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A blazing sun, a cool breeze, and soft white sand create the perfect prelude to evenings that are cued for love, as if someone had orchestrated the brilliant full moon featuring Venus just below and to the right. Intricate constellations glisten above as the ocean pushes and pulls in its rush to high tide, wrapped in the fragrant aroma of profuse Bougainvillea, Frangipani, and Ginger Lily blossoms on the romantic island of Barbados.

Set entirely upon a bed of coral rock and limestone from which many of the island's buildings are erected, Barbados, home to some 270,000 Bajans, is the most eastern of the Lesser Antilles. At a scant 24 miles long and 14 miles wide, this tropical paradise has a treasure trove of romantic escapes from which you will be eager to explore your most passionate dreams. Elegant resorts and private villas are nestled along its shores with something to suit every whim and desire.

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Sweeping staircase in the lobby of The Sandy Lane Spa.

Right - From Sandy Lane beach looking towards the hotel grounds.

Starting with the most impressive of the luxury accommodations is the recently restored Sandy Lane Hotel and Golf Club. Set in a mahogany grove, this outstanding premier property originally opened in 1961 and has hosted royalty, movie stars, as well as many of the world's leading dignitaries and business personalities. In March 2001, The Sandy Lane once again spared no expense for their grand re-opening. Dark mahogany accents set an elegant tone against the cream coral stone of the Palladian-style building, while marble lends a sense of coolness to this classically furnished resort, reflecting a sophisticated ambience throughout.

Pampering begins soon after you land in Barbados with a chauffeured limousine transfer via the "Bentley" or another of their luxury cars for the scenic thirty-five minute drive to this illustrious West Coast resort. Upon arrival you're greeted with a chilled ice towel and invigorating tropical fruit punch before being whisked away to your room where you will enjoy personalized in-room registration. A private butler will be happy to serve your favorite cocktail as you relax on the verandah while he takes care of unpacking before helping to guide you through state-of-the-art facilities.

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Royalty, movie stars, and celebrities have stayed at Sandy Lane Hotel.

Spacious and uniquely designed each room features plasma flat screen television, DVD and CD players with control panels, including reading lights on either side of the bed. Large, well-equipped bathrooms have specially designed multi-spray showers, heated mirrors and a make-up room. Electronic "Do Not Disturb" signs and parabolic speakers will help to ensure your privacy while keeping you tuned-in on the verandah or in the bathroom.

When you're ready to hit the beach you're welcomed with a refreshing combination of sorbet and fresh fruit. Just choose a place to settle in — display your service flag for beachside refreshment delivery and make sure to hydrate often as you relax in a comfortable beach chair.

The white sand beach forms a crescent of tranquility and seclusion, or if you're inclined, there is a full range of water sports available at the Beach Club. Should you find yourself greased up with sunscreen and can't see out of your Ray Bans, take advantage of their sunglass cleaning service.

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Menu from L`e Acajou restaurant.

Right — Looking down towards beach and outdoor patio from lobby balcony.

It's easy to work up an appetite sweating under a hot sun, replenishing sunscreen and raising the service flag. Fortunately, Bajan Blue is located at beach level and is easily accessed, offering an all-day extensive menu of Asian, Mediterranean, and Barbadian dishes. Scrumptious, artfully exhibited buffet tables of fresh lobster tails, giant prawns, oysters, mussels, and swordfish, vegetables and grains, roasted chicken, pork, and beef, all vie for your attention before you succumb to the scenic dessert table display overflowing with chocolate éclairs, crème Brulé, fresh fruit, and other delicacies, insuring that while you're a guest at The Sandy Lane you won't, at anytime, go hungry. Rather, you may need to make a visit to their state-of-the-art fitness facilities.

Which brings us to The Sandy Lane Spa!

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Manicure and pedicure chairs that offer warm massages as feet and hands are pampered.

Right — the hydrotherapy tub.

The Sandy Lane Spa is the jewel in this island crown. Featuring 47,000-square-feet housed in marble, granite, and warm cherry woods. This superlative facility has much to offer the weary traveler. From a 2,500-square-foot state-of-the-art fitness room to VIP treatment suites that feature mood-enhancing light, private showers, bathroom and change rooms, including some with private gardens, others with hydrotherapy rooms and skylights — combined to make your experience at The Sandy Lane Spa one of tranquil luxury.

Get Your Yoga DVD hereAfter the steam room, a personal favorite is the Ice Cave, a real treat for cooling down after a rigorous workout. I must admit the hydrotherapy room with underwater massage bath and the Blitz Jet room were also high on the list of enticing features. For those interested in keeping Chakras tuned up there is a Chakra therapy room with a heated plinth. There are private rooms for relaxation, yoga, or meditation, as well as a private Pilates exercise room. The free-form swimming pool offers up 7,500-square-feet of water to refresh and relax in or to enjoy lunch and drinks at the swim-up bar and café just outside the spa entrance.

There are an abundance of treatment options to choose from: Face Therapy, Body Envelopments, Waxing, Holistic Hand and Foot Treatments; full-day Spa programmes: Mind & Body, Ayurvedic Holistic Body Treatments, Bajan Synchronized Massage, and Shirodhara; or half-day treatments: Purify Herbal Linen Wrap with hot stones, Marine Hydrotherapy Bath, or the totally blissful back, face, and scalp treatments. All are designed with your personal needs in mind; surely there will be something to entice you to take advantage of the unique treatment options offered at The Spa.

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The relaxation room (left) where you can curl up and have a nap after treatments or between treatments.

Looking from the room's patio into the room at The Sandy Lane.

If you desire to be physically, mentally, and emotionally pampered then you must pencil in the "Total Indulgence" — over six hours of pure heaven. If that seems a bit long there are many other choices. The "Ritual" helps melt away fatigue, tension, and stress in just over four hours. As a bonus, all full-day Spa programmes include a delectable meal in the privacy of your own spa sanctuary. Half-day programmes include purifying and detoxifying massages, linen wraps, hydrotherapy, and the fabulous Jet Blitz, to help you feel renewed and invigorated. Booking a day at The Sandy Lane Spa should be a must-do for those who need to rejuvenate and unwind under the skilled hands of professional therapists whose blending of Caribbean, Far East, and European cultural therapies add up to an incredible experience in a luxurious setting.

Book The Sandy Lane OnlineAdjacent to the Spa, set amidst the lush tropical gardens of the Sandy Lane Hotel grounds sits The Villa At Sandy Lane; this large (7,300-sq. foot), exclusive property comes with five bedrooms and it's own staff. The butler, chef, housekeeper, and 24-hour security guard will ensure privacy; their mission is to cater to every whim and desire while you are a guest of this exclusive enclave. A large pool, oversized Jacuzzi and gazebo — large enough for a sit down dinner for fourteen, are all accessed by stepping through the front door into the confines of a private courtyard. All five bedrooms are ensuite and equipped with flat screen TV, DVD and CD players; four of the bedrooms have walkouts to either side of the pool, while the Master Bedroom features his and her's dressing rooms and an ocean view. Guests of the Villa have access to all Sandy Lane facilities, including a golf buggy for the duration of your stay.

Some of the inclusive features are: round-trip transfers, welcome by airport concierge, champagne on arrival, personalized guest-in-villa registration, and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, daily afternoon tea, unlimited use tennis courts at night, unlimited use of non-motorized water sports, including, windsurfing, Hobie Cat sailing, kayaking and snorkeling, extensive use of the fitness facilities at the spa, 24-hour room service, and one international and local newspaper each day. — By Kris King, Toronto Correspondent. Sandy Lane Photos by Bill King and Kris King Kris King Photography.

Price range in USD:

Orchid Room
USD$800-$1800 — Festive season (Dec. 19—Jan. 06)
Luxury Orchid Suite — USD$1200— $2200
Ocean Room — USD$1100—$2100
Luxury Ocean Room — USD$1400—$2400
Dolphin Suite — $1800—$2800
Luxury Dolphin Suite — $2500—$3100
Penthouse — $3700—6000
The Villa at Sandy Lane — $8000—20,000

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