Destination Guide


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Courtesy of Sandy Lane Hotel

The appeal of Barbados transcends its rather quaint old-world Britishness. Along the west coast, the parish of St. James—always popular with the island’s U.K. socialites—now attracts a more universal, even sexier crowd. Trendy shops such as Studio and Un Dimanche à Paris have a more refined feel and restaurants are bustling. In fact, Barbados was the first Caribbean island to receive its own Zagat guide.


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Exterior View - Coral Reef Club, Barbados, Caribbean

Coral Reef Club

The Coral Reef Club could be mistaken for a member's-only enclave, so discreet and lovely are the property and service. The eighty-eight guest rooms are spread among little cottages and two-story buildings scattered throughout a maze of gardens and pathways. Each boasts a slightly different décor, but all reflect the property's "elegantly informal" dress code. (Read: lots of wicker and nothing too outlandish or colorful) Lush, tropical landscaping gives each building a secluded feeling though as a result, most rooms have garden views (some close to the water have ocean views). Families and large groups can choose from a wide array of possible room combinations and villas. The five Luxury Plantation Suites are the most spacious accommodations, and, with their mahogany furnishings and large canopied beds, they are also the most opulent. All have private pools and sundecks, as well as covered terraces and views of the Caribbean.

To maintain the hushed, country-retreat feel, only a few (the Luxury Plantation Suites) have TVs, though these can be rented on request and no children under twelve are permitted from mid-January to mid-March.

Tennis and nonmotorized water sports are complimentary, and the restaurant, set directly on the water, is a relaxed spot for meals throughout the day as well as sunset cocktails. The perfectly appointed spa is a favorite among guests, as well as people who have houses on the island.

Outside sitting near sea  at Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados, Caribbean

Fairmont Royal Pavilion

The best value on Barbados must be the Fairmont's Royal Pavilion, located toward the northern end of the island's west coast. The property boats 72 large, chic rooms and 24 Junior Suites that open to terraces that lead directly to the beach. The property also has a three-bedroom villa.

The sprawling entrance and lobby are a study in open-air, flow-through architecture. The pink façade, terracotta roof tiles and tiled floors add slightly old-fashioned grandeur to the relaxed beach vibe. Guests have access to the excellent Royal Westmoreland course nearby, and nonmotorized water sports at the nearly mile-long beach are complimentary. However, the property does not have a spa and the gym is limited.

Outdoor patio overlooking water at Sandy Lane, Barbados, Caribbean

Sandy Lane

Once a playground for British royalty, Sandy Lane today is today the epicenter of Caribbean resort luxury, and caters almost exclusively to billionaire guests who are looking for utmost perfection.

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