TOP HOTELS IN BARBADOS

Barbados boasts some of the very best Caribbean vacation accommodation including hotels, resorts, guest houses, self catering apartments, holiday homes and luxury villas.

Sandy Lane
Guests consistently laud Sandy Lane for its impressive grounds, luxurious amenities and accommodating staff. Welcoming Barbados visitors since 1961, Sandy Lane's spacious rooms boast elegant furnishings, large bathrooms and views of verdant gardens or the Caribbean Sea. And the grandeur doesn't stop there. Sandy Lane also features lavish recreational facilities, including three golf courses and a 47,000-square-foot spa. (Recent guests rave about the opulent spa treatments and tasty dishes served at The Spa Café.) Though the golf courses and spa are no doubt impressive, don't forget to carve out some lounging time on Sandy Beach where the hotel provides cold towels, sorbets, fresh fruit and Evian mists. Whether your day was spent relaxing by the sea (or the 7,500-square-foot pool) or swinging on the greens, recent visitors suggest watching the sunset at one of the four on-site restaurants. Though guests bemoan the pricey menus, they concede the zesty meals are well worth the splurge.

www.sandylane.com

Coral Reef club
Much like its sister property, The Sandpiper, the Coral Reef Club sits surrounded by a lush landscape on Barbados' west coast (near Holetown). Occupying 12 acres, Coral Reef Club's 88 rooms, cottages and suites all feature furnished private balconies or terraces, Egyptian cotton linens and feather beds. If you don't opt for a room with a private plunge pool, Coral Reef Club boasts two tree-lined pools, not to mention complimentary access to watersports equipment, like kayaks and snorkeling gear. Prefer to stay landlocked? The resort also touts two tennis courts and a set of garden pathways that snake throughout the bougainvillea-shaded grounds. Navigate the labyrinth on your own, or sign up for a complimentary garden tour, offered every Wednesday. If a stroll through the foliage isn't relaxing enough for you, venture to the spa for a massage or some meditation. Coral Reef Club also offers al fresco dining which recent guests say is delicious, but a little expensive.

Porters | St. James, Barbados BB24017

www.coralreefbarbados.com

The Sandpiper
At The Sandpiper, it's all about the gardens. Nestled in St. James Parish, this small, family-owned and operated hotel receives consistent praise from guests for its well-manicured foliage. The hotel even houses two Tree Top Suites (lodgings surrounded by palm leaves, but not actually suspended in the trees), which include luxurious amenities like terraces, open sundecks and plunge pools. If you don't want to splurge, opt for the Garden Room, which includes a patio or balcony overlooking the hotel's signature greenery. Extending its well-groomed vegetation to the beach, The Sandpiper boasts a shaded wooden dock that overlooks the shoreline. When you're not lounging dock-side, take a dip, set out on a Hobie Cat sailboat or kayak (equipment rental is complimentary) or learn how to scuba dive at The Sandpiper's sister hotel, the Coral Reef Club. Given that the Coral Reef Club sits less than a mile north off of Highway 1, the two properties also share a spa. Just make sure you head back to The Sandpiper for dinner – guests highly recommend sampling The Restaurant's Caribbean-infused dishes.

Holetown | St. James, Barbados BB24017

www.sandpiperbarbados.com

Fairmont Royal Pavilion
Blending the signature refinement of the Fairmont brand with the soothing atmosphere of Barbados's Platinum Coast, the Fairmont Royal Pavilion is a luxurious hideaway. Guests praise the elegantly decorated oceanfront rooms, which are outfitted with Elite pillow top beds, flat-screen TVs and furnished balconies. Stretching across a mile of sandy beach, the hotel offers single and double kayaks, snorkeling gear, paddle boats, sailboats, windsurfing and stand-up paddle boards. Meanwhile, the Fairmont's seaside spa caters to R&R-seekers with body scrubs, massages and facials. Though recent guests report a satisfactory stay, some cite minor grievances with the hotel's two on-site restaurants. While visitors say the food is tasty, some complained about the overpriced menu. Travelers suggested venturing off the property to find more affordable eats. Members of Fairmont's President's Club can earn rewards with a stay here.

Highway 1B, Porters | St. James, Barbados BB24051

www.fairmont.com/barbados

Ocean Two
Situated on Barbados' south coast in St. Lawrence Gap, Ocean Two provides all the amenities of a four-star resort without isolating travelers from island culture. Recent guests say they appreciated being able to leave the hotel grounds and immediately interact with local residents. Along with the resort's proximity to St. Lawrence Gap, Ocean Two overlooks a secluded bay where land-lubbers can relax along the sand while seafarers swim, snorkel or scuba dive. If you prefer fresh water over salt water, Ocean Two boasts an 150-foot pool and sun deck. After soaking up the rays, recharge with an in-room spa treatment or at the on-site restaurant; Taste serves up international eats with a Caribbean flair. When it's time to turn in, rooms feature luxury linens, partial or full ocean views and a private balcony. Recent guests recommend splurging on a one-bedroom oceanfront suite on one of the hotel's upper floors for full kitchens (the resort offers pre-arrival grocery delivery services) and stunning ocean backdrops.

Dover | Christ Church, Barbados BB15026

www.oceantwobarbados.com

Tamarind
Tamarind offers tailored experiences to a range of travelers. Kids can participate in educational activities through the Flying Fish Kids Club, or join their parents on the family-sized daybeds surrounding the three pools. Meanwhile, lovebirds can indulge in a sunset cruise for two or a couples spa treatment. Tamarind also boasts renovated rooms and suites that feature oversized balconies, iPod docking stations and flat-screen TVs. Another bonus: Because Tamarind sits on a 750-foot strip of Paynes Bay Beach (on Barbados' west coast), guests have access to plenty of complimentary shoreline activities, including snorkeling, windsurfing and paddle boarding. When you're ready to eat, indulge in a beachfront feast at one of the three on-site restaurants. Though recent visitors praise the family-friendly dining atmosphere, they also say the menus can get repetitive during long stays. For a change of scenery, hop on a free water taxi and try the cuisine at the other Elegant properties dotting Barbados' west coast.

Paynes Bay | St. James, Barbados

www.tamarindbarbados.com

Colony Club
Touting 96 guestrooms and suites – each with a flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi and a private patio or balcony – the Colony Club prides itself on its family-friendly atmosphere. Kids can attend Aqua School to learn how to snorkel or windsurf, or the whole family can embark on an island excursion and swim with local turtles (a must-do according to recent guests). Children are also welcome at the three on-site, open-air restaurants, which boast kid-friendly menus. If you don't have youngsters in tow, Colony Club offers an array of adults-only activities, including an adults-only pool, couples massages and private dining (though recent guests say kids never disrupt the resort's peaceful atmosphere). If you want to explore the restaurants or beachfront activities offered at other west coast Elegant properties, hop on one of Colony Clubs' free water taxis.

Porters | St. James, Barbados

www.colonyclubhotel.com

Turtle Beach
Turtle Beach sits on 1,500 feet of sand between Dover Beach and Maxwell Beach on Barbados' south coast. Recent guests rave about Turtle Beach's location, as well as its family-friendly atmosphere. Spacious suites give groups lots of room to spread out, while outdoor activities and the Flying Fish Kids Club provide youngsters with plenty of entertainment. (Parents say the kids club provides first-rate care and fun for little ones). Guests traveling sans children can take a dip in the adults-only pool, indulge in a couples massage or arrange for private dining. Those still itching for something to do can pick from a wide range of off-site activities, including fishing and diving excursions, horseback riding and biking. Prefer to stay on Turtle Beach's grounds? You'll have your pick of two freshwater pools and two tennis courts. After you've worked up an appetite outdoors, grab a bite to eat at one of the three guest-approved, on-site restaurants. And when it's time to bed down, retreat to your guest room or suite, equipped with a private balcony or patio, a spacious bathroom, air conditioning and an iPod docking station.

Dover | Christ Church, Barbados

www.turtlebeachresortbarbados.com

Cobblers Cove
Positioned on the northwestern edge of the island near Godings Bay, Cobblers Cove is an intimate retreat that touts just 40 suites. Each room includes a balcony or private garden, a sitting room and a wet bar. Previous visitors rave about the roomy lodgings, but warn the bedroom is the only area with air conditioning — the rest of the suite remains cool with overhead fans. But Cobblers Cove redeems itself with complimentary watersports, including water skiing, windsurfing and snorkeling. After working up an appetite on the beach, head to the Camelot Restaurant for fresh seafood, which guests say is tasty but expensive. Cap off your day with a relaxing treatment at The Spa, or with a libation at the Cocktail Bar. Cobblers Cove is the only Relais & Châteaux property in Barbados; if you're a Club 5C member you can earn or redeem points here.

Road View, Speightstown | St. Peter, Barbados

www.wheretostay.com/Cobblers_Cove-barbados-hotel-37

Hilton Barbados resort
Guests consistently praise the Hilton Barbados Resort for its family-friendly amenities. Children 18 and younger can stay for free while youngsters ages 4 to 13 can sign up for activities with the Kidz Paradise Club. Meanwhile, parents can perfect their backhand at one of the three tennis courts or indulge in a rejuvenating treatment at the spa overlooking Carlisle Bay. And because of the hotel's Needham's Point location, there's plenty of shoreline activities for the whole family. Work up an appetite snorkeling, kayaking or scuba diving, and then head to one of the Hilton's four on-site restaurants and bars. Traveling without the kids? Recent guests suggest booking an Executive Room for more high-end facilities, like deluxe bath amenities and complimentary evening hors d'oeuvres at the Executive Lounge. Hilton HHonors members can accrue or cash in points here.

Needham's Point St Michael | Bridgetown, Barbados 11000

www.hiltonbarbadosresort.com

The Crane
With roots stretching back to 1887, The Crane is one of the oldest operating resort in the Caribbean. Occupying some prime real estate on the world-famous Crane Beach (on Barbados's southeast coast), the resort offers three different room types: Choose from a room by the sea, in the park or within the original hotel building. Amenities vary depending on which section you choose, but recent guests noted that the air conditioning didn't keep rooms very cool. However, guests did appreciate the available activities. You can stick around Crane Beach for a dip in the gentle Caribbean waters or lounge by one of the five outdoor pools. If retail therapy is your relaxation method of choice, The Crane's got you covered: The 55,000-square-foot Village mimics a historical Barbadian town with cobbled streets and a duty-free boutique. Guests suggest ending the day at one of the five restaurants (especially Zen) or indulging in a nightcap at Bar 1887.

St Philip | Christ Church, Barbados BB18079

www.thecrane.com/Blog

Sandals Barbados
A newcomer to the Sandals brand, this Barbados outpost completed a $65 million transformation in 2014. The refurbishment brought multiple new restaurants, plus a total renovation of the property's 280 rooms. Accommodations now include a balcony or patio, a flat-screen TV, mahogany furniture and free Wi-Fi. When you're not in room, hit the beach. The resort offers a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking and sailing (not to mention three freshwater pools). After you work up an appetite, take your pick of 11 restaurants. Positioned on 10 lush acres of Dover Beach along Barbados' southern coast, the resort earns high praise from recent guests for its prime proximity to the St. Lawrence Gap. Many say "The Gap's" nightlife, shops and restaurants provide a fun (and safe) escape if you're yearning to get off the resort and explore.

Highway 7 | St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, Barbados

www.sandals.com

Bougainvillea Beach Resort
Recent guests consistently praise the Bougainvillea Beach Resort for its beachfront location and well-equipped all-suite accommodations. Situated on the southern coast of Barbados, the hotel sits on Maxwell Beach. Visitors said the location is quiet enough to be relaxing, but also close enough to the action. Make the most of the resort's beachfront seat by using the property's complimentary water sports equipment like kayaks and paddleboards. If you'd rather relax on the beach, you can do that here, too: The property provides beach towels, chairs and umbrellas free of charge. If you need a break from the sand, retreat to one of the resort's pools or practice your backhand at the on-site tennis court. Soothe sore muscles at the Waves Beauty Spa & Salon or fuel up at one of the resort's two restaurants. Recent guests were pleased with the service and menu selection at both restaurants. Finally, when it comes to lodging, the suites are outfitted with furnished balconies or terraces, complimentary Wi-Fi, kitchenettes and flat-screen TVs.

Maxwell Coast Road | Christ Church, Barbados

Crystal Cove
Set on a white-sand beach about 3 miles south of Holetown, Crystal Cove is all-inclusive in both its amenities and atmosphere. Catering to travelers of all ages, Crystal Cove entertains youngsters at The Kids Club while candle-lit dinners and side-by-side spa treatments appeal to couples. Crystal Cove offers plenty of aquatic activities, including complimentary water sports, organized beach games and off-site excursions (at an additional cost). After you've worked up an appetite, head to Crystal Cove's two on-site restaurants, casual Drifters and upscale Reflection. Previous visitors praise both eateries for speedy service and delicious food, though some lament the lack of menu variety. When it's time to bed down, retire to your room or suite, which features a private patio or balcony, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and Caribbean-inspired decor (which recent visitors say is a little dated).

Appleby | St. James, Barbados

www.crystalcovehotelbarbados.com

Mango Bay
Mango Bay Barbados blends the all-inclusive conveniences of a large resort with the personalized touch of a small island hideaway. Located in St. James on Barbados' west coast, Mango Bay sits within walking distance to the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Holetown. At the resort, you'll find a small beach complete with complimentary lounge chairs and umbrellas, as well as water skiing, kayaking, hobie cat sailing, pedal boating and snorkeling equipment. When it's time to relax, head to the Elements Spa for a rejuvenating massage, or the on-site restaurant for some buffet-style eats. But pay attention to the enforced dress code — some recent guests cite the evening "elegantly casual" policy as an annoyance, especially those who felt the resort wasn't of the a luxurious caliber. An additional resort caveat, according to recent guests, is that the lodgings aren't always accessible; not all accommodations can be reached by elevator. Rooms are outfitted with furnished balconies, iPod docking stations, air conditioning and coffeemakers.

2nd Street | Holetown, St. James, Barbados

www.mangobaybarbados.com

SoCo Hotel
If you're searching for an all-inclusive experience that is better suited for couples, The SoCo Hotel in Barbados is your safe haven. Couples describe this southern Barbados hotel as relaxing and romantic with its comfortable accommodations and picturesque location right on the beach. The property's 24 rooms are bright and modern in design, decorated in a predominately white color palette and outfitted with white leather headboards, couches and bedside tables. Flat-screen TVs with DVD players, iPad docking stations and free wireless Internet are available for those looking to stay connected. Dining was also a hit with guests; it's also covered in the all-inclusive rate, along with unlimited alcoholic beverages at the beach bar and access to live entertainment. Another big highlight for recent visitors was the staff. Many said they felt truly taken care of, and that no task was too small or too big. You can find the SoCo Hotel in Hastings, about 9 miles west of Grantley Adams International Airport.

Hastings | Hastings, Barbados BB15156

www.thesocohotel.com

Treasure Beach Hotel
Perhaps Treasure Beach Hotel & Spa's biggest draw is its position on the Platinum Coast's Paynes Bay Beach (in Barbados' St. James Parish). Treasure Beach provides guests with a variety of watersports: Snorkeling is on the house, but you'll have to pay to scuba dive, sail or go jet skiing. If you're more interested in relaxing, recent guests say the hotel staff always makes sure there are enough lounge chairs for every sunbather. But the oceanfront setting isn't the only thing travelers applaud. Visitors also praise the renovated suites, which boast a private balcony or patio, redesigned bathrooms and a living room. (Some of the deluxe suites also include a private plunge pool.) Along with revamped rooms, Treasure Beach also features a spa, upping the hotel's Zen factor with massages, facials and body scrubs. When the day comes to a close, recent guests recommend dining at Kathy's Restaurant, where the menu changes nightly and the ingredients are locally sourced. While guests complimented the staff, interactions with the manager left some displeased.

Paynes Bay | St. James, Barbados

Waves Barbados
The old adage "don't judge a book by its cover" rings true at Waves Barbados: Recent guests say they were initially put off by the tired facade, but were pleasantly surprised by the hotel's interior. Visitors call Waves a small, intimate property that doesn't scrimp on vacation comforts just because of its compact size. Rooms are designed in a contemporary fashion and feature air conditioning, comfy beds, large flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations. And because Waves sits on Barbados' Gold Coast along Prospect Bay, travelers are never far from the palm-fringed beach, which guests say is modestly-sized, but tidy. If you're more interested in a sand-free swim, visitors recommend stealing away to the spa for a dip in the free-form pool. Finish off your day with a meal at one of Waves' three on-site restaurants. Though previous visitors offer mixed reviews of the dining staff, they do say the food is always fresh.

Prospect Bay | St. James, Barbados BB24017

www.virginholidays.co.uk/destinations/caribbean/barbados/waves-hotel-and...

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