Many of us have our own romanticized notions of what it will be like when we find true love. How it’ll go. What it’ll feel like. What he or she will look like, sound like, act like, even kiss like. And every once in a while, we actually meet that person. They’re perfect. Everything we imagined. And so we engage. And chase. And pursue. And assume our very best behavior. And fight for a chance at that perfect union we’ve imagined in our heads for so long. This is exactly how I felt when my cab pulled up at Little Arches Hotel, located only one minute away from Miami Beach in Christ Church, Barbados. This place was that person.
First Impressions of Little Arches
Little Arches is highly committed to maintaining an eco-friendly status and takes every possible action to minimize its carbon footprint. With its emphasis on preservation, conservation, and community engagement, it makes for a lovely Barbados stay that is easy on the conscience. We arrived on a Thursday and were immediately greeted at the front desk by knowledgeable personnel and engaging front desk staff. As luck would have it, we were provided upgraded accommodations and shown to a cozy, romantic, and comfortable ocean-front Private Villa. The villa was stone-floored, air-conditioned, and well-kept with no troublesome critters to worry about and a humongous bed that made for my most comfortable sleep of the trip. On Friday morning, I awoke to a movie-esque view of the sun rising over the sea.
After a wonderful outdoor English-style breakfast, I took a stroll down the road to the beach for some sunbathing and mingling with the locals.
A visit to the world-famous Oistins Fish Market.
I spent the day frolicking on the beach. And in the evening I took the opportunity for a short walk over to the world-famous Oistins Fish Market, a local bazaar of freshly caught fish dishes prepared in local styles by numerous vendors. The delicious meal was accompanied by local musicians and lots of dancing. Beyond the fresh and perfectly-cooked fish, a range of locally made arts and craft items are for sale at the market. There are a huge range of items on offer including jewelry, ceramics, wood carvings, clothing, accessories, and even more.
The Perfect Place to Recharge
I couldn’t wait to get back to my beautiful bed at Little Arches to enjoy my final night there. Knowing that I was checking out, I got up super-early on Saturday morning and caught a glimpse of a “Rasta-cize” workout on the beach: a fun exercise course combining beach and water aerobics. During my stay, I enjoyed dialogue with several couples who raved about the fact that Little Arches provided them the perfect place to recharge every year.
I will definitely be heeding their advice.
Seek out those who make you happy, consistently.
I was reading a book on love, and the author made an interesting suggestion: “Seek out the person you can be happy with even when you’re having a bad day. Or week. Or month. Because those days will happen, many, many times over the course of a relationship.” I took this to mean that I should focus on value of accommodation. Before my trip to Barbados, I meditated on championing this trait. Maybe it’s true that you get back what you put out, because that is the word that comes to mind when describing my stay at Bougainvillea, my next Barbados stop: Accommodating.
First Impressions of Bougainvillea
I arrived on a Saturday afternoon to a wonderful choice of local beverages: Sorrel, Pina Colada, and a new favorite, Coconut Punch. From the onset, the staff worked overtime to accommodate any request. The beachfront bar area was expertly run by a charming gentleman named Lance, who instructed chefs to customize dishes to my dietary needs. Servers were friendly and overly helpful with suggesting dishes to try, and each staff member made me feel comfortable and at home.
The resort’s breakfast buffet, within the on-site Lanterns Restaurant, offered a daily rotation of wonderful and fresh options. The morning I chose to indulge in breakfast here, I encountered a dream-like spread of pumpkin pancakes, fish fritters, plantains doused in cinnamon, and a colorful selection of fresh fruits and freshly squeezed juices.
The activity options are endless in Bougainvillea.
When the weather wouldn’t fully cooperate, there was a complete indoor gymnasium and spa/salon available to pass the time. As soon as the weather cleared, Bougainvillea had no shortage of outdoor activity options, including its tennis courts, beachside walks, and even an outdoor barbecue buffet on the beach that included a local band and several food-vendors. In addition, a visit to the St. John’s Parish Church made for a nice daytime excursion. Originally a simple wooden building, several iterations of the church have been rebuilt after hurricanes have torn down their predecessors. Today’s version, the fifth, is a beautiful Gothic style building with a Westmacott sculpture and was definitely worth a visit.
Barbados Beaches Do Not Disappoint
Barbados is, of course, famous for its beautiful beaches, and I was not disappointed by those I encountered. Three of the most well-known include the Rockey/Accra Beach, Dover Beach, and Miami Beach (where I had stayed). All offer access to the stunningly blue water, a range of ocean conditions from exciting waves to calm and swimmable areas, the country’s silky soft white sand, and no shortage of shade under rentable umbrellas or local casuarina and sea-grape tree leaves. Windsurfing, body surfing, boogie boarding, and other aquatic activities were also widely available.
After exploring some of the area’s best beaches, I found my way to Shakers Bar and Grill, where delicious but casual cuisine such as a beer-battered fresh catch-of-the-day and grilled shrimp skewers offered the perfect complement to a long day of sun. The restaurant emitted the kind of relaxing, low-key Barbados vibes that make you wish you could stay on vacation forever. The friendly owners were a plus, one of whom originated from Brooklyn but had returned to Barbados where he has family roots to open the restaurant.
A resort committed to protecting its surroundings.
At the end of the day, I was thrilled to return to my lodging at Bougainvillea. I had learned that the resort adheres to a strict environmental and sustainability policy and is highly committed to protecting the land upon which it is built. Bougainvillea maintains a Green Team and a Green Champion, whose responsibilities include oversight of the hotel’s many green initiatives. Beyond an extensive recycling program and an environmental protection program, Bougainvillea makes their own natural cleaning solutions from ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and reuse old linens for cleaning purposes.
The next time I have a rainy day in my life, I now have a couple of options: remember my time at the Bougainvillea and Little Arches, look through my photos from this trip, or just book a flight back to Barbados to relive the moments once more.
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