How many beaches worldwide can be accessed by a glass-fronted beach elevator? How many boast elite list celebrities from the worlds of music, sport and entertainment? How many promise fabulous hotels a pebble throw from the crystal-blue water which are still faithful to their 19th century heritage? The answer is few, if any, but Crane Beach is an unusual beach in many ways.
The accolades picked up by its white sands and pristine waves are multiple, and befitting of a shore grandly titled by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous as ‘One of the 10 Best Beaches in the World’. Those awards, plus the near-30 degree Celsius temperatures across the year, make the visit an unforgettable one.
According to its official website, the Bridgetown bay has been named as one of the ‘Top 50 Places to go Before You Die’ by BBC’s Holiday Programme, and among the ‘Top 25 sexiest Beaches in The World’ by The Travel Channel – a true highlight among highlights in the kind of list that one would find on websites such as How to Spend It.
A-list celebrities who are believed to have strolled its white/gold sand include Simon Cowell and the Beckhams, while native Bajan Rihanna stays with her mother nearby.
The waves can be gentle and perfect for beginners and families, but also pack enough power for boogie boarding. Swimming with turtles and snorkelling through shipwrecks are attractive activities, perhaps as part of day cruises through East Caribbean waters. Bridgetown itself, with a population of 110,000, is replete with remnants of the old Colonial era.
Landmarks include Independence Square and National Heroes Square, formerly known as Trafalgar Square and still overseen by a statue of Lord Nelson. Cricket fans might also savour a visit to Kensington Oval, site of the 2007 World Cup Final.
The Residences By The Sea as part of The Crane Hotel resort – a favourite with honeymooners – comprise one or two bedroom Ocean view rooms (or three-bedroom if you prefer the Penthouse). These feature hardwood or stone floors inside a spectacular façade with turrets and porticos in authentic Barbadian styling. Elsewhere are residences in The Park with private gardens and dining gazebos, historic residences featuring 200-year-old coral stone walls, and a collection of private villas further up the beach. If the allure of Crane Beach grabs you then the next step could be to consider an investment opportunity, or the purchase of an apartment.
Foodies will not be disappointed by the plethora of dishes that offer tastes of both the Orient and traditional Western and Barbadian fare. The former includes outstanding Japanese Nigiri Sushi, and Speciality Maki of freshly caught prawn, eel, scallops and squid at the Zagat-rated Zen restaurant. The latter means burgers, barbecued chicken, perhaps pan seared scallops and seared lack of lamb, or even a Sunday gospel breakfast buffet.
This is as desirable a location as one can imagine. You’ll wake up to the sound of waves and chattering frogs and insects in the undergrowth, and stroll along the beach under palm trees that sheltered holidaymakers from the present and pirates and personalities from the past. The food, the drink, the ambience, the sea sports and the experience make this a perfect taste of the Caribbean – and one which will leave you wanting more.