There is no better place to go in the world than Barbados, so it was a quick decision when we knew we needed a tropical location to shoot new pieces for our Beachcomber collection.
As always our team was made up with photography duo Natalie Bayliss and Max Tetlow of New Pixels Photography and amazing model Grace Tuffnell joining me on the plane. We had shot here before and couldn’t wait to return to this beautiful Island.
OUT ON LOCATION
The first day saw us shooting early at 6am to catch the new light and work before it gets too hot. There are so many beaches around the island to choose from but we know that the ones on the Southern tip are deserted as the tourists stick to the shallow West Coast and the sufers to the churning surf of the East Coast. A 2 hour drive brings us to Bottom Bay (a stunning powder white beach with blue skies and waving palms) where there’s not a soul in sight but plenty of rustic beach backdrops and interesting textures to shoot against. We’ve shot our bridal collections here before and knew the location would be perfect.
The true charm of Barbados is not in the luxury resorts dotted around but the local landmarks and remarkable friendliness of the Bajans who live there. Anyone visiting needs to hire a car to explore the island and its culture. As its only a small island you can explore most parts within a few days, but be sure to see Port St Charles (a beautiful marina where the great and good keep their yachts) We stopped there for lunch and swimming off the jetty.
Don’t miss the capital Bridgetown either with its colourful architechture reminiscent of New Orleans. The best place you could go though would be to the quiet waters of St. James where you can swim with Sea Turtles. They are tame and used to swimming with people so you can feed and swim with them if you are lucky enough to find a group – we find if we swim out away from the beach the chances are better and I’ve always seem the most in the stretch near Tamarind Cove. It’s an experience you wont forget…. Max and Natalie had to go back a few times as they loved it so much and even got to film the turtles under the water!
There are a few places off the beaten track that the tourists generally dont see so much. The most important to aim for is Codrington College (a beautiful old building by the edge of the sea with lush gardens you can walk around and the most gorgous lily pond I’ve ever seen.) Another place which should be top of your list is St. Nicholas Abbey where they distill the best rum on the island. Drive though acres of sugar cane fields (where you can smell the sugar on the breeze) to reach it, where you can take a rum tour and eat in their garden cafe. An unforgettable experience is to visit North Point where the wild Atalantic sea creates huge waves over the cliff edge. The view from the restaurant on the top of the cliff is unforgettable, just don’t be led to sit at one of the tables right by the edge as you may get a soaking!
STAY + EAT
There are so many wonderful hotels on the isaland to choose from, but top of my list would be The Lone Star as the ultimate luxury boutique stay. This 5 star retreat started life as the Lone Star Garage but now offers suites overlooking the ocean, spa treatments and a world famous restaurant. Having used the location for a photo shoot once we know it well and had to make plans this time for a meal to celebrate the last night after wrapping our shoot. The food here is amazing, and it’s frequented by famous faces (George Cloony is a fan of the Whiskey Sours at the bar). The upscale fusion menu also includes their famous take on Shepherds Pie (it’s delicious!).
If you are looking for privacy and a a more authentic Bajan stay then look to book a private apartment in Beacon Hill opposite Mullins Bay (one of the best beaches on the island) or at Sugar Hill. The views are wonderful and the restaurant on the beach serves local recipes such as Cou Cou (similar to polenta) and Bajan Flying Fish. We also loved the traditional Roti (usually chicken curry in a wrap with potatoes).
My favourite place to shop on the island is the Earthworks Pottery. Their pieces of earthenware in signature tuquoise and jade tones is stunning and I can’t visit Barabdos without stopping by to add one more piece to my collection at home. If you are a fan of designer labels and unique boutiques then Limegrove is also for you (a luxury mall on the West Coast featuring stores such as Ralph Lauren, and MAC).
Don’t leave Barbados without a trip to the OIstins Fish Fry which takes place every Friday night. We first visited over 20 years ago when just a few huts on the beach offered charcoal grilled fish, now its grown to be a huge beach party where you can get BBQ lobster and join the locals dancing (50’s swing in one area and Reggae on another stage). Everyone should see Barbados – my favourite go to place for everything from relaxation to unforgetable experiences!