Barbados Renewed

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Colony Club is another traditional Barbados luxury property that received a luxury boost recently. The Elegant Hotels Group resort was recently awarded AAA four-diamond status, proving it as a force to be reckoned with among the island’s top upscale properties.

Guests staying at this boutique property have their choice of its 96 suites, each with its own balcony or terrace looking out onto the resort’s lagoon-shaped swimming pools or the colorful tropical gardens surrounding the resort. With ample room in each suite and amenities like pull-out couches and mini-bars stocked with snacks, Colony Club’s suites are perfectly suited to family travel. In fact, for added convenience, families traveling together can request one of the 20 suites with swim-up access, putting one of the resort’s four swimming lagoons just outside kids’ doorsteps. For more family fun, clients can venture beyond the pool and Laguna restaurant to the watersports station on the beach, offering snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and boogie boarding.

Though there’s plenty here to keep children active and entertained, Colony Club’s ambiance is more “sophisticated getaway” than “kids’ club.” The resort is a restored plantation, and the grounds still retain that refined British colonial feel. Laguna restaurant’s open-air seating places clients directly between the resort’s pristine whitewashed lobby and the sea, while the dinner-only Orchid Room allows guests to dine right inside the plantation home, with large windows looking out onto the night. Under the stars and twinkling lights that illuminate the resort at night, even grabbing a drink at the casual Sunset Bar feels like a classy affair. Rates start at $402 per room per night.

new pampering possibilities The Crane isn’t the only resort with a new spa project on the island. In fact, at the Coral Reef Club, a member of Small Luxury Resorts of the World, a new facility named, simply The Spa, opened in December, designed by renowned spa designer Helen Green. The proper, British colonial building’s exterior disguises the indulgent treats within, including four exclusive treatment rooms, an indoor/outdoor relaxation area, a thermal suite and secluded spa lounge. And that’s just the inside. The building itself is surrounded by 12 acres of tropical gardens, including an outdoor pavilion for couples’ treatments and an outdoor hydro-pool with cabanas where clients can relax and soak up the sun when their treatments have concluded.

Clients booking a treatment at The Spa can be assured they’ll experience the freshest ingredients, as many massages and body treatments use locally grown and harvested plants and fruits—think scrubs with lemongrass and ginger, The Spa’s signature treatment, or a Pineapple Coconut Creme Brulee treatment. For treatments not using local ingredients, The Spa uses products from Natura Bisse.

The Spa’s tranquil ambiance extends throughout the Coral Reef Club, from its manicured tropical gardens to its idyllic shoreline. Clients have access to two swimming pools; guests renting spacious Plantation Suites or Luxury Cottages can take advantage of their own plunge pools. Inside, each room is designed in Caribbean colonial style, with private balconies or terraces available off each of the resort’s 88 rooms. Even the resort’s open-air dining venue, named simply, The Restaurant, has a relaxing vibe, with tables overlooking the Caribbean Sea and a daily changing menu of dishes combining European classics with Caribbean spices and flavors.

Rates at Coral Reef Club start at $465 per room per night dbl.

Over at Sandy Lane, one of Barbados’ most high-profile luxury resorts, the expansive, Romanesque spa has gotten an upgrade of its own. Guests can now prepare for their treatments in a new panoramic crystal laconium, or a gentle type of sauna with a striking purple geode at its center, as well as in an ice cave with new spa beds for added comfort. These new features, plus the existing hydrotherapy pool, jacuzzi and bubble loungers, crystal laconium and steam room, provide plenty of motivation for clients to get to the spa early for maximum pre-treatment relaxation.

The additions to the spa are just one part of the resort’s overall renovations for 2009. Its Bajan Blue Restaurant has been given a new cocktail lounge, a new private dining room and a brand-new menu, while guestrooms have been upgraded with new fixtures, TVs and furniture on the patios. Rates start at $1,400 per room per night.

getting there Air Jamaica flies from New York to Barbados nonstop; American Airlines flies from New York, Miami and San Juan nonstop; US AirWAYS flies from Charlotte and Philadelphia.

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