Barbuda is a largely undiscovered Caribbean island of profound unspoiled beauty. Donkeys, deer and goats wander freely along the rudimentary roads, and the frigate bird population vastly outnumbers the residents. The island’s blindingly white – and occasionally pink – sand beaches are virtually free of the scars of human endeavor. No big ships come to port, but local fishing boats perennially ply the surrounding cerulean sea.
Barbuda’s dreamy, lost-in-time quality derives largely from the fact that the island’s sixty-two square miles of land are owned by the Barbudan people in common. Land cannot be sold, only leased, and any commercial development must be approved by a vote of the island’s residents, people who are understandably averse to do anything to change their idyllic environment.
The first new resort to open on Barbuda in over ten years, Barbuda Belle rises to the challenge – and privilege – of its extraordinary setting. Approachable only by boat, Barbuda Belle has a thoughtful, light-but-lux footprint on the island.
The six beachfront bungalows at Barbuda Belle are constructed of sustainable Indonesian bamboo, and built on stilts to avoid interference with natural vegetation and water flows. For guests, the elevated quarters yield unobstructed sea views and enhanced ventilation. The entire resort runs on solar power, including a novel air conditioning system employed to cool the netted, four-poster guest beds. The air-cooled beds allow guests to slumber in comfort yet remain connected to nature through open windows. Design flourishes at Barbuda Belle are elegant and understated, a wise deference to the arresting sea views.
Barbuda Belle is a relaxed retreat that encourages idleness, yet active options abound. Guests can snorkel in the translucent sea among colorful fish, sea turtles and rays, kayak through verdant mangrove forests, and walk – or beach-bike – along a deserted, seventeen-mile shore. Barbuda Belle also offers a uniquely Barbudan experience in the form of an excursion to the nearby Frigate Bird Sanctuary, home to over 5,000 birds. Unable to swim or walk, the frigate birds’ 5-foot wingspan translates to dominance in the sky. Frigates are the opportunists of the bird world. Rather than do their own hunting, frigates prefer to pillage the prey right out of the beaks of less aerially adept birds.
The Mangrove Restaurant at Barbuda Belle serves seafood-centric cuisine, artfully prepared by a French chef with heavy reliance on locally-sourced ingredients. With a maximum occupancy of 16 guests, individual dietary requests are readily accommodated, and meals can be served beachside or arranged privately on the expansive bungalow decks. The Barbuda Belle staff delivers genuine hospitality, the kind of sincere service that can only come from a convivial team with an authentic interest in delivering a remarkable guest experience.
Barbuda is a transcendent island, and Barbuda Belle is a sanctuary worthy of its singular setting. Barbuda Belle is beach bliss, done right.
Barbuda Belle: www.barbudabelle.com