You may not be familiar with its name, but you'll probably recognise photos of the Sandy Lane; featured in the celebrity gossip magazines as the preferred holiday resort of the world's rich and famous, its signature candy pink colour scheme appearing in the pages of Hello, OK et al. Regarded as the premier address in Barbados, Sandy Lane has welcomed everyone from Hugh Grant to Simon Cowell, Wayne Rooney, Tiger Woods and Pavarotti. While it is no doubt a beautiful place to stay, there is a lofty atmosphere that only the major players will truly feel comfortable in. And if you're throwing around at least USD$1,000 (£616) per night (for a lead-in category room in low season), let's hope you'll feel comfortable!
Ensconced in Sandy Lane Bay on the moneyed "Platinum Coast" (west coast), Sandy Lane is a short drive south of Holetown. The Grantley Adams International Airport is about 40 minutes away.
Easyvoyage was given a limited site inspection tour of Sandy Lane therefore this Easyexperts review reflects that. We were denied from seeing certain areas of the resort and from taking photos in some cases, for fear of celebrities and other "Very Important People" regarding us as paparazzi. Our request to taste-test the hotel's restaurant food was denied so we are unable to comment on the cuisine.
Arrival at Sandy Lane is a grand affair, with a drive through the gorgeous hotel grounds before reaching the grand hotel lobby with its gleaming floors, glass chandeliers and extravagant floral displays. This open-air space benefits from a cool breeze and lashings of natural light, and offers new arrivals a glimpse of the sparkling Caribbean Sea through the elegant arched doorways. On the adjacent terrace, guests will find a handful of outdoor settings, showcasing the hotel's plush armchairs with Sandy Lane insignia. This is a hotel where money reigns, and its guests reflect that. The preferred uniform is linen shirts in sorbet shades, chinos, loafers, pearls, espadrille wedges, but obviously not all at once!
Two magnificent curved staircases invite guests to the ground floor central courtyard. In the high season, this courtyard hosts entertainment such as live bands. From here it's easy to find your way to the beach or one of the restaurants with water views. Obviously, a reputed five star hotel such as Sandy Lane needs to maintain all aspects of the property, from the infrastructures to the gardens and the guest rooms, however the last major refurbishment was carried out in 2008. The hotel actually dates from the early 60's, but you wouldn't know it.
A whole range of facilities is on offer; four restaurants and seven bars to satisfy hunger and quench thirst (see Food and Drink), a huge, state of the art fitness studio with headphones, towels and Gatorade provided, a number of chic boutiques to max out those credit cards, a magnificent two-tiered swimming pool, spa, a kids' club (undergoing renovation at the time of our visit), three golf courses and a water sports facility.
The enormous free form swimming pool is nestled in the gardens, set back from the beach, and features a swim-up bar hidden behind a waterfall. The neighbouring spa (The Spa at Sandy Lane) meanwhile, features a stunning hydrotherapy pool, sauna, John Frieda hair salon and 14 VIP treatment rooms. Complimentary classes ranging from Pilates to yoga are offered daily.
Sandy Lane comprises 112 guest rooms and one 5 bedroom villa. The rooms are spread throughout four different wings: Orchid, Seahorse, Turtle and Dolphin. The corridors are flooded with sunlight, and the mosaic patterns on the floors tell you which wing you are in.
Accommodation ranges from sumptuous and spacious studios to two bedroom suites and the five bedroom villa. Rooms and suites in the Orchid wing claim garden views only. There are 60 luxury ocean rooms in the Dolphin and Seahorse wings, tastefully decorated and extremely comfortable and spacious. The rooms' décor is quite classic and the attention to detail impressive; from the seemingly complicated electronic wall panels to control lighting/air con/fans, to the intricate mosaic feature on the enormous balcony. Guests will also appreciate other room features such as the huge 52 inch flat screen television, the Nespresso machine, and the massage shower jets in the luxurious bathroom.
Our request to sample the culinary talents of Sandy Lane chefs was turned down, so we cannot comment on the hotel's gastronomic qualities. The resort houses four restaurants and seven bars on its expansive premises.
The French chic of L'Acajou includes elevated banquets upholstered in pink and white florals, curved lounges, secluded alcoves, elegant columns and spectacular sea views. Open for dinner only with a pianist playing nightly, L'Acajou is the hotel's fine dining address.
Bajan Blue also benefits from water views, serving an international menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner daily in a more relaxed setting. The Spa Cafe overlooks the pool and is open for lunch only. The Clubhouse Restaurant enjoys panoramic views of the resort's golf courses.
Easyvoyage was prohibited from viewing the beach (see To Know) but only days later we found ourselves on a catamaran cruise which stopped in Sandy Lane Bay for lunch and a swim. As all beaches in Barbados are public, we swam ashore and wandered over to the mythic Sandy Lane beach. A pretty beachfront, it was nothing out of this world (south coast beachscapes are more crowded but more beautiful too), and the swimming area is buoyed off to separate the jet set from the mere mortals, with 24 hour security of course! Like all flashy hotels, Sandy Lane boasts a beach butler service (for drinks, sorbets, Evian facial mists, sunglass cleaning etc.). Non-motorised water sports are free of charge.
Hotel reviews based on comfort, location and price ratings of its categories
Hotel reviews based on its services and facilities.
Mark out of 10 for geographical location