The New Sandals Barbados (And What It Means for the Caribbean)

A new kind of hotel for the Caribbean

This is a different kind of Caribbean resort.

The newly-minted Sandals Barbados delivers maximum luxury using cutting edge design, construction, technology and meticulous attention to detail and service.

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But this isn’t oveout the quality of the hotel, which is superb. It’s about what the hotel means for the region.

The property, which held its grand opening a few months ago, is located in the south coast of Barbados on Dover Beach.

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But this resort, which debuted after a $65 million renovation of the former (briefly) Couples Barbados and, for far longer, the Almond Casuarina Beach, is not just new to Barbados — it’s also an important new addition to the Caribbean hotel industry.

That’s because Sandals Barbados brings new concepts in resort experience and resort re-designs.

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And it’s a prototype for refurbishments that are needed in so many places in the Caribbean.

The minute you enter the lobby you know technology is more than a buzzword.

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There are five large screens above the front desk display with images of coral and the sea creating tranquility.

Wi-Fi is everywhere, even on the beach.

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Above: the resort’s Red Lane Spa

The smart TVs are actually smart and connect you to account folios, photos, tours, reservations, entertainment and the complete menus of every restaurant on property.

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And there are restaurants: 11 of them including the newest restaurant brand at any Sandals; an Indian restaurant called The Bombay Club, along with a steaknouse called Butch’s Chop House, a sushi bar called Soy, Kimonos (above), a French café and even a gourmet hot dog stand with a “Christ Church Dog,” named after the parish in Barbados.

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Above: the resort’s espresso bar

The sum of all of these eateries is something staggering: this just might be the best food we’ve ever had at an all-inclusive resort, following up impressively from the brand’s most recent debut, Sandals Grenada, last year.

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Above: a river runs through it. The serpentine river pool is the longest in the Caribbean and the swim-up rooms are the most popular accommodations at the resort.

On to the design. The lush foliage and well-designed walkways provide a sense of space, privacy, and belie the density of 280 rooms and suites.

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Although they pack a lot into a small space there are ample private sitting areas and alcoves.

And then there’s the hallmark of Sandals — well-trained, personable, always-attentive staff.

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Above: technology is all over the resort

This was, not too long ago before the renovation a property in need of help, like so many time-worn hotels across the Caribbean. You’ve probably stayed in some of them.

But what Sandals has shown is that you can turn an old, dated property into something, well, special.

Today, it is a state-of-the-art property, modern, crisp, luxurious and, frankly, tremendous.

Sandals hasn’t just delivered a world-class Caribbean property — it’s offered up a model for how to transform a resort.

— CJ

 

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