Situated on Paynes Bay, the very best stretch of Barbados' platinum west coast, Tamarind combines five-star luxury with an informal approach.

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Kick back on sunny afternoons in giant hammocks in secluded gardens, taking an occasional dip in the serene spa pool surrounded by waterfalls, or indulge in some watersports before a rejuvenating rum punch at the poolside bar. The hotel's neighbouring beachside restaurant, Daphne's - sister of the London eatery - is legendary. Don't leave without trying the array of freshly caught fish. If you have time, take a trip to the island's starkly contrasting rugged south coast, too, if only to visit Zen, an award-winning sushi restaurant. It's perched on striking palm-covered cliffs overlooking Crane Beach, consistently rated one of the top ten on earth.

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If you're after a little more than a fly-and-flop honeymoon, this is an excellent opportunity to try your hand at mastering some exhilarating (and usually rather costly) activities, such as waterskiing and wakeboarding, for free. Or perhaps hold on tight as you're towed by speedboat up the coast on a giant banana. Whether you're looking to lose yourselves or find something new, you can do it all on this tiny island.

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WOW FACTOR Access to a private speedboat (complete with driver) for unlimited tours of the famous coastline, where you can admire the celebrity mansions of Rihanna, Simon Cowell and Oprah Winfrey, among others.

GO Virgin Holidays www.virginholidays.co.uk offers seven nights from £1,219 per person, B&B. Includes flights and transfers

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