Offering an all-inclusive set-up—but in an intimate, chic environment—The SoCo in Barbados is a fresh alternative to massive beach resorts.
Located on Barbados’ South Coast, and hugging the beach, room rates at the 24-room art deco-style boutique property include unlimited drinks at the beach bar and as many meals as you’d like at its ocean-front air-conditioned restaurant (as with other all-inclusive hotels, expect to tack on extra costs for upscale items like lobster and fine wines). On the restaurant’s à la carte menu (for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), traditional Caribbean fare is inspired by international tastes to form a unique mingling of flavors that informs every dish, right down to the casual fare like sliders and fish tacos. Afternoon tea is served at 3 pm daily.
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The hotel offers two room categories—SoCo and Deluxe. Each room features a crisp, all-white palette accented by turquoise throw pillows and bamboo furnishings as well as a flat-screen television, iPad docking station, DVD player, and tea/coffee machines. White orchids greet guests in the lobby, welcoming them into crisp serenity right off the bat. Free WiFi throughout ensures guests stay connected (although unplugging is definitely encouraged—this is vacation, after all).
Hotel staff can arrange excursions for golf, polo, horseback riding, and water sports (like surfing, diving, and water skiing). Packed lunches provided by the hotel ensure you make the most of your time but don’t get famished.
The SoCo Hotel is owned and managed by Ralph Taylor, who also owns Smuggler’s Cove Resort & Spa on St. Lucia. Until Dec. 15, rates per night are between $500-$750; after that date they increase to $800-$950.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.