A restored 19th-century plantation house (known as the Seaview Hotel from 1887 to the 1970s) is the centerpiece of the Savannah Beach Hotel. Two modern wings frame a lagoon-style pool, which cascades down to a larger pool overlooking the beach. The hotel is within walking distance of the Garrison Historic Area, the Barbados Museum, and Garrison Savannah Racetrack—and minutes from Bridgetown by car or taxi.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Not a good choice for anyone with physical disability issues—there are lots of steps from reception to the rooms and then down to the beach.
Plantation rooms in the historic building, at the top of the property and close to the road, have a king-size bed, sitting area, antique mahogany furniture, and wooden flooring—true to the original plantation motif. Courtyard rooms in the two modern, four-story wings each have a balcony with a view of the gardens, the pool, and the sea. Some of the courtyard rooms have direct access to the pool deck.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Wi-Fi is complimentary but “guaranteed” only in public areas of the hotel property.
Bathrooms are small, with tub/shower combinations and single-sink vanities. Fixtures in many rooms are showing their age and definitely need updating.
The lobby is small and sort of dingy, but you’re not spending much time there; it’s mainly for checking in and checking out—or for using the telephone for complimentary local calls. (You pay for calls made from your room.)
The hotel has two swimming pools. A narrow lagoon-style pool meanders through a garden courtyard between the two buildings in graduated steps, from a waterfall at the higher end to the traditional pool by the beach. The lagoon pool is pretty to look at or to take a nice dip, but it’s shallow; reserve any enthusiastic swimming for the main pool or a nearby beach.
Bamboo is the theme at Bansuri Spa (bansuri means bamboo in Hindu), from the décor to the treatments and the background music played on bamboo flutes. So, in addition to traditional Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stone massages—and facials, scrubs, and wraps—the warm bamboo massage is a special treat.
The fitness center is small and rather old, but it’s open from 6 in the morning until 8 each evening if you need a workout.
The popular Rachel's Bar & Restaurant serves buffet breakfast and lunch and dinner from the menu. Drifters Beach Bar & Restaurant serves lunch daily and dinner most nights—either casual or themed—with entertainment. Chopsticks Noodle Bar, overlooking the courtyard and its meandering pool, serves Asian fusion cuisine five nights a week (no kids under 16).
Drifters Beach Bar is open daily from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m, so you’re never far from a cool, tropical cocktail or frosty beer.
The beach in front of the hotel is good for sunbathing, but it's somewhat rocky; reef-walker shoes are recommended. For soft sand and a calm sea, walk a few minutes in either direction or take the free shuttle (twice a week) to nearby Copacabana Beach on Carlisle Bay; the hotel excursion includes free sun loungers, umbrellas, and two free drinks. Snorkel equipment and boogie boards are always available for guest use.
Interested in surfing or standup paddling? You can easily walk to Dread or Dead Surf Shop, right on the main road, which has rental equipment and offers lessons.
Buses to and from Bridgetown or elsewhere along the south coast stop right in front of the hotel. The bus fare is $1 per trip. You can stroll to the Garrison Historic District—Barbados Museum, George Washington House, Garrison Savannah Racetrack (horse racing), and several other sites). Taxis are always available; the fare to or from the airport is about $30. To explore the island on your own, car rental agencies are located at the airport and nearby; the hotel offers free parking.
On the waterfront in Rockley, the next town east of the hotel, Champers (10-minute drive) is a classy but comfortable place to enjoy lunch or dinner. Just west of the hotel in Aquatic Gap, Brown Sugar (5-minute drive) serves a full Bajan buffet (dozens of courses) at lunchtime and a full menu for dinner. And on The Careenage in Bridgetown, Waterfront Café (10-minute drive) is a great place for alfresco dining at lunch or for dinner accompanied (some nights) by live jazz.
To get a taste of St Lawrence Gap, the hotel offers a free shuttle service on Saturday evenings, departing the hotel at 8 p.m. and returning from the Gap at 10:30 p.m. Try Primo Bar & Bistro (10-minute drive) for delicious seafood and an excellent ocean view or Café Sol (10-minute drive) for Tex-Mex (or Gringo) cuisine and extraordinary margaritas.
Definitely take in the Oistins Fish Fry (20-minute drive), a must-do event on Friday evenings. All along the waterfront, 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.
Bubba’s Sports Bar (5-minute drive) on the main road in Rockley, just a little east of the hotel, is exactly that: a sports bar. And St. Lawrence Gap comes alive at nighttime. Try The Old Jamm Inn or Scoopie's Jazz (10-minute drive) for drinks, music, dancing, and a convivial crowd.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Convenient to transportation and to nearby sites, Savannah Beach Hotel offers good value for travelers, including families, who don’t want to stay in—or pay for—a big, slick island resort.