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Sandy Lane, St. James

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Barbados, Caribbean: coral stone arch frames ocean views from the reception area at the Sandy Lane resort
St. James
Tel: 246 444 2000
Tel: 800 444 4080 (toll free)'s insider take:

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.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 89.0
  • Activities: 89.2
  • Design: 86.6
  • Food: 86.6
  • Location: 94.0
  • Rooms: 91.0
  • Service: 86.6
On the site of a former sugar plantation, this neo-Palladian resort is "beyond compare," with "service that's very discreet," a 7,500-square-foot swimming pool, and a 47,000-square-foot spa. "Luxe digs" have private verandas, personalized bars, and heated bathroom mirrors. The Provençale cuisine at L'Acajou "is somewhat overpriced."

(112 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Beach, Golf, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

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