Fodor's Expert Review Sandy Lane Hotel and Golf Club

Hwy. 1, Paynes Bay, St. James BB24024, Barbados See on Map Fodor's Choice

Jane Zarem

Few places in the Caribbean can compare to Sandy Lane's luxurious facilities and ultra-pampering service—or to its astronomical prices. But for the few who can afford to stay here—guests include royalty, celebrities, and the otherwise rich and famous—it's an unparalleled experience. The main building is a coral-stone, Palladian-style mansion facing a sweeping stretch of beach shaded by mature mahogany trees. Enjoy elegant dining, the Caribbean's best golf courses, a tennis center, a full complement of water sports, a special lounge for teenagers, incomparable style…even an airport welcome and round-trip transfers via luxury car.


Guest accommodations, sumptuous in every detail, range from just over 700 to more than 7,000 square feet! Even the smallest units include several TVs and other entertainment devices, an in-room wet bar stocked with your favorites, a personal butler, and remote-controlled everything—including the draperies.

All rooms and suites are luxuriously appointed with Italian marble floors, plantation-style furniture, and richly upholstered sofas and chairs—and each room has a large furnished verandah. A 5-bedroom villa is available to those who wish to vacation in their own private mansion.


Bathrooms here are big, beautiful, and (like the rooms) oozing in luxury—with marble walls throughout, inviting soaking tubs (some with a window, just above, that opens to the ocean view), large walk-in showers with jets from every angle (or at least many angles), and plush towels, robes, and slippers.


The lobby is very grand, as you’d expect. There’s a reception area off to one side. Luxuriously upholstered couches, settees, and occasional chairs are positioned in small groupings conducive to private conversation. A patio overlooks gardens and walkways on the lower level, as well as the beach and turquoise sea beyond.

YOU SHOULD KNOW You don't have to dress up to walk through the lobby, but you may feel that you should!


The pool here is enormous: 7,500 square feet, with a cascading waterfall, in a tropical garden setting. You can swim to your heart’s content—and attendants are there to cater to your every need.


The amazing and enormous (47,000 square feet) Spa at Sandy Lane, housed in a magnificent Romanesque building, could be a vacation in itself. In the marble reception area, a grand double staircase leads to the treatment suites, where men and women (and pregnant women, too) can indulge in well-being therapies, healing treatments, decadent relaxation, and a blissful hour or two or three…or more.


The 2,500-square-foot gym and training area has a full range of aerobic equipment, rowing machines, free weights, and more. Personal trainers are on hand to help with your exercise regime, provide motivation, and create a customized workout plan for you. Daily Pilates, spinning, circuits, and yoga classes are complimentary.

The hotel also has nine floodlit tennis courts and, if you’d like lessons, a resident pro.


Sandy Lane has two beachside restaurants: On the lower terrace, Bajan Blue is an alfresco restaurant offering informal all-day dining, afternoon tea, Sunday brunch, and themed buffets; there’s also a sushi station and a grill. On the upper terrace, L’Acajou is a rather chic restaurant specializing in gourmet cuisine at dinner; the wine list is, of course, impressive.

Beachgoers stop at The Gelato Bar for vanilla and/or chocolate treats in a waffle cone—with or without a topping. Before, after, or in between treatments, The Spa Café offers casual dining and a healthy menu: soups, greens, sandwiches, and light meals. And golfers can have lunch at The Country Club Restaurant and Bar, which overlooks the 18th hole.

All Sandy Lane restaurants are open to the public.


Lots of bars here…L’Acajou and Bajan Blue both have bars where guests congregate for drinks before dinner. The Monkey Bar, on the lower terrace, is popular for cocktails or a nightcap; it’s open until the last guest leaves. The Beach Bar serves cool tropical drinks and frosty beers throughout the day—at the beach. At the Pool Bar, a swim-up bar accessible from the spa or the pool, you can have a refreshing drink and/or a light meal. The Country Club Bar is where golfers get together to relax after a round.

Photo: Throwback to my vacay in Barbados last year where I finally learned the art of switching off. Looking forward to practicing my new found skill soon . . . . #downtime #holiday #barbados #beach #sandylanebeach #beachchair #beachumbrella #chillaxin #tbt


The beach in front of Sandy Lane is, perhaps, the most magnificent stretch of pure white sand on the west coast. The hotel provides personalized beachside services, such as reserved sun loungers, cold towels and colder tropical drinks, treats like sorbet and fresh fruit, periodic misting with Evian water…even sunglass cleaning! Water-sports activities include waterskiing, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, banana boat rides, and more. Non-motorized sports are complimentary.

Photo: Throwback to my vacay in Barbados last year where I finally learned the art of switching off. Looking forward to practicing my new found skill soon . . . . #downtime #holiday #barbados #beach #sandylanebeach #beachchair #beachumbrella #chillaxin #tbt


Sandy Lane Country Club offers world-class golf. Golfers can play the Old Nine here or either of two 18-hole championship courses: the Tom Fazio–designed Country Club Course and the spectacular Green Monkey Course, which is reserved for hotel guests and club members. The layouts offer a limestone quarry setting (Green Monkey), a modern style with lakes (Country Club), and traditional small greens and narrow fairways (Old Nine).


Getting Around

Taxis are always available. A rental car is a good idea if you want to explore the island on your own. There’s bus service on the main road in front of the hotel, but Sandy Lane guests are unlikely to choose that option.


Lunch or dinner at Daphne's (5-minute drive), the beachfront restaurant of The House, is always a treat. The chef and his brigade whip up first-class “modern Italian” cuisine, and the extensive wine list features both regional Italian and fine French selections. A little farther south, The Cliff (10-minute drive) offers one of the finest dining experiences in the Caribbean—at a price. Be sure to reserve well ahead, especially if you want a waterfront table. Next door at The Cliff Beach Club, the seaside view is the same as its big sister; but the “club” atmosphere is casual, a table is easier to come by, and the menu is more affordable.

Just south of Holetown, The Tides (5-minute drive) has long been considered one of the island’s best restaurants. Once a private mansion, the dining room—just feet from the sea—has huge tree trunks growing right through it. The cuisine is as dazzling as the atmosphere. And on 2nd Street in Holetown itself, The Mews (5-minute drive)—formerly a private home—is a maze of intimate dining rooms; the chef specializes in farm-to-table cooking, whether classic dishes, bistro fare, or small plates.


South of Holetown, enjoy a sophisticated evening at Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge (5-minute drive)—get there at sunset for a stunning view, too—or a more lively night on 1st or 2nd Street in Holetown at Red Door Lounge (10-minute drive).


In a word, it’s "fabulous"!


Family, Romantic, Service
112 rooms
Breakfast yes
Lunch yes
Dinner yes
Bar yes
Cafe yes
Room Service yes
Gym, Pool
Free Parking


Phones: 246-444–2000

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