Drive along Barbados’s Highway 1, the coast road that skims the west coast’s most expensive mansions, and it feels like there is a race to build on every last piece of land. New five-star hotels, luxury resorts and multi-million-pound villas are springing up, while the rare remaining one-acre beachfront plots come with eight-figure price tags. Add to that the cacophony from the road, including the high-decibel reggae that blares out from buses that hurtle past like tilting trains and all you want is a shady palm and a bit of peace.
Well, head to the eastern side of the island and it feels like a different world. Most of the coastline is protected parkland and only a few clapperboard cottages, well-weathered from the Atlantic spray, dot the sands. The background noise is of crashing waves and there is a sense of endless space as you gaze from the hilltops across the green and golden coastline. It’s still considered out on a limb for most of the big-spending visitors who come to Barbados for the high life and there is just one luxury resort — The Crane, the oldest hotel in the Caribbean, which sits alone on a clifftop overlooking one of the world’s best beaches.