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.
The House Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The most upscale of all the Elegant Hotel properties and one of the most exclusive resorts on the island, The House is the definition of luxury. Located on the ritzy west coast, the adult-only property doesn’t even have a sign out front on the road. The property is secluded and private, with manicured gardens, koi ponds, and a chic lounge area. The rooms are spacious and contemporary with upscale amenities including a massage jet shower and a free bottle of rum punch. Thoughtful freebies include welcome drinks, champagne breakfast, and jet lag revival massages. There is no spa on-site -- surprising for a hotel of this caliber.
The Sandpiper Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The Sandpiper is a 48-room, family-owned resort on the ritzy west coast of Barbados. It's hard to find fault in the rooms or amenities at this small, colonial-style luxury property. The pool and beach are on the smaller side but they are beautifully landscaped and inviting. The airy rooms have sophisticated tropical style, though some of the ground-floor units do feel less private, and some may mind the lack of TVs. The beach is located on a little inlet and has calm, clear water. Guests regularly rave about the food and service at the hotel’s on-site restaurant as well as Harold’s Beach Bar. The spa is not on-site and located on the hotel’s sister property a short drive up the road.
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.