Bayfield House: Old World Charm
As retirement jobs go, Trevor Ramsay thinks he’s got it just right.
“It’s great,” he said. “I don’t drive to work, I just crawl through the hedge…”
The “hedge” (to be fair, there’s a gate) separates his home on the exclusive Barbados west coast, from Bayfield House, the former plantation property he converted into a “bed and breakfast”.
In the UK, “bed and breakfast” conjures an image of grimy rooms occupied by travelling salesmen and desperate lovers.
At Bayfield House it means unpretentious luxury, peace and quiet and elegant, spacious rooms, each with a unique, old-world charm.
A Twinkle in His Eye?
After 50 years running some of the best hotels in the Caribbean (and most of that in Barbados), Trevor knows a thing or two about hospitality.
“We have a bit of a niche market. We get all sorts here – including honeymoon couples, though they tend not to come back as we don’t take children.” (Did a twinkle just pass his eye as he said that? I wasn’t sure…)
Trevor retired – sort of – in 2007 but within a year was re-building Bayfield House.
He supervised the work himself, hiring a foreman, masons and carpenters.
Trevor added 10 feet around the shell of the old building and modelled the new ground floor arched verandah on The Garrison buildings near Bridgetown.
The bar, dining and pool were next.
He now runs this delightful, hidden gem with his wife Pam, a Bajan who can trace her ancestry back to the first English settlers to arrive in Barbados nearly 400 years ago.
“I did it just to keep myself occupied,” said Trevor, “and to create a family-run business.”
Verandah, styled on The Garrison
Unpretentious luxury. The Bulkeley Room
Something was missing…
The majority of guests are from the UK. And typical of all these Barbados family run hotels, Bayfield House has a lot of repeat visitors.
And his pride in the finished article is obvious.
From the elegant, yet individual look of the 10 rooms, to the huge, simple, modern bathrooms and walk-in closets.
“Those stairs are made from purple heart wood”, “that four-poster bed is mahogany”, “I had that made using Indonesian wood” and “those tables belonged to Pam’s family”, he says.
During the tour, I sensed something was missing, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Televisions. Of course, that was it. There are no tvs in any of the rooms, and deliberately so.
And he hates the garish sign, required by law, pointing to a fire extinguisher: “What else could it be?” he said, shaking his head.
SUMMARY: Great location and good value for the expensive west coast.
NO CHILDREN or tvs, but plenty of wi-fi…
ROOMS: Summer: US$165 – US$185. Winter: US$275 – US$295. Porters Room: US$220 summer, US$375 winter.
FULL BREAKFAST INCLUDED. Three-course evening meal twice a week (Bbds$85).
Four minutes’ walk to Mullins Beach.
The Oval Office
A Cromwell Cannon
Elsewhere, prints of old Barbados from the Illustrated London News line the walls, smart cane furniture sits in the shaded first floor balcony and a 17th century cannon is on guard duty in the garden.
The garden… he’s particularly proud of his garden and the plants within it.
“This one attracts the bees”, “that one has a beautiful lilac-coloured flower” and “this is the lipstick tree”, pointing to a tree with bright red fruit resembling, well, lipstick.
The rooms are named after old Barbados sugar factories.
The biggest, Porters, has a huge bathroom, a wet bar and a private sitting room overlooking the pool.
Lipstick by the pool
Pam and Trevor Ramsay. A Bajan and a Brit
Elegant luxury and comfort
A full cooked breakfast is included in the price and there’s an evening meal twice a week.
The rest of the time, there are four restaurants between four and 15 minutes’ walk away or guests head off to either Speightstown or Holetown, both easily accessible by bus, car or taxi.
Mullins and Gibbes beaches are just down the road. And with a car, most of the island’s attractions are within easy reach.
But if exploring is not your thing, Bayfield House is the perfect spot for kicking back, chilling out and sinking into easy comfort and elegant luxury.
“After a morning on the beach or sightseeing, some people just come back in the afternoon and lie around the pool. They just enjoy the peace and quiet,” he said.
As I suspect, does Trevor.
Not booked yet?
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