the North Point Surf Resort, abandoned hotel in Barbados

better pool empty

When I was a child I stood on the cracked floor of this derelict olympic-sized swimming pool. I was with my mother, my father and my sister. From Rockley Beach where we were staying, we had driven up to the northern tip of the island for the afternoon. That moment, that place, and that pool has haunted me ever since.

Mystery surrounds this hotel. No-one seems to know who owned it or why it was built in such an isolated area. Barbados’ north coast is wild, rugged and windswept. Here’s a photo of that same swimming pool in its heyday.

pool one 

Over Christmas we escaped to Barbados and discovered paradise. I have perfect recall of the Air Canada DC-8 jet, gleaming white on the tarmac, and me stepping out of it. I can still feel the trade winds caressing my cold-chapped skin as I descended the metal staircase and followed my parents to the terminal. It was a day before my tenth birthday, and we had travelled to this sun-drenched little isle for the holidays. Speeding along the littoral road, we caught sight of the sea and gaped like country bumpkins out on a day trip. The island sky was vast with bold cloudscapes and there was a glittering brightness in the air.

The Sweet Life was a plantation-style guesthouse with a frangipani tree gracing its front lawn. From our rooms we threw open the shutters and gazed onto a garden brimming with fruit trees, vines and flowering plants, their colors bright and boisterous. Gecko-lizards flickered across pathways and vanished into the jungle-like undergrowth. Intoxicated by the perfume and the heat we shed our clothes and, like pale pilgrims from the North, ran to frolic on the sands of Rockley Beach across the road.

Bajan boys, shimmying nimbly up the trunks of coconut trees, slashed open the giant shells and offered us the water to drink. I had never seen a fresh coconut before. I had never seen a black person before. That evening we feasted on jug jug and spicy fishcakes while a steel band playing tinny music plinkety-plinked beside a shimmering pool. Drunk on the voluptuousness of the tropics and too many rum punches, Dad joined the limbo-dancing contest on the beach and wrenched his back. The next day he lay, subdued under a fig tree on the hotel lawn, while my mother, sister and I went into town to find me a birthday cake.

In bustling Bridgetown a new language floated in the air. Wandering the city center, we heard the Bajan dialect spoken by the citizens, their lilting voices mingling with the smells and sounds of the marketplace. We rented a sun moke and roamed the northernmost tip of the island. There was a cliff hotel, its setting dramatic but eerie, as Atlantic waves crashed violently onto the rocks below. We stood on the floor of the empty swimming pool then roamed the neglected property. A compass rose was etched into the crumbling patio tiles near the abandoned bar. Despite the heat we felt chilled. Imagining the ghosts of former guests to be present, we could almost hear the chatter of voices and the clink of ice cubes in glasses as they sat in lounge chairs sunning themselves like sleek, contented reptiles. Shivering, we returned to Rockley Beach and hurled ourselves at the waves.

 

pool two with compass

Another old photo of the hotel in its heyday, the compass rose etched into the patio tiles near the bar. That’s where I stood, years later.

Two weeks later the DC-8 jet lifted off with a powerful thrust and within seconds we were aloft, northbound to our snow-blanketed Canadian tundra. With the sound of Calypso music ringing in our ears, we quit paradise.

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The last time I was in Barbados was with my parents in the 1990s. It’s time to go back.

I just found this video on YouTube and watched it, transfixed. It’s living proof that the hotel really existed, and it wasn’t all just a dream.

 

9 thoughts on “the North Point Surf Resort, abandoned hotel in Barbados

  1. Wow. You’ve just transported me back to another time and place that sounds magical. Thanks so much for that.

  2. when I was 12 or 13 which was 1966 or 1967, my family stayed there over Christmas Vacation. it was the only time we weren’t home in Massachusetts for that holiday. I remember it well. the landscaping was lush, that pool was amazing, we’d stand on surf boards and go the length of the pool, there was always a breeze. the beach, such as it was, was dangerous. it’s where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean meet or so we were told. the surf was rough and the undertow powerful. we only went down there once and the rest of the time we just used the pool. we stayed in an apartment, 2 bedrooms, I think 2 bathrooms, it was a long time ago. the restaurant there was very good, breakfast was a buffet with all kinds of fruits, pastries, meats and they had an egg station where you got your eggs cooked to order. I know there was a gift shop but I don’t remember it. there were bougainvillea and hibiscus, other flowers too including some orchids. my father was known all over the world for his orchids, we would always bring home some specimens from such trips and of course he knew someone on the island whose home, gardens and greenhouses we visited. I had no idea it was abandoned, on a whim I did a search and found this. the owners were Scandinavian, I don’t remember exactly which country. I do remember the man was blond and good looking. I wish I remembered more! I’m so glad you posted this!

    • What a wonderful memory you have, Minette! I’m sorry for the delay in replying. I just got back an hour ago from Portugal (where I disconnected from the internet.)

      Wow. I remember too hearing the same thing, that it was where the Atlantic Ocean met the Caribbean Sea. So you and your family actually stayed there??

      Have you been back to Barbados since? I’m dying to go back. I will go back.

      Thanks so much for your comment and sharing that memory with us!

      • Although I’ve been other places I haven’t ever gone back to Barbados. Because of my father’s orchid connections, we visited the private home of a wealthy family when I was there. I remember how gracious they were. I wish I remembered more, it was a very long time ago.
        I hope you enjoyed Portugal, disconnecting sometimes is good for us. 🙂

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