After experiencing the beauty of Barbados first-hand, our travel expert Merridith shares her hotel recommendations for the island best known for its white sand beaches, silky-sweet rum and exuberant culture.
For a home-away-from-home experience, this exquisite beachfront hotel ticks all the right boxes.
Suitable for: Couples seeking an apartment-style hotel with a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere, yet with plenty to see and do nearby.
Where I dined: The Gazebo Bar & Grill, where guests can enjoy local specialities, flavourful western-style dishes and beautiful vistas over the Caribbean Sea. The roti with mango chutney is exceptionally moreish, especially when served alongside a traditional rum punch!
What stood out to me: The protected beach - it's quiet, serene and set apart from other hotels, so you can expect to enjoy many hours of blissful relaxation. The kitchens in the deluxe apartments and penthouses are particularly well-equipped and feature a welcome pack of orange juice, milk, bread and cheese upon arrival.
The ultimate in luxury, this famed 5 star resort welcomes guests with state-of-the-art accommodations, a beautiful crescent beach and first-rate children's facilities.
Suitable for: Families with both younger and older children; there's a large swimming pool with shaded areas to avoid the midday sun and one of the best children's clubs on the island - The Treehouse Club. Interconnecting rooms and secured resort grounds ensure a private and stress-free stay for a luxury family holiday.
What's on offer: Guests can make use of the huge spa with its 14 treatment rooms, plunge pool and sauna, partake in yoga sessions, enjoy complimentary non-motorised watersports, join specially-tailored island tours and much more; there's simply so much to do.
What stood out to me: With its immaculate grounds and impeccable service, Sandy Lane truly sets itself apart. However, one of the best experiences for me was dining at the beachfront restaurant Bajan Blue, where the service is second to none. Sampling the sushi is a must!
Lobster & Jazz evenings, professional Aqua School lessons, rejuvenating massages and poolside relaxation - the Colony Club has it all.
Suitable for: Couples seeking romance, serenity, activity and indulgence all in one unsurpassable package. In February, the hotel is exclusively reserved for guests aged 13 or older, making it a preferred choice for couples seeking a relaxed atmosphere on resort.
What's on offer: Delectable fine dining, a swim-up bar and sophisticated themed evenings for guests. Thriving Holetown is only a short walk away, plus there's a dedicated water taxi that will take you to other Elegant Hotels in the area.
What stood out to me: Quite surprisingly, the herb and vegetable garden becomes a bit of a social hub during the evenings, where guests can explore market stalls set up by the resort and savour delicious beverages. The produce from the gardens is used in the restaurants, so guests can see exactly where their food comes from - a winning touch for this 5 star hotel.
Coral Reef Club Resort
Steeped in colonial touches, this traditional, family-owned resort entices guests time and time again - and it's easy to see why.
Suitable for: Thanks to its relaxed, understated ambience, I'd highly recommend this resort for retired or 'empty nester' couples. There's a great deal to experience in the area, including the Andromeda Botanical Gardens, the Barbados Wildlife Reserve and Folkestone Marine Park & Museum.
I loved: Sometimes, it's the smaller touches that make the most difference and this was certainly the case when it came to the luxury accommodations at Coral Reef Club Resort. Each room is named something different and unique and features premium bath and beauty products from the White Company and exceptionally large bathtubs. I didn't want to leave!
What stood out to me: The spa, in my opinion, is one of the best on the island and offers tailored packages for couples. Pre-booking is a must in peak seasons.
Merridith's top things to do in Barbados
- A holiday to Barbados isn't complete without visiting the famous coastal town of Oistins, where Friday night fish fries bring locals and visitors together. The aromas and flavours are simply wonderful - not to be missed!
- One of my favourite experiences was visiting the Mount Gay Visitor Centre in Bridgetown and learning about the fascinating history behind the island's sweet nectar. The guides are incredibly friendly and offer complimentary rum tasting sessions for all guests.
- 750ft above sea level, the tropical Flower Forest in Barbados' Scotland District is a vibrant maze of winding paths, towering trees and exotic flora - definitely worth a day trip for couples.
- Make sure to visit the Earthworks Pottery studio in St. Thomas, where you can witness skilled potters producing beautiful dinnerware in shades of sea blue and jade green. The dinnerware is available in over 150 shapes and 36 patterns.