What could be a better gift under the Christmas tree than an envelope containing reservations for a five-night February escape to the sun, sand and warm waters of Barbados?
Leave Toronto on Thursday morning on a non-stop Air Canada flight to Bridgetown and by midafternoon you and your partner can be checked into a romantic suite at the Crane Resort on the southeast coast, perched on the cliffs above the pink sands of one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean.
After watching the sun set while sipping a Mount Gay rum cocktail, you can dine on Thai and Japanese cuisine at the resort's Zen Restaurant before retiring to your four-poster bed and a lullaby of breaking waves. On Friday, after an afternoon of basking in the sun, head to the nearby village of Oistins to enjoy the best beach party in the Caribbean. Reggae music competes with disc jockeys spinning oldie goldies as Bajan seniors in suits and floral-print dresses waltz in dignified circles around the floor of a rum shack.
Outdoor vendors fire up their grills by 8 p.m. and it's time to sample fresh marlin, swordfish and flying fish served up with Spanish rice, sweet potato and macaroni pie.
Saturday, chill around the resort's 1.5-acre multipool complex, indulge in a spa treatment and dine casually onsite at D'Onofrio's Italian Restaurant. Save Sunday for a rental-car tour of the rugged east coast, stopping at the famous buffet of seafood and local delicacies at the historic Atlantis Hotel (atlantishotelbarbados.com). On Monday, decompress on the beach and end your mini-vacation with a leisurely meal of seafood on the outdoor terrace of the resort's L'Azure Restaurant or dance into the night at the nightclubs of St. Lawrence Gap.
The next afternoon, you fly back to reality.
The Crane Resort: A five-night stay (the minimum) begins at $1,874 double occupancy; thecrane.com.
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