Sandals Barbados is a hit

About Barbados

Sandals Barbados is the newest resort to open its doors. This luxury all-inclusive resort is exclusively for couples

Barbados has been welcoming visitors since before 1751 when George Washington brought his brother Lawrence there to try and treat his tuberculosis.  Back then the island was referred to as the “sanatorium “of the West Indies, because of its fresh water, and sea air.
Today it still welcomes, guest from all over the world 22 percent more Canadian visitors than last year, and Canadian guests have more lift than ever due to the long awaited opening of Sandals Barbados Resort and Spa.

It is an easy 15 minutes from the airport on Dover Beach, in the 280 room, 14 room category adults only.

A guest said “ This is the best of both worlds, the lovely ambience of a Sandals Resort, and you can walk out of the hotel day or night and enjoy the sights and sounds of Barbados to the full. In fact if you budgeted for a Butler, but not taxis, you can wander outside and catch a local bus.”

Check-in was friendly and fast. Our butlers met us and showed us to our home away from home. There are 13 butlers to serve 31 butler suites.  My Butler was trained, as were all the others by the Guild of Professional English Butlers. The 14 room categories, as usual had guests comparing which was better for them. Me? I had a suite, with a separate living room looking out on a pretty garden view, on the fourth floor of the Walcott House. “ Loved the air-conditioned elevator Mr. Stewart! “

My Butler and I chatted about my stay. No breakfast in my room, that would spoil the treat of having it in the shady courtyard of the Café de Paris. No unpacking thank-you, I do it.

Yes, I’d like to dine at the Bombay Club, the first Indian restaurant at Sandals, and a reservation at Butch’s chophouse - one of the only two restaurants needing a reservation.

Yes, I’d like a reservation for a spa treatment. I picked up my cell phone so I could contact him if I needed to, and went out for a look.

This was my fourth visit to the property, first under Barbadian owners, then Almond Resorts, Couples came next and then Sandals bought the property in 2013 and proceeded to spend 65 million. It was money well spent, the property looks gorgeous, and it works.

The gardens are simply beautiful. At night the property has an entirely different look … low flames in the fire pits flicker in the shallow reflecting pool off the lobby and at other spots on the property.

Now, it was time to check out my first love, the pools.

The main pool with the swim-up bar was great.  Large, with both sun and shade, and some of the friendliest guests I’ve ever met. Two and three generation adult families were having a great time.

“There are my grandparents, playing bridge, my parents are on a fishing excursion, and those two sleeping on the loungers are our wives, resting after a day on the Jolly Roger cruise.”

The bar tenders were exceptional, friendly, fast, and even remembered what I drank. The quiet pool was a lovely place to linger in the water and chat. The décor was stunning Mediterranean. Tough to decide which pool I liked best. The swim out suites offers direct access to the Crystal Lagoon.

Mother Nature hasn’t been particularly nice to the beach in this area. Sandals however are building a “ berm” to help. I wondered if it would be noisy and annoying … it turned out that it was fascinating to watch them, and I wasn’t the only one taking pictures. The work is nearly done. They are adding more rooms and the signature Sandals pool to the property next to the Caribbean Village.

Yes, sigh, there is seaweed, but it is nowhere near as bad as at other properties I’ve been to, the staff is working hard to get rid of it.

There are 11 restaurant choices; Butch’s Chophouse is hugely popular. So is Dino’s Pizzeria, with brick oven Neapolitan Pizza. The pizza comes in a real pizza box no less. The Doggies Hot Dog Stand is a hit as well.

The food in all the eateries got good reviews from the guests, as do the “top shelf” liquors in the seven bars. I did overhear people commenting that they so loved the bed and the high thread count sheets, they didn’t want to get up in the morning. And they loved the included fast WiFi everywhere on the property. Me too. With yoga, pilates, aquasize and power walks, there was no excuse for not keeping fitness levels up. And the Red Lane spa’s line up of treatments is as impressive as always.

Many of the guests took the Oistins Express Shuttle to join the local Fish Fry. It costs $8. for the shuttle and $3 goes towards supporting the work of the Sandals Foundation. As always there were debates about the entertainment. Some want it loud and constant, others love the subtleness, such as the Strolling Sax, The Piano Sing-a-long, and the Calypso Classics. The ones wanting it loud felt quite comfortable strolling down the street to the St. Lawrence Gap.

The GM Joe Zellner seemed to be everywhere, picking a piece of garbage, checking on the guests, and waving good-bye when we left.

What did I think? I called my brother-in-law as soon as I got home and said “ Book it.”

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