Since it first opened in 1961, Barbados' luxurious Sandy Lane
has played host to a never-ending stream of royalty, socialites and movie stars. Arguably the Caribbean's plushest resort, Aristotle Onassis
and Maria Callas, David Niven, Jackie Kennedy
, Frank Sinatra and Queen Elizabeth all took sojourns there in years past, while the list of current habitués is no less impressive, including Tiger Woods
who tied the knot there in 2004.
The ne plus ultra
in exclusivity, luxury, privacy and white glove service is embodied by the palatial neo-Palladian-style main building of cream coral stone set in a grove of mahogany trees on a beautiful stretch of beach in the middle of Barbados
' "platinum coast." A chauffered limousine (a Bentley
for high-rollers) picks you up at the airport and you're greeted at the front desk with cold towels and fruit punch, a preview of coming attractions, so to speak.
Sandy Lane was rebuilt in 2001, and it's currently in the midst of a multimillion dollar makeover including upgrades to rooms, the spa, restaurants and public spaces. When it re-opens on October 3, in addition to 16,000-sq.-ft. of new marble, one of the biggest improvements will be an open plan, multi-cultural, all-day dining facility featuring a residential-style kitchen in the manner of a Caribbean Palladian conservatory, with a wine store, beach bar, sushi bar, lobster and live seafood tank, a fresh herb garden and a wood burning oven.
The resort's 112 rooms average 900 square feet and feature marble floors and bathrooms, mahogany plantation furniture, private verandahs, plasma TVs and all the bells and whistles. The property features two Tom Fazio
-designed 18-hole golf courses, nine championship tennis courts, a 47,000 square foot spa, a John Frieda salon, shops galore (Joan Collins
still owes money in one of them) and seven bars and restaurants to choose from. On the beach, attendants will fetch you drinks, clean your sunglasses and even spritz you with Evian water should you so desire.
In addition to the main accommodations, there's also a five bedroom villa
that sleeps 14 with a private pool, butler, housekeeper, chef and 24-hr. security guard for $25,000 a night during the holiday season. But if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.