Barbados: Back to Work

written by | Posted on November 1st, 2010

The suites themselves were designed with Barbados’ colonial history in mind, with walnut furnishings and plantation-style decor. It’s part of Fairmont’s strategy to offer an experience that feels both more luxurious and more authentically Caribbean. “One of the things guests love about the Caribbean is its special people—the culture and the very engaging characters, genuinely friendly,” she explains. “So when we asked ‘What is the customer looking for,’ what we thought of was a traditional colonial Barbadian home-type feeling resort.”

To that end, the Fairmont plans to continue renovations in phases in 2011 and perhaps beyond. “In order to maintain our positioning, we’re very aware that there’s a lot of competition and we need to take our product forward. This is the start of a phased renovation. It’s not something you can do in two months. It’s a process and a journey, and this is the first step of that journey.”

Rates at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion start at $350 per room per night.

luxury in the name For some hotels in Barbados, renovations go beyond the property itself. In addition to its new outdoor areas and redesigned guestrooms, the resort formerly known as Tamarind Cove Hotel extended the upgrades to its name itself—now, you can call it simply Tamarind.

Vice president of sales, marketing and e-commerce for Elegant Hotels Group, Sylvia Scholey, says the renovations were inspired by the upscale ambiance of Barbados itself. “Tamarind has always been popular with the trade and with customers, but it hasn’t seen much work in the last years,” she explains. “To distinguish yourself on the island, well, Barbados is certainly an upscale destination. We wanted to create intimate spaces, to feel small and personalized.”

But where the Fairmont took its inspiration from the island’s history, Tamarind’s style is fully influenced by the present. “We also wanted to give it a west coast contemporary feel, that establishes it outside of the all-inclusive world,” Scholey explains. “Tamarind really lends itself to that. The beautiful grounds, and some of the best beaches on the island, really make a difference.”

The modern look of the new Tamarind starts in the guestrooms, which Scholey describes as “…contemporary, but maintaining a Caribbean flair so you don’t feel you can be anywhere.” Neutral cream tones mix with pops of red and dark furnishings to create the “South Beach-meets-Caribbean” look, which extends from floor-to-ceiling windows, to furnished terraces or balconies, all the way to the ocean. “The rooms are a nice size, and well-equipped to take care of families,” she adds.

The resort’s public spaces have also gone South Beach chic. “We’re introducing a lovely space by the pool with daybeds and lounges, where guests can spend time as a couple, but also as families,” Scholey describes. “The concept we’re doing is an expansion of Tamarind to the ocean. The space has incredible proximity to the beach, and people want to enjoy that every time of day. It’s the opportunity to be outside, listening to the waves. And with that, you have the fire pit and very contemporary furniture.”

Scholey says that the upgrades are designed to appeal to a wide range of guests—stylish and romantic enough for couples, but with plenty of family amenities. A kids’ club and teen lounge keep young clients happy, while a spa and adults-only pool area provide serene, intimate spaces. Its “Beach Ambassadors” provide towels, cold drinks, ice cream and more to guests right at their beach chairs. And when guests want to get out and explore, Scholey says, they can take a complimentary shuttle to any of Elegant Hotels’ other properties in Barbados, enjoying the dining options and nearby attractions with no travel costs.

“Right now, we really have been big with the family market because of facilities like the teens’ lounge and kids’ club,” Scholey says. “Now, we’re also going after the romance market, with stuff like romantic dining and lounge facilities that allow for some romantic times together. And to some extent Tamarind is popular with the incentive market; for small groups that want to go away, it really lends itself to that small size, with private attention and a great space.”

At press time, Tamarind was set to open Nov. 1. Introductory rates start at $234 per room per night dbl.