Barbados has long been a popular destination for Americans looking to catch a bit of sun. With its plethora of excellent restaurants and many hundreds of friendly rum shops, the island is naturally suited for an all-inclusive resort. However, if you want a relaxing break with all meals and drinks and use of a host of facilities included, there are some enticing everything-included places to stay, both on the lively south coast and the quieter and more upmarket west coast.
Originally published online by, The Telegraph U.K.
Sandals Barbados, Christ Church
Sandals Barbados is an adults-only all-inclusive hotel on the developed south coast of Barbados, backing on to Dover Beach. Hibiscus and bougainvillea, waterfalls and poolside fire pits, mattresses in giant pods and swinging love seats all help create a romantic atmosphere. The bars and clubs of St Lawrence Gap, the center of nightlife in Barbados, are 10 to 15 minutes’ walk away. The resort has 280 rooms, spread across 14 categories. Top-end suites have uniformed butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers. The evening entertainment is excellent and might include bands on a piazza at the entrance to the resort, spirited singalongs in the piano bar and a sax player roaming the grounds. There is no extra charge to eat in any of the restaurants of the connecting Sandals Royal Barbados with 11 restaurants. As at all Sandals, drinks are household-name, high-end brands. All public areas are wheelchair-accessible and special wheelchairs are provided to access the beach.
Sandals Royal Barbados, Christ Church
Sandals Royal Barbados sits adjacent to the existing Sandals Barbados resort. The all-suite property bills itself as the most exclusive all-inclusive ever. It is less than 10 minutes’ drive to colorful Oistins and its weekly Fish Fry, and a 10-minute walk to St Lawrence Gap’s bars and clubs. Upgrade options include swim-up and ocean-front suites, or utterly charming safari-style “rondoval” cottages with private plunge pools. Sandals has a rooftop pool and a glass-fronted infinity pool overlooking the ocean, plus a men’s barbershop and four-lane bowling alley. Land and water sports on offer include tennis, yoga, stand-up paddle boarding and trips to a nearby marine park for diving and snorkeling. Coconut, ginger and coffee give Caribbean flavor to treatments at Red Lane Spa. Sandals Barbados has 17 restaurants and 12 bars spread across twin properties. Breakfast at Sandals Royal spans à la carte or buffet. Mediterranean lunches are served at ocean-front Neptune’s. Sandals properties are adults-only (sister brand Beaches caters for families).
Elegant Hotels, Waves Hotel & Spa, Saint James
Waves is a popular holiday destination all-inclusive hotel located on the upmarket west coast, towards the southern end. The hotel sits directly above a gorgeous, tranquil section of sandy beach. There is a substantial spa, the service and food are good, and lots of extras are included in the rates. However, the mostly adults-only part of the property lies across the busy coastal road. There are two swimming pools, as well as a bar and a gym. The hotel has a wide selection of activities, including kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, water-skiing and high-speed tube rides. The spa has eight treatment rooms and a sauna and steam room. The free-form, adults-only pool is nicely landscaped, large and has a whirlpool area. You can swap meals at Elegant Hotels’ two other all-inclusive properties, Crystal Cove and Turtle Beach, at no extra cost. The Seascape Restaurant is an open-air affair above the beach. There is no kids’ club, and the better pool is adults only. Food is above average, with lots of daily specials and a mix of Caribbean and international dishes.
Elegant Hotels, Crystal Cove, Saint James
Mid-sized member of the well-regarded Elegant Hotels group sits above a pretty beach on Barbados’ upmarket west coast. The hotel backs on to a lovely 250-yard-long stretch of scenic, tranquil, soft-sand beach. It is about five minutes’ drive up the coast to Holetown, the epicenter of the west-coast scene. The hotel has a trio of tiered swimming pools, set amid rocks, and mini waterfalls. The 88 rooms occupy low-rise blocks. A wide selection of watersports is available, along with a good gym, and tennis courts. There is no spa on site, but guests can have treatments at the impressive spa at sister property, The Waves. The most characterful spot in the hotel is its famous Cave Bar, which is set into a rock at the side of a swimming pool, accessible by dry land or by swimming through a waterfall. There are lots of suites with sofa beds and interconnecting rooms, plus a big, bright, and jolly kids’ club with supervised activities for children aged 3-12.
Elegant Hotels, Tamarind, Saint James
Tamarind backs on to Paynes Bay, one of Barbados’ finest beaches. The hotel recently switched to being all-inclusive, and the inclusions are considerable. Flanking Tamarind are The House and Treasure Beach hotels, and Daphne’s, an upmarket restaurant, all of which are part of the Elegant Hotels group. Contemporary styling extends to the 101 bedrooms, three swimming pools and a small spa. A watersports center offers kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, Hobie Cat sailboats, water-skiing and banana boat rides. The 246 Bar & Restaurant offers an extensive all-day menu of salads, pasta, fish cakes and roti. Themed nights happen on set days each week, with steak, seafood or West Indian dishes on offer, and live music such as jazz or a steel pan band. Breakfasts are substantial buffets in a separate (and somewhat less appealing) open-air dining room towards the rear of the property. Inclusions cover watersports (including motorized ones), weekly yoga classes and a water taxi service to other Elegant Hotels on the west coast.
Elegant Hotels, Turtle Beach, Christ Church
This upmarket all-inclusive resort is the largest, liveliest and most family oriented of Elegant Hotels’ seven properties in Barbados. The hotel is on Dover Beach is on the south coast. The beach is a lovely, soft-sand strand shared with two Sandals properties and another hotel. The bars and restaurants of lively St Lawrence Gap are 10 minutes’ walk away. The 161 bedrooms are attractive, in green and cream tones, with arty, nautical photos on walls. Kayaking, boogie boarding, Hobie Cat Sailing, and snorkeling are available at the water sports center. There is a good gym, two tennis courts and a basic spa converted from a guest bedroom. Complimentary activities include yoga, mixology, and dance lessons. Elegant Hotels’ Dine Around Program includes two all-inclusives. A supervised kids’ club for children aged 3-12 runs from 9am-9pm daily. There is also a games area with table tennis, table football and a pool table. The sea can sometimes be too rough for safe swimming.
Sea Breeze Beach House, Christ Church
Sea Breeze Beach House is a four-star, all-inclusive beachfront hotel on the south coast of Barbados. The old Sea Breeze has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar transformation into what’s now called Sea Breeze Beach House, a stylish and fairly upmarket all-inclusive. A lot of thought has gone into making the hotel look good, with the airy public areas done out in whites, creams, and bold splashes of color. The hotel is spread over two and a half acres of grounds. There are three swimming pools. Non-motorized water sports – sailing, kayaking, body boarding and snorkeling – are on offer. There is a small gym but no in-room treatments. The hotel has 122 rooms, including 44 luxury suites. The hotel has no adapted bedrooms, but all public areas are wheelchair accessible. There’s a supervised Kids’ Club, a room for teens to hang out in with a pool table and video games. Breakfast is a wide-ranging cold and hot buffet covering fruit salads, pancakes, sausages, and bacon, with omelets made to order.
Coral Reef Club, Saint James
The Coral Reef Club has the atmosphere of a country-house hotel in the tropics. Spread over 12 acres of glorious gardens, it delivers graceful, old-school luxury. With soaring mahogany trees and palms, frangipani, bougainvillea, ponds and much else besides to enjoy, the expansive grounds are the loveliest of any hotel in Barbados. The hotel is owned by the O’Hara family, who have been here since the 1950s. As for facilities, the spa is a highlight. Beautifully integrated into its garden setting, with foliage all around, it has four treatment rooms, a hydro pool and steam room; yoga takes place here twice a week. There are also two big and attractive swimming pools set tranquilly in the grounds, a watersports center (with diving on offer), two tennis courts and a gym. The 88 bedrooms occupy a dozen buildings dotted around the grounds. Top-of-the-range Plantation Suites and Luxury Cottage Suites come with their own plunge pools. Garden Rooms offer more than enough space and comfort for most bookers. The only restaurant is an elegant, quite formal open-air affair behind the waterfront. The is one of the Caribbean’s most popular hotels. The hotel offers a range of activities, including a tennis clinic, a swimming pool, a gym, a spa, and a children’s play area. There is also an extensive breakfast menu, and the hotel is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Sandy Lane, Saint James
Sandy Lane is arguably one of the Caribbean’s most famous hotels. Acres of shiny marble and coral rock characterize grandiose Sandy Lane. Pink is its color, appearing on its much-padded sun loungers on the beach and furnishings throughout the property. The service at Sandy Lane is outstanding. Staff are very well trained, but down to earth. Guests on sun loungers are regularly plied with refreshing treats such as sorbets and squash. The 112 plantation-style bedrooms range from vast to palatial. High-tech gadgetry is much in evidence: a bedside panel lets you do everything from control the lights and curtains. The rooms also come with expansive, furnished terraces and beautiful marble bathrooms with a large, sunken bath and separate walk-in shower. The two main restaurants have great reputations. Pillared L’Ajacou is for fine dining, while the more informal Bajan Blue is known for its indulgent buffets – including breakfast. The property has seven bars – everything from a gelato bar to the sophisticated Monkey Bar. The Treehouse Club, the best hotel children’s club in Barbados, lays on lots of creative and exciting on-and-off-site activities.