If you’ve been dreaming of a Caribbean vacation this summer, there’s no better time to visit the birthplace of rum, aka Barbados, than right now. The island is having a moment, thanks to a spate of new hotels that are breaking ground or reopening their doors. Here are seven new Barbados hotels to check in to this year.
Fairmont Royal Pavilion
Thanks to a multimillion-dollar renovation that was completed in November 2017, the Fairmont Royal Pavilion has solidified its reputation as one of the island’s most luxurious resorts. Nestled on a ½-mile long beach along the stunning Platinum Coast, the resort mixes old world plantation style with new world amenities. Case in point: Its 24 newly renovated beachfront junior suites, which are among the resort’s 74 sea view rooms. Featuring the epitome of personalized service, suites include an airport fast track service to whisk you through Immigrations and Customs; a dedicated team of butlers who will unpack your bags upon arrival, iron your clothes and perform bespoke concierge duties, among other requests; and spacious 250-square-feet private outdoor living areas where you can relax on your comfy day bed or simply take in the unending Caribbean view. In addition to handsome modern décor and commissioned Bajan artwork, suites also boast push button showers, soaking tubs and granite vanities in the bathrooms, plus all the technical trappings of home like Nespresso machines and 42” flat screen TVs. When you’re hungry don’t miss Taboras, its poolside, open-air restaurant that’s perfect for lunch (try the blackened mahi tacos) or the Palm Terrace, where dinner is served in an elegant beachfront dining room complete with live piano music.
Sandals Royal Barbados
If an adults-only all-inclusive stay is what you’re after then look no further than Sandals Royal Barbados, which opened its doors in December 2017. Featuring 222 butler-serviced suites — some with swim-up access to the lagoon pool, others with cantilevered plunge pools, and all with separate living rooms, Carrera marble vanities and soaking tubs for two — this south coast resort exudes amenities. Love to bowl? Then head to the resort’s four-lane bowling alley. Care to swim laps in the clouds? Take the elevator to the rooftop infinity pool. Need a buzz cut? Then make a beeline to the men’s only barbershop. For its highest-tier guests, the resort even provides chauffeured Rolls-Royce airport transfers, but you don’t have to be a high roller to be completely pampered. For an extra fee, all guests can enjoy the resort’s 15,000-square foot Red Lane Spa and its massive pool is just steps from the beach. Bonus: Guests of Sandals Royal Barbados are also welcome to enjoy its adjacent sister property, Sandals Barbados, so you’ll have twice the amount of restaurants to choose from during your stay.
Sea Breeze Beach House
Following a seven-month closure, Sea Breeze Beach House reopened in December 2017 with a long list of new amenities and upgrades. Not only did the resort add 44 ocean view suites (with one to four bedrooms), but it also renovated all 78 of its standard guest rooms, installed a lap pool and created a new kids club and teen zone. In fact, over $16 million was spent on this south coast all-inclusive resort, making it an ideal resort for large groups, families and intergenerational travelers. Rooms now feature handsome hardwood floors and contemporary furnishings, all with new bathrooms and rain showers. Guests can choose from one of three pools, swim to the floating sundeck from its 1,000-feet-long beach and enjoy international and island-inspired cuisine at one of six onsite restaurants.
When New Yorkers Kyle and his wife, Maryam Taylor bought the Sea-U Guest House in February 2018 and rebranded it as a chic, environmentally-friendly boutique hotel a few months later, there was no question what their new ten room inn was going to be called: ECO. “It stands for east coast origin,” says Taylor, nodding to their northeastern roots. “Plus, we have strong commitment to our local environment and a pledge to be as sustainable as possible, so for us the name was a no brainer.” So was the location. Perched on a lush Bathsheba hilltop overlooking the island’s rugged east coast, ECO is a haven for surfers and soul seekers eager to connect with its pristine natural surroundings. True to its mission, ocean view rooms boast upcycled furnishings (think Bajan mahogany headboards), locally commissioned artwork and handsome bathrooms with solar-heated water. Guests can join complimentary yoga classes, catch a wave at nearby Soup Bowl or swing in shady hammocks, tamarind daiquiri in hand. They can also enjoy island-inspired cuisine that’s 90 percent locally sourced by a certified plant-based and raw-food chef. “It’s a retreat for the mind and body,” says Taylor, “and our doors are officially open.”
The House by Elegant Hotels
Reopened in October 2017 following an extensive renovation to its suites and public spaces, The House by Elegant Hotels transformed itself into an adults-only oasis with the creation of a few simple additions — most notably, ten brand new ocean view junior suites, and a spa where all guests receive a complimentary, thirty-minute Jet Lag Massage upon arrival. In addition to a handful of upscale amenities like champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapés, the west coast hotel also includes motorized watersports, so you can try waterskiing and take high-speed tube rides at its full service beach club, where stand up paddle boarding and Hobie Cat sailing lessons are also available. When dinner calls, make a reservation at Daphne’s, a modern Italian restaurant that’s adjacent to the hotel: Executive Chef Michele Blasi hosts weekly cooking demonstrations and tastings.
Treasure Beach by Elegant Hotels
When Elegant Hotels acquired the Treasure Beach Hotel and reopened as a chic, adults-only hotel in December 2017, it became the seventh Elegant Hotels property on Barbados and the sixth on the island’s pristine Platinum Coast. That means Treasure Beach by Elegant Hotels is the newest addition to a growing family of boutique hotels where guests are encouraged to dine around thanks to a complimentary water taxi serving each property (there are nearly 20 bars and restaurants in the collection). In addition to 35 well-appointed suites, the hotel boasts a strong commitment to the arts: Join the Treasure Beach Art Crawl, which visits historic museums and galleries around the island; grab an easel and a complimentary set of paints and brushes to explore your inner artist; or take an Art of Food Styling class, where you can learn tricks for creating magazine worthy food presentations.
The Abidah by Accra
Opening in Fall 2018, The Abidah by Accra will be the newest all-inclusive hotel on the centrally located south coast, where you won’t be more than 15 minutes from Grantley Adams International Airport. Its 44 rooms and suites will all have private ocean or island view balconies, Jacuzzi tubs and his and hers kimonos and flip flops, plus as the sister property of the nearby Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, guests will have the opportunity to dine around at both hotels (stop by on a Saturday night when fire dancers perform live dinner shows). Tip: Don’t miss the nearby Oistins Fish Fry, a boisterous Friday night street party where artisans sell their crafts and chefs prepare fresh fish of all kinds (think tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi and swordfish).