4-Star Oceanside Resort with Six Outdoor Pools
The Crane Residential Resort—recognized as the Caribbean’s first resort hotel—opened its doors to guests in 1887, yet the property dates back even further. On the south end of the grounds, a set of stairs leading down to a former sea-bathing spot was constructed in 1769, and the resort’s beautifully preserved Marine Villa mansion is more than 220 years old. Over the years, The Crane has evolved into a sprawling luxury resort with six pools, world-class restaurants, and European-style suites. Thanks to its secluded cliff-top location, the hotel boasts sweeping ocean views that have dazzled visitors for centuries.
The AAA Four Diamond–rated resort overlooks Crane Beach, a stretch of pink sand named one of the best beaches in the Caribbean by the Travel Channel. Surfers and boogie boarders take to the waves here, and an offshore coral reef makes the water ideal for swimming. The hotel’s glass-front elevator shuttles guests to and from the beach until sunset. The resort’s six outdoor pools include the Historic Hotel pool, which sits on a cliff surrounded by doric columns, and an infinity-edge pool nestled between two restored ruins.
A shopping center, a full-service spa, and four restaurants line the cobblestone streets of Crane Village, the resort's 55,000-square-foot activity center. At Zen, you can savor maki rolls and spicy thai noodles at a sushi bar overlooking the sea. L’Azure serves bouillabaisse filled with lobster, scallops and shrimp; brunch buffets here every Sunday feature live gospel music and traditional island fare. Upstairs, The Crane’s luxurious suite accommodations feature private patios and jacuzzi tubs. One-bedroom suites have ocean views and private plunge pools.
Barbados: Seafood, Sugar Cane, and Tropical Flora in a Former British Colony
Considered the easternmost island in the Caribbean, Barbados was a British colony until 1966, which explains the popularity of afternoon tea and cricket matches here. But Barbadians (often shortened to “Bajans”) have formed their own identity, starting with their seafood-centric cuisine. Food stands and restaurants dot the roadsides, serving Barbados’s national dish: flying fish paired with cou-cou, a mash of cornmeal and okra. The Mount Gay distillery is worth a stop for the chance to sample Bajan rum. The company has used the island’s abundant sugar cane to produce aromatic spirits since 1703, making it the oldest rum brand in the world.
While you’re on the island, you’ll want to sample some of its natural beauty up close. Trams tour the popular Harrison’s Cave, where stalactites hang from huge limestone caverns. Driving or catching a cab west to Holetown brings you to the Folkestone Marine Park and Museum, where a reef formed by a sunken ship abounds with sea anemones, giant crabs, and decaying GPS screens. And flower lovers have several spectacular gardens to visit, including Orchid World and the Barbados Flower Forest located on the grounds of a former sugar plantation.
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