Above the bed at Coral Reef Club, a boutique hotel in Barbados, is a hand-woven tapestry of dancing men and women. Its gold and amber threads match the sunflower hues of the room, found in the blinds and cushions which are made from fabrics printed with exotic flora. Turns out that the tapestries are sewn by a resident seamstress—who is on hand for any repairs needed by guests or in the hotel’s rooms—and these joyful pictures (there are variations found in most rooms) seem to be emblematic of the many thoughtful touches found at this discrete hideaway.
Coral Reef Club is a stalwart on Barbados’s ‘Platinum’ West Coast—known for its traditional feel and beloved by many guests who return year after year. It has been owned by the O’Hara family since 1952, although its evolution from a simple hotel to a luxury bolthole very nearly didn’t happen.
In the early 50s, Budge and Cynthia O’Hara, travelled from England for Budge to work as GM at the hotel. The plan was to stay for just three years. Their hands-on approach to hospitality, however, meant that the same guests started to come back year on year, and the O’Haras never left, eventually buying and extending the hotel to what it is now. These days, it is their children—now in their 50s and 60s—who run the hotel, with the third generation, Budge and Cynthia’s grandchildren, also beginning to get involved with the business.
Found north of Holetown, Coral Reef Club is firmly old-school. Guests are requested to wear semi-formal attire for dinner (no flip-flops and shirts for men) during which a pianist tinkles the ivories; there are no TVs in the rooms (although you can request one) and there’s always one of the O’Haras on hand to chat with guests. Saying that, this being Barbados, of course, there’s no standing on ceremony. Instead of feeling too starchy, the hotel has a laid-back ambience, which nicely complements the traditional vibe. So, you’ll find the hotel bar is open round the clock, for instance, there are fresh fruit sorbets served on the beach at 11am every morning, and rum punch sundowners, on the restaurant’s patio, are fuelled by a reggae soundtrack.
Stylistically, Coral Reef Club leans into its classic heritage: with cane furniture, pretty, pastel-printed fabrics and exposed coral-rock walls giving character across the 88 rooms. There’s a mix of bungalow-style cottages, suites and rooms, as well as two luxury villas—all with large marble bathrooms and some with their own plunge pools. Best of all? Each one is within a few seconds’ amble of the pristine beach.
While the aesthetic can be a tad colonial in feel at times, the facilities feel decidedly of the moment—with astroturf tennis courts (flood-lit at night and with pro coaching available) and
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Edinburgh is like a scene from a storybook, its spiky turrets, soaring towers, grand squares and cobbled streets every inch the sort of places dragons and princesses would inhabit — not to mention, of course, one particularly famous boy wizard. The city was J K Rowling’s home while she wrote most of the Harry Potter books, and it’s not hard to see the spark of inspiration for her world of magic. Kids’ imaginations have been known to run away with them as they wander the higgledy-piggledy medieval streets of the Old Town up to Edinburgh Castle or march through regal Holyrood Park to the extinct volcano hilltop of Arthur’s Seat, which towers above elegant Georgian streets in the east of the city centre.
When you want to turn your ho-hums into hearty ho-ho-ho’s, seek out an easy vacation that is fun for everyone from the kids to grandpa, and luxe enough that you feel pampered. At Grand Reserve at Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa Valley, you’ll get all of that, with everything you need just steps away. Sure, you’ll still find the ubiquitous Christmas tree in what Grand Reserve calls their Living Room – not lobby – and that distinction is important. True holiday warmth and a collective focus on family togetherness abound here, a place that feels more like a family home than a hotel.
With its unbeatable seat mile cost, the A320neo Family offers airlines the flexibility to expand their networks using wide-body cabin products on new longer-haul routes which were not previously possible with a single-aisle jetliner.
“Let it Glow” at Discovery Park of America is a seasonal exhibition that illuminates the park with a vibrant and enchanting display of lights and installations. The park transforms into a magical wonderland, where intricate light arrangements and dazzling spectacles captivate visitors.
Visiting cities typically characterized as traffic-clogged, dense and hectic, it’s easy to balk at the idea of mixing an unknown urban destination with kids. However, harborside, fresh-air-swept Sydney is an exception that feels like it puts families first.
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