Barbados

The Fairmont Royal Pavilion

 

 

 

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The Fairmont Royal Pavilion in Barbados made it onto Luxury Travel Advisor’s list of favorite hotels recently in large part due to its sheer creativity. The resort, on the island’s west coast, has built an extensive and continuous deck outside of its ground-level rooms, giving each a great outdoor space that extends to the beach. This has turned them into Junior Suites that now have 250 square feet of outdoor living space. The work was done last September and October, when the hotel closed for a major overhaul.

What we loved: Each deck, which has a dining table, comfy chairs and two chaise lounges, is shielded from the adjacent ones by huge planter pots so that one can lie about in one’s space with just the half mile-long beach to gaze at.

 

Sandy Lane Penthouse
A Sandy Lane Penthouse can connect with a Luxury Orchid Suite to create a four-bedroom Penthouse.

We were glad our terrace wasn’t too isolated, however, as that would have made it difficult for our Beach Butler to come around and take our drink orders on a regular basis, or to bring us frozen fruit on a stick or a cold mint-scented towel.

Inside, the Junior Suites have been recrafted with a spacious seating area and all finishes have been refreshed. Note: Guests of these new Beachfront Junior Suites (there are 24 in all) also get fast-track VIP airport arrival service and other special amenities.

Important to know: While these digs are ideal for families, the resort only allows children between April 1 and October 31. Pets are not allowed.

 

The Fairmont Royal Pavilion
The Pool At The Fairmont Royal Pavilion, adjacent to the beach.

Upstairs, balcony-level deluxe rooms measure 550 square feet in size and, like the ground-level suites, provide unobstructed oceanfront views. Hint: The resort does have a three-bedroom villa with garden view but management candidly considers it the least desirable accommodation because it lacks ocean views. We hear it may be turned into a spa, which the Fairmont does not currently offer, although in-room treatments are readily provided. (Be sure to give 24-hour notice.)

Contact Sales Manager Catherine Mapp for all your VIP needs; she is right on property and can assist with your clients’ customized requests. Deborah Harewood ([email protected]; 246-422-5555) is the reservations manager, who can also help your clients pick the right room. General Manager Wayne Kafcsak also welcomes contact from luxury travel advisors.

We say the Fairmont Royal Pavilion would be a mighty fine place to host a wedding, and Mechelle Griffith, sales associate, is available to help clients choose from neat preset packages.

Taxis are readily available at Grantley Adams International Airport, but the hotel can also provide a luxury car service (think BMW or Mercedes) at an additional cost. The airport, which also allows private helicopters to land, is a 40-minute drive away.

 

Cobblers Cove’s Deluxe Suites
Cobblers Cove’s Deluxe Suites are in the gardens and come with sea views.

We say the Palm Terrace is one of the most stunning dining venues in the Caribbean—with tall pink arches framing the sea, the views couldn’t be better for a romantic dining experience. Reserve 24 hours in advance, and even farther out during Christmas and the winter season. We also loved dining at the more casual Café Taboras and felt the morning buffet was especially bountiful, particularly with its made-to-order omelet station.

Cobblers Cove

We changed gears when we arrived at Cobblers Cove, where a mongoose—one of the family that lived on the grounds—crossed the path that wends its way down to the Caribbean, stood on his hind legs and looked at us thoughtfully. It was the best introduction we could have had to the very tropical retreat, which is also on the west coast. Brimming with flora and fauna, Cobblers Cove keeps nature close; each Deluxe Suite on property has an open-air porch that looks out to the sea. If guests prefer to keep the sea out, they can shut the louvered doors that separate the verandah from the living room, which also has a kitchenette area. We loved the dressing area that leads to the bathroom and the bedroom, where a full-blast air conditioning unit keeps the natural Caribbean humidity at bay.

Opened as an English Country Inn, Cobblers Cove is still a favorite with UK travelers, who comprise 80 percent of its business and return over and over. This loyal clientele comes for the mellow environment, as this is not a place to see and be seen, but a venue where CEOs and their families can relax under the radar in a rather rustic setting.

 

Sandy Lane’s Penthouses
Sandy Lane’s Penthouses are in the Orchid Wing and set amid the gardens.

Case in point: At the pool, you won’t find a long row of state-of-the-art chaise lounges, perfectly adorned with cobalt blue beach towels and umbrellas. Rather, the hotel’s swimming pool is quite small and lounge chairs around it tend to be moved at all different angles by the guests who follow the sun throughout the day. The pool area and Cobblers Cove’s elegant Terrace Restaurant are amazingly close to the Caribbean Sea—a dramatic setting with waves crashing constantly against large boulders that abut the shoreline. And we say what’s better than crashing waves under a picturesque moonlit night? For swimmers, there’s a calmer beach, where water sports are offered.

We loved the suited-up service that transformed Cobblers Cove’s Terrace Restaurant every evening from a most casual sun-and-sand scene to a formal, elegant dining venue. While the scene was still far from stuffy, it inspired us to dress up in chic cocktail dresses and sports jackets, although that was by no means required. Catch of the day takes on a whole new meaning at Cobblers Cove; a fisherman spends his day just yards out on the water bringing in the fare of the day. We felt the roast chicken was some of the best we ever had and the risotto was also excellent. Our praises to Executive Chef Brian Porteus!

General Manager Randy Wilkie takes special care of guests and sees to it that all are settled into their abodes comfortably on arrival. He treasures his repeat guests. Note: Be sure to save room for the complimentary Afternoon Tea, which includes cucumber sandwiches, scones and jams, cookies and cakes. Be sure also to awaken early each morning to enjoy the natural setting before the hotel comes to life; that’s when you’re most likely to catch another glimpse of a member of the mongoose family, and perhaps even one of the island’s green monkeys.

Sandy Lane

We loved our stay at Sandy Lane and we weren’t surprised—it’s one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Our oceanfront Luxury Ocean Room was 867 square feet in size so we could really move around luxuriously. The balcony was a true outdoor living space, with a couch to lie on while gazing at the turquoise Caribbean through a veil of Sandy Lane pink beach umbrellas.

The fixtures and furnishings in the rooms were so luxe we were actually reminded of The Lanesborough in London; it makes sense when you consider the British influence on Sandy Lane and Barbados.

Fab touches included a 52-inch flat-screen TV with a great music option and a touch-screen that allowed us to open the drapes, turn off the lights and post a “do not disturb” message to housekeeping. We also fell in love with our little Nespresso machine, which served a great “pick-me-up” for languid Caribbean afternoons.

In the bathroom, double sinks took on an entirely new meaning as there were two marble-topped vanities that just happened to be linked together, as well as a huge tub and separate, large shower.

We say these digs do it all, but if your client is more apt to scream for the best, point them to the resort’s five-bedroom Villa, which, at 7,300 square feet, can house up to 14 fortunate folks who get their own pool, a chef and a butler. The two-bedroom Penthouses (we’re talking 3,971 square feet) are a good alternative, and can hold up to eight when connected with a Luxury Orchid Suite. To arrange for your A-listers’ stay, contact Vanessa Williams ([email protected]; 246-444-2515).

For more on Sandy Lane, see our profile of General Manager Robert Logan in our June issue, where he explains how he keeps Sandy Lane going.

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