Fodor's Expert Review Little Arches Hotel
Enterprise Beach Rd., Oistins, Christ Church, Barbados See on Map
Just east of the fishing village of Oistins, Little Arches is a family-owned and -operated boutique hotel with a distinctly Mediterranean ambience and a perfect vantage point overlooking the sea. Tranquility and privacy are key attractions, as this is an adults-only establishment. The restaurant is notable, the service is personalized and friendly, and a great beach is just steps away.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Leave the kids (under age 16) at home, as this is an intimate, adults-only hotel.
Rooms are unique in size, layout, and location and are individually decorated—but all are bright and airy and have a king-size four poster bed, sitting area, and terracotta tile flooring. Some have a balcony with an ocean view; others have a private garden setting. A rooftop room opens directly onto the pool deck and has a partial ocean view, and two ocean view suites each have a kitchenette and a large patio with a private hot tub.
Guests who book a 10-day stay may choose a complimentary round of golf at the Barbados Golf Club, a champagne breakfast and massage, or a fully catered day sail.
Tiled in neutral tones of light coral and clay, each bathroom has a large walk-in shower, coral-stone vanity with a locally made (Earthworks) pottery sink, modern fixtures, good lighting, and a large mirror. Bathrobes are provided, and the bath is stocked with Gilchrist & Soames soap, hair, and body products.
The “lobby” is just a small office off the entrance courtyard.
Tropical flowers and greenery surround the free-form rooftop pool. There’s a shaded sitting area, cushioned sun loungers, hammocks… and an extraordinary view of the ocean.
The mini-spa, tucked away in a private garden suite, offers a variety of massages—from the 40-minute back-and-shoulder massage to the hour-long Swedish, aromatherapy, deep tissue, or couples massages—as well as beauty rituals (manicure, pedicure, facial). Recover from jet lag with a combined back-and-shoulder and Indian head massage; or be “perfectly pampered” with an Indian head massage, followed by a Swedish massage and then a soothing foot massage. There’s more, and they all sound pretty wonderful!
Hour-long beach yoga and stretching sessions are held daily at sunrise and sunset; reserve ahead, though.
There is no onsite gym, but you can get your exercise by taking advantage of the hotel’s complimentary tandem or beach cruiser bikes.
The open-air Café Luna, located on the rooftop terrace, serves breakfast and lunch only to hotel guests. The restaurant is open to the public at dinner, when the atmosphere becomes romantic and the dishes are mouth-watering. The three-course Back-to-Bajan menu is a particularly good choice, and sushi is a specialty on Thursday and Friday nights.
Stay a full week, and your breakfasts are complimentary.
The hotel’s rooftop bar serves cocktails in the evening for restaurant diners—lovely at sunset—and for hotel guests lounging at the pool during the day.
The hotel is not exactly across the street from the beach; rather, it’s a very short walk to Miami (Enterprise) Beach, one of the nicest beaches along the south coast. The beach is a slice of pure white sand, with calm, shallow water on one side and deeper water with small waves on the other. The hotel will deliver sun loungers to the beach for you, and vendors there sell snacks.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The beach can be deserted during the week; on weekends, it's gets busy with people from the nearby neighborhood who come for a swim.
A rental car is advised, as Little Arches is in a residential area and not close to anything but the beach. You can walk to Oistins, a mile or so away. The bus to St. Lawrence Gap ($1 fare) stops nearby, and taxis are always available upon request.
The Oistins Fish Fry (5-minute drive) is a must-do event on Friday evenings. All along the waterfront in this south coast fishing village, local folks grill fresh fish (and chicken for landlubbers), served with traditional Bajan sides. Seating is at communal picnic tables, servings are huge, prices are low, and music adds to the fun.
At St. Lawrence Gap, try Primo Bar & Bistro (15-minute drive) for delicious seafood and an excellent view or Café Sol (15-minute drive), owned by Little Arches, for reasonably priced Tex-Mex food, tasty margaritas, and a lively atmosphere.
St. Lawrence Gap has a lot of nighttime activity. Try The Old Jamm Inn or Scoopie's Jazz (15-minute drive) for drinks, music, dancing, and a convivial crowd.
WHY WE LIKE IT
For couples, Little Arches is in an idyllic setting on a quiet part of the south coast of Barbados, yet it’s a short stroll to the fishing village of Oistins and a quick drive to busy St. Lawrence Gap.
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