The Sandpiper Hotel – St. James, Barbados

A short walk to The Coral Reef Club brought us to another one of the family’s exceptional properties. A larger resort (88 rooms) with a more expansive lobby area and restaurant, this was a gorgeous property along the beach, also featuring lush tropical gardens and winding pathways throughout the grounds. I took some time out of our hectic schedule during our visit to experience one of the spa’s signature treatments, an Aroma Fusion Massage. Combing essential oils with a relaxing full body massage, it was fifty minutes of pure bliss.

The Coral Reef Club

The Coral Reef Club

The Sandpiper and The Coral Reef Club have a rather interesting and romantic history. A newly married British couple, Budge and Cynthia O’Hara, spent their honeymoon on a passenger cargo ship in the 1950s that set sail for Barbados from England. Budge had accepted a position as the general manager of The Coral Reef Club, which was fledgling at the time.

Entrance to the Coral Reef Club

Entrance to the Coral Reef Club

Cynthia soon became involved at the property as well, transforming the scrub-like beach vegetation into beautiful gardens with flowering plants and trees. She then started what is now a tradition, welcoming the resort guests with beautiful floral arrangements in their rooms. She decorated the public spaces with fresh flowers, creating an elegant and inviting environment. That concept lives on today in the beautiful gardens throughout both properties.

Lush tropical landscaping is throughout both properties

Lush tropical landscaping is throughout both properties

Reception and lobby at the Coral Reef Club

Reception and lobby at the Coral Reef Club

What was supposed to be a 3-year commitment for Budge, turned into a lifelong career for this family who decided to make Barbados their home and the two properties their life’s work. The O’Hara’s have 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter, who also became involved in the daily business of running the resort. The Sandpiper was built in 1970 and today, the O’Hara and Capaldi families are still personally involved in operating both the Sandpiper and Coral Reef Club.

Beach at the Coral Reef Club

Beach at the Coral Reef Club

With its close ties to England, this beautiful boutique resort welcomes about 70% of its guests from the United Kingdom. And with the very personalized and attentive service from the staff, it is not surprising that there is an astounding 80% repeat business. Much like Budge and Cynthia, many families have fallen in love with the island and the resort and return year after year with their own families for their vacations and holidays.

This young family is visiting from Canada

This young family is visiting from Canada (published with their approval)

In addition to these two resorts, the family is currently expanding by adding a villa development located along the beach between the two properties known as the Settlers Barbados.  There are also some significant renovations taking place at The Sandpiper including the addition of a new Tree Top Suite and a new category of Oceanfront Suites. The resort will be closed from April to November 2015, but the Coral Reef Club will be open during their normal closure period (mid-May to mid-July) to welcome The Sandpiper guests. They are also offering specials during that time for those wishing to enjoy a luxury summer vacation.

Book a signature treatment at their spa

Be sure to book a signature treatment at their beautiful spa

Now that the secret is out, I’m sure that you’ll be looking at a vacation to The Sandpiper, Coral Reef Club, and Barbados and what better time than to take advantage of either their summer specials or the re-opening of The Sandpiper with many new amenities. We were very excited to find The Sandpiper and to finally travel to this wonderful island. Next time we’ll make it our final destination and not just the embarkation port for a cruise.

There will be another article with a special Caribbean dish and recipe from Chef Christophe Poupardin.

Sunset over the Caribbean Sea

Sunset over the Caribbean Sea

Disclosure – The Sandpiper Hotel provided a media package for our visit.  We have not been compensated for this article and the opinions expressed regarding our experience are our own.

* Note – Photos with an asterisk are the property of the The Sandpiper Hotel and have been used with their permission.

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