The Mild Mild West
St. James is one of the smallest parishes in Barbados; however, immense significance and character precede it. Known as the place where British boots first touched Barbados’ soil, St. James was one of the first six parish names to be included on the early map renders of the island. But with all due respect to this historic importance, St. James has evolved into a crèche of luxury, musings and island posh, where even Mother Nature seems to tend her kin with an extra refinement and pomp.
Geographically, St. James moves from Bridgetown as a narrow corridor that widens at its northern peak, and its longest continuous
sea-facing perimeter features cozy sea nooks and bays and a list of stunning beaches. An avian perspective reveals a canvas where dark blues fade to turquoise as they creep towards its goldtinted sands. This is then ousted by a strip of grey flatlands that are dotted with geometric reds, greens and whites that represent the island’s progress and an enviable Jacobean prosperity. Beyond here, nature’s greens spring to life, and dollops of sand and water roll outward to the boundaries of its sister parishes.
The pulse of the parish emanates from its heart in Holetown, which was the first town to be established on the island over four centuries ago. But don’t come seeking a geographical anomaly to justify its name, since traces of its origin have long gone with the turning of the centuries. However, its status as the Platinum Coast is no misnomer and is very apparent. On the extreme ends of the city’s commercial district are the most luxurious pillars demarking any street on the island - the pristine, coral stone walls of the stunning Sandy Lane greet you as you arrive from Bridgetown at the welcoming south; and, on the north, the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre bids you adieu.
But in between these two points, and along its main street, the buzzing city centre of Holetown, creates a haven for duty-free shopping sprees, fine dining, coffee stops, pampering sessions and family outings. On the opposite side of the street, beautiful beaches complete with hushed waters are ripe for soft adventure and idle beach days. And, when the sun takes its leave, 1st Street and 2nd Street hum to
life, and lounge and clubbing ways are in full effect. But this is just the start.
Further inland, and away from the town and the coast, the buzz of activity calms to a pleasant whirr. On exiting the city moving
eastward, a curiosity builds as to what - or rather who - sits behind the high walls and thick hedges that announce the playground of
the rich and famous. Beyond this shrouded path, the gentle, manicured greens of the Sandy Lane Golf course and the course at Royal Westmoreland roll by. In addition to the golfing goodness on offer, exclusivity awaits at the Sugar Hill Tennis community, and delectability at the Lancaster Great House on the highway to the north. And yet higher is the third golf giant of the area: Apes Hill Club golf course, and its sister polo field.
These facts conclude that the St. James experience has quintessentially redefined the old notions of what an island holiday should be. And in years to come, it would be no surprise if there is a motion to rechristen the area St. Luxury.