The secret coast where Barbados shows its best side
Barbados isn’t all white sand and azure waves: it has some important political problems to clean up. There is the pressing issue of sewage leaking into a busy part of the south coast, although this year’s election may speed things along. Outside the affected area, the tap water is potable and the sea safe to swim in.
Instead of the south, look to the wild and rugged east coast. This is where those who really know Barbados hang out: a vast swathe of national park with rocky shores, verdant hills and unspoilt beaches. Alongside villages such as Bathsheba and Belleplaine, there are a few independent hotels and private rentals strung out along the coast. For many, this area epitomises the Barbados of decades ago.
“People don’t understand this coast. It’s not just a different demographic that comes here, but a different psychology – people who want beauty, scenery and peace,” says Paul Doyle, a Canadian businessman who took a chance 30 years ago when he bought the ruined Crane Hotel on the tip of the south-east coast.
With its white sand beach, spa, bars and restaurants, The Crane is the only large-scale, purpose-built residential resort in this part of Barbados and is something of an institution. Doyle believes being on the less-fashionable side of the island is what makes it popular. “People don’t come here to be seen.”
William and Elizabeth Johnston, from Devon, bought a two-bedroom apartment at The Crane in 2014 and didn’t even consider the island’s more popular and touristy western side. “The east coast is spectacular, beautiful and completely unspoilt,” says William. “We chose The Crane because it’s away from the built-up part of the island but not too far from the airport, at just a 25-minute drive, with good supermarkets and excellent beaches.”
Fractional property in a onebedroom apartment at The Crane starts from $10,000 (£7,300) for a week in low season, with full ownership from around $600,000. Some properties have private pools, and most have direct sea views. There are also newer private residences available that are more contemporary in style than earlier properties, starting at $676,000 for two bedrooms.
Plans for The Crane are ambitious, but Doyle is taking his vision and faith in the east coast a step further. He’s invested in another site that’s even more removed from the west coast glitz in terms of location and ambience.
Beach Houses is a luxury development that has been designed for those who want the Barbados climate and natural beauty without the clubs, bars and super yachts.
The resort overlooks Skeete’s Bay, a small cove on the rocky eastern coastline, and will comprise 67 properties, a restaurant and store.
Residences are sleek and contemporary, split between fractional and outright ownership, with the latter homes being built to order. Prices start at $180,000 for four weeks’ use, with villas priced from $1.95million for two bedrooms. “The Beach Houses is really
Pollards Mill House, a plantation house with cottages, is for sale at $2.7 million with Knight Frank