With so many new luxury hotels and resorts filling the pages of almost every travel magazine, there is no lack of choice for luxury travellers to give their wallets some serious exercise. Much fanfare accompanies the arrival of these new players who promise a bewildering array services and goodies.
Often over time, however, the sparkle dulls, service is not quite as spot-on, food standards slip, and the whole experience becomes a little jaded. And we, too, move on to the latest glittery hotel that boasts even more. This is most certainly not the Sandy Lane story. When this supermodel of a resort hit the beach in 1961, she had no intention of ever giving up her cover girl status, and she hasn’t. In 2001, the hotel underwent a complete reconstruction and continues to wow guests every day of the year.
Sandy Lane justifiably commands its #1 ranking in the Caribbean for many reasons. Not just because of its stunning good looks and wonderful service, but also due to its stalwart consistency. Year after year, the hotel delivers almost faultless hospitality that’s reflected in one of the highest repeat guest ratios in the business. Try finding a room over Christmas or New Year if you haven’t been a regular guest for the last ten or so years, and you’ll be way out of luck. It’s this magical mix of great hotel ‘hardware’ with exceptional service ‘software’ that guests love so much.
If you are planning to escape the world, hide from the paparazzi or spend a week in blissful isolation within minimalist, chic surroundings, then Sandy Lane is most certainly not the place for you. This is a place one goes to be seen – and to play some golf. Glamorous surroundings, a perfect location, and an iconic reputation are what this hotel is all about. The joy of Sandy Lane is that she sprinkles her stardust generously making every guest a glamorous star. And that keeps people coming back for more, year after year. Few hotels anywhere can claim such divine sorcery.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Spa Treatment
- One 60 minute Sandy Lane full body massage in the Spa, one per room
- Resort experience
- One complimentary round of golf on the Country Club course including green fees and cart rental per room
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
- Detailed Review +
- Facts & Amenities +
Arriving at Sandy Lane was a pleasure, and set the tone for the rest of my stay. The general manager’s number two met me in the lobby to provide a personal welcome, as standard. Upon setting foot in the reception area, I was offered a chilled towel and a welcome drink.
Check-in was undertaken in my suite and was quick and efficient. At the same time, great care was taken to ensure I had everything I needed. I was asked if I wanted my luggage unpacked (who wouldn’t?) and if I required any dining reservations or other amenities in my room.
One of the most wonderful things about arriving at Sandy Lane is the spectacular view upon arrival. The gleaming Caribbean Sea, framed by two gorgeous trees, seems to sparkle promise of a wonderful holiday ahead. This view, for me, is one of the most beautiful settings in the Caribbean.
Rooms and suites
The owners of Sandy Lane decided to completely rebuild this iconic hotel back in 2001, and they spared no expense whatsoever to achieve elegant design coupled with generous amounts of space. From the marble flooring, beautiful artwork and furniture all the way down to the door handles, only the very best was good enough. Some fifteen years later, the rooms at Sandy Lane still look as if they greeted their first guests yesterday.
Luxury Ocean Rooms are very large at 81 m2 (867 ft2 ) and beautifully furnished. There is an entrance hallway that leads to a huge bathroom and almost an entire wall of wardrobe space. Further down, the bedroom area features a work desk, armchair, an elegant make-up table along with an armchair, an ottoman and a side table. Flinging open the wooden-framed sliding doors leads to a large, fully furnished and beautifully tiled outdoor living space, offering magnificent views over the Caribbean Sea.
As the saying goes, “the devil is in the detail”, and this is specifically what makes these rooms some of the best in the world. It is the inherent quality and understated elegance that create surroundings which are a pleasure to spend time within. It’s also the little things, like carefully placed lighting, the highest quality furnishings and feather-soft bed linens. There is an abundance of power outlets in all the right places. Even the hangers in the many wardrobes are of the highest standards and are carefully crafted so as not to damage the designer collections of those staying here. Nothing has been left to chance, and it shows.
A significant investment has been made on the in-room technology, especially considering that this technology was implemented some years ago. It still far exceeds that of most new hotels today. Every room features a huge 48-inch framed HD television with a state-of-the-art entertainment system, providing a range of multi-language channels, all the major U.S. channels, video on demand as well as various hotel services. Lighting throughout the room and outside terrace is controlled by touch button systems with dimmers. On each side of the king size bed, flat screen touch panels control all the room systems. Internet service throughout the entire hotel and beach is fast and reliable.
Of the many indulgent pleasures Sandy Lane offers, bathrooms are a highlight. Apart from being one of the largest hotel bathrooms I’ve ever seen, this oasis of creamy marble with beautiful twin-basin vanities and a multi-jet shower is just downright decadent. Mountains of fluffy white towels are piled up, and at one end of the bathroom is a deep, oval-shaped, soaking tub that begs to be surrounded by candles and champagne.
Sandy Lane offers one of the best hotel breakfasts you are likely to find, as endorsed by two of the hotel’s repeat guests I chatted to one morning. The selection at Bajan Blue and the quality of the food is almost unmatched, and unlike the groaning buffet tables of resorts in the Middle East, the focus here is on quality, choice and elegant presentation. Everyone’s favourite is waiting for them, and on the off-chance, it isn’t, rest assured that staff will make sure it is there the next day. Long and languid breakfasts are the order of the day here.
Breakfast, happily, is included in the room rate, which is a good thing, as food and drink prices here are not for the faint-hearted. In fact, the food and beverage prices were one of the very few negative comments I overheard during my stay.
Spa and wellness
The spa at Sandy Lane, the marketing people would have you believe, is a world unto itself. The separate building next to the pool houses treatment suites, changing rooms and a range of water therapies. After a rather long day of meetings, I headed there for an aromatherapy experience which is all about wonderful smells wafting all around during your massage. While perfectly relaxing and pleasant, it wasn’t a workout for a tired and sore body, nor was it entirely memorable or the best aromatherapy massage I’ve ever had. This was rather a let-down.
Pool and beach
The pool is located opposite the main entrance to the hotel, in a wonderfully landscaped area. Dominated at one end by a huge waterfall, there is a swim-up bar which dispenses excellent cocktails. Sun loungers are wonderfully plush and comfortable, perfect for a late afternoon snooze. On an otherwise unblemished scorecard, pool service here is somewhat ordinary, something I have noticed on previous visits as well. Service is offered, but staff don’t seem to have the same friendliness or service ethic that exists elsewhere throughout the resort. Pity that.
The beach is considered one of the best on the island, and it is indeed a delight. But I must admit there are better ones along the same piece of coastline. Being something of an over-expert, I am nitpicking here. A little tip: take a stroll along the shore to the right of the hotel until you get to the private villa almost at the end, a three-minute walk at most. Here you will find a section of beach without any rocks or pieces of coral near the shore. The soft, powdery sand underfoot is quite magnificent.
However, don’t ignore the beach directly in front of the hotel. During my stay, there was a turtle convention in full swing as these aquatic creatures were popping up for a breath of fresh air, one after another. I had to take care not to step on any while they were snacking on small pieces of aquatic weed. Kids and adults both, myself included, were mesmerised by this real-life lesson in marine biology.
Unlike the pool service, beach service is excellent. Staff greeted me upon arrival and escorted me to a sun lounger that was then set up to my exact specs. They passed by regularly, checking if I wanted anything.
Staff and service
As beautiful as Sandy Lane is, the real beauty lies in the incredible team of people working here who clearly love their jobs. Almost without exception, every encounter I had was a pleasure. It’s the attention to detail that’s so impressive. My favourite juice, how I liked my eggs cooked at breakfast, my preferred sunset cocktail, how I wanted my bed made up – nothing was overlooked. I left impressed by the exceptional, professional, and intuitive service delivered by every staff member.
Departure is as slick as arrival. The evening before I left I was asked if I required valet service to pack suitcases and to arrange my transport requirements. I didn’t want to leave, but check-out was effortless. The general manager bid me farewell.
How to get here
40 minutes by car from Barbados Airport
112 Rooms, Suites & a Five Bedroom Villa
Non smoking rooms