Barbados is something of a boutique island; relaxed understated elegance and rustic charm but with international standards of service and food. So it makes sense to seek out boutique hotels during a visit, and there are plenty to choose from. Luxury small hotels dot the island, often housed in former colonial buildings and usually featuring tropical gardens and relaxing spas. Casual chic is the order of the day – enjoy afternoon tea; gin-and-tonics on the lawn; four-poster beds and world-class dining.
Escape to the quiet north coast of Barbados, just five minutes from Speightstown, to Little Good Harbour. This laid-back property straddles the quiet road, with the accommodation on the island side and the restaurant on the sea side. The rooms are more like cottages or apartments, featuring small kitchens and styled to look like local clapboard cottages. Polished wood floors and mosquito-netted four-poster beds lend the rooms a wonderfully calming atmosphere. The hotel restaurant Fish Pot is particularly good and draws diners from across the island.
An exquisite boutique hotel, Little Arches oozes Mediterranean chic in a Caribbean setting. This utterly romantic property is one of the best boutique hotels in the West Indies and has one of the best restaurants in Barbados. Having just 10 rooms and being situated down a leafy lane backing onto a beautiful white sand beach, Little Arches never fails to impress. The restaurant is perched on the roof of the hotel and offers mesmerising views across the Caribbean Sea.
Located on the edge of Holetown, home to the Holetown festival and a popular tourist location, the multi-award winning Sandpiper has 50 rooms. The hotel has two swimming pools, two floodlit tennis courts and is set in a pretty, sandy bay. The restaurant sits in the tropical gardens and is particularly romantic during the evenings especially as the sun sets. During the day the beach bar is the place to be seen when not making use of the excellent watersports facilities.
This romantic, adult-only, 34-suite retreat is perfectly poised on the west coast of Barbados. The House has a well-groomed beach and idyllic turquoise waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling. The day is punctuated by champagne breakfast on the deck; afternoon tea; and evening canapés. Daphne’s restaurant, regarded as one of the best in Barbados, serves fresh modern Italian and island seafood cuisine in an elegant setting with unrivalled sea views, just perfect for watching the sunset.
Situated on the quiet east coast with uninterrupted views of the rugged Atlantic coast, The Atlantis Hotel is absolutely blissful. This peaceful location is wonderfully quiet at night when little more than the ocean can be heard. A charming and historic colonial style hotel, it features polished wood floors and four-poster beds aligned with the French windows to make the most of the views. There are no curtains on the windows, so a few days stay resets the body clock to the natural rhythm of the earth.
Situated not far from Barbados’ best surfing beach at Bathsheba, the Sea-U Guest House has just nine rooms across two colonial style buildings. Set in tropical gardens, where hammocks hang between gently swaying palms, the property couldn’t be more relaxed. The rooms feature shuttered windows, white wooden walls and polished hardwood floors, creating a rustic chic atmosphere that’s guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning travellers. Breakfast features Caribbean specialities, and the dinner is fixed menu, although there are other dining options nearby.
Treasure Beach Hotel | Courtesy of Treasure Beach Hotel, Barbados
Treasure Beach Hotel
At Treasure Beach Hotel, 35 suites gather around a freshwater swimming pool, with tropical gardens on three sides, and a sandy beach on the other. The best of the suites feature private plunge pools with uninterrupted sea views. The organic spa has an excellent menu and can arrange a stylist and make-up artist to help prepare for a special night. Treasure Beach Hotel is understandably popular with celebrities, and it’s easy to see why – luxurious, stylish suites; world-class food; and great service on one of the best beaches on the island.
This secluded inland hotel is not too far from the west coast and perched atop a lush green ridgeline. Nestled in tropical gardens, this 44-suite hotel is a terracotta-coloured, Mediterranean-style hideaway. Often cited as a perfect romantic getaway location, the Sugar Cane Club features a well-equipped spa, gym and large pool. A free shuttle bus is available to run guests to and from the nearest beach where sun loungers are available for use. Sugar Cane Club is multi-award winning and regarded as one of the best small hotels in the Caribbean.
Offering proper old-school charm and elegance, the Coral Reef Club is a beautiful country house set in expansive tropical gardens just north of Holetown. The large suites offer traditional classic luxury and the facilities are bang up-to-date – two pools, tennis courts, a gym and well equipped watersports centre. The highly acclaimed spa is one of the best on the island – arranged around an outdoor hydro-pool in colonial-style buildings among the tropical gardens, offering an extensive menu of treatments.
Understated luxury and old-school charm set the tone in this former plantation owner’s holiday home. Nestled against a narrow sandy beach and surrounded by immaculate tropical gardens, Cobblers Cove is renowned for its high standards. Being a former grand home, it features a drawing room with games, but also has more modern facilities such as a swimming pool and wifi. Like all good old colonial-style boutique hotels, afternoon tea is served each day.