The pool at Elegant Hotels’ Crystal Cove property gives guests expansive views of Barbados’ west coast. // © 2015 Elegant Hotels
Feature image (above): Sandals Barbados, which opened this past January after a $65 million renovation, is the former site of Couples Barbados. // © 2015 Sandals Resorts
Unlike Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, Barbados doesn’t immediately call to mind an array of all-inclusive resorts. The tourism offerings from the island are a bit more restrained and can be compared to those other British-inflected “B” island destinations: Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands.
Even so, there are all-inclusive resorts to be found on Barbados, even more so this year with the entry of a major all-inclusive resort player on the scene. Here is a quick guide to Barbados’ all-inclusive properties that cater to a range of markets.
Elegant Hotels: Turtle Beach and Crystal Cove
Of the five Elegant Hotels properties on Barbados, there are two that offer a different take on an up-market all-inclusive holiday. Turtle Beach, which is located on the island’s south coast, is the larger of the two, with 161 suites. The resort targets families — especially multigenerational vacationers — as well as active travelers.
Crystal Cove, on the west coast, has 88 rooms. The property attracts romance travelers and honeymooners and comes with a slightly higher price tag, while still welcoming families with kids. The resort has Bajan style all its own, with activities such as beach cricket, steel pan classes and a compact version of the famous fish fry at Oistins.
Both resorts have a lot to offer foodies, including Turtle Beach's off-resort Pepperpot Culinary Tour, which takes guests into historic Holetown to sample regional cuisine.
Island Inn Hotel
Not everyone is a fan of large resorts. On Barbados, travelers have the option of enjoying an all-inclusive vacation at a smaller resort: the 24-room Island Inn Hotel. The property is less than a mile away from Bridgetown and has a prime location within the Garrison Historic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Island Inn is a good recommendation for clients who want the ease of an all-inclusive vacation while still being within walking distance of shops and local restaurants.
A selling point for some travelers is that Island Inn occupies a converted rum storage building dating back to 1804. The hotel also offers complimentary scuba lessons in the hotel pool as part of the all-inclusive package. It’s important to note that island Inn isn’t a beachfront property, although it is conveniently located to the beach at nearby Carlisle Bay.
Mango Bay is owned by one of the legends of Barbados and Caribbean tourism: Peter Odle, former president of the Caribbean Hotel Association. The 76-room beachfront property is on the island’s west coast, in historic Holetown. Room categories range from standard rooms all the way up to the resort’s two wraparound penthouse suites, which offer panoramic ocean views.
Mango Bay’s restaurant provides a choice between al fresco and indoor dining and serves Caribbean and international cuisine. The hotel has a spa, a freshwater pool and a gym. Waterskiing, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, pedal boating and snorkeling are included in the all-inclusive rate.
Sandals Barbados, a five-star, adults-only property, opened this past January after an extensive $65 million renovation and rethink, marking Sandals’ entry into the Barbados market. The Dover Beach resort is located at the site of the former Couples Barbados.
Sandals Barbados has 280 rooms and suites, 11 restaurants, six bars (including a swim-up bar), three pools, two wedding gardens and a Red Lane Spa. Restaurants are grouped around a European-style piazza, and the property is the first Sandals location to have an Indian restaurant, which is called Bombay Club.
Honeymoon-ready room categories are the Crystal Lagoon Swim-up Suites and the one-bedroom suites in the Ocean Village, which are just steps from the beach. A welcome touch is complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the resort.
Waves is a 70-room all-inclusive hotel on the Gold Coast of Barbados. It has a spa, two pools, a fitness center and a range of watersports, including a scuba center offering free weekly scuba dives. Clients putting a premium on rest and relaxation may want to opt for one of the hotel’s Spa Rooms, which are located in the spa building and require that guests be 16 or older.
The hotel has three restaurants: Seascape, an open-air eatery serving Caribbean dishes; East, which is located in the spa area and offers Pan-Asian cuisine; and Oliver’s Twist, an enclosed restaurant overlooking the sea that specializing in tapas.