What Everyone Should Know Before Going to Sandals Barbados!
Hello to all of my travel friends! My husband and I just got back from Sandals Barbados and we can't wait to share our stay with you! In the following review we share everything you could possibly want to know about going to Sandals Barbados!
So many people have questions about the differences and similarities between Sandals Barbados and Royal Barbados. This is the first Sandals resort with two properties adjacent to each other. Sandals Barbados was the initial property and Sandals Royal Barbados is the newest addition. Both properties act as one and guests can eat, play, and relax on either side throughout the day. Some may wonder which resort is better or which resort fits their personality better. Honestly, they act as one resort. If I was forced to compare the two properties, I would say that Sandals Barbados may be a little livelier in the day than Royal Barbados because they have more activities at their main pool. However, Royal Barbados steals the show at night with its live shows, Lover's Lane bowling alley, game center, and dj. The spa on the Royal Barbados side is nicer, but guests can go to either spa. We stayed on the Sandals Barbados side and we were able to walk to the Royal Barbados side in less than 3 minutes. So, now that you know that it doesn't matter which side you stay on, pick the room that you like on either side.
Arrival: The airport is rather small in comparison to most major airports in Florida. So, navigating through the airport is very straightforward. As soon as we stepped outside, there were people holding Sandals Barbados/Royal Barbados signs. Make sure that you know which property you are staying at because each hotel has a different bus and a separate entrance at the resort. About 5 - 10 minutes later, we got on a designated bus and headed for the resort. The hotel is ten minutes from the airport.
When we arrived at the property, we were greeted by three employees singing us a welcome song and handing us towelettes to wipe our hands. These towelettes were so refreshing!
I immediately noticed the dark woods and hints of turquoise everywhere. The hotel is breathtaking. Upon first glance, I could tell that it was going to be our most modern Sandals experience, which was surprising to me because we were at Sandals Grenada earlier in the year and it seemed extremely modern.
The room (Beachfront Honeymoon Club Level Suite): The room was slightly smaller than we're used to but we wanted to stay on the lower end for our price range. The room was very modern, the bed was very comfortable, and the shower temperature and pressure was absolutely perfect. If I could change one thing, I would provide an enclosed area for the toilet. If you're friends, newlyweds, or married for 50 years....everybody needs some sense of privacy at least once in a while on a week long vacation.
The television has 49 channels. With a such a great resort, I doubt you will be in the room watching television. However, we played it in the mornings as we got ready and in the evening as we wined down for bed.
Restaurants: The resort states that there are 17 restaurants (11 at Sandals Barbados; 6 at Sandals Royal) in total. However, they count everything as a restaurant. So, if there is a counter selling pizza, they will place a name above the counter and call that a restaurant. Don't take my comment the wrong way. You will have a lot of choices, so many choices that you will not even be able to eat at every restaurant for dinner in a week vacation unless you double up on certain nights.
Spices - (Sandals Barbados) We ate breakfast at Spices on our second day. It offers a buffet for breakfast. The options were mostly American because Barbados doesn't have an authentic Barbados dish. The food is okay, but it definitely wasn't my favorite breakfast location. However, Spice's was my favorite lunch spot on the property. It has a buffet that changes its theme each day. Since I'm pescatarian it was nice to have different options. I really enjoyed the options on the Mediterranean and Mexican buffet days. Make sure that you try their seafood pasta.....yum! yum!
La Parisienne- (Sandals Royal) this is my favorite breakfast restaurant. It's interesting because the French restaurant was my favorite restaurant for breakfast at the Sandals Grenada property also. It's on the top floor so the view is really nice. The restaurant has the cutest couture sofa seats at the tables. The decor was really impressive and it made us feel like we were in a contemporary French bistro. Everything on the menu can be found at all of the other restaurants (with the exception Spice's because they offer a buffet), but I like the presentation and vibe in the French restaurant.
The French restaurant is absolutely breathtaking at night. Make sure to ask for outdoor seating. The temperature is usually cool enough to sit outside overlooking the land and waters of Barbados. I had the "Tiger Pawns" and mashed potatoes. For dessert, my husband had the pear tart and the white chocolate mousse. The desserts were okay, but the overall ambiance made up for it.
Portofino - (Sandals Barbados) Portofino is an Italian restaurant that is open for breakfast and dinner. The breakfast at Portofino is similar to all of the other specialty restaurants. We did not have an opportunity to dine at Portofino for dinner.
Tavern - (Sandals Royal Barbados) Tavern is an American bistro that is open for breakfast and dinner. The breakfast offered is a buffet. I liked the American decor a lot but I wasn't impressed by the food options. It was very similar to the other breakfast options. Unfortunately, we did not get to eat at Tavern for dinner. However, a couple of friends that we made said that they loved it.
Neptunes - (Sandals Royal Barbados) Neptunes is open for lunch and dinner. It's a Mediterranean and seafood restaurant on the beach. The restaurant is outside, open and breezy. The food is pretty good and we really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to eat at Neptunes for dinner.
Jerk Shack - (Royal Barbados) It's a casual kitchen that offers outside seating. Since we've been on our pescatarian voyage, we weren't able to try the jerk chicken which we heard is amazing. However, the steamed fish was disappointing and the festivals (dough side item) taste like they have been sitting out for too long. I enjoyed the Jerk restaurant at Sandals St. Lucia Grande much more.
Dino's - (Sandals Barbados) This is a pizza stand by the Sandals Barbados main pool. It was not impressive. The pizza at Sandals Grenada is so much better and I really hope that they share recipes.
Schooners - (Sandals Barbados) this restaurant overlooks the beach and the main pool at Sandals Barbados. We went to this restaurant on our first night. I ordered the lobster and prawns. The lobster was overcooked and the service was so slow. This was our least favorite restaurant.
Kimono's- (Sandals Barbados) We had a great time at the Hibachi grill! Jerwin, our chef, probably does stand-up comedy as his side job. I laughed until my cheeks hurt. The service is great and the drinks are incredible. I had my first vodka tonic. You have to try their house specialty drinks. Sandals has always been known for their drinks, but they have truly outdone themselves. Jerwin did a great job with our meals. The shrimp was tasty. I'm not a big Maui Maui fan and Jerwin's fish was the best that I have ever tasted. I liked having the opportunity to meet other people at dinner and share our experiences. We were so full that we could barely make it through dessert. I happened to mention to Jerwin that my birthday was the following day and by the end of dessert, the entire staff came out singing Happy Birthday to me. Souparno, one of the restaurant managers, even surprised me with a bottle of wine. It was so touching! They really made me feel special.
Merry Monkey - (Sandals Barbados) This is the American Pub. I heard that the food is great, but we did not have an opportunity to try it. It's open until 2 am in the morning , so it's a great place to go for a late meal after partying at night. Obviously, with our track record, we weren't staying up past 10 pm.
Bombay - (Sandals Barbados) This is an Indian restaurant that is open for dinner. We were really impressed that there was an Indian restaurant on the property because it is so nice to taste different cultural foods. The Indian culture has a great influence in the Caribbean culture. I've tasted better Indian food than Bombay, but the food was pretty good and the service was great.
Soy - Soy is a great place to stop by for Asian appetizers before going to dinner. Also, it's a quick stop if you don't feel like dining at a restaurant. Tip: the drink menu is same at the the Hibachi restaurant. However, they taste much better at the Hibachi restaurant.
Butch's Seafood - (Royal Barbados) Butch's Steakhouse is on the Barbados side. Since we're pescatarian, we didn't try the steakhouse. However, if it's half as good as Butch's Seafood, then you're in for a treat. Butch's Seafood was my favorite restaurant on the entire property. I was blown away from start to finish. The signature drink was the "Bailey Rye." I l-o-v-e-d it! The salad was absolutely incredible. Instead of the "Surf and Turf," we had double surf. They served me two huge lobster tails. You can choose among several sauces, but I decided to on a simple butter coating. For dessert, I had a white chocolate dish and my husband ordered the creme brulee. They were both delightful!! Since it was my birthday, they decorated my table and staff members sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I couldn't have asked for better food or to feel more special that I already did. We wrapped up the night by the fire pit outside the restaurant. We talked, stared at the beautiful stars in the sky, and tried to count our blessings. I could eat at Butch's Seafood every night of the vacation!
Cafe de Paris (Sandals Barbados) - this is a cafe open all day with coffee, ice cream, and desserts to fulfill your sweet tooth.
Overall, dinner was my favorite time of day for meals at this resort. The restaurants are really good. Unfortunately, we didn't get to try Butch's Chophouse, Chi, or the pub. However, we will definitely try it on our next visit. Spice's was my favorite lunch location and the French spot was my favorite place for breakfast. The drinks at this resort were my favorite of all time. I suggest that you try everything at least once.
Daytime Activities: There is a newsletter for each resort with daily and nightly activities. Make sure you look at both agendas because you can go back and forth between each property. In the day, when we were at the resort, we played bingo in the pool, pool volleyball, swam/laid around, and went to the game center for some bowling. There are many other activities on the schedule to do. They usually start a little late but people usually join the fun.
Bodies of water: Sandals boast about the two properties having 48 bodies of water. Don't be confused by that number. 48 includes all of the private pools and bodies of water on the property. We typically hung out at the main pool on the Barbados side, the infinity pool on the Royal side, and the jacuzzi on the royal side. There are quieter pools, but we like to hang out near the action. The Sky bar pool is the most romantic. It's on the Sandals Royal property. It overlooks the island, it's heated, and its surrounded by chic furniture. It's the first sky pool in the Sandals family and it is out of this world.
Beach - We couldn't swim in the beach due to all of the seaweed. So, Sandals shuttles its guest to another beach (see information below). You must sign up early because there are a limited number of seats.
Spa - The spa is on the Royal Barbados side is breathtaking. It has waterfalls, a serene outdoor environment, and romantic couples massage rooms. The massage I received at this resort was definitely in the top 5 of my life! Make sure that you head over to your treatment at least an hour ahead of time so that you can enjoy the complimentary hydrotherapy treatment. Also, the sauna and steam room are available to all guests at anytime.
Become diver certified - Yup! That's right! Sandals can actually help you to become a certified diver. Ask about this when you arrive.
Game center - I've never seen such a fully loaded game center. At Sandals Royal, they have interactive coffee table tops, video games connected to television screens, a ping ping table, board games, and a bowling alley! Yes, an actual four lane bowling alley!
Excursions: There are not as many excursions to choose from in Barbados as the other islands with Sandals properties. However, you can find enough to keep you busy when you're not on the property. The only time that we left the property was to go to Carlise Bay and the 4 hour tour of the entire island. Every few years an abundance of seaweed travels to the coast of Barbados on the Atlantic Ocean side. So, certain beaches, including the beach at Sandals Barbados/Royal Barbados are temporarily destroyed. So, Sandals has a shuttle that takes their guest to a better beach about 15 minutes away named Carlise Bay. I was really impressed by the accommodations that Sandals provides for its guests. When we arrived, we were each given a card with $40 to cover our drinks and food while at Carlyle Beach. The food is sooooo good! My husband and I had the seafood platter, a pina colada, and a rum punch. It was all fried food, buy hey....we're on vacation!
The 4 hour tour of the island is a great way to see a lot of what Barbados has to offer. I advise that you do it on a Sunday because there is less traffic. We saw all the prime spots!
Nighttime Activities: We usually didn't make it to the night shows due to poor planning , fatigue, or just plain ol' age. We caught a reggae show one night and the staff talent show on another night. The shows are very entertaining and interactive. The dance parties were usually at 11 pm and we were completed done by then.
Gratuity included - Sandals is supposed to be a gratuity free property. However, we still left tips at our meals, for people that went out of their way for us, staff that handled our bags, and the housekeeping service. Not one person turned us down and they were very appreciative.
Loyalty and Travel Rewards Program - We are a part of the loyalty program. Which basically means that you get points every time you stay at a Sandals property. As you accrue points, you get gifts, rewards, special cocktail parties, and perks. Also, you get to book your next trip while you're on the property for a lot less than the regular public.
Departure: Upon leaving, besides the tears and reality setting in that you're returning to the real world....the departure is very straightforward. We checked out of our rooms, left our bags there for the staff, and headed to the check out counter/concierge counter. Everyone gets on a bus and the Sandals employees send you off with a song. It's very sweet and extremely organized.
Would I recommend it: Absolutely! This resort is on my top 3 list of Sandals properties (with Royal Plantation and Sandals Grenada). It's a great resort with plenty to do, relaxation around every corner, and great drinks/dinners. I would definitely return!