The Best Of The Best…?
Our World | On 13, Sep 2012
“Sandy Lane conjures up images of serene style in an idyllic resort setting. From the moment we welcomed our first guests in 1961, Sandy Lane has been considered the premier address in the Caribbean – a haven of tranquility, a luxury romantic retreat or the perfect location for families who desire the finest holiday experience with endless possibilities for recreation.”
That paragraph is the wording on Sandy Lane’s website… and it perfectly sets the scene.
I recently enjoyed a few days on the beautiful island of Barbados, hosted by Sandy Lane, Leading Hotels of the World, Sunlinc DMC and Virgin Atlantic, in order to celebrate the re-opening of this world-famous hotel.
We were looked after like Royalty, which, if I’m honest – is something that this hotel does very well indeed. Clearly they are used to hosting celebrity types as well as us mere mortals… either way, it was a few days to live like ‘the other half’. I have made my decision that this hotel will be my venue of choice to celebrate my huge win on the Euro Millions (although that’s not exactly happened as yet)!
What impressed me most about the hotel was not so much the actual property itself, which of course is sublime, nor even the location on its own stunning palm fringed beach… it was really the staff that swung it for me. Somehow they managed to pull off the almost impossible; they were friendly and informal, yet never, ever crossed the line of over familiarity. These guys and gals represented all areas of the hotel, from the beach and pool boys to the management – every single one of them, without exception demonstrated an effortless Bajan ‘cool’ with nothing ever being too much trouble. They demonstrated great humour, patience and hospitality, which in my book, makes the hotel what it is.
There is definitely something in the water in Barbados, everyone seems to possess a sunny disposition. They are chilled out but still suitably assertive… we did not encounter that ‘mañana’ attitude that is sometimes present in the Caribbean (which starts as a charming trait, but soon grates when something needs to get done)! But then I imagine that living on an island with an almost perfect climate, one that is refined yet still authentic, would do that to you!
When talking specifically about Sandy Lane – the hotel offers everything that the seasoned traveller might like to take advantage of; the spa is AMAZING, the golf courses are truly delightful (spoken as a non-golfer), the beach and pool deck is just pure Caribbean and the food and drink outlets throughout the hotel offer real variety. The hotel’s Executive Chef (a Brit no less) is very passionate about his food, but he also wants to make the hotel’s catering offerings really relevant. By that, I mean that he is only too aware that this is a hotel that attracts the stars, wealthy business people and discerning families. If they want a traditional roast on a Sunday, then they should be able to have it – but conversely, if pizza or fine dining is the order of the day, then they should be able to enjoy that too and there is no tutting about it! The clients have paid their money, so his philosophy is to offer whatever they want, when they want it, but to do it very well indeed; it’s a refreshing concept.
Should you ever want to leave the hotel for a visit to other areas of the island (and believe me, you should), one will find that Sandy Lane is conveniently located for the modern and trendy restaurants and shopping of ‘The Grove Lifestyle Centre’, or for Holetown for the night owls to enjoy a bit of traditional Bajan nightlife. St. Nicholas Abbey is also well worth a visit for a history fix… and a fix of a different kind – rum, with lots of it available to taste and buy! A jeep tour is also worthwhile because you get to experience and enjoy the island at a different pace, but then again, so is a sunset cocktail cruise too… the world, as they say, is your lobster!
All in all, Sandy Lane with its tradition, service and incredibly warm hospitality is a little piece of paradise on an island that epitomises all that is wonderful about the Caribbean – or as the locals might simply say – it’s “Boek!” – see for yourself www.sandylane.com