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.
Little Arches Boutique Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Little Arches Boutique Hotel is a small upscale boutique property with only 10 guest rooms. Due to its small size, the hotel has a private, luxurious ambiance, and the rates are reasonable for this caliber of property. The rooms are both cozy and stylish with sophisticated furnishings and attractive Earthenware pottery accents. The views from the pool and sundeck area are breathtaking and the hotel’s on-site restaurant, Café Luna, is highly regarded. However, the hotel is not located directly on the beach (it’s a two-minute walk down the road), which may be a drawback for some.
Coral Reef Club Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With 12 acres and 88 rooms, the upscale Coral Reef Club is larger than its sister property, The Sandpiper, and has a few more amenities. It has a lot to offer on the competitive and ritzy west coast, including two pools, a scenic beachfront with plenty of lounges, a huge open restaurant/bar serving all meals, a stylish and contemporary lobby, and spacious rooms. Its spa is a shining star here -- housed in a huge, 500-square-foot building, the full-service facility was built with relaxation in mind. While the rooms are stylish and spacious, they are not overly luxurious and there are no TVs (a pro for some).
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.
Treasure Beach Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This 35-suite boutique hotel has a prime location on the west (platinum) coast of Barbados, close to high-end dining, shopping, and entertainment. The restaurant and pool area are at the heart of the property and are picturesque and popular with guests. The property has a narrow but beautiful beachfront with calm, clear water. All rooms are suites, and the hotel’s three Deluxe suites offer luxurious perks such as spa baths and private plunge pools. However, the furnishings and decor in the basic suites are nondescript and not anything fancy. The small size of this hotel allows the staff to provide personalized, exceptional service.
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.