Besotted By Barbados: Shinan Govani Explores The Caribbean Gem


I’ve been besotted by Barbados for nearly fifteen years. 

Since my maiden voyage, in the early aughts – when I fell in love with the island, despite a torrid tropical storm, and because love is love – I’ve made it standard operating procedure of going back at least once an annum. My usual pit-stop? The Crane, set cake-like atop a 70-foot cliff, and home to what’s possibly the most sensational coral-sand carpet in the world. “Bloody brilliant,” is, I think, what many of the many Ab Fab-ish Brits who frequent Barbados would call the oh-so-rugged Crane Beach.

My own calendar rigamarole typically involves landing at the hotel – which has all the amenities of a small town – directly after covering the Toronto International Film Festival, in September. Being on the social reporter’s beat, it’s the time in the year when, in the span of a week, I go to about 40 parties, and the only thing I only want to do post-Fest is chillax (and not eat another damn thing off a cocktail napkin). After facing down the likes of Tom Ford, Bryan Cranston, and Anne Hathaway – as I did this past year – the only thing I want to face, indeed, is my own mortality (something best done at the on-site Japanese restaurant, Zen, where I take a seat at the bar which, peering out to a full glass panel overlooking the rough seas, has one of the planet’s best stool-views).

Having come to The Crane for as many years as I have, and being a gung-ho bibliophile, I find myself even marking the years depending on what I read when here. There is, for instance, the time I zipped through Zadie Smith’s staggering debut novel, White Teeth, on one of my earlier trips. Or the time I page-galloped through Nemesis, an enthralling biography about Aristotle Onassis and Jackie O. Or the time I sat here and got to know Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, or re-read Edith Wharton’s Custom of the Country.

There are, it must be said, innumerable joys to the concept of the return-hotel. When so much of life, these days, seems to be about chasing the new, the not-done, a shiver of pleasure can be found in not having to Instagram The Crane (because I’ve Instagram’ed it to pieces on previous trips). There is a kind of cheerful clarity about knowing exactly the right chair under the right gothic-looking tree I want to see under at the old-school pool that sits at The Crane, or knowing the precise roundabout on the beach to get to the now-famous “Cutters” where proprietor Roger Goddard serves up his mesmerizing best-on-the-island brew of rum punch. 

Familiarity, it turns out, breeds content.

Shinan Govani has written for a variety of publications including The Toronto Star, Hello! Canada, Town & Country and Vanity Fair and is also the author of the novel, Boldface Names.

Shinan Govani