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Barbados Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Coral Reef Club
Holetown , St. James
Barbados
Tel: 246 422 2372
coral@caribsurf.com
www.coralreefbarbados.com

Sandy Lane may exhaustively be touted as Barbados' most grand hotel but Coral Reef is the island's most refined. The fifty-year-old family-run property forgoes the glitz of Sandy Lane in favor of creating an environment of posh intimacy. There are 88 spacious rooms, set in quaint cottages on 12 acres of tropical gardens. The towering ginger and frangipani make the winding trot to the coral-walled main lobby a fragrant adventure. Each cottage has the feel of a mini-plantation house: bleached slatted ceilings, wooden fretwork and shuttered windows, furniture upholstered in fabrics the shade of young leaves, or freshly patterned with birds or palm leaves. To preserve the hotel's aura of decadent quiet, rooms forsake televisions and Wi–Fi. So a symphony of crickets and frogs score your nighttime repose instead of reruns. The beachfront, here, is narrow and pebbly, but picturesque: it's lined with Casuarina trees that stretch to the sky and sweep it clean of clouds. The ocean is smooth and turquoise as a swimming pool, but should you require an actual pool, there's one onsite, along with tennis courts. A sea-facing alfresco restaurant shares the hotel's patrician, but homey, aura. Always changing menus keep the spotlight on local calories (seafood abounds) and island spices.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Crane
Crane Beach , St. Philip
Barbados
Tel: 246 423 6220
reservations@thecrane.com
www.thecrane.com

Opened in 1887, the Crane gets points just for being the island's first resort hotel. It scores a bonus for having enjoyed the 1970s attentions of Oliver Messel, the set designer/architect who made Mustique beautiful—and further kudos for a 2006 redesign by Lane Pettigrew, which grew the property to its current, 146-room size. (More expansion is planned, with the construction of three new buildings and 350 more rooms due to be completed in 2009.) The new super-luxe units have all the bells and whistles; suites include full kitchens, and most have private plunge pools. The interiors, despite the blocky exterior architecture, do a good impression of great-house/gingerbread charm, with mahogany furniture crafted by local artisans. The original hotel's accommodations are now known as 1887 rooms and have been spruced up with antique repros and chintz. The resort is on the southeastern corner of the island, a bit isolated (you're a 30-minute drive to Bridgetown), but the payoff is the rocky and dramatic beaches: Crane Beach itself is a cliff-backed, pink-sand crescent, and there are other, nearly deserted stunners nearby.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Royal Pavilion
Porter , St. James
Barbados
Tel: 246 422 5555
royalpavilion@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/royalpavilion

Formerly a favorite of British fly-and-fry package tourists, the Royal Pavilion got a royal upgrade courtesy of new owners Fairmont Hotels. Although there are still elements of the unimaginative—see the Boca Raton pink wash of the exteriors—the real draw is its plum setting on a pristine half-mile stretch of sand which attracts couples looking for a quiet week of seaside novel reading, freckle gathering, and rum sipping. In high season, there are few distractions to the business of beachside repose: children are not allowed. The architects used the setting to their advantage, ensuring that all 77 rooms and their flowering verandas have postcard-perfect oceanfront views. Expect in-room amenities like Wi–Fi, flat screen TVs, and plush beds along with a salt-air freshness and a color scheme that takes its cues from the beachscape. Still a popular choice for vacationing Brits, the Royal Pavilion knows its tea-sandwich audience: guests can enjoy scones under Wedgewood-blue skies that seem only rarely visited by passing dollops of clouds.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
The House
Payne's Bay , St. James
Barbados
Tel: 888 996 9948 (toll-free)
Tel: 246 432 5525
thehouse@eleganthotels.com
www.thehousebarbados.com

Although this Payne's Bay property has all of the hallmarks of a high-gloss boutique hotel—urbane clientele, minimalist aesthetic—everything at The House is meant to make you feel, well, at home. However, it's is likely a more decadent, well-staffed version of the home you've left behind with low-slung cloud-white sofas gleaming against burnished, espresso-colored floors. The book-lined lobby eschews reception desks in favor of greetings from your personal butler, more officiously dubbed ambassadors, who materialize whenever you should require anything (cocktails, fresh towels, room service, dinner reservations). Fashioned to feel like your seaside pied-a-terre, 34 immaculate suites lure the young and trendy with a condo-meets-beach cabana aesthetic: each has flat-screen TVs, Wi–Fi, wooden floors, marble bathrooms and a handsome navy-and-white color scheme. The beach is small, but sunbathing feels glamorous under the dark-wood cabanas, where even bottled water arrives in champagne buckets. The only people that won't feel at home here are children, as the hotel has an adults-only policy. The onsite restaurant, Daphne's, is also amongst the most romantic (and wallet-ravaging) on the island. But it's well-worth the cost; the haute-Italian fare is artful and satisfying.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Little Arches
Enterprise Coast Road
Oistins , Christ Church
Barbados
Tel: 246 420 4689
paradise@littlearches.com
www.littlearches.com

Little Arches feels more like a Mexican hacienda than a Bajan hotel: walls are painted in burnt shades of terracotta; floors are of cool red tiles; and the terrace is draped with dangling bird cages, hammocks, and hot-colored blooms. Once a ramshackle home, owners Jacinta and Mark Cathran transformed the space into the island's most darling retreat, and its residential location on Enterprise Beach gives it an off-the-beaten-path allure. There are 10 small rooms painted in warm flowerpot shades of orange and rust with terrazzo floors (the aesthetic, at times, verges on the frumpy). And while tiny flat screen televisions are one of their only attempts at luxury, the rooms are rife with homespun charm: sinks, for instance, are custom-made from colorful Bajan earthenware. Ask for an ocean-facing suite with a private patio. The hotel's rooftop restaurant, Café Luna, has become one of the most romantic reservations on the island.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Little Good Harbour
Shermans , St. Peter
Barbados
Tel: 246 439 3000
info@littlegoodharbourbarbados.com
www.littlegoodharbourbarbados.com

Since it opened in 2000, this 21-unit, family-run place on the northwest coast has had visitors raving about "Barbados how it used to be." We're not sure when they're talking about—these individual villas with full kitchens, tiled floors, canopied four-poster beds, and comfy wood-and-rattan furnishings are modern-day all the way—but no one's complaining. There are one-, two-, and three-bedroom options; most have private terraces overlooking the beach with chaises and umbrella-shaded tables. For those who prefer chlorine to sea salt in their hair, the property has two swimming pools. The Fish Pot restaurant, a casual seafood place, is across the street for those who don't wish to use their kitchens.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sandy Lane
St. James
Barbados
Tel: 246 444 2000
Tel: 800 444 4080 (toll free)
mail@sandylane.com
www.sandylane.com

The most expensive hotel in the Caribbean, the 1961 classic—revived in 2001, with continual updates, the most recent in 2008—works hard for its money. You'll have a hard time even setting foot on the property without a reservation (gawkers note: one for lunch or cocktails will do), but once in, you have everything. The smallest of the 112 rooms is 779 square feet, and even those have parabolic speakers on their terraces, enormous flat-screen TVs, heated mirrors in the bathrooms (lift the phone and a staffer comes running to fill your giant tub and deliver chocolate truffles), and blackout drapes that operate by push button. In the surrounding parklands, among palms and mahogany trees, are three internationally known golf courses (including the spectacular new Green Monkey, where greens fees for nonguests are in the four-digit range), nine tennis courts, a large freshwater pool, and a ridiculously large Romanesque spa. You can drop the kids off at the Treehouse Club and ignore them until dinnertime at no extra charge, maybe while you get a blow-out at the John Frieda salon or go for a spin in the chauffeured Bentley. The beach, let's not forget, is perfect, and swarming with attendants. There are four bars and four restaurants, including the super-fancy L'Acajou and, new for 2009, a casual beachfront restaurant and wine bar, Bajan Blue. The only challenge you face at Sandy Lane is remembering you're in the Caribbean.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sea U!
Bathsheba , St. Joseph
Barbados
Tel: 246 433 9450
sea-u@caribsurf.com
www.seaubarbados.com

Owner Uschi Wetzels has all the right qualifications for running this cute guesthouse on the less-visited, wilder (but quickly being discovered) east coast. First, she was a travel writer for years; second, she's German—OK, that's a stereotype, but Teutonic travelers do always seem to discover the great out-of-the-way spots first. The white, pickled-wood main building is new but built in traditional Bajan style with louvered doors and verandas. The four rooms here and the three in an adjoining cottage are all simply outfitted with mahogany furniture, white bedcovers, and wicker chairs. All have full kitchens or kitchenettes, patios, and AC, though only one unit has a bathtub. Sea U! is right by Soup Bowl, the island's top surfing spot; you can also go swimming in tidal pools, hike the shoreline, or visit the nearby Andromeda Botanic Gardens. Breakfast, which is not included, is served with homemade coconut bread, and a local chef makes good casual dinners.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.