Aside from bingeing on shoes and dark chocolate, the next best thing for curing the winter blues is immersing yourself in the sun. So when my hubby recently informed me he was heading on a 4-day business trip to Barbados, which conveniently coincided with Valentine’s Day, I decided to tag along.
A relaxing 4-hour flight from Manhattan and I arrived at the rainy (gasp!) Hilton Barbados resort. Once inside, the friendly concierge greeted me with a glass of the island’s signature rum punch (Barbados happens to be one of the major producers of rum), making the tropical downpour seem like a distant mirage. But the real therapy resulted from this stellar ocean view from my hotel room: not too shabby for a Hilton!
All in all, my Caribbean getaway was just the respite needed to recharge my soul. Lots of fresh grilled Dolphin (a.k.a. mahi mahi), perfect 80 degree temps and beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear water along with some much-needed quality time with my hubby. But I digress… herein are some highlights from my trip.
My non-traditional, yet enjoyable beach read: Out Of The Blue. I’m ashamed to admit, this was the first book I’ve read in 2 years – the one downside of having 3-year old twins. While not exactly a toe-tapper, Out of the Blue is a beautifully written memoir by Jan Wong, an award-winning author and former reporter at The Globe & Mail, who suffered from a work-related mental breakdown. The book details her darkest moments and how she eventually overcame depression through writing. Something I can certainly relate to.
Best Jewelry Vendor: While not exactly known for shopping (unless you count “I love Barbados” t-shirts), I did manage to find some great bargains on the beach. Sophie, a local jewelry vendor by the Hilton Resort, stocks a stunning selection of hand-strung necklaces, bracelets and earrings most of which are crafted from local materials including hematite (volcanic rock), shark teeth and coral. Below is a sampling of some of the gems I found. Incidentally, you’ll never guess how much the hematite bracelet below cost. Any takers?
The night I arrived my hubby and his colleague introduced me to a surprisingly amazing low-brow dinner at Just Grillin’ – a local chain that just so happens to be situated in the middle of a parking lot (I kid you not!). I inhaled a juicy platter of jerk chicken and succulent grilled shrimp served atop a bed of Caesar salad. I was clearly too preoccupied with the insanely tasty food to take any photos. Check out the menu for a sampling of what you can expect to find. Just be prepared for long lines.
My hubby surprised me with a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at Champers – an upscale restaurant with a beautiful cliff-top setting that overlooks Accra beach. Unfortunately we arrived post sunset, so we couldn’t fully appreciate the panoramic ocean views. While the ambience is clearly a winner, we weren’t exactly blown away by the food. Among the items we sampled: ceviche with citrus vinaigrette (overcooked), shrimp and mango salad (too sweet), cajun mahi mahi (dry and overcooked) and grilled yellow fin tuna, hands down the best dish. For desert, we downed the coconut pie, which was worth every calorie.
Bajan Fish Shack
En route to Dippers, an in-demand dive bar/resto situated on Carlisle Bay right off the Hilton resort is where I stumbled upon this unassuming fish shack. Cuz, the owner, makes the tastiest (and cheapest!) grilled fish sandwiches in Barbados. I forked over $8 Barbados dollars (USD $4) for this blackened mahi mahi fish fillet that was out of this world. If you’re fortunate enough to visit, make sure to top your sandwich with some spicy red pepper sauce – a Caribbean staple that can easily be purchased at the airport.
Ahh… The Beach!!!
The beach by the Hilton resort was absolutely breathtaking. Crystal clear water with huge, crashing waves (amazing surfing), soft white sand and impeccably clean grounds. Just don’t be fooled by the tropical sun, which happened to be a tad stronger than I imagined. Stupidly, I somehow forgot to slather sunscreen on my ass and couldn’t wear pants for the next several days. Note to self: Anthelios 60+ sunscreen is my new best friend.