Harrison’s Cave, is back open after a year of renovation. A paradise for crystallized limestone and stalactite and stalagmite formations, the recently upgraded cavern features six new wheelchair-accessible tramways, as well as a new ventilation, drainage, electrical and lighting system. Other facilities have been added to the site, including interactive displays, a souvenir shop and a snack bar.
The Zagat guide especially highlights Barbados’ rich culture, namely the cuisine and natural attractions in colorful descriptions that jump off the page, tempting you to book the next outbound flight. Receiving Zagat approval, the prospective visitor can feel secure in their island vacation, knowing that there is no frills in the guidebook, that every vibrant adjective is authentic.