We stayed here for about nine days and it was a very enjoyable experience although we did not make full use of everything around.
In any vacation resort/hotel the four things that matter the most (in my view) - the bed, the bath, the view and the amenities.
The bed was really nice, firm, yet not hard, big (King size for us), pillows were soft and both big and small (I hate it when they only have these huge pillows that give you a stiff neck).
The bath was big, both a shower and a tub included, hot water was plentiful, drains all worked without a clog (a total turn off in any hotel bath), the shower gel and lotion is from Le Labo (standard fare for all Fairmonts but oh so good).
The view was amazing, we were on the second floor, meaning great sunsets, the balcony was absolutely private. The first floor rooms all have a walk-out option on to the beach but there is no privacy and if it rains (as it did heavily during our first two days there) then you have no protection.
The wi-fi was one of the fastest in any hotel I've stayed at, which meant we could watch streaming video from our home DVR, not missing out on our favorite shows that were being recorded in our absence!
The coffee maker, sofa, other furniture and accessories were all top notch.
Room service was prompt and better than that in the restaurant.
The grounds are very interesting and make for a good morning walk. The in-house restaurant was reasonably good (see my separate review).
The downside is the beach. Unfortunately this is true for most of Barbados.There has been so much erosion that the beach is hardly more than a few feet (twenty or so) and the sea floor drops off rapidly, so if you are not a swimmer, it is difficult to enjoy the water. It was also incredibly hot even in mid December (probably par for the course in the Caribbean). The pool is large and pool-side recliners are very comfortable. We had no problems finding a spot on the beach although if you come down late in the morning you may have some trouble, but the staff will always find you a place.
The other thing we noticed - and this too is probably true for most of Barbados - is that it feels very much like a retirement colony for rich Brits. Most of the people were retirees and we saw no children during our stay. Nothing wrong with that, but there was very little diversity in the guest population. We did not hear the American accent much either. It didn't matter to us at all but it maybe something that bothers some people. I read the reviews of many of the resorts on the island before selecting the Fairmont as there seemed to be a bias towards returning guests from the UK. We did not feel that at all and it was our first time here.
Overall a very nice place to stay, charming, old-fashioned in many ways, yet with every modern comfort, good food, service excellent other than in the restaurant. Very helpful staff at the reception.
It is an expensive resort but worth the experience and given how much the cost of living in Barbados is, not surprising at all.
Not the best place if you must have a great beach with lots of soft sand and shallow water to play around in. However this is the status for most of Barbados. Bermuda makes for a much better beach destination with a very similar ethos and yet offers a lot more in many ways, at least in my experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the sought-after Platinum Coast, on a 1/2 mile long beach and 11 acres of lush tropical gardens, you'll fill your sun-kissed days and starlit nights with unforgettable moments. All 72 rooms and suites offer magnificent, unobstructed views of the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Several included services will make your stay even more memorable, including daily afternoon tea, WiFi, fitness room, tennis courts, a freshwater pool, non-motorized water sports, swim with the turtles, a weekly manager's cocktail and garden tours. Indulge your senses with innovative Caribbean-inspired menus at 2 beachfront restaurants. In-room dining available 24-7. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fairmont Royal Pavilion Hotel Porters
- Fairmont Hotel Porters
- Fairmont Hotel Royal Pavilion
- Fairmont St. James
- Barbados Fairmont Hotel
- St. James Fairmont