This Caribbean island has picture-postcard beaches, upbeat nightlife and world-class spas from Bridgetown to Speightstown. You won’t have to break the bank to enjoy this popular holiday destination either, with plenty of cheap hotels in Barbados to choose from. Here are our top picks.
The living is easy at this eco-friendly beach pad, a vision of cream shiplap, soft linens, upcycled mahogany furniture and lively local art. The 10 rooms all face the Atlantic with verandahs where you can relax in an Adirondack chair, cooled by the eternal sea breeze. Further relaxation comes from the saltwater baths and the sauna, made from clay, sand and straw. Breakfast each day on coconut yogurt mixed with local fruits and granola before a 10-minute walk along the coast to windswept Bathsheba Beach – made for surfing more than swimming.
Welcome to the south coast, the most happening area of Barbados. The boutique Infinity on the Beach likes its 66 rooms on the simple side, dressed with wicker, wood and tile. One whitewashed building overlooks Dover Beach, while the other sits slightly inland. Both circle two sparkling palm-tree lined swimming pools. Talcum-powder sands lapped by multiple shades of blue are a short stroll away. The rum shacks at Saint Lawrence Gap – the heart of Barbados’s entertainment scene – are a walkable quarter mile away. But first try Oistin’s Friday-night fish fry, a party atmosphere around stall after stall of fresh-caught seafood.
Once a train stop on the Barbados Railway in the 1850s, this is a uniquely designed B&B close to Bathsheba Beach, home to four individually decked-out rooms. It’s all about original features here: simply styled whitewashed rooms, cooled by ceiling fans whirring overhead and trade wind breezes. Tummy rumbling? Under rattan lanterns, you can dine al fresco on organic eggs and warm salt bread for breakfast, and flying fish and breadfruit cou-cou, Creole gravy, Bajan cucumber pickle and fried plantain for dinner. Take time to tour the Andromeda Botanic Gardens, six acres (2.4ha) of flowering blooms and towering trees a short drive away.
The Savannah is all about cool Caribbean relaxation – from the welcome rum punch sipped in a tree-shaded lounger to the shallow ornamental pool that snakes through the tropical flower-filled grounds. This 92-room restored plantation house has shuttered doors and wrought-iron verandahs. The plantation rooms have mahogany half tester beds (but no balcony) and Deluxe Pool Access rooms walk out to the pool. This southerly spot is home to the Garrison Savannah racetrack, part of a Unesco World Heritage Site, an easy walk away.
The ocean beckons at this laid-back beachfront hotel, close to Dover Beach on the south coast. Sea-inspired studios and suites – with turquoise and dark-blue accents – come with kitchenettes (useful if you like home-made breakfasts of saltfish and ackee the Bajan way). One-bed suites have separate living spaces, and there’s the constant lapping of the sea to lull you, up to the edges of the ocean-facing fresh-water pool and terrace. This is a meditative space indeed, with turquoise parasols, tropical foliage and tiki torches after dark to keep things atmospheric.
Whitewashed and sugar-cube-like, these apartments are places for peaceful relaxation more than party pads. One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments come with kitchens and seaside views. The residential location keeps the vibe calmer than the choppy ocean on this side of Barbados. Pretty, breeze-cooled gardens are the perfect location for a yoga session before a trip to the Foursquare Rum Distillery, a 10-minute drive away. Here you can end the tranquility with a fun tour and taste of the famous sugar-cane spirit.
This is a charming south-coast boutique hotel with an equally charming location overlooking the crescent of Saint Lawrence Bay. It woos guests with its relaxing outdoor pool, poolside bar and all-day restaurant – although just around the corner you’ll find some of the best nightclubs, fun bars and gourmet eateries. Ocean-facing studios are simple and relaxed with porcelain tiles, granite countertops and wooden furniture – and bright touches of tropical color are present in the soft furnishings and local Bajan artwork. If you fancy trying your hand at preparing local dishes you can whip them up in the granite-topped kitchenettes.
This adult-only spa retreat is wrapped in well-watered gardens, centering on a lagoon-like pool on Barbados’s chichi west coast. Beamed ceilings stand out against fresh white walls, with Mediterranean-inspired olive green and orange furnishings mirroring the lush surroundings. The 46 one- and two-bed suites all have a balcony or a terrace and kitchenettes. There’s no need to cook on Thursdays as there’s a Caribbean barbecue buffet to the sounds of a steel band. Then you can slide by the hotel’s rum shop for a tot of the island’s famous hard stuff. Spa treats have a firmly Bajan twist (Barbados rumba massage, anyone?) Make sure you stroll along the sands to coastal Speightstown, an evocative place lined with historic buildings, shops and galleries.