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T he Crane, with its unique clifftop setting on one of the most beautiful pieces of beachfront in the world, evokes feelings of grandeur. Sparkling, pristine azure waters and soft pink sand that stretches for a quarter mile give Crane Beach the distinction of being named one of the ' Top Ten Beaches in the World' by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. This truly special resort is also the oldest operating hotel in the Caribbean. Now transformed from an 18- room historic property on the southeast coast of Barbados to a premier luxury resort with 202 rooms, The Crane has nevertheless maintained its distinctive historic and intimate feel. The essence of ' The Crane Experience' is a combination of spectacular natural beauty, a casually elegant atmosphere and warm, friendly service that is reminiscent of The Crane's earliest history of hospitality. Guests that are lucky enough to have discovered The Crane enjoy a vacation that is a true retreat from everyday life. Taking advantage of the natural landscape, The Crane occupies a tranquil 40- acre space that seamlessly blends old and new, but still maintains the environs that inspired travellers a century ago. The newly developed buildings have been strategically positioned to capture the best of the Easterly trade winds that constantly cool the area. Crane suites also feature key elements taken from the original resort, including coral stone walls, 11- foot- high timber tray ceilings, and local hand- carved mahogany furniture, including traditionally high, king size four- poster beds. While The Crane remains steeped in Barbadian history, the property also offers numerous 21st century conveniences and amenities. Ground floor suites feature 28- foot ' infinity edge' private pools, while many upper floor suites feature plunge pools set in open turrets with spectacular ocean views. The well- appointed accommodations also feature oversized whirlpool baths, spa showers with multiple showerheads, DVD players and complimentary in- room internet access. The historic Crane pool, framed by two classic Doric columns, is renowned for its breathtaking views overlooking the pink sands of Crane Beach. Today, the resort also offers a fabulous 1 .5 acre Cliff Pool complex – four swimming pools with infinity edges interconnected by cascading waterfalls and meandering landscaping. In this area, the resort's guests also enjoy an alfresco whirlpool set into a restored historic ruin, softly lit at night to add to the romantic ambiance. Two floodlit tennis courts are also available for the tennis enthusiast. The Crane currently offers three restaurants, two of which are highly rated by Zagat: L'Azure, which features classic Caribbean cuisine; and Zen, serving authentic Japanese and Thai cuisine. The recently opened Carriage House, a restored historic stable, offers up light fare and tropical cocktails poolside. In development now with an anticipated opening in early 2009, is The Crane Village, which on completion will offer a new Italian restaurant, a coffee shop with bakery, general store, artisan boutique, resort wear boutique, a jazz bar, fitness centre, new concierge and reception, a full- service conference centre and a 3,000- square- foot duty free environ featuring jewellery, souvenirs, liquor and tobacco. The Crane A world apart SPONSORED PROMOTION y www. thecrane. com y reservations@ thecrane. com y Tel: ( 246) 423 6220 y Fax: ( 246) 423 5343

At Christmas time, the influence of the Spanish comes to the fore with parang, a Venezuelan- derived Christmas music in which small groups of singers and guitarists go from house to house. In the last few decades, a hybrid form, ' soca parang', has grown up with new releases every year that rival the more traditional parang music. Parang was introduced in Trinidad by the Spaniards during their occupation ( 1498- 1797). Regarded as a classical Christmas music, it comprises Spanish lyrics, Venezuelan music and Trinidadian rhythm. This combination has produced, over the years, a traditional flavour to our Christmas celebrations, without which Christmas in Trinidad will not be the same. The word ' parang' represents an adulteration of the Spanish word ' parranda', which depicts music, musical instruments or dances. It also means to wander without a fixed destination. ' Parrandoros' are those who participate in the celebrations. They live in the agricultural districts of north and south Trinidad. The singing, dancing and other movements which are associated with parang are completed with traditional instruments like the guitar, cuatro, maracas and mandolin ( pictured). In recent years new instruments have been introduced, including the violin, box base and flute. Parang music consists of aquinaldo or serenal. This is sung on arrival at a home. It is followed by the guarapo. The manzanare is sung at Christmas time. LIMELITE FESTIVAL ON MONTSERRAT We all love to celebrate Christmas, and festivities – large and small – will take place across the Caribbean. It is a particularly colourful time of year in Montserrat, where the December Festival CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS is one of the event highlights of the year. The Festival begins on 12th December 2008 and climaxes on New Year's Day with a big street parade involving the whole community. Montserrat's version of the traditional Caribbean carnival has its own unique flavour due to the island's mixed cultural heritage. Festival is very family- oriented, offering smaller, more intimate activities in a relaxed, friendly and safe atmosphere. Amongst the many events taking place are masquerade performances, informal street dancing, a night of steel pan, pageant shows, a calypso competition and carol singing on Christmas Day. Visitors to Montserrat during Festival will be able to experience Caribbean traditions and find themselves welcomed into the local community. This is because the island is only 40 square miles in area and has a close- knit community of around 4500 residents. As Christmas is one of the most popular times for Montserratians living overseas to return home, the whole island pulsates with a spirited vibe at this time of year. Enjoy! Developments to look out for: Iconic style in Antigua Opening November 2008, Hodges Bay Club is set within eight acres of lush tropical gardens and sandy beach on the island's northern shores. This multi- million dollar iconic development will ooze sophistication and cool, contemporary style. Ninety luxuriously finished hotel suites and ocean front houses will be available. Wyndham's Royal King The Turks and Caicos Islands are to benefit from a new luxury 251- unit ocean front resort at Pirate's Bay on the west coast, which should attract dive enthusiasts eager to explore Grand Turk's barrier reef. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts plan 14 low- rise buildings, offering deluxe studio and one- bedroom suites. The main hotel building will be called Cacique Royale – the Lucayan Indian term for Royal King. Facelift for Jalousie St Lucia's Jalousie Plantation is to undergo a massive US$ 100 million renovation to transform the famous resort into a Leading Hotel in the World. Plans include the rebuilding and remodelling of the entire resort, which will close for an estimated 18 months. Existing accommodations will be completely renovated to a 5- Star standard. LiMEnews 28 lime October - December 2008 christmas music Hodges Bay Club