Finding the Right Place to Stay in Barbados

Barbados’ fabulous weather and beautiful beaches have long made it an attractive destination for holidaymakers. However, if you are coming for the first time, it can be difficult to know which part of the island is the best place to stay. That decision generally depends on what you and your party want to do on your vacation. To help, here’s some advice to point you in the right direction.

It’s a small island

At 21 miles long, 14 miles wide and with an area of just 166 square miles, Barbados is a small island. If your intention is to explore the country, then wherever you choose to stay, you’re never too far from any of the fabulous attractions. And with car hire, private taxis and a well-developed public transport system, it is quick, easy and affordable to get to most destinations.

The size of Barbados, therefore, means that you are not restricted to staying in one particular part of the island should you want to spend your days going to various places.

The sea is the key  

One thing that certainly can affect where you choose to stay is the sea. The geographical location of Barbados means that the east coast faces the Atlantic while the west coast looks over the Caribbean Sea. On the Atlantic side, the seas are rough and the waves are big. Swimming is not recommended here, except in one or two more sheltered bays, though it is a magnet for professional surfers who come to ride the barrel waves of the Soup Bowl near Bathsheba.

On the west coast, the seas are tranquil and turquoise, perfect for swimming, snorkelling and a whole host of other water sports, though perhaps not for surfing. For seas that are still safe to swim in but which offer some bigger waves, the best place is on the south coast, especially towards the west – the further east you go, the rougher the sea.


As the western side of the island is sheltered from the Atlantic, historically it has been the place where ships have harboured and settlements have sprung up. Here, you’ll find the island’s capital city, Bridgetown and other major towns, like Holetown and Speightstown.

The calmer seas on this side of the island also mean it is home to the main tourist developments. From Long Bay on the southern tip all the way up to Haywoods Beach, you’ll find this part of the coast brimming with hotels, villas and resorts. And these, of course, have encouraged many other services to spring up – restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping facilities, spas, water sports, catamaran hire, fishing trips and much more.

By contrast, the north and east coast are far less developed and much quieter and are often popular with the Bajans who prefer to get away from the hustle and bustle that the tourist trade brings. That’s not to say there aren’t any places to stay here or amenities to enjoy. There are fewer of them, however, they will tend to be more authentically Bajan in nature.

If you want to enjoy all the amenities on offer, then the west coast is definitely the place to head.

Going upmarket

There are high-quality hotels and resorts dotted all along the west coast, however, the most exclusive resorts and accommodation are to be found in the prestigious St James Parish, north of Bridgetown. This part of the island has the best beaches and, as a result, has become a favourite holiday location for A-list celebrities and the well-heeled, many of whom have their own private villas.

The clientele who come to stay on this part of the island are incredibly well catered for. This stretch of the island, known as the Platinum Coast, boasts the finest restaurants and bars, has luxury shopping boutiques featuring world-renowned brands and provides a range of upmarket facilities such as world-class golf courses and polo, private beach clubs, exquisite spas and private catamaran tours with personal service. Visitors to this part of the island will also find the beaches less busy than farther south.

Popular destinations in St James include Royal Westmoreland, a private, gated resort overlooking the Caribbean, with 250 luxury apartments and villas dotted around its well-manicured 750-acre estate. With a range of first-class facilities, including an 18-hole, Robert Trent Junior designed golf course, it is one of the premier resorts in Barbados.

Summing up

Barbados has lots of things to offer holidaymakers and being a small island, you’ll never have far to travel. Where you stay will depend upon whether you want a nearby beach with waves or one which is calm, and how near you want to be to the particular amenities you enjoy. This could be the quiet and rugged coast of the east, the lively beaches and tourist areas of the southwest or the more exclusive resorts around St James.

If you are looking for exclusive accommodation, take a look at the villas and apartments here at Royal Westmoreland.