So many of my friends have stayed at this retreat of ultimate luxury over the years that I virtually pined to see it for myself.
As a Barbados vacation wasn't on the cards, I seized the opportunity of a one day cruise stop in Barbados to pay a visit.
I first checked out the cost of taking a room for the day to enjoy the facilities but I was quoted in excess of one thousand five hundred dollars I opted for lunch instead. I'll write a seperate review of the restaurant and will concentrate on my opinion of the hotel here.
Firstly it's not the easiest place to get into, and when you consider the very wealthy and often famous clientele this is perfectly understandable. I had booked for lunch several weeks in advance. When I asked a taxi to take me to the hotel they asked several times if I had a reservation as the hotel will not accept drop ins for lunch or dinner. On arrival at the hotel gates we had to check in and our names were on the list.
A lovely drive lead to the entrance and we were welcomed at the door and lead to a lovely garden area overlooking the pristine beach. The entire look is understated elegance with lots of cool marble. The hotel is notorious for its pink umbrellas and there were lots of these on the beach. The unbrellas on the patio were white and to be fair there was plenty of shade from the blistering heat. To be honest, however, I thought that for such an exclusive hotel the beach appeared to be quite crowded.
The public areas that we saw were lovely and immaculaterly maintained. Service is attentive but unfussy.
The one thing that bothered me was that there appeared to be a lot of flies. I was puzzled by this as we visited eight Caribbean islands on this trip and this was the only place we were bothered by the flies. We have also spent considerably longer periods on many of the islands and again were not bothered by the flies.
Given the cost if staying here I am not sure that it is justified. I have stayed in many wonderful hotels around the world and to me Sandy Lane is not the most superior. You are essentially paying for the name and the exclusive clientele. That saying, many of the other hotels i have stayed at also attracted a very exclusive guest list but at far lower prices.
Unit 258,Vuemont, St.Peter is a 2 bed 2 bath condo apartment. Stunning view of the sea, it is on a corniche away from it all in a 24 hr security resort, gym, tennis courts, heated jacuzzi club house etc. perfect for the over 50's and also families and near beaches and Speightstown and Holetown
beautiful beach hotel direct at same named beach_: dover beach
very friendly service
tzuesday rhum punch party
I thought this would be exactly what I wanted: a hotel on the beach, complete with beach bar, at a reasonable price. Though I certainly enjoyed my time on the beach under the palm trees, sipping my rum punch, I have never been so insulted or frustrated with management staff. I have two significant concerns regarding the cost of laundry service as well as the cost of the room for which I will be filing a complaint with the Barbados Tourism Authority. Also, the reception staff did not know certain facts I would think they should, such as bus schedules and their fax number.
The room was decent, clean, the housekeeping staff was wonderful. The staff in the restaurant were minimally helpful and I was never able to order a drink or food from my beach chair as advertised. The food was okay and the complimentary breakfast disappointing.
This hotel certainly did not ruin my stay in Barbados, just really wish it had been the icing on the cake.
Absolutely loved staying here! We spent 3 nights here. The vibe is authentic Barbados. The decor is simple and inviting. Can't recommend this place enough for rest and relaxation and to take in the beautifully rocky East Coast of Barbados. I also kept thinking what a lovely location for the right type of wedding. A great place to counterbalance a more active vacation. We stayed here before heading down to the more commercial and touristy south coast
My favorite part was the dinners. Fresh homemade Bajan cooking served family style in the outdoor eating area. It was so much fun to enjoy the time with the other guests. Instead of a "Bed & Breakfast" this is more of a "Bed & Dinner."
My second favorite part was the porch and hammocks, perfect for reading and taking in the view.
This 3 bedroom villa is very well equipped, including a seperate laundry room and 2 bathrooms. Each bedroom has a well needed aircon unit and all have a hairdryer. The kitchen is well stocked with crockery, pans etc. The veranda is so lovely to sit out on at any time of the day. In the evening there's enough lighting to sit out there and have dinner/relax. If you're lucky you may spot mongoose in the garden during the day, lizards, or fireflies and tiny little frogs at night. As well as local 2 pin powerpoints, there are some UK powerpoints installed in the kitchen too.
The villa is cleaned every few days. Ann cleaned the place for us and is so, so lovely. She's the sister of John, the gardener who you are also likely to meet and who is equally as lovely.
The location is great - a couple of minutes walk to the beach where you can chill, have something to eat at one of the various bars or take your pick of the various watersports. A supermarket is a few minutes walk away (left out of the front and follow the road around to the left), a couple of small shopping malls, restaurants etc. Going out of the back of the villa (during the day - otherwise go out the front), there is a bus stop nearby where you can catch a bus (B$2 p/p) to Bridgetown (approx 20/30mins) or other beaches along the coast such as Paynes Bay which has beautiful clear blue sea.
One thing to note is it can be difficult for taxi drivers etc to find the accomodation. It's down the road from the Sandy Crest Medical Centre - which may help drivers.
Highly recommend Mangoes. It's secure, with gates at front and back and the owner Cath was helpful pre-trip with comprehensive advice/information.
There is a pool although it's across the road (30secs-1 min when going out the back gate). You need to get a membership card to gain access, which Fay (the Manageress who will meet you for check-in) can purchase for you. The membership card entitles you to discounts locally of which you will receive a list of when you receive your welcome pack from the owner.
We stayed here for a week on 2009. It's a large hotel on the south coast and right on the beach.It has a great beach in front but has a bit of coral. Hard on your feet. Just west about 100 yards is another beach which is nice.
We had breakfast included in our rate, which is served outside next to the beach. Also has a pool and hot tubs and sitting areas. They had a live band come in on Thursday night with free drinks and a great supper which was well priced.There's also a beach Bar on the beach.
To the east on the beach they built a boardwalk that takes you all the way to Rockley Beach. A great walk in the morning before or after breakfast.
There's a few restaurants on the main road towards Rockley beach but most are in Rockley Beach area or as far as the Gap.
Plus your not too far from Bridgetown but a route cab is your best bet if your going to town or the Gap.
The room was clean and taken care of everyday. The facilities were very good. Pool area was good and hot tubs. Beach bar served you on the beach, or hang out at the bar.
Breakfast was very good with a wide selection of food.
And the view was great. Lots of shade on the beach if you wanted to mix it up a bit.
The Almond Beach Club is a quaint facility on the west coast of Barbados next to the Sandy Lane Resort. The service there was inconsistent with ratings that have been listed. The front office staff although they come through with your request, seemed to be bothered when you asked of things out of the ordinary. For instance, I needed bottled water, but had to meet with the assistant manager before it was provided. My wife signed up for yoga, but because no one else signed up was never told that it was cancelled. The restaurant staff and manager were outstanding! Heather the main cooking in the restaurant was excellent. You will enjoy the conversation from the Rum Doctor, who sponsors rum tasting once a week. Tina the instructor and chef at Enid's cooking class were outstanding. She was excellent at explaining and demonstrating how to prepare the Barbados Island’s staple dishes, pumpkin soup, flying fish and cou cou for all the taste and enjoy!
We had a room facing the pool and garden, which had a sitting room with bar and refrigerator, porch and king size bedroom. The bathroom was clean, but could have been cleaner. We had to comment to management regarding how the room was kept. The furniture in the sitting room was somewhat worn, and had a tube television.
The location was excellent to get to both the north and south of the island. Water sports were abundant, but the resort has no beach. There is a sandy area which sits above a rock sea wall in which you have to walk down stairs to the sea. To actually sit on a beach you need to walk at low tide over to the beach at Sandy Lane Resort., as there are no private beaches in Barbados. Or you can take the van to one of the other two resorts owned by Almond, the Almond Casuarinas Beach which is south and is wonderful and the Almond Village which is north of the Almond Beach Club. I preferred the Almond Casuarinas’ Beach it is the newer of the three resorts and beautiful!
Several nights during the week there was live entertainment at the resort, dancers, live band and singers, limbo dancers. There is a separate piano bar, and a karaoke night which was fun.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay because it was quiet, the Almond Beach Club is adult only, no children. The other two almond locations have kids clubs available. The guests were interesting and friendly. Some other American's, but mostly British guests stayed there, hence the baked bean for breakfast in the morning.
I must say we never had a bad meal there! Since I don't drink, maybe there should have been an all-inclusive version which included no liquor. But if you like to drink, anything this is the place to go. All day and night long!!! They did run out of mixes for mixed virgin drinks from time to time. Overall the all inclusive experience was good.
Best characterics of the hotel were it's meals, entertainment and water sports.
As regular visitors to the island we are delighted to have discovered this little gem, the accommodation is clean and welcoming and the location is idyllic with its deck having direct access to a pretty secluded beach and great snorkeling right there on site and yet you only need walk a few yards to the South and you are on the famous Mullins beach, or head North and just a short distance away is Speightstown with its wonderful old buildings and traditional Bajan atmosphere, here you can shop at the supermarket or buy fresh fruit and vegetables from the many street traders.Take the bus and a few minutes away is Holetown with its modern shopping parade and 'The Chattel Village' shops.
Cassandra's is also conveniently situated for a wide range of restaurants whatever your budget. Drop in at one of the numerous rum shops along the way and you will be guaranteed a warm welcome from the locals.
Cassandra's owners made us very welcome and went out of their way to fulfill any request we had, we shall certainly be returning to enjoy their hospitality for years to come.
We rented a cottage on the beach for a week and rented a car. I think it was a considerable success. We met some people who were at an-all included resort down the beach and they seemed happy with their choice. The differences were remarkable and worth noting. We did some cooking, food shopping as well as dining in restaurants and with friends... More detail later or if you have specific questions.. The cottage afforded us with privacy and the adventure of exploration with a nice base camp.
cooking facilities, veranda over the beach, outdoor porch
An excellent hotel especially for the price, run by an English couple. The basic design of the property is in the Moorish style so very reminisent of the Costas with palm dotted gardens throughout and a nice pool.
Bridgetown is 9 miles and the airport 3 miles from the property
The rocky waterfront some five minutes walk away is great for both snokelling and for surfing being located on the breezy SE coast line.
This is a nice enough all inclusive hotel with a great location - right on the beach. The apartments are very large - upstairs are preferable with large balconies. We stayed in a one bedroom apartment which was an upgrade from their basic hotel room accommodation. We were led to believe these are very small.
The food was pretty average but there was usually plenty to choose from on the menu. There is an a-la-carte restaurant which you can eat at twice during your stay. Be careful if you book two nights in a row though as they keep the same limited menu for a couple of days! The drinks at the bar were the usual stuff - local beer and spirits but their cocktails were great - especially the rum punch!
There are two swimming pools but both are very small. There were usually a few kids in them but the adults in our party preferred the beach. There were plenty of sun loungers and parasols available there.
There are buses from outside the hotel to take you into Bridgetown. There are also plenty of taxis or try the "boogie bus" - it is an experience!
I would recommend this hotel if you are looking for a cheaper all inclusive option. There are obviously a lot better hotels on the island but the prices they charge reflect that. The rooms were clean and the hotel itself was well maintained.
The location, right on a nice beach was great
UPDATE - Since writing this tip a lot of the boardwalk has been finished, and I am flying out on Feb 14th 2009 so will keep you posted on the work in progress.
February/March 2009 - there is a Boardwalk now that stretches from Rockley beach for approx 1/2 mile. This is brilliant and used by both locals for strolling or jogging, as well as tourists for just a nice gentle walk by the sea. The boardwalk is to be extended as far as the Hilton, in Bridgetown, but that is another phase of the construction yet to be commenced.
I have included a picture of the boardwalk which runs in front of the hotel.
Worth every penny and more, the Rio guesthouse is located in aptly named Paradise Village which is approximately in the middle of St. Lawrence Gap.
It is a few steps off the main road in a cul de sac (and some people say its unsafe as its in a darkened street which isn't strictly true), yet gives you a view of the main Gap road and the tourists and locals who frequent and idle the streets.
I was provided a room with double bed, wardrobe, ensuite bathroom and fans. Room was cleaned more or less on a daily basis. Kitchen had all the usual amenities including fridge and cupboard space. The dining room/sitting area had phone, TV and internet access, but nothing too entertaining. Basically there was little reason to leave as it had a homely vibe and comfort was one of its best qualities, complimented with a balcony overlooking the cul-de-sac.
I'd met a guy who had been living there for several months whilst looking for a job! He was about to move before I'd left only because he'd found a job further away on the west coast where they would provide him accommodation for a cheaper price.
I would definitely recommend this guesthouse for anyone planning to stay in the gap. There's little use wasting too much money on a luxury hotel room where it could be well spent on the other joys Barbados provides (expensive joys at that!).
Just off the the main road for St. Lawrence Gap
1 minute walk to the beach
Clean, comfortable, friendly
Great value for money
Stayed at the Lone Star for 10 nights in December 07. Would thoroughly recommend as a place to stay in Barbados. Greeted as our car pulled up outside by Jason and taken to a large, well furnished room with a huge balcony overlooking the ocean. Breakfast is served in the main restaraunt (right on the beach) or on your balcony. You are given reservations for both lunch and dinner in the hotel and you just tell them when you don't want them. The staff were also great at organising other places for dinner. All the staff were first class but duty managers Jason and Debbie deserve a special mention for the effort they both put in to making our time in Barbados so memorable.
One thing to remember - no swimming pool but with the caribbean sea less than 50 feet from the room you really dont need one.
All rooms (only 4 of them) face the ocean
Free mini bar stocked each day with water, soft drinks and Banks beer.
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