Fodor's Expert Review Waves Hotel and Spa

Hwy. 1, Prospect, St. James, Barbados See on Map

Jane Zarem

Waves, a small, family-friendly, all-inclusive hotel, is one of seven Elegant Hotels properties on Barbados. The main section of Waves—including the lobby, most guestrooms, main restaurant, snack bar, bar and lounge, and a pool—is perched on a cliff overlooking a sandy beach. Adults-only guestrooms are across the road, along with the spa, a specialty restaurant, and a second pool. Waves provides a relaxed atmosphere for both couples and families, with children’s activities mainly centering on the beach.


Rooms and suites are decorated in neutral colors with splashes of tropical color; all have a pullout sofa bed. Most rooms in the main section have ocean views, many with balconies; some are split level, with the bedroom on the lower level and a lounge area on the upper. Spacious, adults-only (age 17+) spa rooms and one-bedroom suites overlook the second pool, also reserved for adults, and are adjacent to the spa and Shiso restaurant but across the street from the main part of the hotel and the beach. Spa-side rooms and suites include two spa treatments per adult per stay (subject to a minimum length of stay). All rooms have a mini-fridge; split-level rooms have a stocked minibar.

YOU SHOULD KNOW While Waves is very family-friendly, there are no connecting rooms.


Bathrooms are not particularly large but are beautifully updated, with glass-walled rain showers (no tubs) and vanities with stylish vessel sinks. Some rooms have an open space outside the bathroom to use as a dressing area—or use the floor there for exercise, as each room is supplied with a yoga mat. (That space also has a counter, making it a good spot to set up your laptop computer.)


The hotel lobby, several steps down from the road, is fairly small; there's a reception desk, seating, a shop, access to the lobby pool, and stairs and an elevator to guestrooms on the floors above. Walk a few steps toward the ocean, though, and you enter a large lounge with several chairs, couches, and coffee tables. Seascape Bar is in the lounge, along with access to Seascape restaurant and Kyma Coffee Bar—and a corner where craftspeople display their wares during the day and live entertainment sets up in the evening. Just beyond the lounge area, a long deck—with chairs and tables shaded by umbrellas—overlooks the water and the beach down below.


The hotel has two pools: a small, rather secluded pool adjacent to the lobby and an adults-only “serenity pool” across the street in the spa side of the property.


The Spa at Waves has a complimentary steam room and sauna, in addition to a full menu of soothing massages, rejuvenating body wraps and scrubs, facials for both men and women, and more. An hour-long couples massage, for example, occurs in a candlelit room with soft music and the scent of fresh rose petals.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Spa services cost extra—although mini-treatments are included in certain room packages.


The fitness center has cardio machines and free weights available to guests (age 16+). Complimentary yoga and Pilates classes are held daily; circuit-training classes and guided beach walks (at sunrise) are also complimentary. Sessions with a personal trainer though, must be booked ahead and require a supplemental fee.


The all-inclusive rates here include unlimited meals and drinks. Seascape restaurant serves three meals a day: buffet-style breakfast and lunch and à la carte dinner. The dinner menu leans mostly toward Mediterranean dishes, with vegetarian options—and there’s a special menu for kids; theme nights are held twice a week. At Shiso, an Asian fusion restaurant across the street, guests can opt for sashimi, sushi, noodle and rice bowls, and more (dinner only). Kyma Coffee Bar, adjacent to the lounge, serves sandwiches, salads, snacks, ice cream, pastries, soft drinks, and coffee during the day.

Another option is to take advantage of the dine-around program, where you can enjoy meals at Waves’ sister properties. At nearby Crystal Cove or Turtle Beach Resort, on the south coast, Waves guests enjoy full dining privileges, including beverages. For Tamarind, Treasure Beach, and Colony Club, the Waves front office will make reservations and provide a voucher; a supplemental charge applies to the meal, and beverages are not included.


Seascape Bar, in the lounge area just outside Seascape restaurant, serves tropical drinks, wine, beer, and soft drinks from 9:30 in the morning until 1 a.m. Guest generally gather in the lounge after dinner to enjoy the live entertainment.

At sundown, join the folks on the oceanfront deck—tropical drink in hand—as the sunsets here are nothing short of amazing.


There’s a lot to do on the beach besides sun bathing! Motorized and non-motorized water sports are all included; so in addition to snorkeling, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, and Hobie Cat sailing, you can take tube rides behind a speed boat or learn to water ski—or both! Kids especially enjoy playing beach cricket.

"Beach ambassadors” will dote on you with a cool drink, cocktail, cold towel, frosty treat, or whatever else you may need.


Getting Around

Buses stop right in front of the hotel, heading north to Holetown and Speightstown or south to Bridgetown. The fare is $1. Taxis are always available. A rental car is a good idea if you want to explore the island on your own. A complimentary water taxi shuttles guests between the Elegant Hotels properties on the west coast, stopping at Crystal Cove, Waves, Tamarind/The House/Treasure Beach), and Colony Club. The water taxi makes several round trips per day between 9:15 am. and 4:30 p.m., weather permitting.


As Waves is an all-inclusive resort, you’ve paid for all of your meals. For a splurge—or just a change of pace—consider lunch or dinner at Daphne's (5-minute drive), The House’s beachfront restaurant, where the chef and his brigade whip up “modern Italian” cuisine and the extensive wine list features both regional Italian and fine French selections.

Also, 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.

In Bridgetown, on The Careenage, Waterfront Café (15-minute drive) is a great place for alfresco dining at lunch or for dinner accompanied (some nights) by live jazz.

Then, for a nominal fee, Waves provides shuttle service to Oistins Fish Fry (25-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—a good time for the whole family.


In Holetown, enjoy a sophisticated evening at Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge (5-minute drive), just south of town, or a more lively night on 1st or 2nd Street at Red Door Lounge or Duke’s Night Lounge (10-minute drive). And on Sunday nights, Ragamuffins, also on 1st Street, has a Drag Show that attracts a crowd and often spills into the street.


Waves is a fairly small all-inclusive hotel, so guests cross paths a lot in the restaurant(s), at the beach, and in the lounge; as a result, they become easily acquainted. Kids, in particular, seem to have a great time together.


Breakfast yes
Lunch yes
Dinner yes
Bar yes
Cafe yes
Room Service yes
Gym, Pool
Free Parking


Phones: 246-424-7571, 855-465-8886

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