Caribbean Beat Magazine

Sandy Lane, Barbados: Tropical Classic

A return to the grace and elegance of the past in Barbados

  • Sandy Lane's famous arch is visible from the top terrace, with its terrazzo floor in scalloped shell design
  • The staircase, extending from the lobby onto the terrace that leads to the beach, is one of the original features of the design
  • The Terrace Bar with its chandeliers, terrazzo floors and bold tropical colours
  • The restaurant, designed in 1965 by Oliver Messel, features original lattice-worked wrought iron; the pink and white decor complements the restaurant's sweeping view over the Caribbean Sea
  • Old meets new: guests are greeted by the dolphin relief (Sandy Lane's logo) carved into the entrance way, and by the classical pediment
  • The original buildings boasted classical columns, wrought iron balustrades, arches and coral stone finish. This style was extended to other buildings during the renovation

Sandy Lane, one of Barbados’s leading hotels, celebrated its 30th anniversary last year with a surprising and welcome move: a major renovation that took the resort back to its original Palladian design.

“We were given the opportunity to recreate the hotel as it once was,” says Richard Williams, the hotel’s General Manager, “and we renovated it back to when it was at its best.”

Opened in 1961, Sandy Lane was the brainchild of the late British philanthropist Ronald Tree; he envisaged a small and elegant hotel using the finest materials available. The architect was John “Happy” Ward. “A traveller visiting distant places,” said Ward, “should be pleased and excited by the local atmosphere and architecture. In designing Sandy Lane Hotel, I put myself in the position of a well-educated gentleman of the late 18th century going to the West Indies to build a Great House.”

The renovation reasserted the original architecture and extended it to new areas of the hotel. “Sandy Lane was built with very elegant detail in the design,” says the architect in charge of the renovation, Barbadian Larry Warren. “Our aim was to recapture and extend this style.”