The parish of St James Barbados is located on the west coast of the island, bordering neighbouring parishes St Peter, St Andrew and St Thomas, with the Caribbean Sea to its west.
It also lies to the north of the parish of St Michael, which is home to the island’s capital, Bridgetown.
St James is deemed to be one of the most historically important parishes on the island of Barbados.
It was on the coastline of this parish that the first English settlers arrived in 1627, setting up a small settlement known as Jamestown.
This settlement then became the village of Holetown that we know today.
There are many historical attractions to be enjoyed in St James Barbados.
Indeed, St James Parish Church in Holetown is the oldest surviving Anglican Church in Barbados and is well worth a visit.
There is a multitude of things to see and do in St James in Barbados, especially a large number of beautiful beaches to enjoy.
The Beaches of St James
One thing that beaches on the west coast of Barbados have in common is that they offer beautiful, soft, white sand and the calm, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Lucky for those staying in St James Barbados, as this Barbados parish offers the best of the lot.
One of the most notable beaches in the area is Sandy Lane Beach or Sandy Lane Bay. This beach is home to the luxurious Sandy Lane Barbados Golf Resort and Spa that is nestled in trees off of the beach.
Sandy Lane Beach is the perfect location for relaxing. It has calm waters that are ideal for swimming and there is a selection of watersports on offer.
Just south of Sandy Lane is Paynes Bay. Another sandy white beach with calm waters, that is an excellent spot for swimming.
There are shady spots at Paynes Bay which make it ideal for those who cannot handle too much sun. Many watersports are available here including jet sking, catamaran sailing and a favourite amongst many visitors "swimming with our sea turtles".
One of the most idyllic beaches in St James Barbados is Crystal Cove. This beach is approximately 3 kilometres (2 miles) to the south of Holetown and is ideal for a day of pure relaxation.
As well as opportunities to enjoy some popular water activities, Crystal Cove is a haven for those looking for a beach that is less crowded than others on the island.
Golf in St James
As well as the beautiful beaches in St James, there are a couple of world-class golf facilities available.
Located in the up-scale Sandy Lane Barbados region are the Sandy Lane golf courses.
Of these three courses, the most amazing is The Green Monkey Golf Course, but is exclusive to guests of The Sandy Lane Resort. So keep this in mind when planning your Barbados vacation in St James Barbados.
To the north-east of Holetown is the prestigious Royal Westmoreland Golf Course. This course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr. and was recently ranked as the 31st best golf course outside of the USA.
Royal Westmoreland Golf Course is a member’s only course but the club does have some special arrangements in place with certain hotels in St James.
Luxury Accommodations in St James
Along with the beautiful beaches comes the beautiful luxury accommodations, and St James Barbados is renowned for its extensive selection of luxury resorts and villa accommodations.
Of these, the most notable is the 5 star Sandy Lane Golf and Spa Resort. This has been the island’s premier resort in St James since the 1960’s with many movie stars and professional athletes choosing this Barbados hotel for their Barbados vacation.
In addition to this resort there are many others St James Barbados Hotels to choose from, each situated on one of the parish’s many beaches.
These include Colony Club, Crystal Cove, The House and Tamarind Cove.
There are also a number of luxury villas found in this Barbados parish ranging in price from the mid USD $400s to the high 5 figures per night.
On the most fabulous and exclusive end of villas St James Barbados has to offer, include the Cove Spring House, an exquisite Colonial-style coral stone beachfront property, and Aliseo, a 9-bedroom vacation home set atop the Sandy Lane Estate.
Fine Dining in St James
If you choose to vacation in St James you will not run out of places to wine and dine with many highend restaurants to choose from.
One of the west coast’s most prominent restaurants The Cliff is found in this Barbados parish.
Since opening in 1995, its imaginative menu and interesting cuisine has been met with nothing but good reviews. As the name suggests, every candlelit table at the cliffside restaurant has a stunning view of the Caribbean Sea.
For a mixture of International and Caribbean cuisine there is also The Tides Restaurant.
Tides was formerly a villa that was converted to a restaurant and is set right on the edge of the water, giving spectacular sea-views to accompany your delicious meal.
Reservations are required to dine at this fine eatery and it has an “elegantly casual” dress code.
Located at Paynes Bay in St James is the wonderful Italian restaurant, Daphne’s. In partnership with its counterpart in London, Daphne’s cuisine is a modern mix of Italian food with a hint of the Caribbean offering mouth watering, full flavours.
The restaurant is situated right by the beach at Paynes Bay, nearby The House Hotel, and has a relaxed atmosphere.
Shopping in St James
Luxury shopping is a highlight of any stay in the parish of St James Barbados. There are many shops, boutiques and malls that can accommodate a serious shopping excursion.
First on your list should be a visit to the newly constructed Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, set to open in December 2010.
Set in ten acres in the heart of Holetown, Limegrove offers over 10,000 square feet of retail opportunity including designer names such as Gucci, Prada, Aftershock and Tommy Bahama.
No matter what you are looking for – clothing, sunglasses, accessories or shoes – the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre has it all.
If you are looking for a piece of jewellery that says something special then Colombian Emeralds at the Cave Shepherd Duty Free Store, is also found in Sunset Crest, St James.
Colombian Emeralds is an internationally renowned company that is one of the largest duty-free jewellers in the world. They have over sixty stores throughout the Caribbean and have been in the business for over forty years.
There offer collections of emerald necklaces, rings and bracelets with unique and interesting designs. Diamonds, sapphires and other gemstones are also available as well as quality watches.
All precious stones are checked for clarity, colour and cut.
Also found in Holetown is The West Coast Mall.
It is a haven for shoppers with a range of stores including Diamonds International. This quality jeweller has been providing exquisite and luxurious jewellery since 1986.
Shoppers can choose from a range of gemstones and pearls as well as a jewellery collection with the patent protected O Diamond.
Nightlife in St James
One of the best places for a vibrant nightlife in the parish of St James Barbados is the town of Holetown.
Situated on the west coast, the parallel 1st Street and 2nd Street in the town are renowned for their restaurants and bars.
The first notable establishment is the Lexy Piano Bar which provides a mixture of musical favourites as well as the opportunity to dance into the early hours. Lexy Piano Bar can be found on 2nd Street.
Also on 2nd Street is The Mews, a restaurant providing delicious International and European cuisine, with live entertainment every Friday night.
A third restaurant on Holetown’s 2nd Street, Olives Bar & Bistro, offers a mixture of traditional Caribbean and Mediterranean food. There is live steelpan music at this venue on Sundays during high season.
In addition to these great establishments, there are informal gatherings held in 1st Street and 2nd Street, when local friends come together on the weekends for some drinks and socializing.