Barbados's hidden gem: Luxury without the price tag

The Tamarind Hotel on the west coast of Barbados sits right on the white sandy beach and is one of the best Caribbean hotels for anyone looking for luxury and value for money.

Chic and contemporary yet maintaining a traditionally tropical, colonial feel, the four-star Tamarind Hotel has to be one of your best bets for a relatively affordable luxury stay on the glorious west coast of Barbados.

First impressions

For a start, this hotel's location is hard to beat. Nestled on the southern end of Paynes Bay, you're most definitely on one of the best beaches on the island (Sandy Lane, Barbados's most famous beach hotel, is only a teeny bit further up the coast, so you're rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous).

Sitting right on the white sand, with the gently lapping sea never more than a few steps away, this is the sort of hotel we all dream of staying in. Arriving at reception, you can't help but be lured straight onto the sand, reached via a little walkway, flanked by lawns and tropical flowers.

What's to love?

The Tamarind has a lovely laid back atmosphere, aided by the courteous staff, the pleasing breeze from the sea, and the soothing decor. Bright oranges, greens and pinks mix with muted tones to give the place a vibrant yet relaxed feel. Terracotta tiles and little latticed corridors dappled with sunlight and tropical flowers make the hotel a pleasure to explore, and the pretty gardens, huge white parasols, sun loungers and giant hammocks scattered around entice you to stop and chill out wherever you are.

The little finishing touches are there, too: think cool flannels and freezing iced lollies handed out around the pools and on the beach. There's even a discrete flag system so that you can get the waiter's attention without ever having to leave your sun lounger, and there's always plenty of complimentary iced lemony water on hand whenever you need to quench your thirst.

This place is perfect if you..

... want to experience the luxury of Barbados without taking out a second mortgage.

I want to go! How do I get there?

Seven nights in Barbados with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick or Manchester direct to Barbados, accommodation at the Tamarind by Elegant Hotels on an all inclusive basis with transfers included starts at £1,129 saving up to £420. Prices are per person based on two adults travelling and sharing a junior suite, price includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change.

See the full review of the Tamarind Hotel below!

The Tamarind Hotel, Barbados
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Barbados's hidden gem: Luxury without the price tag

The hotel sits on a quiet white sand beach, which is shaded by palms and baobab trees. One of the joys of this hotel is the free water sports: choose from banana boats, donut rides, catamaran tours. For an extra cost, you can try waterskiing too - and you can also swim with turtles.

Eating al fresco is a joy. Fresh local dishes are served up, either a la carte or, on some evenings, as a buffet. Like most hotels in Barbados, restaurant prices are pretty high - it's well worth going for the hotel's all-inclusive deal if you are planning to spend all day at the hotel. You can do this on a day-by-day basis for around 99 Barbados dollars (approximately £63) per day.

One of the best things about the hotel is that it's family friendly without feeling like it's been completely taken over by kids. The kids' pool and free watersports on the beach mean that children are kept busy and happy all day, and the live entertainment appeals to all: the limbo dancers in particular will go down a storm for all agegroups!

The hotel is strung along the beach, with three separate pools (one for adults only), each with its own atmosphere. The main pool is where you'll find the action (if you can call it that: this is all very low key). There's a little bar and terrace for cocktails, two friendly outdoor restaurants, one of which serves the buffet-style breakfast, and it's here that the live entertainment is shown: it ranges from limbo dancing to shows from local singers.

A jolly good breakfast is served at the Tangiers restaurant, which overlooks the pool and the sea beyond. Buffet-style dinners are also served here.

The three pools, each with their own atmosphere, mean that overcrowding is never a problem - there's always a sunlounger free!

The Tamarind has 110 rooms, ranging from budget rooms with pool views to luxury oceanfront suites.

A range of spa treatments is on offer: there are two treatment rooms as well as a tranquil spa pool. Treatments involve exciting concoctions such as Barbadian Moscovado brown sugar and Bajan sea salt...

Cocktails on the beach or by the pool as the sun sets are a must -  and evenings start off as they mean to go on - don't miss happy hour, between 4-6pm.

Rooms are tastefully decorated, with tropical colours mixing with muted tones. Rooms are spotlessly clean. Tip: There is nightly live entertainment in the evenings during peak season. If you are planning quiet, early nights, ask for a room away from the main pool area. Do splash out on a sea view if you can (this is the Caribbean after all). 

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