Sandy Lane Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Decked out in signature pink, the 112-room Sandy Lane is the creme de la creme of Barbados -- indeed, it's one of the most luxurious resorts in the world -- known for unparalleled service and distinct touches. Guest amenities run rampant; perhaps the most noteworthy is access to the super exclusive Green Monkey golf course with a separate apparel line that can only be purchased after completion. A Rolls Royce Bentley, top-notch spa, outstanding restaurants, and celebrity sightings are just a few aspects that set the elegant Palladian-style hotel apart from the rest. This is a very special place, for those who can afford it.
Fairmont Royal Pavilion Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This adults-only luxury resort offers just two room types: deluxe rooms on the second floor, and slightly larger junior suites on the lower level with access to the beach. Sprawling across 11 acres on the west coast of Barbados, the property is situated closer to the waterfront than others in the area, due to it being built before legislation forced future resorts to build further inland. The pink Colonial-style property is romantic, and offers two restaurants and bars, as well as free afternoon tea on the terrace. Because there are only 72 rooms, the beach never feels crowded. Excellent amenities include an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and free non-motorized water sports.
Mango Bay Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Mango Bay is a friendly 76-room resort within minutes of shops and restaurants in historic Holetown -- a quick escape for guests when they need a break from their all-inclusive stay. Packages include meals in one indoor/outdoor restaurant (which feels limiting), drinks (bar opens in the morning), nightly entertainment, and activities such as waterskiing and catamaran rides. The beach area can get crowded, but calm waves appeal to swimmers of all ages. Rooms range in size and views, but are spacious and lack the tacky Caribbean decor found in many resorts. Overall, the resort has a casual sophistication that is ideal for groups and romantics looking for an easy vacation.
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. Sure, it checks all the boxes of a reputable chain hotel, but it lacks a certain charm synonymous with Barbadian hospitality. 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.
Waves Barbados Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With competitive pricing, lovely rooms, and great on-site amenities, this 70-room boutique hotel will attract people who never thought they'd choose an all-inclusive package. With three restaurants, cabanas on the terrace, and a late-night lounge, Waves has a contemporary appeal especially for couples (though families aren't overlooked). Spacious rooms are modern and bright, and most have glass-balconies (oceanfront rooms are worth the cost for the sunsets alone). Room amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and minibars nicely stocked with free goodies; while modern bathrooms spawn envy with door-less showers and eco-friendly toiletries. The quiet beach along Prospect Bay feels private, and the calm waves are perfect for swimming and kayaking. A spa and adults-only pool, located across the street, are extra perks.