Welcome to paradiseLaid-back boutique luxury on Barbados' famed west coast
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Destination: Barbados, Caribbean
Vacation: Boutique luxury retreat
Seeking: Laid-back tropical paradise
Highlight: Idyllic beach setting
Sitting on the powdery white sand of this particular stretch of Alleynes Bay beach looking out at the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea is like living a castaway fantasy, but with the comfort and luxury of one of the most beautiful hotels in Barbados seamlessly nestled into the sand right behind you so as not to break the illusion.
Every different section of the Fairmont Royal Pavilion has a warm and welcoming feel to it. Buildings are a light pink, with tropical trees, plants and flowers thriving everywhere you look.
Maybe it was because of the long flight, or maybe the heat – there’s something wonderfully relaxing about the heat in Barbados that makes you melt into your vacation as soon as you step off the plane – but we didn’t really take in the beach properly for the first time until we got to our room. And that balcony.
Then a rum punch arrived, a strong, magnificent (sounds like we’re exaggerating – we’re not) rum punch, and the sun set spectacularly across the waves right in front of us, and we decided we were never leaving.
The Fairmont Royal Pavilion sits on arguably the best half a mile stretch of Barbados’ famed Platinum Coast on the country’s western shores in the parish of St James.
With just 72 bright and stylish sea view rooms the hotel is boutique, with the charm and intimacy only smaller resorts can offer, while still immersing you in luxury with everything you could want from the best luxury hotels all on hand. But other than the view from our balcony, and maybe – definitely – another rum punch, we couldn’t imagine what else we could possibly want for.
Scroll down to find out more about our stay at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion. You might also like to read our ultimate guide to luxury travel in Barbados and browse our full collection of luxury hotels and resorts in the Caribbean.
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“Between our lush, mature gardens and our perfect position on the idyllic Alleyne’s Bay beach; our guests enjoy the most unique and rewarding experience from gorgeous first light views of the bay to the most stunning sunsets.”
Best food & drink
1. Palm Terrace Restaurant
Palm Terrace Restaurant provides both an ample breakfast selection as well as fine dining in an ethereal tropical setting, and the transformation between day and night is profound.
For breakfast arriving just after sunrise to find a pristinely laid-up table overlooking the white sands of Alleyne Bay beach and the tranquil turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea never got old. An à la carte menu was available but with fresh coffee, a choice of juices, an egg station and a tempting and varied buffet which changed daily we never felt the need to order from it. Breakfast at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion was a relaxed and enjoyable delight we went to bed dreaming about.
By night the restaurant is transformed. If you arrive early, you can watch the sun set over the bay, the skies changing colour between bright yellows, and oranges to numerous shades of purple, until stars fill the night scene in front of you. Even better lights shine from the restaurant onto the sea once it’s dark and you can actually see fish jumping out of the waves in formation while you dine. Flaming torches blaze in alcoves and tropical plants sway in the warm breeze. The setting really is exceptional, and the service, and the food itself is just as good. The menu highlight is the live-fired meats and local fish expertly prepared in the hotel’s Josper Oven. Every meal we had was fantastic with each element cooked to perfection and perfectly complementing the other items in the dishes we tried, including the Chicken Duo, and, more than once, the deliciously fresh Chefs Catch.
2. Taboras Restaurant
Taboras Restaurant is an open air, relaxed restaurant near the beautiful hotel swimming pool and overlooking the mesmerising Caribbean Sea.
In the day it’s a wonderful spot to chill out underneath the ceiling fans and sample the array of lunch options, a local Banks beer or two or a chilled glass of wine. And in the evening, it’s an elegant yet laid-back place to have dinner with flaming torches blazing against the starlit skies and the sound of the waves gently crashing against the shore. We highly recommend the daily local catch, which you can have blackened or grilled, but, as with the food served in Palm Terrace, every dish at Taboras was outstanding. We met two of the chefs at Taboras during our stay on different occasions and the passion for the food and the dishes they were creating was so evident.
We also recommend trying the Bajan Sorrel Sour cocktail from the neighbouring Taboras Bar. Among other things it’s made with Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel, our personal favourite, and sorrel – a spicy and refreshing drink made from red flowers that grow in the Caribbean, and have a tart, sour flavour, not dissimilar to sour cherry in our opinion. Traditionally it’s drunk at Christmas and throughout the new year, but it’s also served all year round.
Fairmont Royal Pavilion consists of 72 ocean view rooms and an exceptional 3 bedroom family style villa, exuding a modern sophistication, while still embracing a traditional Caribbean charm.
We stayed in a beautiful oceanfront room in the north block. The design was minimalist and stylish, and the room was bright and comfortable. The star of the room was undoubtedly the large glass doors and balcony revealing the Caribbean Sea just beyond. A good amount of the vacation was spent sitting, reading, sipping on coffee or cocktails, or simply looking out at what felt like our own private viewing of paradise. The skies, and the colour of the sea and the sand, constantly changing as the sun shifted its position. Sunrise and sunset became daily events we’d set our alarm for.
The main pool area next to Taboras Bar is simple and elegant and a great alternative to the beach should you wish to switch things up. And there’s so much to see and do in Barbados if you want to explore further afield.
Some of the highlights include trips to the original Mount Gay Rum distillery which was founded in 1703; the spectacular array of stalactites and stalagmites found in Harrison’s Cave, stunning coastal scenery at the Animal Flower Cave on the most northerly tip of the island, and too many beautiful beaches, coves, and bays to name them all. But we will name-drop Pebbles Beach in Carlisle Bay however as that was a standout for us.
Another must if you’re there at the right time is a day at the races at the Garrison Savannah racetrack, especially if you can get to the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, arguably the biggest sporting event on the island.
In-room spa treatments are available at Fairmont Royal Pavilion, and there’s a beauty salon located in the selection of Courtyard Shops as you enter the resort. If a little gift shopping is a favoured vacation activity there are a few quality shops to browse, with luxury brands and local artisanal products. We were drawn to the locally printed cotton t-shirts, and some of the beautifully hand-crafted jewellery.
Strolling along the seafront was as enjoyable an activity as any for us, although a full range of water sports equipment is available from kayaks to paddle boards if you’re feeling active.
Another real plus was the fact that a short walk along the beach to the north you reach the gorgeous Lone Star Hotel & Restaurant. Enjoy a smart lunch, watch the sunset or savour a sophisticated evening meal in stunning surroundings, before ambling back along the sand to the Fairmont, which by this point felt like home to us.
Browse all the amazing places to stay recently added to the Wild Bay Collection and find your dream vacation, and if you’ve stayed somewhere unforgettable that you think we should showcase contact us with your recommendation.
It really says something that the design of The Lone Star Hotel & Restaurant is so impressive that your gaze is torn between its sleek white structure, and the mesmeric beach it’s nestled on.
Even as our airport transfer weaved its way across the island towards Sandals Halcyon Beach, we could already see why St Lucia gets hyped as the most beautiful tropical paradise on the planet.
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