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.
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.
White Sands Beach Villas Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This 22-unit condo building on the island's lively south coast is walking distance to an ATM, grocery store, and numerous restaurants and bars along "The Gap." A busy neighborhood, yes, but guests will feel like they have this hidden gem all to themselves, especially when taking advantage of the beautiful stretch of beach that has zero crowds and constant turquoise waves. One-, two-, and three-bedroom units are decorated with a contemporary flair, and full kitchens come with high-end stainless steel appliances. Rental cars on-site and at-home accommodations make this a fantastic option for those looking for that rare mix of quiet relaxation and nearby nightlife.
The Atlantis Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
If the name "Atlantis" conjures up images of the megaresort in the Bahamas, then think again. The Atlantis Hotel in Barbados -- a historic property from the 1800s with only eight rooms -- is the polar opposite. The boutique hotel re-opened in 2009 and offers freshly decorated nautical-themed rooms with canopy beds, stylish furnishings, and modern amenities. (For families, there are two two-bedroom apartments in a separate building.) Located on the remote and rocky east coast, the beach is more suitable for surfing than swimming, and a car is recommended to get around the island. The Atlantis restaurant is popular with locals, and the varied cuisine comes with outstanding views from both indoor and outdoor tables.
Coral Sands Beach Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This quiet 31-studio property opened in 2000 after renovations were made on the former guesthouse. Prices are reasonable, and each room layout is the same with two double beds, a kitchenette, and ocean-facing balconies. Rooms are clean, but decor is a bit dated with bright colors and tube televisions. The location is a perk -- on the south coast and walking distance to grocery stores, and numerous restaurants along "The Gap." The beautiful beach is the best amenity here, but an outdoor pool, lounge, and bar are added bonuses.