Fodor's Expert Review Tamarind

Hwy. 1, Paynes Bay, St. James, Barbados See on Map

Jane Zarem

One of seven Elegant Hotels properties in Barbados (six on the island’s west coast), this sleek Mediterranean-style resort, which sprawls along 750 feet of prime west-coast beachfront, is large enough to cater to active families and sophisticated couples, including honeymooners. Teenagers enjoy hanging out in Club Tamarind, with its large-screen game consoles, and participating in other age-appropriate activities on and off the resort grounds. Flying Fish Kids Club is fun for little ones.


Oceanfront rooms provide a panoramic view of the sea; each has a king-size bed, and some have a sleeper chair for a third adult or a child. Some pool/garden rooms have a partial ocean view; they also have a king-size bed. Junior suites are great for couples or families with one or two small children, as they have a sitting area with a pullout sofa bed. Families with older kids might prefer the space and privacy of a one-bedroom suite. All rooms have a furnished balcony or patio overlooking the view.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Some rooms could use a little TLC.


Bathrooms are a good size and some have been updated with a glass-enclosed tub/shower combo, vanity with granite countertop and a single vessel sink, a large vanity mirror, and an array of toiletries. Oceanfront suites have a second bathroom. Like the rooms, some bathrooms are a little “tired.”


The lobby is impressive in style (high ceilings, lots of peach-color tiling) yet functional, with a reception area, tour desk, and shops. Walkways lead to the pool deck and beach, toward Sugar Cane restaurant, and to elevators to upper-floor guestrooms.


The resort has three pools, one of which is a peaceful, adults-only pool surrounded by landscaped gardens. Throughout the day, "pool ambassadors” deliver beverages, lunch orders, and complimentary frozen treats.

YOU SHOULD KNOW The pools are relatively small, considering the number of rooms in this hotel.


The onsite spa offers Swedish, bamboo, and Thai herbal ball massages, sugar body scrubs, mud wraps, facials, salon services, couples massages, and special treatments for kids and teens.

Spa services are provided at poolside for an added fee.


The fitness center has machines and weights and offers complimentary yoga, Pilates, and aqua aerobic classes. It’s open 24 hours a day.


Sugar Cane Room serves a complimentary breakfast buffet—or room service, if you prefer—while the oceanfront 246 Deck serves lunch and dinner overlooking the beach in daytime or under the stars in the evening. Theme nights include surf & turf, jazzy steak, West Indian night, seafood night, and international buffet. For a more casual dining experience, Rilaks Deck & Bar is a contemporary-style outdoor lounge facing the beach, with plush chairs and oversize umbrellas; the all-day food service at Rilaks, which ends at 6:30 p.m., includes a kids menu.

For a special romantic evening, Tamarind will arrange an intimate private dinner on the beach—right on the sand—with a personal waiter and your choice of menu.


Rilaks Bar and 246 Bar, both on the beachfront, are open all day until midnight. Happy hour begins as the sun begins to set; 246 Deck also has a “sundown” menu with apps, snacks, and light meals.


Tamarind stretches along 750 feet of superb Paynes Bay Beach—soft white sand, clear blue water, and plenty of beach chairs. Guests enjoys complimentary water sports that include snorkeling, Hobie Cat sailing, standup paddle boarding, kayaking, and waterskiing—and complimentary instruction, if needed—along with banana boat or tube rides behind a speedboat.


Getting Around

Buses stop right in front of the hotel, heading north to Holetown and Speightstown or south to Bridgetown. The fare is $1. Taxis are always available. A rental car is a good idea if you want to explore the island on your own. A complimentary water taxi shuttles guests between the Elegant Hotels properties on the west coast: Crystal Cove, Waves, Tamarind, and Colony Club. The water taxi makes the several round trips per day between 9:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., weather permitting.


For a splurge, consider lunch or dinner at Daphne's (2-minute walk), the beachfront restaurant situated right between Tamarind and its sister hotel, The House. The chef and his brigade whip up first-class “modern Italian” cuisine, and the extensive wine list features both regional Italian and fine French selections. A little farther south at The Cliff Beach Club (3-minute drive or 10-minute walk), the seaside view is the same as its ultra-expensive, adjacent big sister (The Cliff), but the atmosphere is casual and the menu is affordable. Children are welcome, too.

Scarlet (2-minute walk), a fun bistro just across the street from Tamarind, is a great place for small plates and ’tinis or bigger plates and a bottle of wine. Heading north from Tamarind but just south of Holetown, The Tides (5-minute drive) has long been considered one of the island’s best restaurants. Once a private mansion, the dining room—just feet from the sea—has huge tree trunks growing right through it. The cuisine is as dazzling as the atmosphere. And on 2nd Street in Holetown itself, The Mews (5-minute drive)—formerly a private home—is a maze of intimate dining rooms where the chef specializes in farm-to-table cooking, whether classic dishes, bistro fare, or small plates.

In Bridgetown, on The Careenage, Waterfront Café (15-minute drive) is a great place for alfresco dining at lunch or for dinner accompanied (some nights) by live jazz.


In Holetown, enjoy a sophisticated evening at Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge (5-minute drive), just south of town, or a more lively night on 1st or 2nd Street at Red Door Lounge or Duke’s Night Lounge (10-minute drive). And on Sunday nights, Ragamuffins, also on 1st Street, has a Drag Show that attracts a crowd and often spills into the street.


Tamarind is a large resort on a lovely beach, with enough complimentary activities to amuse the whole family.


Family, Romantic, Views
104 rooms
Breakfast yes
Lunch yes
Dinner yes
Bar yes
Cafe yes
Room Service yes
Gym, Pool
Free Parking


Phones: 246-432–1332;888-917–9948-in U.S.

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