Please note our writers visited Barbados prior to the coronavirus pandemic
With its plethora of excellent restaurants and many hundreds of friendly rum shops, Barbados isn’t a Caribbean island naturally suited for spending all day, every day of your holiday under the auspices of an all-inclusive resort. However, if you want a relaxing break with all meals and drinks and use of a host of facilities included, there are some enticing everything-included places to stay, both on the lively south coast and the quieter and more upmarket west coast. Here’s our pick of the best all-inclusive hotels in Barbados, from vast adults-only resorts to smaller to more intimate properties.
Sandals Barbados, Christ Church
One of the most popular adults-only hotels in Barbados for all-inclusive holidays, this Sandals property is situated on the developed south coast by the soft white sands of Dover Beach. The hotel is more stylish than one might imagine an all-inclusive hotel to be – for example, hibiscus and bougainvillea, waterfalls and poolside fire pits, mattresses in giant pods and swinging love seats all help create a romantic atmosphere, and one pool is flanked by elegant, candy-striped cabanas. Guests are mostly young to middle-aged couples, many from the UK, who come to luxuriate in the smart rooms, dine in a wide choice of high-quality à la carte restaurants, enjoy spirited evening entertainment, and make the most of access to the facilities at interconnecting Sandals Royal Barbados.
Sandals Royal Barbados, Christ Church
Sandals Royal, situated on Maxwell Beach, bills itself as the most exclusive of Barbados’ all-inclusive resorts and comes with every added extra befitting the Sandals brand. Unlike its older Sandals sibling next door, Sandals Royal has a varied design. Miami-style mid-rise, Mediterranean tiled roofs, ancient Greek temples and thatched South Seas cottages are among the rambling architectural influences. Facilities are excellent. Land and watersports on offer include tennis, yoga, stand-up paddleboarding and trips to a nearby marine park for diving and snorkelling. There’s also a rooftop pool and a glass-fronted infinity pool overlooking the ocean. All rooms have concierge or butler service, and you can upgrade to a swim-up site, ocean-front suite, or “rondoval” cottage with a private plunge pool.
Read the full review: Sandals Royal Barbados
Waves Hotel & Spa, Saint James
Waves is a tastefully decorated property situated directly above a gorgeous, tranquil section of sandy beach. The main beachfront section of the hotel focuses on a large lounge bar (beige sofas enlivened with orange cushions, and coffee tables hewn from large chunks of wood) and a long wooden deck above the beach, with a row of palms rising up through the floorboards and outdoor sofas to chill out on. In the evenings, torches light up the deck and there’s often live music in the lounge bar. Pool and beach ‘ambassadors’ will serve you at your sunbed, bringing with them iced melon balls and cold towels. There’s a substantial spa, the service and food are good, and lots of extras are included in the rates.
Crystal Cove, Saint James
Crystal Cove is a village-like complex decorated in jaunty colours, with wooden balustrades, doors and windows picked out in bright purple, green and pink. The hotel sits on the west coast of Barbados, backing on to a lovely 250-yard-long stretch of scenic, tranquil, soft-sand beach, shaded by palms and casuarinas. You can wander southwards along the beach for some way. Some of the area under the water in front of the hotel is rocky, but other easily accessible spots are sandy. At the property’s heart is a trio of tiered swimming pools, set amid rocks, foliage and mini-waterfalls. A wide selection of watersports is available, along with a good gym, and tennis courts. There’s no spa on site, but guests can have treatments at the impressive spa at sister property The Waves just down the coast.
Read the full review: Crystal Cove
Tamarind, Saint James
This is a stylish-looking beachfront property that backs on to a lovely long stretch of shaded golden sand towards the southern end of Paynes Bay, a contender for the very best west-coast beach. Three-storey buildings in a soft yellow palate look beachwards over towering mahogany trees, palms and lawns dotted with yellow-cushioned wicker sofas, and wooden decking shaded with white parasols. It feels cool, relaxed and spacious. Staff bring round treats such as complimentary fruit kebabs and ice lollies to guests lounging by the pool or on the beach. A busy watersports centre offers kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, Hobie Cat sailboats, water-skiing and banana boat rides. Other facilities include three appealing swimming pools (one adults only) and a small spa.
Turtle Beach, Christ Church
The largest, liveliest and most family oriented of Elegant Hotels’ seven properties on Barbados is a low-rise, wedge-shaped property, focused around a free-form pool area pleasantly landscaped with palms and other tropical foliage. It’s situated at one end of Dover Beach on the south coast, a lovely long, soft-sand strand shared with two Sandals properties and another hotel. Staff are well trained, perky and friendly and ‘Beach Ambassador’ service is offered – meaning drinks, fruit plates and ice lollies are brought round when you’re lounging by the pool or on the beach. The two swimming pools are a decent size (but can get very busy), and facilities including watersports, a spa and complimentary yoga, mixology and dance lessons are available.
Read the full review: Turtle Beach
Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa, Saint Peter
Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa is an unflashy and peaceful adults-only getaway just inland from the coast in north-west Barbados. Low-rise, Mediterranean-style, whitewashed and terracotta-roofed buildings are set around expansive grounds encompassing tiered lawns dotted with sun loungers and rocking benches, tortoise statues, palms, poinciana, flamboyant and mango trees. You can often see green monkeys on the property. The ambience is very relaxing, with many guests opting to spend days chilling on loungers in the grounds and around the pool. A deep, wild, jungly gully runs along the edge of the property, which you can explore on your own or on a guided tour. Facilities include a good-size pool, a spa, a gym, squash court and mountain bikes, plus a free shuttle to the beach.
Sea Breeze Beach House, Christ Church
On the south coast of Barbados, along some 300 yards of soft-sand beachfront, this good-looking four-star is sensibly laid out with separate family and adult zones, and offers stylish bedrooms, three pools and a good range of dining options (this is not one of those all-inclusives where you’re obliged to eat boring buffets in a single dining room all week). A lot of thought has gone into making the hotel look good, with the airy public areas done out in whites, creams and bold splashes of colour. Rooms are appealing but it’s well worth considering splashing out on one of the snazzy Luxury Collection suites which have full ocean views from their balconies and extra perks daily fridge replenishment of beers, juices and soft drinks, and evening canapés.
Read the full review: Sea Breeze Beach House
Contributions by James Litston
Rates above are guide prices per person per night, please note that all-inclusive packages can differ across hotels. Owing to the current coronavirus pandemic, these rates may change. Please check the hotel’s websites for further information on what’s included.