Luxury Travel Advisor just got back from our first visit to the new Sandals Barbados and is pleased to report that Sandals Resorts International's streak in recent years of producing game-changing all-inclusives is still intact.
Sandals Barbados opened earlier in the year following a $65 million renovation on the site of the former Couples Barbados. The property is in Christ Church on the south coast of the island.
Here's the skinny on the resort:
There are roughly 280 rooms across three villages: Ocean Village, Crystal Lagoon Village and Caribbean Village. We recommend staying in any Club Level room or any room that comes with butler service. We stayed in room no. 4411, a Crystal Lagoon One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub. The best features here were the balcony overlooking the swimming pool, the large soaking tub in the bathroom and the 46-inch smart TVs in both the living room and bedroom.
Travel Agent got word that Sandals Barbados is looking to nearly double its room inventory. Roughly 200 more rooms will be added. We don't have a completion date, but employees told us the new rooms may be ready by the end of next year. Now, at first we were a little disappointed to hear this, as the hotel is currently one of the smallest and easiest to navigate Sandals properties in the Caribbean.
But we were told there will be some different categories than the existing ones, and there will also be some additional spa facilities, since the current Red Lane Spa offers six treatment rooms but no sauna, steam room, etc.
Butch's Chophouse and Bombay Club, Sandals Resorts International's first Indian restaurant, are the only two restaurants that require reservations. We suggest making them at least 24 hours in advance to be safe, since these are the most buzzed-about dining options on the property. We must say though, that of the 11 dining options, we were the most pleasantly surprised with Dino's Pizzeria, which serves an array of personal pies from a brick oven. The pizza was fluffy and warm and incredibly tasty. This was the perfect mid-day meal to absorb a few poolside Banks beers, which Luxury Travel Advisor had brought to us by our butler Nicholas in a small cooler along with some cold waters.
Speaking of Butler Service...
Clients usually only associate butlers with packing and unpacking luggage, but they can also be used for anything from transporting some frosty adult beverages to shining shoes or ironing clothes.
Butlers, along with spa employees, are the only Sandals employees who are allowed to be tipped. Through our years of covering Sandals properties with butler service, we've learned that perhaps $10 to $20 a day is a good tip for your butler, depending how much you use his or her services.
Anyone with a butler room will be assigned two butlers and given a cell phone to reach them on. Again, we suggest thinking out of the box when it comes to butler service. Think of anything that you don't want to deal with during your stay and that's where the butler comes in. Unexpected issue with the Wi-Fi or perhaps the TV won't turn on? Call the butler and have him or her deal with it while you enjoy a poolside cocktail. Just bring your butler phone with you and they will call you when the problem is solved. And don't think for a minute that you are being rude by having them perform even the most minuscule tasks. They spent years in training and actually get disappointed when you don't put their service to use. If you feel guilty about "overworking" your butler, tip the guilt away.
Club Sandals is available for all VIPs staying in any Club Level room or any category that includes butler service. The best part about Club Sandals is that you basically have your own private concierge. The Club Sandals Lounge is accessible 24 hours with the Club Sandals Concierge available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. to assist with reservations for spas, excursions, restaurants and just about anything. This also where Club Level guests and those with butler rooms check in. Preferred Club Sandals Lounge check-in included a chilled towel and glass of champagne.
About the Resort
Sandals Barbados is situated on Dover Beach, where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. It is located at the bottom of the famed St. Lawrence Gap, known for its lively restaurants, lively nightlife and good shopping. Because of this, we suggest going outside of the resort for dinner for at least one night. Sandals provides so much more value to clients other than the free meals that you won't be throwing away money if you want to try an off-property dining experience. The hotel is also located about 15 minutes from the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).