Honeymooners, empty nesters, and retired couples find a great escape in Sandals Barbados, an all-inclusive couples-only luxury resort. We hadn’t stayed at an all-inclusive before and were looking forward to being pampered. Our Sandals experience started the moment we arrived at Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport, with the resort providing free transfers for the 15-minute drive.
Sandals welcomes its guests with a beautiful gated entrance—ringed on either side with bougainvillea. And the welcome serenade and cold, refreshing towels that greet us on arrival are much appreciated. And so began the perfect start to our luxury getaway.
Suites & Stunning Views
The resort features an open-air lobby with a spectacular water and fire feature. Rising out of a shallow pool inlaid with turquoise glass tiles are four sand colored columns of fire. Flames reflecting off the tiles make the pool appear as if it were a shimmering pool of fire! Soaring ceilings and scattered seating complete the welcoming lobby space.
Our Caribbean Grand Luxe Room came with a delightful garden view. All Grand Luxe Rooms include a private balcony, a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, an in-room safe and complimentary stocked refrigerator.
Stepping out onto our balcony, we’re delighted with the panoramic views of the lush green gardens. Ahead we see the Café de Paris, a French Patisserie. To our left, the main Sandals building stands out among the manicured gardens, and the main pool and beach glitter in the distance.
Sandals Barbados exudes luxury with their Butler level rooms and suites. Butlers take care of every detail of your stay: They’ll make your dining reservations, coordinate your tours, reserve pool cabanas for you, and even draw your bath—creating an extraordinary experience.
“Our butlers are members of the Guild of Professional English Butlers,” says Sandals butler Rashida Collymore. “We’re the bridge to your next vacation. We’re like super-man; we make things happen.”
The Sandals’ Culture Reflects Barbados’s Island Culture
The spirit of Barbados resides deeply in its people. Their openness, warmth, and casual charm catch visitors by surprise. Known as the “Cupid of the Caribbean,” Sandals owner Butch Stewart, and his family of Sandals Resorts cultivates this same spirit.
Inspired by the Barbadians and their rich traditions, and the island’s natural wonders, Sandals attempts to celebrate the island’s history and the warm nature of its islanders.
The resort publishes a lighthearted newsletter each week, listing its weekly activities. The entertainment includes theme nights, the popular and fun guest/staff talent show, and sing-alongs in the piano bar.
Our most memorable events included the “White Night and Chocolate Buffet,” where we were encouraged to wear white clothing. The buffet, a chocolate lovers dream come true, boasts all things chocolate. Filled with white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate dessert creations, you could forgo dinner and make an entire meal of the scrumptious desserts.
The Reggae Fest, another Sandals activity, brings lively island music to the resort, while guests dance the night away. Local Barbadian craftspeople come out for the Barbados Day and Street Jamboree. Embodying the island spirit with his wide, toothy grin and casual conversation, “Bird Man” creates intricate art pieces out of a coconut. Bird Man’s unique art pieces come apart, and store inside the main coconut for easy transport.
Sandals Activities: Pools and Beaches and Water Fun
The fun really happens on the beach. Sandals offers plenty of water sports including kayaking, paddle boarding, diving, and Hobie Cat sailing.
Sandal’s Dover Beach’s sugar white sand and warm crystalline waters beckon you to dive in. Complimentary use of Boogie boards and paddle boards provide lively water activities, and plenty of beach umbrellas and beach chairs give ample excuses to relax.
For an exhilarating experience, take out one of the 14-foot Hobie Cats for a sail. Perched on top of the trampolines, skimming along the wave crests with sea spray fly-ing everywhere seemed like a magical experience to us. It was like being on a magic carpet ride, with the wide blue ocean spread out before us.
Seeing huge green sea turtles gracefully swimming just out of reach provides an un-forgettable experience! In addition, watching the dolphins jumping playfully in the wake of our boat—so close we could almost touch them—made us laugh like children.
Dining at Sandals Barbados
As Executive Sous Chef for the resort, Desmond Marshall oversees all thirteen restau-rants. I asked Desmond what he loves to cook with, and he tells me, “Scotch Bonet. It’s a Caribbean red chili that gives food a nice touch of spice and flavor.” A broad grin spilling across his face, Chef Desmond adds, “I love to cook Mediterranean foods with a Caribbean twist.”
Nowhere is Chef’s influence more apparent than at Portofino, the resort’s open-air Mediterranean restaurant. Reminiscent of Italy’s trattorias, Portofino features a soaring ceiling and open kitchen, dimly lit with soft lighting, and gleaming dark wood tables.
Working with a staff of 150 seems an enormous task. Chef takes it all in stride, though. He has, in his words, become “Brother, sister, uncle, mother and father to all.”
Romance reigns at Butch’s Steakhouse. Gorgeous dark wood and soft lighting en-hance the romantic feel. Tables covered in crisp, white linens, with muted conversa-tions swirling around you, the unobtrusive wait staff completes the experience. Our perfect sized portions of tender, delicious, and cooked-to-perfection steaks left room for us to sample a delectable selection of desserts.
Kimonos Teppanyaki provided our most delicious meal. Our chef greets us as we sit around the U-shaped grill, asking our names and where we’re from. Lighting the grill with a flourish of his lighter, he says, “This is my first night on the job. I hope I don’t light you on fire.”
Have you ever caught a shrimp in your mouth? This fun challenge faces diners at Kimonos. Non-stop grinning and camaraderie reigns as we finish this unique and memo-rable dining experience.
Sandals offers so many activities it seems impossible to do them all in a one-week stay. The resort’s concierge cheerfully sets up excursions for couples wanting to explore more of the island or go snorkeling, hiking or visiting its rich UNESCO world heritage sites. The resort will arrange shuttle service to Bridgetown or Oistins for guests.
Island Routes is happy to help you plan the perfect island activity!
Our stay came to an end all too quickly. We would have stayed longer if we could afford the time. However, Barbados had sung her siren song. We cannot wait to visit again.