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Cricket and the Caribbean

It’s fair to say I love the Caribbean, almost as much as I love cricket. So when my team, Essex, won their first cricket county championship in 25 years (meaning they would play the traditional new season’s opening game at the Kensington Oval, Barbados), I had no option but to book a ticket.

Fortunately I have an extremely understanding partner, Jo, who was a great support during this awful predicament and agreed to accompany me to the Caribbean.

Julian was able to find us Virgin flights and the wonderful Jay from Elegant Hotels found us a beautiful room at their Tamarind resort within the tight schedule I needed.

Tamarind rests on a 750-foot crescent of premium white sandy beach on the island’s West Coast and is a splendid option for both families and a relaxing adult break.

We were welcomed with a refreshing rum punch after a 35 minute transfer from the airport and were thrilled with our first-floor spacious room, complimented by a fantastic view overlooking the pool and ocean beyond.

The Tamarind offers excellent food options, Caribbean buffet night was a real highlight with superb salads and delicious seafood. Breakfast was a daily joy with the wonderfully charismatic Ether engaging us with her warmth and friendliness as she prepared a range of culinary delights including her infamous corn beef hash, frizzled codfish, pumpkin fritters and corn muffins. She really is an asset to the hotel, always bubbly, amusing and prepared to chat to all the guests as she cooks their eggs of choice.

Although it was peak season and the hotel busy, we always found daybeds when we wanted to chill on the small section of beach just a stone's throw from our balcony. It was perfect for reading and recharging with refreshing dips in the ocean or the pool. Swimming out to sea a short way to float on the hotel’s trampoline (“flampoline”) is highly recommended.

Tamarind sits in the middle of two other properties in the Elegant Hotel portfolio, which we were kindly invited to experience. Treasure Beach was not open when Carly visited the island with Caribtours last year but it has undergone an extensive renovation and redesign since moving under the Elegant Hotels umbrella and opened in December 2017.

We were blown away by The House on the other side of the Tamarind. An adults only haven of tranquillity and sophistication, we were greeted warmly by Manageress, Sandra with a delightful champagne and orange drink infused with the hotel’s signature scent.

We chatted further with Sandra on the gorgeous candlelit veranda leading to the ocean and both came away enchanted by the special touches and “barefoot luxury” this wonderful place exudes, creating the complete home from home experience.

We also visited the Colony Club, another in the Elegant portfolio, situated on the finest stretch of the “platinum” west coast, a pleasant ride by the Elegant Hotel’s own water taxi service that transports guests between its resorts several times a day.

The public reggae bus is a splendid way to get around the island and connect with local culture and a bargain at two Barbadian dollars a ride however far you travel. It stops right outside the Tamarind and we took it to the famous Oistins fish market for a freshly cooked dinner on Saturday night, having missed the hotel’s organised trip for the popular “Fish Friday” experience.

We also highly recommend the Roti Den located on the opposite side of the road to the Tamarind, their home cooked curries and pineapple slaw were tasty and plentiful.

Oh and just one afternoon and evening at the cricket turned out to be more than enough with too much else to enjoy in beautiful Barbados.


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