Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Sandy Lane

St. James, Barbados - Resort Review

Pinnacle of Luxury

Poolside at Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados
Poolside at Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados

Set on Barbados' west coast, Sandy Lane has long been the ritzy playground for millionaires, royalty, heads of state and celebrities. Built in 1961 on the site of an old sugar plantation, it has attracted such luminaries as Jacqueline Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, Queen Elizabeth, Maria Callas, T.S Eliot, Sidney Poitier and Elton John. Greta Garbo was another famous guest, who visited under the name "Harriet Brown." Upon falling in love with the hotel's chic Dotto Boutique, she requested that the shop tailor her a pair of Bermuda shorts, which she wore for the rest of her stay.

While these days you are more likely to encounter wealthy families with children, rather than famous faces, Sandy Lane has lost none of its classic elegance and luxurious creature comforts. This place is all about pampering. Simply take the task of keeping guests cool on a balmy day. Along with the shade of mahogany trees, you'll find chilled towels, Evian mist, balconies with heat-resistant railings, Italian marble floors, multi-spray showers and the spa's Crystal Cold Room. Let the spoiling begin ...

From the airport, a stately Bentley transports you to the neo-Palladian-style hotel. You are greeted with a refreshing tropical drink in the lobby, where a large private verandah invites you to lounge away the hours with a good book and a glass of iced tea. As part of an estimated $300-million, post-millennium makeover, the 112 guest rooms and suites — averaging 900 square feet — are equipped with LCD flat-screen TVs, specially designed multi-spray showers, heated bathroom mirrors, parabolic speakers on the verandahs, DVD and CD players, unlimited Internet access and control panels to regulate almost everything in the room.

Luxury Ocean Room at Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados Green Monkey Course at Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados
Luxury Ocean Room
Green Monkey Course

Staff here move through a network of underground tunnels. They are discreet, yet available whenever you need them, whether you'd like to order a soothing sorbet or have your sunglasses cleaned while you're lounging on the beach. And while you're being treated like royalty, or enjoying activities such as tennis, golf (there are three excellent courses here) or treatments in the 47,000-square-foot spa, the kids are tucked away in the Treehouse Club, which is staffed with fully-trained childcare professionals. For teens there is the Den, with TVs, electronic and board games, air hockey, foosball and a computer station.

For dining, the signature seafront L'Acajou features light, gourmet cuisine de Provence with flavors of the Mediterranean. On its mezzanine terrace you might dine on royal filet of smoked salmon or Hudson Valley foie gras. The more casual beachfront Bajan Blue offers modern cuisine complemented with Caribbean influences, and on the menu you might encounter West Indian chicken curry or seafood saffron risotto. Additional dining venues include the Spa Café and the Country Club Restaurant at the golf clubhouse. The Monkey Bar has a wide selection of aged rums, single malt whiskeys, cognacs, cocktails and fine cigars that are kept in the hotel's own humidor. Afternoon tea is served daily on the lower terrace of the hotel, complete with finger sandwiches, scones and pastries in the traditional British/Barbados style.

Sandy Lane
St. James, Barbados
West Indies
246-444-2000 | Reserve with KIWI Collection for the best rate!


Going to the Caribbean? Check out our travel guide
Discover the top spas in the Caribbean

Search for hotels in the Caribbean


(Updated: 01/27/12 CT)

After a long day on the slopes, reward yourself with a (spiked) hot cocoa in luxurious accommodations at one of GAYOT's Top 10 Ski Resorts.
Leave your troubles far behind and escape to one of GAYOT's Top 10 Remote Hotels, where you'll find a unique experience and setting.