Concierge.com's insider take:
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.