Fodor's Expert Review Sandals Royal Barbados
Maxwell Coast Rd., Maxwell, Christ Church, Barbados See on Map
Sandals' second resort on Barbados opened in December 2017 adjacent to sister resort Sandals Barbados. You can play at both resorts. And given all the available activities and entertainment, you'll never have a dull moment.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Like all Sandals, this one is also all-inclusive and adults-only.
Sandals Royal features all concierge- and butler-level suites with all the pampering that that implies. Rondoval suites are individual and, well, round. Swim-up suites have direct access to the large lagoon pool, and Skypool suites have a cantilevered plunge pool on the balcony. All suites have separate living rooms, a fully stocked wet bar, an entertainment center, and are ultra-luxurious, ultra-romantic...ultra-ultra.
All bathrooms feature a freestanding tub, separate walk-in shower with natural stone flooring, and Carrara marble vanity with double sinks. A separate soaking tub (for two) is on the balcony—along with privacy curtains.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The shower stalls have frosted glass, toilet rooms have a door, and balcony soaking tubs have privacy curtains—but the tub in the bathroom is not enclosed.
Be prepared to make a grand entrance. Enormous golden chandeliers hang from the high ceilings of the porte cochère, alfresco guest lounge, and reception area. It’s very glittery, and shorts and T-shirts somehow don’t seem exactly right. Once checked in, though, it’s unlikely that you’ll spend much time in the lobby—except to check out.
An enormous pool in the center of the property is also steps from the beach, while the lagoon pool stretches around the property and in front of the swim-up rooms. Somewhat more spectacular is the rooftop infinity pool (with a glass front so you don’t swim over the side), with the poolside Sky Bar and a breathtaking view of the beach below.
Ask your butler to reserve a lounge chair to avoid disappointment.
The 15,000-square-foot Red Lane Spa offers everything from massages, facials, scrubs, polishes, and treatments to a host of fitness sessions: aqua fitness, abs workout, high-intensity “tabata,” stretching, cardio, and power walking.
YOU SHOULD KNOW All services and sessions at the spa cost extra.
While there are plenty of machines, group workouts are the focus of the fitness center. Trainers lead guests through movements, set to music, that are also fun.
Here’s another “group” exercise. Get together with another couple and play a game or two at the resort'sfour-lane bowling alley, called “Lovers Lanes.”
The “Royal” has six restaurants, featuring regional American comfort food, French cuisine, Mediterranean seafood, Asian fusion, steaks and chops, and spicy jerk dishes. If that's not enough, there are 11 more dining venues in the adjacent Sandals Barbados property. Plus, a weekly beach party features a huge barbecue buffet and a cultural show under the stars.
The resort has four bars and a beer garden; unlimited drinks—premium spirits and top-brand beers—are included in the rates. The bar in the rooftop infinity complex is a cantilevered cocktail lounge, five stories up, with live music. Hold on to your hat!
Both Sandals resorts face Dover Beach, one of the island's prettiest beaches, and offer a host of complimentary water-sports activities—including scuba diving—and instruction. Guests are welcome to use the canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling equipment, Hobie Cats, boogie boards, and water hammocks. The resort's fleet includes a glass-bottom boat, towboats for water skiing, and dive boats.
Sandals Royal's also has a branded resort-wear shop in case you forgot your bathing suit!
St. Lawrence Gap and Oistins are within strolling distance. The closest bus stop is a five-minute walk from the hotel, but that’s not exactly the “royal” way to get around. That said, it’s not easy to get a taxi FROM Sandals, as the hotel will try to hook you up with the company’s tour operator, Island Routes—which will cost much more than a taxi. Airport transfers are complimentary; top-category suites are treated to private transfers in a Rolls Royce.
Hotel guests have a choice of 17 different places to eat: 6 onsite and 11 next door. And since the hotel is all-inclusive—and you’ve paid a dear price for your stay—it’s unlikely that you’ll eat elsewhere.
You’ll find more than enough nighttime entertainment at both Sandals properties.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Sandals Royal is a new entry in the island’s luxury hotel market, and it’s a beauty.
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