In a move away from the small self-catering accommodation commonly found in this part of Barbados, the Amaryllis Beach Resort is a large, traditional four star hotel set on 5.5 acres of beachfront property. Last renovated in 2003, the hotel is probably overdue for further touch-ups but remains a popular choice with older couples and business travellers nevertheless. While Amaryllis's facilities are comfortable, we don't believe they truly reflect a solid four star rating...
In the heart of the historical Garrison area and only a five minute drive from Bridgetown, Amaryllis Beach Resort is about a 10 minute drive to the nightlife hub of St Lawrence Gap. Allow at least 25 minutes for travel to and from the Grantley Adams International Airport.
ADSL or WIFI connection: to stay connected guests can be expected to pay BBD$25 (£7.80) for 24 hours or BBD$100 (£31.10) for one week.
This large resort consists of five connecting blocks of accommodation: attractive cream buildings with white wooden balconies. The entrance to the hotel - lush gardens and water fountain in the driveway, and lovely murals, mosaic art and carved wooden shutters in reception - provides a good first impression.
There are two large pools plus a separate Jacuzzi and children's pool nestled in the resort grounds. The plastic sun loungers look a little worse for wear however. A little further along, guests will find the Garden Gazebo, with pool tables and a life-size chess set. Also on-site are a gift shop, mini mart, beauty salon, games room and slot machines, gym, barber and hairdresser; most of these are found in the separately managed Chattel Plaza by the road side at the front of the property. Even if these facilities are on-site, they are still a little walk from the main areas of the hotel.
Opposite the Almond Tree restaurant, guests can browse the library and use the Internet café (the latter is at an extra charge). While there is no kids' club at Amaryllis, there is a programme of kid's activities available on a seasonal basis.
Amaryllis Beach Resort began in 1971 with only 55 rooms and since then has grown to 150 rooms and suites. Accommodation ranges from studios to 1 and 2 bedroom suites (garden and ocean view). Some of these are situated next to the Chattel Plaza, close to the road side and therefore a slight distance from the main common areas of the hotel.
While the rooms are clean and spacious, their décor is very simple to the point of being plain. Some features like the bathrooms might be due for renovation soon (although, we were informed that these would be renovated in early 2011). While the rooms are comfortable, they lack charm and are far from representing four star luxury. Other rooms are saved by their fantastic ocean views. Deluxe rooms contain either kitchenettes or full kitchens. There are elevators throughout the hotel as well as 12 wheelchair accessible rooms.
The Almond Tree is the main restaurant at Amaryllis Beach Resort, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (closed two nights a week). Large and open-air with a well-stocked bar, sturdy columns and midnight blue lanterns hanging from the high ceilings, Almond Tree offers casual dining, whilst providing guests with a glimpse of the Caribbean Sea. Dinner varies between buffet and à la carte services, and at breakfast every morning the chefs ensure there is at least one local dish for guests to sample.
Down by the water's edge, the Turtle Nest Beach Bar is a charming corner of the resort, the turquoise-hued wooden shack with corrugated iron roof acting as the bar, and a small pool and Jacuzzi nearby. Buffet dinners are held here on the evenings when the Almond Tree is closed. There are also regular theme nights such as the bonfire buffet, plus happy hour drink specials.
At the front of the property in the Chattel Plaza, guests will find the 39 Steps Wine Bar & Restaurant, the Coffee Bean café, and the 19th Hole late night snack bar. These are on-site but not included in any Amaryllis Beach Resort meal plans.
Amaryllis is situated directly on Palm Beach at Hastings, on the island's south coast. Calm and safe, the beach features wave breakers and many palm trees which provide natural shade. Sun loungers are available free of charge and there is also a great beach bar and restaurant (see Food and Drink). Non-motorised water sports are complimentary.
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Mark out of 10 for geographical location