Spa Deliciousness at Sandy Lane, Barbados

Sandy Lane, Barbados
Sandy Lane, Barbados

If you’ve just finished reading about the ridiculously delicious white chocolate sauce dessert at Daphne’s in Barbados, prepare for another few paragraphs of paradise because you’ve just jumped from food heaven to spa heaven!

Sandy Lane in Barbados opened it’s pearly white gates back in 1961 and has been the go to spot for jet setters looking for an outrageously luxurious Caribbean get away ever since. When my Mum announced that she had booked treatments for myself, my sister-in-law and her at the famous spa, I was beyond excited! If you, like us, are not staying at the hotel you can book in for treatments and use the spa, but only until 3.30pm – I can only presume that’s when the George Clooneys and Kylie Minogues of the world appear, as they were nowhere to be seen when we were there!

After giving our names at the gates, we drove into the vast grounds of the hotel and spa. The gardens were stunning and completely immaculate. As we walked towards the spa, even the AIR was perfumed and amazing! Honestly, it was as if they had planted little air-fresheners full of deliciousness about the grounds.

The spa is nestled behind the waterfall which fronts the enormous hotel pool. Quaint, white bridges dotted about taking you across the pool to the spa, and on the other side, the poolside bar, make it this an enticing area for hotel guests. wpid-20140425_211515.jpgwpid-img_20140425_211246.jpg

Before being led down to the spa we sat in the huge, marble atrium filling in the usual spa forms and enjoying calming ginger tea and some water, room temperature or cold, should you want the options! The therapists were so friendly and welcoming, and urged us to enjoy our day at the spa by making use of all the facilities before, and after, our treatments.

I was booked in for a back, neck and shoulder massage. This was a Swedish style massage which also used hot stones and I was given the choice of two Sandy Lane Signature oils, Sunrise or Sunset. I chose the latter and for 45 minutes I was the most relaxed I have felt in forever! I left feeling completely de-stressed and my skin was luxuriously soft and had soaked up all the gorgeous smelling coconut oils. After my massage I had an eyebrow tint, which was just as relaxing and the therapist took such time and attention to make sure she used just the right shade of dye for my complexion and hair colour.

The spa facilities are, of course, fantastic. Outside there is a hydrotherapy pool complete with air beds and a jacuzzi, and on the other side of the patio, an array of experience showers, each with a different water temperature and scent designed to awaken the senses. The cold room, set at 6 degrees C, was delightfully cooling, and I must admit with temperatures outside at 28 degrees I didn’t venture into the sauna. Indoors there is a stunning relaxation room where you can sip an amazing selection of teas, enjoy fresh fruits and juices, and quite simply chill out. 

All robed up and ready to relax...
All robed up and ready to relax…
View of the hydrotherapy pool from my deck chair
View of the hydrotherapy pool from my deck chair
Panoramic view of the outdoor spa patio
Panoramic view of the outdoor spa patio
Gorgeous garden and waterfall at the back of the spa
Gorgeous garden and waterfall at the back of the spa
The ultimate chill out zone
The ultimate chill out zone

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After our treatments we floated back upstairs to the spa cafe for lunch. There was no need to change out of our robes which was great, and the lunch menu had lots of fresh salads and light snacks – exactly what we were in the mood for! I enjoyed Gazpacho, a cold, Spanish, tomato and onion soup. Served with a dollop of sour cream, the soup was refreshing and tangy, exactly how I remembered it from my time in Spain. My sister-in-law had a california roll and my Mum went for a colourful Greek salad.

Refreshing gazpacho soup with sour cream
Refreshing chilled gazpacho soup with sour cream
Sushi - the perfect spa snack!
Sushi – the perfect spa snack!
Greek salad with feta and olives
Greek salad with feta and olives

After lunch we retreated back downstairs for one last final hour of zen before heading across to the main hotel area for celebratory cocktails. The perfect end to a perfect day…  and now I am left wishing every day could spent in the sunshine and luxury that is the Barbados Sandy Lane Spa!

Balcony overlooking the  terrace and beach
Balcony overlooking the terrace and beach
One Mojito and one Monkey in a Tree cocktail!
One Mojito and one Monkey in a Tree cocktail!
Love the SL cocktail sticks!
Love the SL cocktail sticks!

Daphne’s Barbados

Daphne's beachfrontMy week in Barbados with my family was incredible, full of lots of great food and wonderful company – just the way a holiday should be. My two highlights of the week are clear though, the first is my Dad’s birthday dinner at Daphne’s Barbados, and the second, a luxurious day at the Sandy Lane Spa with my Mum is sister-in-law.

Before booking Daphne’s I did a lot of online research about the different restaurants on the island. Having never been, and not knowing many people who had, I was completely dependent on blogs and reviews, and my internet research definitely came up trumps.

Daphne’s Restaurant is part of the Elegant Hotels Group and describes itself to be “the island’s only luxury waterfront Italian dining experience.” On top of the many glowing reviews I read online, I noticed Daphne’s had a full and delicious sounding gluten free menu which would suit my sister-in-law perfectly.

As we walked through the restaurant to our table I was not quite prepared for the waterfront scene that awaited us. Our table sat on wooden decking a mere 20ft from the ocean. Gorgeous wicker lights illuminated the sand below and chunky, luxurious wooden sun beds and beach chairs were scattered across the beach. It was absolutely breath-taking. By the time we arrived at 7pm the sun had already set, but I can only imagine watching the sunset from one of those beach chairs, cocktail in hand, would be heavenly!Daphne's private beach beach lights

The dishes on offer that night were just as impressive. As I had hoped, the gluten free menu went down a treat, so much so, three of our party chose their mains from that menu. The food at Daphne’s was elegant, classic and delicious. For starters a couple of us chose grilled octopus with cherry tomatoes and olives which was tender and full of flavour. Also on the go we had an antipasto platter of cured Italian meats, pickled onions and parmesan, and a shrimp piri piri dish with a tomato and basil cous cous. Full marks all around from everyone at the table!

Seared octopus with cherry tomatoes and olives
Seared octopus with cherry tomatoes and olives
Classic Italian antipasto platter
Classic Italian antipasto platter

On to the main course. A couple members of our party enjoyed the catch of day which was blacked Mahi Mahi – a meaty, white fish. My brother, who we now consider a true islander having lived on Tortola for 5 years, tells me the Mahi is blacked with a Cajun spice mix. Served with fondant potatoes, wilted greens and a saffron sauce, I could tell from the empty plates it was thoroughly enjoyed. I went for a classic Italian dish, breaded veal cutlets served with a spicy spaghetti arrabiatta. It is quite a simple dish that when done well, like at Daphne’s, is excellent. The star of the gluten free menu was the yellowfin tuna, served on a bed of fired cornmeal with cous cous and roasted vegetables. I tried cornbread for the first time a few months ago at The Lockhart and I fell in love! It was a gorgeous accompaniment to the yellowfin tuna – just shows you when done well, gluten free food can be indulgent and delicious.

Veal cutlets with a spicy arrabbiata sauce
Veal cutlets with a spicy arrabbiata sauce
Blackened Mahi Mahi
Blackened Mahi Mahi
Yellow fin tuna with fried corn bread spicy cous cous
Yellow fin tuna with fried corn bread spicy cous cous

Almost, but not quite, too full for dessert, I shared a plate frosted berries and hot, white chocolate sauce. My thinking was that the frosted berries would refreshing, as the temperature down at the beachfront, in the evening, was extremely toasty for us Scots. For those with sweet tooth, the white chocolate sauce was mouth-watering; I really could eaten a zillion little pots of it to myself. The picture I took with just too delicious for my phone to cope with so you’ll just have to take my word for it… (Or I may have tucked in and destroyed the beautiful looking dish before I had a chance to take a picture… don’t judge me, you didn’t see or taste it!)

After telling you about such an indulgent dessert, now seems like the perfect time to send you over to my blog post about the awesome Sandy Lane Spa. So… off you go and read about more wonderful things right here.

Island Life

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This week I am blogging from Barbados! As it is my first time on the island I’m sure there will be plenty exciting, new foods to blog about and interesting places to tell you about.

Let’s start with where I am staying. I am here with my family and we are all staying together at Royal Westmoreland, on the West coast of the Island.

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As residents we have access to Mullins Beach which is a short drive away, however all the beaches on the island are public. The weather here is beautiful – about 28 degrees with a gorgeous, constant breeze.

So, what is on the menu whilst we are here? l am enjoying lots of lovely fresh fruit and yogurt in the mornings… l find it so much easier to be healthy when the sun is shining!

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But of course being healthy goes out the window when you come across ice creams like this…

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Lunches are a mix of eating fresh salads by the pool and eating out. Yesterday we ventured into Holetown and had lunch at Limegrove – an upmarket shopping complex (I’ll chat a bit about the shopping here later!) There seem to be an adundance of Asian restaurants in Barbados, and I have noticed the supermarkets are well stocked with Asian cooking ingredients.

At Limegrove we ate at The Lemongrass, a tasty thai restaurant with seats outside, busy with lunchtime holiday makers, all enjoying some food and wine. The restaurants and cafes on the island also cater very well for gluten free diets, with many places offering gluten free options or a additional gluten free menu – this comes as a surprise to me having a gluten free sister in law living in the Caribbean who always struggles to find a variety of options on her island.

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This week we have the luxury of  a huge, gas BBQ where we are staying, and we are definitely making the most of it. Last night we cooked up juicey, barbecued prawns (in their shells) with a spicey salsa made up of tomato, red onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, corriander and a squeese of lime juice. As sides we also roasted some sweet potatoes and had some rice and salad. A fresh, easy and tasty meal perfect after a day baking in the Caribbean sunshine. This meal is of course much more enjoyable if you have a chap to man the BBQ 🙂

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So what else for the week ahead? Tonight it is more BBQ delights, ribs and pork chops are on the menu. We are also cooking up a some christophene – a green vegetable I have never seen before, but seems to be akin to summer squash and other root vegetables. Tomorrow night we having birthday celebrations at Daphne’s, a West coast beach side restaurant with a fabulous reputation.

And I’m not going home until I have had a cocktail from a coconut. (Another post will follow all about island drinks and Mount Gay rum).

As they say, wish you were here…

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