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“Very nice improvements but not sure worth price” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Barbados

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Sandals Barbados
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   St Lawrence Gap SN, St Lawrence Gap 0, Barbados (Formerly Couples Barbados All-Inclusive)   |  
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Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in St Lawrence Gap
Milford, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
455 reviews 455 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 153 cities Reviews in 153 cities
814 helpful votes 814 helpful votes
“Very nice improvements but not sure worth price”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This was our second visit to this resort as we stayed here when it was Couples Barbados in October 2013...we have stayed or toured all of the Sandals and Beaches properties. Our visit was April 11-18, 2015.

Airport
It took us about an hour to snake through the long line at immigration before we could get our luggage and get to the Sandals check-in area. Several flights came in about the same time we did, causing the line to extend outside the building. We did have to wait around 30 minutes to collect all the couples needed before departing to Sandals. We did see some of the people using the Fast Track service but once you get your luggage, you still need to wait for the Sandals shuttle so there is no guaranty there will be an advantage with it.

We were welcomed to the property with a group of staff including GM Joe Z, singing. Check-in at the piano bar area was slow and we were surprised that the first thing asked was if we were going to donate to the Sandals foundation. This was asked in front of other guests checking-in which was not appropriate. All we wanted to do after being up since 3am was to get to our room and have an early dinner at the Merry Monkey. We did see a photo shoot on the beach that Saturday evening. Luckily it did not intrude on guests stays as we have heard happen at other photo shoots at other properties.

Room
We booked the Crystal Lagoon Luxury room (6304) which included a bathtub on the balcony (which we used to wash dive gear). We received no room upgrade, the first time at any Sandals properties. The room was beautifully done with modern décor with Caribbean accents but the standard size for a hotel room. Even the toilet area had a picture of an indigenous green monkey. The peek-a-boo window in the shower had a print that could wheel across the glass, if you did not want to see into the bedroom. The color scheme and fabrics were lovely as well. I loved the touches of sea green and blue in the fabrics and the art (the piece above the bed is in every room, according to the GM).

Restaurants
Several of the restaurants were existing structures and a few were new. Schooners, Bayside, and Portofino were previously there. Newly built were Dino’s, Bombay, Butch’s, Café de Paris and the Merry Monkey. Each restaurant had some great dishes and some just alright.

Café de Paris was actually built on the location where the kiddie pool used to be. Nice menu for crepes, coffees/espressos or ice cream drinks. There are lots of different pastry choices in the big case each day. The ice cream drinks were delicious, especially the one with espresso and ice cream (and I don’t drink coffee)

Dino’s/Mariners – these restaurants share a kitchen so you are given menus for both places. You can sit on the pool deck or on picnic benches on the beach (similar to Barefoot by the Sea). We had the jerk chicken and the fish sandwich along with sharing a margherita pizza. The jerk is definitely milder and less tasty that what we have had in Jamaica and the sweet potato crinkle cut fries looked like they were spray painted orange…they did not taste like the sweet potato we are used to. The fish sandwich was delicious with a mildly spicy sauce. The pizza had way too much sauce and cheese, making it soggy pretty quickly.

Bayside turns into a French bistro in the evening – The signature cocktail is the brandied truffle (Remy St. Martin, Crème de Cacao, Vodka, milk) which could also be a dessert. We had the escargot, mushroom tart, and salad de maison. The crepe entrée was delicious as was the braised lamb shank. The chocolate gateau and baked apple were delicious. We also had a few days of buffet breakfasts here. There was a bit more breakfast item selection here than Bombay.

The Merry Monkey was a fun place to go to, especially to try some new cocktails. The day we got there, the bartender made several drinks for us to try. The signature cocktail was a Pimm’s which was delicious, though possibly bit sweet for some people. The fish and chips were hot and crispy, a good portion, with a couple spoonfuls of mushy peas. The burger was cooked perfectly. We also stopped in to try the local Mt Gay rums which another bartender presented in cordial glasses. The staff here was fun and was enjoyable to spend time in the bar, along with the billiards area.

Portofino – the signature drink was the limoncello martini which was yummy. The apps we had were calamari (lots of people raved about this too), Caesar and gorgonzola salads. Entrées of tenderloin and fettuccine & seafood were very good. The dessert sampler and tiramisu were delicious. There were a couple black kittens that a few guests (including us) were feeding.

Bombay was great for buffet breakfast. This restaurant was beautifully decorated (have been to some tacky but delicious food India spots) and I really enjoyed sitting under the globe portion of the restaurant. I had an office mate whose wife catered Indian events (weddings, showers, etc) as well as gone to several places in NY, CT, and MA so have tried lots of Indian – The apps were a mixed bag….shrimp pakora and vegetable bullets were good but disappointed in the samosas, although the tamarind dipping sauce was yummy. The naan, poppadum and rices were excellent along with the chicken curry and butter lobster, a protein I hadn’t had in Indian cuisine before. The chocolate cardamom cake didn’t have the cardamom flavor I was expecting and rice kheer was just ok as well. The mango lassi amped up with vodka was yummy. A dinner at Bombay may be a nice introduction to Indian cuisine but wasn’t outstanding.

Butch’s – the menu and signature cocktail were the same as Grenada. We really enjoyed the apps, oysters Rockefeller, crab cake, Signature salad but mixed bag on entrees. The lobster was cooked well but NY strip (signature dish) was just OK. The sides of mac & cheese and mashed potatoes were also just ok….the lobster was good but the pasta was overcooked and not much cheese flavor. The desserts were delicious - Oreo crusted marshmallow cheese cake and chocolate sin pie.

SSG Dinner – Cocktails were in the Calypso Lounge next to Bayside Restaurant and long tables were set-up in Bayside for the dinner. Joe Z, GM came and sat at our table, although he had got up and took phone calls many times to deal with issues, including water coming down right in front of us as someone in Block 1 left the tub running. The meal was wild mushroom bisque, garden salad, surf & turf (although just had the lobster), and cheesecake with berry ragout, Chantilly cream, finished with a violet fleur de sel. There were lots of recognition awards at all levels, silver sandals, gold sandals, and free weeks. As usual, the bottle of Appleton rum was given. As it was the week after Reunion week, many people were staying another week. We did meet a few couples that were here using their free week.

Entertainment / Activities
The main pool was definitely where all the activities happened, if you wanted to participate. The Weekly Activities list details this as well as the listing of restaurants and Red Lane Spa activities. The size of the newsletter was much larger than the usual 8.5” X 11” at other properties. Music in the area by Merry Monkey is pretty loud and continues until 11 PM or so most nights (not an issue unless you want to go to bed early and a light sleeper).

Scuba Diving:
The dive boat is moored off property in downtown Bridgetown, about 20 minutes away. Most of the week, there are 2-tank dives in the morning (M, T, W, F, Sat) and 1-tank dive (Th, Sun) with the afternoon dives at 1:30pm. There is no set schedule for dives, although we were told they were developing one (similar to what we saw at the Grand St. Lucia). Thursday is usually the Stavronikita wreck dive which gets you back around 11am. The two-tank days could range from noon to 1pm, depending on how many people as well as how far away the dives are. On Monday, the two of us were the only ones on the boat, so we got back before noon. When the boat had 8-10 people, we got back after 1pm. The afternoon dive stays close to downtown, either Carlisle Bay or another close site. Carlisle Bay has some good wrecks only a couple minutes from the dive shop. This is the place where the catamaran takes the snorkel groups to see the turtles! There were a few concerning issues with the dive operation that indicate it may need some additional training and supervision. The days we were out with the female DM (2 days), we had no problems. The one day we were out with another DM (the other DM had the day off), one person ran out of air and another person was almost left. The female DM did several gage checks, but the other DM did only one during the dive. When the captain started the engines I noticed that one woman’s husband was not there…when they realized what happened, the engines were cut, ladder put down and her husband came up. That dive they never asked what final air pressure was, so never did a check to make sure all were on board.

Other water sports:
These activities were predicated on the weather and if it was a RED flag day. Most of the time we were there they did not take the Hobie cats / kayaks out. Between the rough surf and seaweed, not many people spent time in the ocean, although the beach loungers were quite full throughout the day.

The gym has a decent amount aerobic and weights equipment. There were a few people that used the gym during our stay.

Spa:
As Platinum members, we were given a complimentary massage for 2. There is no 12.5% charge for this service but there is a sign indicating that there is this charge for all other spa treatments. We also had a spa credit of $250, so I did a massage/facial pkg for $290, with $37 service charge. I have to agree with others about having services in the outside bungalows….during our couples massage; the entertainment was performing a sound check, so not as relaxing. We were in the room that was closest to the piazza area. The day of my massage/facial I was closer to spa building, so a little less loud, but I think noise, etc. depends on when your appointment is and what is happening in the area.

Club Sandals – We received an invitation to the special cocktail party for Butler and Club Sandals guests. The party was Thursday from 6-7pm in the yoga pagoda. There were some raffles done…a Banks mug, bottle of rum and 30-minute couples massage. It was disappointing comparing it other Sandals properties that do special cocktail cruises and other events.

Room Service: We ordered room service for breakfast a few days since as we dove a few days. We ordered for 7am and first day the food came about 15 minutes past but other times came a few minutes before 7am, so pretty good. We got a phone call prior to delivery to let us know and to take off the “Do not Disturb” light, if it was on.

Manager's Cocktail party
This event is definitely a great way to talk to the manager’s and hear about the resort. We really enjoyed speaking to General Manager and the Operations Manager. Unfortunately, not many people attended this event.

Pools / Beaches
The main pool is definitely where most of the guests congregate, although the spa pool as well as the lagoon pool got quite a bit of use since the beach had quite a bit of seaweed on it and the surf was rough. Spent more time at spa and lagoon pool and never had an issue finding a pool float or a chair, even in afternoon.

Island touring – As our last visit, we did a tour of the island, this time traveling counter-clockwise around the island. Sanjay (Taxicabby) was gracious and informative as last time. In addition to taking us to the places we wanted to go to, he did take us to Hackleton’s Cliff and Codrington College for some beautiful views. He provided some information about the island which we enjoy learning. For example, cotton grown on island is exported to Italy. He also talked about local that is leasing the Almond Beach Village until Beaches takes it over next year. This local is also operates the buses/trucks used to shuttle Sandals guests to and from the airport.

The stops we planned were Four Square Rum, Bottom Bay, Crane Beach, St. Philips Parish Church (beautiful stained glass), Sunbury Plantation House, St. John's Parish Church (great view), Bath Bay (torn up but did find some sea glass), Bathsheba (some sea glass found here as well), St Nicholas Abbey (tried the new rums as well as purchase some of the beautifully package mango chutney), Almond Beach Village (wanted to see the beach where the Beaches property looked like), Harrison's Cave (informative and fun tram ride) and Earthworks Pottery Mural (WOW, absolutely beautiful).

Back to Airport – Our USAir flight along with a couple other flights all left at noon for the airport. We had the three hour usual time frame but we did talk to others that had a 2:40pm flight. There was definitely some confusion on departure regarding luggage. The luggage was put into this holding room before being brought outside to be put onto the luggage truck. Each couple was asked to identify their luggage. There was a small van along with two large buses going back for the noon meeting time. I watched our luggage go onto the truck, but it appears that some people did not properly identify. A Sandals rep came onto our bus three times to check to see if everyone saw their luggage. The other bus was asked as well. The only ones that weren’t asked were the small bus that left minutes before two large buses….so it was speculated that some of the leftover luggage could have been theirs…..so, FYI, make sure your luggage is placed onto the truck.

Final Thoughts
Overall, our stay was very good, despite a few issues. The majority of the staff we encountered were friendly and made you feel very welcome, most asking if you were enjoying your visit. The big disappointment, not within Sandals control, was the seaweed and beach erosion. The price point of this property is a bit high, even for a base room, so there are better Sandals options available. When we went to Grenada last April (a few months after opening as well), from the greeting upon arrival, we were made to feel special, even with lots of repeat guests and several groups of TAs on property while we were there. When we were at the Sandals Barbados property last time (as Couples Barbados), we were in the oceanfront block for half the price we paid for a room category a couple levels above the entry level category. We really enjoyed the island of Barbados, so we hope to return when the Beaches property is ready for guests.

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (113)
Date | Rating
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English first
Widnes, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Sandals Barbados is a beautifully renovated resort. The staff are exceptional and make the hotel a pleasure to be at. All the restaurants serve delicious food and we were spoilt for choice. The bars and pub are really good fun thanks to the staff.

We thoroughly enjoyed the daily activities and evening entertainment each night. Especially the band on a Tuesday and Friday. The earlier entertainment (7-9) in the piano lounge is well worth catching prior to dinner too. The Entertainment Manager, Hatwanna, appeared to be around all day everyday organising staff and activities.

I've read a few reviews on TA about the evening music/entertainment being too loud. This truly is not the case. There are live bands playing most nights. A lot of guests get up and dance and it is all part of the fun of being at the resort. The outdoor entertainment finishes at 10.30pm so hardly disruptive and not an unreasonable time to quieten down for other guests who choose to go to bed early. Having been to other Sandals resorts this appears to be the standard finishing time for outdoor entertainment. But you can move into the Merry Monkey (great staff in here) or Piano Bar and carry on into the night.

This is not really a party resort like some of the Jamaican Sandals but it does seem that this is down to how the General Manager, Joe Zellner, wants it to be. I did get the impression that he doesn't want Sandals Barbados to have this reputation and welcomes older, quieter guests.
(Perhaps they are the ones complaining about the noise from the music at night and around the pool during the day time, as they need to get up early to reserve a lounger and then catch up on their sleep during the day!)

Forget the sun bed issues, go and enjoy everything Sandals and Barbados has to offer.

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

First Sandals experience, stayed at the resort from April 12 to 19th. Location is conveniently located 15 mins from the airport and you are greeted with warmth and welcome. Check-in was a breeze and the property is beautifully manicured with several buildings with 4 storeys. We enjoy the smaller properties, not serving the mass crowds, so this gets a thumbs up.

Rooms are newly renovated and nicely appointed with dark woods, flat screen tvs and spa like bathrooms. Rooms are thoroughly cleaned and if you ever needed anything, Front Desk was always prompt in responding and even would follow up to ensure you were taken care of.

The quality of the food and drinks were top notch. We enjoyed the Merry Monkey so much that we didn't have enough dinners to try the Indian, French or Italian restaurants. Merry Monkey had a geat beer selection and the food and service made this place a regular hang out for us. Crystal, you are best! Thanks for always taking care us! You need to make reservations for the Japanese and Chophouse restaurants, be sure to do this asap to ensure you try the Chophouse! We didn't get a reasonable time for dinner at the Chophouse until our last dinner and I wish we did, as the food was fantastic! I wish we could have at least gone back a second time before leaving. Soy which is the Sushi House was fantastic as well. Honestly, not one complaint about food and beverages at this resort.

Service was always warm and my only complaint would be the service at breakfast in Portofinos. It is the only a la carte place to have breakfast and although there were plenty of staff, service and food took a very long time. You would also have to wait to get coffee or a refill. It was obvious from the other guests flagging down staff and complaining about the length of time for their food to come, that this was a shared experience. We went here throughout the week and it was consistently the same, definitely needs improvement if you are looking for this resto to be up to par with the rest.

I could have done without the photographers but other couples seemed to enjoy getting their photos taken.

You will need to get up at 6am if you want a spot at the pool, both main pool and 2nd (quieter) pool in front of Portofinos. We are early risers but for those who are not, don't expect a good spot or an umbrella if you need shade.

Biggest disappointment was the beach. Very rough and windy. Sand would blow in your face and the water was so rough, you would only see a couple of people attempt to try to swim in the ocean. This would be the only reason we wouldn't return to this property but we would definitely try another Sandals.

Most couples who come here are over 55 and repeat Sandal goers. Atmosphere is fantastic and staff are genuinely here to make you happy. Live singers and entertainment in the main square, piano bar and even the Patisserie are excellent.

Glad to have experienced Sandals!

Room Tip: 2401, partial ocean view, top floor, corner unit so it was quiet with a large balcony that you could...
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lowestoft
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I wasnt going to write a review but after seeing the most recent review entitled "Sandals is a scam" I felt compelled too, to readress the balance.

We stayed as a party of four from 18th-28th April and our experience from start to finish was one of complete pleasure.

This was my 3rd stay at a Sandals resort and the best so far.

The overall facility, rooms, gardens, restaurants, bars and beach were all excellent.
Like so many other people have also mentioned the one big differentiator is the people.Their friendliness , sincerity, genuineness and all round attitude is a real credit to Sandals and how they train their colleagues. That said the people of Barbados we came across outside the resort were also lovely.

Special mention about Markson who conducts the nature walk. A real fountain of knowledge and genuine guy. Our tour that should have lasted an hour lasted for three. He explained why the sea wasnt as blue as normal and why there was so much seaweed amongst many other things. Sandals he is a real credit to you.

To finish off if you like first class service, luxury in paradise, amazing people and good value for money book Sandals Barbados. You will not be dissapointed.
A scam it is not.

Room Tip: Crstal lagoon luxury level room. Dont pay more for club level or butler as not needed. These rooms s...
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Merrimack, New Hampshire
1 review
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

On arrival, we were disappointed by the beach...not paying attention we were on the Atlantic side of the island...making the seas a bit rough... However, the disappointment quickly dissipated as the staff of the hotel...especially our butlers, Sharlene, Bryan and Nicholas made every day a joy. I truly believe people make an experience exceptional.

Our butlers were the perfect amount of attention...allowing us to be ourselves, yet offering towels, drinks and snacks at the perfect time...but never so much we felt overwhelmed.

Michael at the pool offered a fun and entertaining exercise equalize program...offering exercise you can take on at your own level.

Our room was beautifully appointed with a swim out to the lagoon, a tub both inside and out...great for morning dips, or quiet afternoon swim.

Make sure to visit the wildlife preserve at 2pm for feeding time...and visit St. Nicholas Abbey to see how sugar can was harvested and processed...and try the rum!

There is much to love about Sandals Barbados...the staff would be our main reason to return...

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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beaker666
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Title: very poor shame on you sandals

I am currently still here on resort room 2405
Firstly we flew from Manchester stayed at raddisdon blu hotel...fab connects to terminal2. If you want cheap deal for hotel message me I'll tell you how
I booked Bentley continental from Lincoln to Manchester return for surprise for partner loved it..if you want further details message me worth the money & very competitive
We flew virgin if you first time flying virgin economy message me I have details how you can check in using premium economy desk...quick check in first on plane plus bags off first.
At Barbados airport I supprised partner with fast track thru customs and limousine take us from airport, again message me I will give you details...we got to resort over a hour before any other person.
Right then the resort

Food
Breakfasts are good in italian restaurant better than buffet

Lunch

You can go buffet restaurant... Poor quality for money paid
Or you have burgers or pizzas poolside

Evening meals

Book your restaurants soon as you arrive

Butches chop house
The wagu steak is dreadful staff admit got problems with it but still serve it....so tough u can not cut it...rest of steaks ok... Nothing to give you wow factor

Italian restaurant
Is very nice

French restaurant
Steak in this place is best on resort

The rest of restaurants all OK

If you are vegetarian... Be warned very rubbish choice of meal options if you do not eat fish!

Sunbed fiasco

I am here for 2 weeks ....you have to be up at 5am to get a sunset by pool... I am not lying I have had set alarm everyday.... Total joke...rules are in room but they are not policed. People even getting up at 4am to reserve beds. Before the sandals respond to this we have complained and is all noted. The resort manager Head of resort..was extremely rude we are writing letter of complaint!
We complained about sunbed fiasco... 5am I actually met him pool side and complained... He shrugged his soldiers said not his problem and has rules but not willing to police them. Witnesses to this conversation. .damn rite rude for amount we paid to visit setting alarm for sunbed by pool...no aplology. We have requested another meeting but unwilling to deal with complaint...shame on you sandals
Sunbeds by pool
Literally crammed in very close aporox 1 foot apart so if person next to you smokes... Enjoy!!
Butlers reserve 4 beds by pool for 1 couple... Joke for butler guests....before you say not true
On the last day of my holiday I was assaulted by the pool side in front of the management... I had been sat on a sunbed since 6.45am and this couple demanded I move as they wanted/reserved the beds...nothing on the beds when I arrived ...even the manager and head of butler services had spoken to me and confirmed this. I was then assaulted in front of management with a solid wooden basket around my head.nothing was done about this.

Noise

We were woken up at 1am from people singing in the piano karaoke bar...could hear word for word Alice who is Alice but using swear words very very clearly then oasis wanderwall.
The evening entertainment is diabolical soo loud extremely poor more like butlins redcoat entertainment.

Sitting by the pool

You see people getting extremely drunk doing shots and in evening even worse..no class whatsoever...
At poolside their is someone constantly on a microphone all day bleating on about silly activities and the drinks are on him etc etc but its constant....
You then ave put up with pool volleyball cheering and wooping
Then aqua aerobics where the instructor has sound system on very loud at same time beach volley ball with another sound system all playing sametime
Its more like a posh 18-30 resort
We feel like we have been totally robbed of our holiday with all valid complaints but sandals not willing to do a single thing or acknowledge anything

We did a private taxi tour for 5 hours as part of our package we had $250 resort credit so used it on this. You can go where you like and stop when you like... We did the whole island was well worth it

As a surprise I booked a limousine to take my partner & I to sandy Lane resort for afternoon tea....amazing totally amazing and affordable.. You will love it ....
We booked table for 3.30pm so we got watch sunset... Simply lovely

As a surprise I booked a private sailing cruise for just for 2 of us
I used barbadossailing... Google will find itb...they have 2 boats wasn't me and why not...
Both boats are amazing. They are very affordable to charter the boat for your own use with crew. We swam with turtles and saw 2 ship wrecks. Captain Ron and Brett
crew the boat are very knowledgeable and really really nice people. Ron's wife and daughter are very helpful and help with anything to do with your visit to Barbados and are some loveliest people we have met... So in all if you want to do a sailing trip I highly recommend this as very intimate not rowdy

We walked to the end of saint Laurence gap and is totally safe and secure... We went to a Mexican restaurant right at the end...wow must say puts Mexican restaurants in uk to shame...this place was amazing food. If you do go out on your way back in offer the security guard a drink.. They sit in their hut at gates very hot... Just nice gesture I think.. We did everynite

BE WARNED BUILDING WORKS HAVE STARTED TO EXTEND RESORT..IF THEY TELL YOU IT HAS NOT DO NOT BELIEVE IT...CHAINSAWS ALL DAY..WE STAYED 13TH APRIL TIL 27TH APRIL AND WORK WAS STARTED ON SITE!!!!!!

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milford, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
202 helpful votes 202 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

My wife and I just returned from a week at Sandals Barbados. We’ve been to all the Sandals and Beaches properties along with other all inclusive and regular resorts throughout the Caribbean. We’re Diamond Level guests with almost two dozen trips to Sandals so normally we’re big advocates for all the Sandals Beaches properties. In the case of Sandals Barbados I can’t currently recommend the property to guests. There are a variety of issues I’ll discuss that have unfortunately led me to that decision.

On the positive side Sandals Barbados has done some amazing things to the property. We stayed at the property prior to the renovation and after it and they have done some huge improvements. They redid all the rooms, added in restaurants, pools, plantings, etc. They took a tired resort and gave a fresh new look. The new Indian, Japanese, and Butch’s restaurants look great. All the rooms we saw had brand new lighting, cooling, tvs, furniture, etc. Just about everything was new. The internet and TV connection and speed was by far the best that I’ve seen at any resort. They also have the new television applications that allow you to see you bill, order movies, see pictures, and get information online. All of this was a huge improvement to the property. It is probably the best maintained and clean Sandals but it is also brand new. They have a brand new larger dive boat and new dive operation with all new equipment just a short ride from the resort.

All employees we encountered were very friendly and appear to have been well trained. We saw some old faces and many new ones brought on after the renovation. Most of the training staff that came from other Sandals had left but a few were still around working with people. Employees welcome guests with singing as you arrive and most really wanted to provide great service.

Food was good and varied and the fresh fruits were great. Most restaurants had good food but it wasn’t the best we’ve had in the Sandals chain or at other resorts. Service at all the restaurants was quick and friendly. The staff at the Indian restaurant and the Pub was especially good.

Those were the good elements unfortunately they are undermined with quite a few negative areas that need immediate attention. First and foremost there is a large problem with the management at the resort. Managers fail to follow up on issues and bend the truth. There were various times when we encountered issues with management. Our first incident happened when we checked in. While taking our credit card the manager asked "How much of a donation will you be making today to the Sandals Foundation today?" I was shocked and felt I was put on the spot with other guest right there. I said we would think about that and get back to them later in the trip. Really, after 12 hours of travel to the resort you hit us up for a donation within the first 5 minutes of being at the property? Shameful.

It took quite some time for them to get our reservation in order and we were then escorted to our room. When we arrived at the room I asked the Loyalty Manager if we had been upgraded. She immediately said “Yes, of course”. I then showed her my statement showing her what we had booked and she had to admit she was wrong and we got the same room category we had booked. They also told me they would see if we could get an upgrade during the week and contact me daily to see if one was available. We never heard back from them. While we understand that upgrades aren’t always possible we do expect at least to be truthfully told what we received for a room and to get some follow up on whether or not upgrades become available. In fact we never saw or heard back from the Loyalty Manager during our entire stay to see how things were.

I’ve never seen this type of behavior at any other Sandals, especially towards high level repeat guests. The property is not staffed to provide the extras that higher level return guests are use to getting at a Sandals. (My advice if you are a Diamond level SSG, go to LaSource, Grande St. Lucian, or Emerald Bay where they will appreciate you and do the extras.)

The worse incident with management came days later when we went scuba diving. I’ve been scuba diving for over 25 years all over the world and have certifications from multiple agencies. I’ll spare everyone the long details on it but what happened was I ran out of air and could have drowned. On the same dive we almost left a diver behind because no one checked to make sure everyone was on board. I brought the incidents of this day and other days we dove to the dive shop manager, water sports manager, and operations manager and couldn’t get anyone to adequately address it. It wasn’t until I took it to the General Manager that the other managers finally took it seriously. Unfortunately the other managers laughed in my face, made up stories, and tried to dodge any responsibility right in front of me. I have the dive on video so I know what happened. I have NEVER been treated so poorly at any Sandals or any other resort in regards to such a serious matter. Divers beware. I don’t advise divers, especially those that aren’t experienced, to dive with Sandals Barbados unless major changes are made.

Sandals Barbados is also starting the process of building out their new addition on the property next door. They are currently cutting down large trees right next to the property. So if you enjoy the sound of a chainsaw and trees dropping go to Sandals Barbados. In my opinion this type of work should be done when the resort is shutdown not when guests have to listen to it.

If you’re coming to Sandals Barbados for the beach and water, forget it. A large part of the beach at Sandals has washed away due to storms in the area and the water looks like sewage and is completely brown with sargassum and other seaweed. Many of the days we were there were also Red Flag day so all beach activities were cancelled. This seaweed problem is not an isolated problem but one that keeps on coming back along with the strong ripe tides. There are beaches minutes away that are fine but Sandals won’t run any shuttles to bring guests to these beaches during the problems. They just post the red flags and nothing is done to work around the issues.

In summary a lot of great improvements to the resort but concerns with the management, beach, resort expansion, and diving cause me to recommend other Sandals that are better deals for the price.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms close to the areas that the new construction is happening.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Barbados

Address: St Lawrence Gap SN, St Lawrence Gap 0, Barbados (Formerly Couples Barbados All-Inclusive)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Barbados > Christ Church Parish > St Lawrence Gap
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in St Lawrence Gap
#2 On the Beach Hotel in St Lawrence Gap
#3 Family Hotel in St Lawrence Gap
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sandals Barbados 4*
Number of rooms: 280
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on pristine Dover Beach where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic and endless sunshine is accompanied by gentle ocean breezes, Couples Barbados invites you to surrender to the calypso rhythms of paradise.As the only resort on the island dedicated exclusively to couples, Couples Barbados provides an idyllic refuge for you to recharge and reconnect with the one you love. And with more inclusions than anywhere else on Barbados, your worry-free holiday begins the moment you land on the island.So why not spend your days with white sand between your toes. Learn how to kayak, scuba dive or snorkel in azure blue waters. Get lost in 10 acres of tropical gardens. Play golf amidst tropical surroundings. Play tennis under the stars. Indulge in an invigorating or romantic massage for two. Enjoy the freshest seafood and best rum punch this side of heaven. Or simply relax to the sounds of Green Monkeys playing in the palm trees at sunset. After all, this is paradise Couples Barbados-style—where every enchanting day and magical night encourages you to live life well. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Barbados St Lawrence Gap

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