I’m fortunate to have stayed at Treasure Beach Barbados on several occasions. Here’s my honest review of this popular location. This adults only boutique hotel sits at the southern end of the Paynes Bay beach, looking out onto the Caribbean Sea. It’s a small colonial style hotel built in the 1970s and was in private hands for several decades before becoming another of the Elegant hotels in recent years. It is adjacent to one of its west coast sister properties, The Tamarind.
From the outside, on Highway 1, the hotel has a humble entrance and you can easily miss it if you’re not familiar with the location. There’s a small car park in the front and a few rooms on the ground and upper floors overlooking the car park. These are mainly for adminstration and staff, although one room has been converted into a small gym containing a couple of treadmills and a few free weights.
As you pass through the entrance and into reception, this is where Treasure Beach comes into its own. To the right of the reception area are some rooms in which spa treatments are available. Then the path leads into the tropical garden and the pool area.
The hotel’s rooms are on two levels in a vague horseshoe shape with a small pool in between the two arms. Beyond the pool is a short area of grass then a paved area overlooking the sea with shade provided by a large mahogany tree, an memorable specimen that has been photographed thousands of times by the guests.
This tree is instantly recognisable for anyone who has stayed at Treasure Beach. It’s just part of the view wherever you’re sitting or lying, gazing out at the sea. A few limbs have been trimmed off over the years, sometimes due to storm damage, but this magnificent specimen is still very much intact and long may it be so. I don’t know how old that tree is but it was there a long, long time ago and it’ll still be there when we’re all long gone.
The tree casts some shade on the end of the paved area at the end of the garden. This used to be grass but was redesigned when the Elegant group took over the hotel. There is a low border wall and a short drop to the sea or the sand, depending on the tide. This wall has been repaired several times as the tides constantly wash against its foundations. If the wind is strong enough and the tide is in then the paved area of the garden will receive some spray from the Caribbean Sea. To the right there are some steps that give access to the Paynes Bay beach.
Treasure Beach Suites
Each of the 35 rooms is a one bedroom suite containing a double ensuite bedroom (with bath tub and separate shower) and a separate living area containing a two-seat sofa, chair, and kitchenette area with an espresso machine and fridge.
The suites open out onto either a private balcony or a patio area, and all have air conditioning, and they either overlooking the tropical gardens or have an ocean view. There is one luxury deluxe suite at the end of each arm on the first floor, each with its own private plunge pool on a small balcony overlooking the end of the hotel garden and out to sea. Each has a retractable canopy for those hours when the sun is just too hot.
The rooms are small, but adequate. They are not the spacious suites seen in rental accommodation. This is a four star hotel and the limited size of the rooms may be the reason it will always miss gaining that extra star. However, a one bedroom suite for two people who have brought one suitcase each is all that’s needed for a relaxing holiday in this beautiful boutique hotel. Further up the coast in Holetown you’ll find five star luxury in The Sandpiper Hotel which I have reviewed in a separate post.
There are beds around the pool area and on the paved area by the sea wall. Staff will position beds wherever you prefer on request. As with most hotels you may see guests out early in the morning putting towels out onto beds to reserve them. In the etiquette of hotel life this is generally accepted as part of the normal routine, though reserving beds and not using them is usually frowned upon.
If you’re occupying one of the ground floor suites some of them have enough space for a bed or two on the patio, so you can request to have one put there for your exclusive use.
Once a week the staff prepare the garden for the Sunday night film. A projector screen is erected and a sound system is set up. Diners can watch from their tables and other guests can watch either from the garden or from seats on their balconies or patios.
Food and Drink
Treasure Beach is an all inclusive resort now that it’s part of the Elegant group. Before the change it was much like any other hotel in that you could stay in a bed and breakfast basis and leave your options open for a la carte dining elswhere among the many restaurants along the west coast. Breakfast is served in the hotel’s only eating area, the Tapestry restaurant, though for a supplement you can have it on your balcony or patio.
About mid morning the staff bring round trays of small fresh fruit sticks to refresh your appetite before lunch. The lunch menu is short but the club or flying fish sandwiches are tasty, and I have never had reason to complain, especially when washed down by a Banks beer or a cocktail for the Batik bar. Non alcoholic beverages, beer, and house wine are included in the all inclusive deal but any bottles from the wine cellar are extra.
Later in the day you may be offered some afternoon ice cream. As the day draws to a close and people return to their suites to freshen up for the evening, the staff switch on the garden lights and set the scene.
The Tapestry restaurant produces some amazing food and boasts an award winning chef. Being an AI (all inclusive) hotel you may not venture outside but I would suggest you try a few other places for your evening meal. I have written about restaurants in Barbados in another post but it needs updating since some no longer exist. Barbados’ economy relies heavily on tourism, so the pandemic of 2020/2021 put a lot of pressure on the restaurants and a few did not survive.
The Dine Around feature allows guests at an Elegant hotel to eat out at one of the other hotels in the group, so if you want a bit of variety then that’s an option. Remember to take your Treasure Beach ID card.
Paynes Bay Beach
Paynes Bay beach is an area of calm and tranquility at dawn and at dusk. If you’re up early you might see both local individuals and tourists doing some yoga on the beach. There’s likely to be someone raking the sand in front of the apartment block called Old Tree Villas, making it pristine again in readiness for the day.
During the day you can expect to see people enjoying all kinds of watersports; water skiing, banana boat rides, snorkelling, jet skiing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding. The catamarans that take tourists on trips up and own the coast sometimes moor up in the bay to collect their passengers or allow others to disembark. For the more adventurous, sailing and deep sea fishing can be arranged through the hotel.
There’s plenty of marine life to see if you’re in the water, snorkelling or just swimming, but even if you’re only walking by on the beach it’s not uncommon to see turtles and even the occasional stingray.
Once or twice a day you may see a small group of horse riders passing by lead by a man giving his description of the views and pointing out landmarks of interest.
If you walk north along the beach, with the sea on your left, you’ll reach the perimeter wall of One Sandy Lane. This is group of top-end luxury condominiums that marks the beginning of the Sandy Lane Estate. Rihanna, one of the most famous people from Barbados, owns one of these condos, as does the producer and promoter Simon Cowell. When you see snaps of him and his family in the tabloids back in the UK they are often photographed in Paynes Bay.
If you continue walking you’ll eventually reach the beach outside the Sandy Lane hotel. There are not private beaches in Barbados so they are all open to anyone who wants to stroll by. This is great news for local and tourists alike.
Things to do nearby
Treasure Beach is on Highway 1 which runs along the coast. it’s the original main road before the built the larger road a mile or two inland. Turn left out of the hotel and in a few minutes you’ll in Holetown where you can browse around the Limegrove shopping centre.
Along the way you’ll pass the Sandy Lane estate and beyond that is the Beach House and Tides restaurant, on the left just before you reach Holetown. Opposite Tides you’ll see the chattel house shops set back from the road. Park outside the main supermarket on the right to walk to these shops. Check out my other post containing more information about holidays in Barbados.
Holetown is a small town located on the west coast of Barbados. The town is renowned for being the site where the first English settlers arrived on the island in 1627. Since then, Holetown has played an important role in Barbadian history. The town was the capital of Barbados until 1639 when the capital was moved to Bridgetown.
In the 18th century, Holetown became a major sugar-producing region and was home to many large plantations. Today, Holetown is a popular tourist destination, known for its variety of shops and restaurants, as well as historical sites such as St. James Church and the Alleyne Sugar Museum.
Getting to Barbados
There are flights to Grantley Adams International Airport on a regular basis from the UK, USA, and Canada. Obviously you can arrange your own trip by booking direct with the hotel or buy one of the many flight inclusive holidays. Prices vary greatly according to the season and the day on which you fly. LIAT and other airlines operating in the Caribbean fly to Barbados from other islands in the region.
Grantley Adams is also the destination for many private jets and charter flights. If your budget is up there then you may want to investigate the possibility of empty leg flights to or from this Caribbean hot spot.
British Airways from the UK
American Airlines from Miami
Virgin Atlantic also fly to Barbados from the UK. Years ago they had Boeing 747s on this route and in those days Premium Economy was up the stairs in the ‘bubble’ of the Jumbo. It was a great flight up there, particularly on the return overnight flight, because there was so little footfall and all that back and forth by passengers and cabin crew alike. Up there you had your own loos and one or two flight attendants for that area only.
Sadly, the 747s have been retired. Their replacements may be modern, more fuel efficient, and quieter, but something has been lost in terms of the design of the interiors. Premium Economy used to feel a bit special but not so much today. Still, first world problems and all that.
The Elegant Resorts group is comprised of properties all across the Caribbean, each offering its own unique style and amenities. Their properties in Barbados include The House, Waves, Tamarind, Cobblers Cove, Colony Club, Coral Reef, Fairmont Royal Pavilion, and at the highest price end, Sandy Lane. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious retreat or a lively beach vacation, there’s probably an Elegant hotel to suit your needs.
The Parish of St James
The parish of St James is located in the central-western region of Barbados. It is one of 11 parishes on the island and is home to approximately 27,000 people. The parish covers an area of about 21 square miles and includes the towns of Holetown and Mullins. The parish is known for its beautiful beaches, including Mullins Beach, which is considered one of the best in Barbados.
The parish also features several historic sites, such as the Holetown Monument, which commemorates the site of the first settlement on Barbados. St James is a popular tourist destination and welcomes visitors from all over the world.
Returning to Treasure Beach Barbados
I’ve stayed in other Elegant Hotels on the island but most often have preferred Treasure Beach. It’s the fact that it’s still small that has something to do with it, and it is also because there is some consistency and maturity among the staff. There have obviously been some changes over the years but it’s always good to return to a familiar welcoming face. They provide a more personalised service than that of the larger hotels.
To compare Treasure Beach to another of the Elegant hotels like Turtle Beach on the south coast is to illustrate the contrast. On the west coast there is a small colonial style hotel sitting in peace and tranquility. In the south coast hotel there is a more modern resort-type hotel for those who prefer more noise and activity.