The Sandpiper Hotel Barbados – Honest Review of this Fab Luxury Hotel
The Sandpiper Hotel Barbados is a luxury hotel located on the west coast of the island in Holetown, in the Saint James parish. The hotel overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is situated on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach.
The Sandpiper is one of the oldest luxury hotels on the island and consequently it has time to mature over the years since it was built in the 1950s. It’s the sister hotel to the Coral Reef Club further up the coast. The first thing you may notice about it are the lush tropical gardens that give it the feeling of an oasis, away from the the rush of modern Barbados just outside.
The Sandpiper has a total of about 50 twin bedded rooms and suites, all of which have air conditioning and private balconies or patios.
The room types are; Garden Rooms, which have a patio or balcony, and contain a king sized bedroom suite with ample wardrobe space, all the usual amenities, and a fridge, and One Bedroom Suites, which have larger bedroom suites with the addition of a spacious living room with a sofa bed (thus turning them into two bedroom suites), two chairs, and coffee table. They also have a large patio or terrace and private bathroom.
The one bedroom suites also have a kitchen area containing fridge, two-ringed hob, toaster, kettle, and all the crockery and cutlery you might need. Both garden rooms and one-bedroom suite have en suite bathrooms with separate tub and shower. It should be noted that there are no TVs in the rooms and suites. However, there is a TV lounge and fitness room to the right of Reception.
It’s possible to combine a one bedroom suite with a garden room to create two bedroom suites. In this way a family can enjoy a stay at the hotel in a two bedroom suite, each with an en suite bathroom containing a bath and separate shower, a separate living room, and its own private terrace or patio.
All the room types have a view of at least the tropical gardens because each is surrounded by so much of the tropical flora. Every day you might see humming birds, a mongoose, and if you’re really lucky, a green monkey.
Rooms can be booked on a bed & breakfast or half board basis. They do not have tea and coffee facilties except in the one bedroom suites.
Tree Top and Beach House Suites
In addition to the rooms and suites there are three tree top suites. These are the Curlew tree top suite, the Wimbrel tree top suite, and the Sanderling tree top suite, each with its own private plunge pool. Tree top suite Curlew is the one that looks out onto the sea. Beneath it, on the ground floor, is the Beach House suite, Driftwood. These are the hotel’s top suites with a nightly price tag to match.
Pools & Beds
There are two pools in the hotel. The first is the original small pool right next to the bar. This has a few beds and umbrellas on one side only. The the other is the more recent pool situated to the left and to the back of the hotel gardens. This has beds and umbrellas on two sides. On one site the beds are on the tiles and on the other they sit in a few inches of water.
Most of the beds are in rows on the beach, right next to Harold’s beach bar. They are arraged in twos, each with a sturdy large blue shun shade and table. Each morning the staff fit a blue towelling cover to each and every bed. These are removed each evening.
As with most other hotels, guests tend to reserve beds by placing blue beach towels and a book or magazine on the beds early in the morning.
There are more beds on the boardwalk section adjoining Harold’s beach bar.
The hotel is in Holetown and is a few minutes walk away from the Limegrove shopping area, cinemas, and cafes, as well as local restaurants like Tides, and the Beach House.
There are free transfers from Grantley Adams International Airport (depending on the booking package type) and free WiFi. While we stayed there the WiFi reception was excellent, in contrast to the poor internet services at other hotels on the island.
There are two tennis courts nearby and a large, airy restaurant and bar, fringed on one side by tranquil koi ponds. The dinner menus are extensive enough to satisfy most appetites and each Sunday there is a barbecue dinner.
The Sandpiper restaurant hosts live music in the dining/bar area on most evenings. The dinner menus are a mix of international cuisine and Caribbean flair and flavours.
The beach is not large and is part of a series of interconnected beaches, which include those of Mango Bay, Discovery Bay to the left, and Settlers’ Beach to the right. From time to time you’ll see the catamarans Stilleto or El Tigre arrive to disembark passengers or to take on more who have booked a few hours of sailing and snorkelling.
Waterports are available and these include the usual entertainment for adults and children of all ages; water skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, snorkelling, etc.
This is a child-friendly hotel and families with children of all ages are welcome.
There is a salon and boutique at the sister hotel Coral Reef Club, which is a couple of minutes up the road by car.
The staff at The Sandpiper are excellent. They have the training and experience that sets the standard to which other hotels should aspire. Whether it’s the bar or room service, the garden, maintenance, or adminstration services, they were all faultless during our stay. I suspect this alone is one reason why many guests are repeat visitors. It is said that between 70-90% of the guests are returning guests, some of whom have their favourite rooms.
As well as the main hotel bar in the restaurant there is Harold’s Bar, which is located on the beach side of the hotel grounds. This bar is famous throughout the world as is its proprietor, Harold, who has been running this bar for over 30 years. He is a credit to the hotel and it wouldn’t be the same without him. A lunchtime session at Harold’s Bar is such a great atmosphere, with a menu that will keep you satisfied and refreshing cocktails to keep you amused.
Points to Note
This is a luxury hotel with prices that reflect its status, but the price of dining in this hotel and in many restaurants in Barbados has risen to such an extent that it’s become far too expensive, in my opinion. During an all-inclusive stay at the Treasure Beach Hotel we enjoyed food that was superior in quality than that of some of the west coast St James restaurants that charge huge amounts for lower quality fare.
The nearby Discovery Bay hotel has been demolished and is due to be replaced with a new four-storey hotel. This will involve some noisy construction work in the autumn of 2022. Once complete it’s almost certain that the adjoining beach will become busier in the not too distant future.
Probably the worst room is number 31 or 32 as these are closest to the main road which can be noisy at times. The hotel is located on Highway 1 opposite the junction of Highway C which means the sounds of acceleration and horns can be heard all too frequently.
Restaurants in Saint James Parish
If you do venture out to dine elsewhere then there’s no shortage of places to choose. Fusion, at the top of Limegrove, is within walking distance, as is Tides, further on in Holetown, but be aware that the price of fine dining in the west coast restaurants has reached record levels.
Tides has been there for years and was refurbished after a change of ownership during 2020/2021. It’s now much larger and has therefore lost some of its charm. The cocktail bar and the art displays are still there but the dining area has been greatly expanded. The food during our visit was not up to the standard suggested by the prices.
Further down the coast (and therefore a drive or taxi ride away) is the QP Bistro. This used to be The Cliff Beach Club and it is said that it will revert to this name soon and that the The Cliff itself will re-open. The food here was good but not excellent and again, very expensive. However, dining here on the terraced floors overlooking the sea, with a talented singer and band to set the mood, was a wonderful experience.
Sandpiper Barbados – Getting There
This is a lovely hotel and therefore very popular destination so it’s advisable to book early if you’re thinking of giving it a try for your next holiday. You can book directly with the hotel and make your own travel arrangements, or book a package with British Airways Holidays, Virgin Atlantic Holidays, or one of the many other holiday booking websites.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways each fly to Barbados from London Heathrow daily. Flights tend to arrive in mid to late afternoon with return flights leaving at early to mid evening. This means that flights returning to the UK are overnight and arrive early the following day.