Hotel The House Hotel 5 star
Easyexperts
Paynes Bay, St James, Barbados Paynes Bay, Barbados -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

The House by Elegant captures simple chic with its modern but understated facilities and accommodation. This self-described "minimalist boutique hotel" is intimate and open to adults only, attracting guests aged between 30 and 50. A four star property built in 2000; it contains only 34 rooms so guests can be guaranteed a somewhat tranquil getaway. Guests shouldn't be too much into socialising though for the somewhat standoffish atmosphere meant that the hotel was not the most convivial place to be...

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    • Hotel The House

      The House   -   © Dubus / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel The House

      The House   -   © Dubus / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 10.0 /10

    Overlooking Paynes Bay on the island's west coast, The House is barely a 10 minute drive south of Holetown, only 20 minutes from Barbados's capital Bridgetown, and about 35 minutes from the Grantley Adams International Airport.

    Accommodation 8.95 /10

    There are 34 rooms at The House, in a cluster of low-rise buildings. There are three floors of accommodation but no elevators throughout the hotel; guests with mobility difficulties would do best to ask for rooms on the ground floor. Accommodation is divided into four categories; garden view junior suites, 1 bedroom junior suites, ocean view junior suites and 1 bedroom ocean view suites. Unfortunately, rooms are air-conditioned and do not come equipped with ceiling fans. However, each room does come with an iPod docking station, espresso machines (as well as tea making facilities) and flat screen televisions.

    The rooms are spacious and open plan, bright, modern and pleasantly decorated. The large, comfortable beds feature Egyptian cotton linens, pillows galore and an upholstered headboard. The orange and mustard shades and graphic design prints seen throughout the rooms are contemporary but might not speak to everyone's tastes. The terracotta tile floors and rattan furnishings keep the rooms cool, while the marble bathrooms add a touch of luxury. Actually, the simple but comfortable décor creates a homey feel, rather than an obvious hotel atmosphere. The ocean view junior suites feature medium sized patios with direct access to the pool, while of the four garden view junior suites; three boast their own plunge pool.

    Overview 8.70 /10

    The interesting thing about The House is the absence of a lobby or Reception; instead, guests wander down the wooden boardwalk, past the lily ponds and through the castle-like double door entrance to be greeted by the "House Ambassadors" who oversee the check-in process. These butlers (there are 17 of them with six on duty at any one time) are on call 24 hours a day and perform various functions within the hotel. Upon arrival, guests will most likely acquaint themselves with The Deck lounge, where beautiful abstract art works hang on the walls. At the centre of the room a heavy wooden coffee table is hugged by huge white sofas on either side. A few tables are neatly arranged in this small but open-air dining area, each one with a small vase and single flower for decoration. To one side a long, white bar with wooden shutters draws your eyes outdoors and to the beach, only metres away. The tables spill out on to the wooden deck which is also scattered with funky outdoor furnishings.

    To the left, a large Jacuzzi takes centre stage on an elevated portion of the deck; to the right, a short cut via lush gardens to Daphne's restaurant. The Jacuzzi cascades into a small pool which is situated on a small pool deck, all overlooking the water. Also on-site is a small library with board games and Internet access for those rare rainy days (open 24 hours a day). The small, air conditioned gym has a few pieces of equipment but is adequate for the size of the hotel. Although the hotel is not set on expansive grounds, it is pleasing to see an abundance of beautiful, tropical gardens.

    Food and drink 8.95 /10

    Most guests at The House opt for the half board meal plan. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared at Daphne's restaurant but breakfast and lunch are only served on The Deck. We loved the daily champagne breakfast (everyday is a special occasion at The House!) and the complimentary pre-dinner canapés served on The Deck. Afternoon tea is also served daily at 4:30pm. Room service is available 24 hours a day but between 10:30pm and 7:30am only a limited cold selection is offered.

    Daphne's restaurant is located next door and is popular with tourists and locals alike. The only shame is that is does not serve any local specialties, being an Italian restaurant. However, the setting is truly romantic, with dim lighting, ornate grills, sunken areas and cosy alcoves divided by organza curtains to create quiet, intimate corners. Feast on baked sea bass in crust of salt with broccoli and roasted potatoes (BBD$98, £30.15); stewed tiger shrimp with borlotti beans and garlic croutons (BBD$79, £24.30); or roasted lamb cutlet with Lyonnaise potatoes and asparagus (BBD$85, £26.15).

    Daphne's also contains a bar and lounge area perfect for an early evening aperitif. Daphne's beachfront location means that guests dine to the sounds of the small waves lapping the shore. On the beach itself, a small deck is lined with a few high tables and stools illuminated only by the soft glow of nearby fire torches.

    The bar boasts a large selection of wines. Don't miss the nightly happy hour between 5:00pm and 7:00pm for half price drinks. We were impressed by the extensive cocktail selection (BBD$25 - $30, £7.70 - £9.30) and the barmen's skill. Try a martini; choose from inventive flavours such as apple strudel, lemon meringue and mocha; or go for the black and blue caipiroska (blackberry and blueberry purée muddled with lime, sugar and vodka and topped with crushed ice) - it's delicious - we know, we tried it!

    Beach 8.70 /10

    The House is found on a 200 metre beachfront (FYI: all beaches in Barbados are public) and although it is an attractive one, it is not breathtaking. While many hotels on the west coast boast calmer beaches, they also lack the beauty of their south coast sisters. Non-motorised water sports are included and available next door at Tamarind by Elegant. The House Ambassadors regularly serve the pool and beach area with cold towels, water, ice cream and fruits to help battle the Barbadian heat! A self service towel station is found on the beach, as are beach chairs and cabanas. Private beach dinners can be held in the latter and incur a 15% service charge.

    RHP

    To know

    Each guest receives a complimentary jet lag revival massage upon arrival.
    Guests can benefit from the preferred tee time agreement between the hotel and the Royal Westmoreland Golf & Country Club.
    Weather permitting, the hotel offers complimentary water taxi transport between the neighbouring Tamarind and other Elegant properties on the island's west coast; Colony Club and Crystal Cove.
    WIFI connection is free in the common area of the hotel, while in-room ADSL connection incurs a charge.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, keep fit, spa

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      gym, beach volley, golf, sailing, kayak, fitness, sports

    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms

    advantage

    • Adults-only resort
    • The open-plan, modern accommodation
    • The restaurant

    disadvantages

    • The small pool
    • Not much room to spread out

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10