My Barbados trip part 3: Fairmont Royal Pavillion Hotel, Barbados review

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 I had been hoping to stay at the Fairmont in Barbados, but sadly they only reopened just as I was leaving. Fairmont kindly offered me a dayroom to try out the hotel as I waited for my late-night Virgin flight home (review coming soon). I have to be honest and say as I was looking through the photos writing this I felt a bit tearful I was not back there now! It was such a beautiful island and I can’t wait to have a bit longer to spend at the Fairmont when I return early next year!

 

Location

 

The Fairmont has a great location on arguably one of the best beaches on the island and certainly on the West Coast. It is around 40 minutes drive from the airport, just north of Holetown on an area known as the Platinum Coast. Holetown has a luxury shopping mall and several upscale restaurants which are only a few minutes from the hotel such as Lone Star and The Tides. I will write more about restaurants in a further article. The famous Sandy Lane hotel and beach is also close by. 

I loved the colourful stores in the Chattel village at Holetown too!

Chattel Village in Holetown

The Fairmont is also close to Harrison’s cave which you can visit using its own tramway.

 

Check-in

The driveway at night (photo by Fairmont)

I was greeted as I drove up to security and my temperature taken as is the standard for Barbados.

Entrance to Fairmont

I was also reminded of the need to wear a mask. As I drove up to the front door, I was greeted again immediately and my luggage taken to my room. Unlike many of the hotels I stayed in, the car park was near the entrance, saving a long trek in the midday sun and heat. 

Check-in

The check-in area is by a plant-filled courtyard and the distinctive pink-peach color is prevalent throughout. The counters now have the screens up for protection against COVID.

The rooms are all in low-level buildings among the tropical gardens. 

Looking from the gardens towards the rooms

 

Rooms

Signature Oceanfront Room but the Luxury Oceanfront room is the same layout

A multi-million dollar renovation at Fairmont Royal Pavilion in 2017 has transformed the rooms into some of the most luxurious in Barbados. The room categories at the Fairmont are grouped into guest rooms, suites, or villas. The rooms are all ocean-facing which is great. 

The entry-level room is the Luxury Oceanfront which is on the second floor but is identical in layout to the Signature Oceanfront room on the top floor. Both rooms are a generous 500sqft and feel more like a junior suite to me. Rooms can be connected if you are travelling with family.

One of the perks of the Fairmont is the fast track service at the airport. I discussed my experience with a similar company here. When several flights come in at once, it can take up to 3 hours to get out of the airport so this is a perk well worth having. With fast track you should be out in around 30 minutes when its busy.

 

Luxury Oceanfront Room

The Luxury Oceanfront Room includes:

  • Daily breakfast for two at our beachfront alfresco restaurant 
  • Platinum Fast Track Service – Airport Concierge to expedite transit through Customs and Immigration 
  • Weekly Manager’s cocktail reception
  • Daily Activities, All non-motorized watersports
  • 24 HR Fitness room, with state-of-the-art equipment and beautiful ocean views & Tennis court with flood lights for night play
  • High Speed Wi-Fi throughout the resort
  • Children 12 and under stay complimentary when sharing with parents

 

Signature Oceanfront Room

I was staying in the Beachfront Suite but I also toured round a Signature Oceanfront Room which had spectacular views from the third floor. The Signature Oceanfront Room has the best views of any of the rooms and a beautiful wide terrace with a day bed and table. Having a fan outside is also a big plus. 

The Signature Oceanfront Room includes:

  • Daily breakfast for two at our beachfront alfresco restaurant 
  • Platinum Fast Track Service – Airport Concierge to expedite transit through Customs and Immigration 
  • Weekly Manager’s cocktail reception
  • Daily Activities, All non-motorized watersports
  • 24 HR Fitness room, with state-of-the-art equipment and beautiful ocean views & Tennis court with flood lights for night play
  • High Speed Wi-Fi throughout the resort
  • Children 12 and under stay complimentary when sharing with parents
  • Once per stay Afternoon Tea credit (repeated after 7 nights)

 

Beachfront Suite

Beachfront Suite living area

The Beachfront Suite includes:

  • Daily breakfast for two at our beachfront alfresco restaurant 
  • Special Amenity from the Chef
  • Platinum Fast Track Service – Airport Concierge to expedite transit through Customs and Immigration 
  • Weekly Manager’s cocktail reception
  • Daily Activities, All non-motorized watersports
  • 24 HR Fitness room, with state-of-the-art equipment and beautiful ocean views & Tennis court with flood lights for night play
  • High Speed Wi-Fi throughout the resort
  • Children 12 and under stay complimentary when sharing with parents
  • Afternoon tea daily
  • Private luxury vehicle airport transfers
  • Butler Service which is inclusive of:
    • Daily complimentary evening canapés delivered to your room between 5 to 7 pm, except on Wednesdays where the canapés are served at the Weekly Manager’s Cocktail Reception
    • Assistance with unpacking of your luggage and arranging your personal items, upon request & assistance with luggage packing using time tested methods that will ensure your clothing are expertly packed, on request.
    • Butlers know the island’s best-kept secrets and are ready to recommend/assist with dining/tour reservations
    • Complimentary pressing of 2 items per day, between the hours of 11:00am-2:00pm on request
    • Laundry and dry cleaning requests by collecting clothing and ensuring delivery at your requested time•
    • Complimentary shoe polishing, on request
    • In-room, deck or patio dining service
    • Butler’s maintain your in-room refreshment center and will customize the contents to your personal liking, butlers will also provide you with fresh ice and will replenish the ice as necessary
    • Personalized wake-up call with delivery of freshly brewed coffee or steeped tea
    • Assistance with printing of boarding passes & On-line check in

The Beachfront Suite was not like any room I had really seen before, being so close to the beach. I have seen villas like this, but not many rooms where you could literally walk out onto your terrace and then hop down straight onto the sand. A short stroll along the decking brings you to stairs down to the beach, in the other direction lies the pool. There was even your own shell on the decking to wash your sandy feet in.

These rooms are larger than the other two rooms at 650sqft.

Beachfront Suite

While I did not sleep in the bed, I can tell instantly the minute I sit on a bed if it will be comfortable or not. Sadly a few hotels on this holiday failed that test, but the Fairmont passed Michele’s “Princess” test. Regular readers will know I am used to a multiple topped bed at home and frequently complain about hard hotel beds! The beds have pillow-topped mattresses which I could definitely feel when I had a bit of a lie down to road test it. I have to say I was wishing I could have stayed there as this was definitely the top bed out of the hotels I had stayed in. When I lay my head on the pillow I just sunk into it blissfully, although it did still have enough support unlike some that collapse like a pancake!

I really liked the vanity area with a stool and handy storage areas.  So many hotels do not provide anywhere if you want to blow dry your hair in front of a mirror or want to have a mirror to use while your other half is using the bathroom.

As you would expect there are a Nespresso coffee maker and a kettle with a fridge next to the double wardrobes. 

The bathroom is the same in all the room categories in the main buildings. It’s good to see a bath there as these seem to be in short supply in many Barbados hotels. You will notice the artwork on the wall which is by local artists in the rooms. 

Toiletries were a great compromise between hygiene and environmentally friendly. Using larger size toiletries that are still individual seems like a good idea in resort hotels where most people stay for around a week. I really like the Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries. The scent was created for Fairmont using rose,  cumin, cedar, olibanum, musk and a touch of amber for a unisex fragrance. I love it when the smell of perfume takes you back to happy memories somewhere. 

Finally, there is also a villa option with a Junior Suite, two or three bedrooms for those that want more privacy. These come with daily afternoon tea and butler service as well as the facilities listed for the other rooms. 

Dining

In normal times, the Fairmont has two restaurants and a Beach Club Bar and two other bars adjacent to the restaurants. When I was there the Palm Terrace and Beach Club were open. 

Palm Terrace

Palm Terrace

This is the all-day dining restaurant where Breakfast lunch and dinner is served a la carte. Breakfast features a build your own Eggs Benedict option as well as local influences such as Banana Bread French Toast. The Caribbean styled menu is also inspired from the world travels of the Executive Chef Tim Palmer and has plenty of choice, from Sous Vide Half Bajan Chicken to the “Weston Market” Catch of the day. If you are trying to keep costs under control, they do some good value set menus as well as offers for families. Children under 5 eat for free off the kids menu when dining with an adult. Children under 12 receive 50% off the regular menu when dining with an adult

Taboras

Taboras is open for lunch and dinner and also afternoon tea.

 

Beach Club

Chicken sandwich

I only had lunch at the Beach Club bar which had a good variety for lunchtime or snacks.  It also did some great cocktails. I tried the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich – as you can see you certainly got plenty of food for your money! Eating in Barbados is not cheap but portions are usually generous. The cocktail list has some sophisticated cocktails to chose from as well as the usual Caribbean favourites. I tried a Bajan Sorrel Sour which had Mount Gay Black Barrel, sorrel, Sweet & Sour & Dash of Angostura Bitters. This was right up my street as it was not too sweet, unlike many cocktails.

Bajan Sorrel Sour

Whilst at the Beach Club I had a chat to Tim, the Head Chef, and was impressed by the care they take over sourcing ingredients locally and sustainably whenever they can. All their ingredients are carefully selected as it is not always easy to get enough local produce for a large hotel. 

 

Facilities

Pool and Beach

The most obvious facility is the stunning beach. I found most beaches on the West Coast calm, but pretty small, however, Alleynes Beach which the Fairmont is situated on, is very different. Alleynes Bay has a sweeping expanse round the bay with crystal clear turquoise water and fine white sand. The slope into the sea is gentle as are the waves, so it is perfect for families as well as couples. The hotel has there own watersports instructor if you want to try your hand at some water pursuits. Non-motorised watersports are included. They do get turtles in the bay, so you may be lucky and spot one.

Also on-site is Seaduced Luxury Charters where you can hire a private luxury catamaran with crew and chef, and tailor every aspect of the experience.  There are also luxury powerboats or semi private luxury day escapes with a small group.

The Fairmont also has a good-sized pool and a Jacuzzi. If you are more of a pool person, the pool here is not as visually enticing as some of the other such as Colony Club but it is surrounded by comfortable loungers with attentive service. The Jacuzzi is only slightly warmer than the pool, which while I don’t need it hot, I would have liked it a degree or two warmer, especially when the sun moves off the pool in the late afternoon. 

Just by the pool, there are some tennis courts, I’d recommend you start very early to avoid the heat! These are free to use along with the use of the high-tech 24 hour fitness facility. 

Naturally, they provide spa treatments but these are in the comfort of your room, rather than dedicated facilities. There is also a beauty salon and a couple of shops at the hotel. 

If you are considering a wedding or reaffirming your vows, the hotel has two locations. A more intimate one:

And then a larger beach area – perfect for social distancing!

You can see more on the Fairmont in this video (TLFL one coming soon).

 

How to get the Fairmont for less

With Black Friday coming up, keep an eye out for Fairmont’s semi-annual gift voucher offer. It is particularly useful for countries that price in US $ like Barbados as it means you don’t have to worry about exchange rates as much. The offer gives a 20% bonus on Fairmont Gift vouchers which means you could get a good deal on a room and then still apply the vouchers providing it is a pay on arrival/departure rate. Or you could use it for your food and drinks bill. This year it will be on 27 November, but don’t worry I will remind you! More details are here.

There is also a Stay Longer offer with up to 30% off when you book before 31 December 2020. You can stay until 31 March 2021. 1 night prepaid, fully-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required at time of reservation. You can also get additional savings as an Accor ALL member. 

The offer gives:

  • 20% off 2 night stays
  • 25% off 3-4 night stays
  • 30% off 5 + night stays 

You can also earn and redeem points for Fairmont hotels when booking with your ALL Accor account. 

You can find more details on the Fairmont Royal Pavilion Barbados here. 

 

Conclusion

All of the hotels have their plus points that I visited in Barbados, but the Fairmont was definitely the strongest all-rounder. I liked the casual elegance compared to some more old fashioned and formal hotels. The rooms were also the most high quality of the hotels that I visited. If you are a beach lover that wants a calm sea, this is definitely one of the best options on the island. The location is perfect if you want to sample the local high-end restaurants and explore a bit. It feels like quite a large hotel as the buildings are in a line along the beach, but there are actually only 72 rooms. 

My only real criticism was that the pool area was less picturesque than some, but there was nothing wrong with the pool at all. If you like swimming for exercise, you may prefer this type of pool for doing lengths. The menus in the restaurant offered both a good choice as well as some value for money options. And of course, the staff were all very friendly and helpful. 

When I return to Barbados I will be definitely looking at a stay here as I do have one of the previous Fairmont offer vouchers to use. You can find more details on the Fairmont Royal Pavilion Barbados here. 

 

5 Comments on "My Barbados trip part 3: Fairmont Royal Pavillion Hotel, Barbados review"

  1. Wonderful report.
    Can you suggest a suitable hotel for us? We are an unusual couple in the sense that we love a luxurious room (inclusive of butler service if available) and ocean views, but we are not into water-based activities except the occasional walk on the beach. So neither the standard room nor the beachfront suite at this Fairmont is ideal for us. Any recommendations?

    • Obviously most things in Barbados revolve around the beach or pool. In terms of luxury there is The House which is part of Elegant Hotels. I haven’t stayed there but Jersey Girl raves about it. You get Complimentary Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapés and ambassadors to look after you. It is a boutique resort with 34 rooms that was refurbished fairly recently and is not far from Holetown.

  2. I love this stretch of beach. For sure the best in Barbados ☺️

  3. the chicken looks a little over done! I hope you mentioned to Tim ash black burnt food shouldn’t be sent out from the kitchen

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