Sandals Barbados Rating: 3.5 Pearls
With 289 rooms, this family-friendly resort is the second largest of three all-inclusive Almond properties in Barbados. Located on the south coast along nine acres of original vegetation, the Casuarina has easy access to the airport and St. Lawrence Gap. Rooms are comfortable, though some show their age. The beach area is expansive with plenty of mid-size waves, and the water-sports center provides free use of all the equipment. The three pools, kids' club, tennis courts, and fitness center are enough to keep guests of all ages busy. As a bonus, guests have access to the other two Almond resorts to avoid all-inclusive monotony.
Hilton Barbados Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Located in the capital city of Bridgetown, the Hilton feels larger than its 355 rooms -- likely because of its high-rise structure and the fact it holds the biggest hotel meeting facility on the island. Rooms are modern and appeal to both leisure and business travelers, but free amenities are rare. Don't expect a welcome drink, and Wi-Fi comes with a fee; therefore, hotel tabs add up fast (beware of the lounge chairs with "flag up" bar service). For those seeking a big hotel chock-full of American conveniences, though, this is the place. Families will likely appreciate the Kiz Paradise Club, offering extensive amenities for ages four to 13, the water sports, and the location on one of the most spacious beaches on the island.
Bougainvillea Beach Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This 138-room Mediterranean-style resort gets its name from the local flower, which is ceremoniously placed in rooms upon arrival. The atmosphere is unpretentious, and reasonable prices make it a good value on the south coast -- it's especially popular with families and wedding groups. All rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes, or guests can dine at two restaurants along the water (though hours vary). This resort prides itself on being eco-friendly, and amenities include a spa, fitness center, kids' club, and water sports.
Mango Bay Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Mango Bay is a friendly 76-room all-inclusive resort with a boutique-like ambiance. Packages include meals in one indoor/outdoor restaurant (which may feel limiting), drinks (bar opens in the morning), nightly entertainment, and activities such as waterskiing and catamaran rides. There's no kids' club, but there is a nice beach with calm waves suitable for younger swimmers, and a sprawling pool surrounded by palms. Rooms range in size and views, but are spacious and lack the tacky Caribbean decor found in many resorts. It's a fine option for families, though it's more popular with couples.