Hotel The Sandpiper Hotel 5 star
Holetown, St James, Barbados Holetown, Barbados
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Of all the hotels we visited on the island, The Sandpiper was our favourite; in fact, you could say that we fell in love straight away with this member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Charmed from the get-go, we were impressed by the friendly and professional service, the delectable cuisine and the luxurious but comfortable rooms. No hotel is perfect and The Sandpiper is certainly no exception; however we adored its casual elegance and discreet luxury, qualities it has in spades...

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    • Hotel The Sandpiper

      The Sandpiper   -   © Dubus / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel The Sandpiper

      The Sandpiper   -   © Dubus / EASYVOYAGE

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    Location 9.04 /10

    The Sandpiper is found off West Coast Road, on the famed "Platinum Coast." The hotel is only a few minutes walk north of the centre of Holetown (St James) and is 16 miles to the Grantley Adams International Airport.

    Accommodation 9.20 /10

    The garden rooms (studios) and suites (1 bedroom) at The Sandpiper have been thoughtfully decorated; luxurious without going over the top, and at the same time sympathetic to the local Caribbean style. There are also two Tree Top Suites and a separate three bedroom beachfront villa. Garden room studios can be connected to the 1 bedroom suites for families that require 2 bedroom suites. The low-rise buildings of only two storeys are covered in beautiful climbing plants, while at the entrance to each apartment is a giant, water-filled clam shell to clean the sand off your feet when you come back from the beach.

    We stayed in a 1 bedroom suite, the best of these bring #1 perched right at the water's edge, with views of the Caribbean Sea from the large, shaded balcony. With a separate full kitchen and living area (no television, although these can be requested at Reception), spacious bedroom and bathroom, these suites are more than enough for a party of two. The lovely furnishings made of rattan or distressed bamboo complement the materials used from the cushions to the curtains (discreet palm tree and pineapple prints) in soft, neutral shades. The objets d'art scattered throughout the suite add personality. The terrace features polished timber floors and is accessible from both the bedroom and the living room. A dining setting overlooks the gardens at one end, while two sun loungers are found at the other. Guests will also find a small CD player with a CD of 'The Sandpiper' tunes...

    The garden rooms, although comfortable and pleasantly decorated in a similar style, are not as impressive as the 1 bedroom suites, most likely due to their difference in size. The Tree Top Suites are certainly spacious, comfortable and flooded in natural light, but we weren't so keen on the décor that was slightly more classic and therefore sombre . However, we can't be too picky when each suite boasts a full entertainment sound system, luxury bathroom with eggshell bathtub and oversized shower, and, the pièce de résistance; a huge wrap-around terrace with private plunge pool, sun loungers, alfresco dining facilities, outdoor bar and magnificent ocean views. Luxury indeed!

    Overview 8.95 /10

    This five star property consists of only 47 rooms (including 'Sanderling' and 'Whimbrel,' the Tree Top Suites) and was most recently renovated in 2010. The small but classy reception area gives new arrivals a tiny glimpse of the freshwater swimming pool and the tropical gardens beyond. Next to the lobby, guests may use the small fitness centre (with TV and iPod docking station), or the air-conditioned Internet facility with two computers and printer (open 24 hours). There is also a large TV room/library with comfy couches and a large DVD selection.

    Follow the winding stone paths towards the beach where guests will pass the pool (somewhat small and underwhelming for a five star hotel) and arrive at a boardwalk where, under the shade of the almond trees await sun loungers peppered with neatly rolled beach towels. Swing a left and guests will stumble upon the beach bar (see Food and Drink). From when dusk falls and well into the evening, the fire torches lit along The Sandpiper's paths create a warm ambiance.

    Guests will surely appreciate the seven acres of perfectly tended gardens, alive with flowering bougainvillea, orchid trees and lanky coconut palms. The gazebo next to the restaurant is host to live entertainment (easy listening tunes, mostly) every evening in winter and three or four evenings per week in the summer. The hotel also organises a free tennis pro clinic during high season.

    Spa services are available at The Sandpiper's sister hotel Coral Reef Club, a two minute drive away. Guests are provided with complimentary luxury transfers.

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    One of the hotel's highlights is its food and beverage; with one restaurant and two bars, The Sandpiper's cuisine can be described as international intertwined with modern Caribbean. Christophe Poupardin - the Executive Chef with a French name but a distinctly Australian accent - and his team, serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner in a gorgeous, casual-luxe setting. The menu contains at least three options for each course, as well as daily specials. The open-air restaurant overlooks the gardens, Koi ponds and the swimming pool. Well-to-do diners from the nearby Sandy Lane leave the confines of their hotel to dine here, and we're sure they don't leave disappointed. We enjoyed the seared bacon wrapped scallops with herbs, crisp pancetta and balsamic reduction (BBD$40, £12.40), followed by the poached Caribbean shrimp with roasted coconut (BBD$85, £26.35).

    In the evenings, to a backdrop of live soul and rhythm and blues, the restaurant is transformed into a very classy affair, all dim lighting and pro waiters in dark suits and long aprons flitting discreetly from table to table. Inside, the room is decorated with pieces of local art, elegant flower arrangements, funky light fittings, and flickering tealights on snow white tablecloths.

    On Wednesday nights, guests dine on a West Indian/International buffet, while on Sunday evenings a BBQ dinner is enjoyed alongside live steel pan music. Room service is available until 10:00pm only, which is surprising for a five star hotel. A special afternoon tea menu is available daily between 2:30pm and 3:30pm. We'd also like to make mention of the restaurant's impressive wine list containing both old and new world wines and a variety of champagnes.

    For pre-dinner drinks, guests tend to gather in the poolside cocktail bar. To enjoy that rum punch or alfresco lunch in a more informal setting, Harold's Bar (down by the beach), run by an always smiling Harold Shepherd, boasts an endless cocktail list...

    Beach 8.45 /10

    This is perhaps the most disappointing feature of the hotel. While the water is warm and the sand soft, the beach's beauty doesn't compare to the magnificent beachscapes we witnessed on Barbados's south coast. The small beachfront was often crowded, especially in the small sandy area where the beach chairs were found. The rocks on the beach are covered in plastic netting to retain the sand and minimise beach erosion but unfortunately this doesn't help the beach's aesthetic appeal. However, there is a beach bar, although beach attendants do the rounds from 10:00am onwards, taking drink orders and handing out cold water and cold towels, etc. They also ensure you have yourself a sun lounger and parasol. The water sports facility offers guests complimentary waterskiing, sailing, kayaking and snorkelling gear. Bookings are taken on a first come, first served basis: our advice is to book your slot early!


    To know

    WIFI connection is complimentary, as is usage of the guest computer (with Internet connection). The hotel also offers its guests free weekly transportation to the island's capital Bridgetown.
    Be aware that children under the age of 12 are not permitted at the resort between the 15th of January and the 15th of March, and that no children under the age of five are admitted in the restaurant or bar lounge after 7:00pm.
    Guests staying at the hotel on a full board meal plan are entitled to dine at other luxury hotels on the island thanks to an 'exchange dining' programme.
    The hotel closes every year between mid-August and mid-October.


    • Car park
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, gym, sailing, kayak

    • Safe


    • The charming suites
    • The restaurant: the menu variety and the romantic setting
    • The excellent, attentive service
    • The lush gardens


    • The small pool
    • The beachfront is disappointing

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10