Having spotted the Sandpiper on the Small Luxury Hotels of the world website, I was really looking forward to visiting Barbados and staying at this incredible looking hotel. From the moment we arrived, the welcome was as warm as the weather and we were shown through the beautiful tropical garden and settled in to a great garden room with a glass of rum punch to kick off the holiday.
The rooms are very spacious and well appointed and ours featured an enormous double bed; plenty of storage; large balcony with table, chairs and loungers and a sizeable bathroom with separate shower and bath and two sinks. The windows are all fitted with insect screens to keep out bugs and jalousie blinds that can be flipped closed to keep light out or the air conditioned cool air in. The beds are very comfortable and I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is no television in the rooms – a great thing as far as I’m concerned.
Meals at The Sandpiper are served in a spacious dining room which is open at the sides allowing views of the gardens and ornamental ponds which surround it. Staff are very friendly and courteous and the food is among the best I’ve had in any hotel in the world. Evening meals in particular are absolutely amazing with a great selection of meat and fish to choose from and an extensive wine list. We were staying on the half board (MAP) basis and although we could have eaten out at one of the many other nearby restaurants on the island, we didn’t feel that we were particularly missing out by being lazy and staying at the hotel every night. Several of the other guests commented that the food at the hotel was better value and quality than they had had at other nearby restaurants during their stay.
A highlight for me were the delicious drinks and friendly guys at Harold’s Bar – including Harold himself, of course. The bar is a great place to get out of the sun and chat with the other guests during the midday heat or watch the sunset. If you’re on the beach or sea front veranda during the day, the guys will bring drinks to you including jugs of ice water and sorbets at 11 am. It’s all very relaxed and makes the days really draw out.
A couple of tips to be aware of are that there are hawkers on the beach who can sometimes be a bit on the dodgy side. It’s always best not to give deposits for any activities with these guys and if you want to book anything, either use your tour rep or speak to Harold at the bar or with reception. I found out the hard way that evening dining attire for men in Barbados’ hotels and restaurants requires long trousers which I hadn’t taken with me and had to buy whilst away. Dress codes will often state something along the lines of ‘elegantly casual’ which isn’t very helpful so always take at least one pair of long trousers to be on the safe side.
I’ve stayed in some great hotels over the years but I think the Sandpiper is probably my favourite when it comes to sun, sea and sand. The staff and other guests are all so friendly and laid back that I was instantly relaxed and I’m already longing to come back next year. If you only try one hotel in Barbados, make it this one, you won’t be disappointed.