Barbados may be a small Caribbean island, but there is so much variety from coast to coast. From laid-back fishing villages to high-end getaways, Barbados has something for every type of traveler. In this guide, we’ll cover where to stay in Barbados so you can plan the perfect vacation for you.
When people talk about where to stay in Barbados, they’ll usually describe the coasts. The west coast, south coast, east coast, and north coast of the island each have a unique feel.
The west coast, also known as the platinum coast, is known for being the most luxurious with 5-star resorts, elegant shopping centers, and fine dining options. The south coast is more casual and it’s a good spot for nightlife, learning to surf, and trying local cuisine. The east coast is the best area to stay in Barbados if you’re an advanced surfer looking for waves, and the north coast is the most remote for maximum tranquility.
The south coast and west coast are the most popular places to stay in Barbados and are best for swimming beaches, water sports, restaurants, and parties. Whether you want a luxury hotel, all-inclusive resort, cozy guest house, or practical apartment rental, you can find it all on the south and west coasts.
You can also stay on the east and north coasts, but these are much more remote. I recommend having a rental car if you stay here, and these coasts are best suited anyone who wants tranqiul, unique experiences close to nature, away from the crowds.
Let’s dive into each of the main Barbados neighborhoods and towns so you can find the best place to stay in Barbados for you!
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Where to stay in Barbados on the south coast
When I visit Barbados, I prefer to stay in the south coast. The energy of the south coast feels lively and welcoming — there’s always something exciting going on and you’re never far from an ice-cold Banks Beer. The south coast has several surf spots (including some that are beginner friendly) and you can walk to incredible restaurants, bars, and beaches. Plus it’s easy to get around with the public buses and ZR vans.
In general, I’d recommend renting a car when visiting Barbados. This gives you more flexibility to get to some remote attractions, and you can even drive the entire island in a day if you wanted to get the lay of the land. But if you stay on the south coast, it is possible to get by without a rental car if you’re comfortable using public transit and taking organized tours.
As far as the beaches go, the south coast beaches tend to larger with more sandy area. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas on most beaches, and the water is suitable for swimming most days. On more exposed beaches, you might get some choppier days (hence the surf!) but protected beaches like Miami/Enterprise are usually mellow enough for swimming.
Things to do: see the magic show, surf at freights with bodie school of surf, swim at Miami Beach, go out in the gap, take a little road trip down to bottom bay, Sam lords castle, and shark hole. Stop for lunch at cutters, or castaways, or cafe luna
Next, let’s take a look at some of the towns and neighborhoods on the south coast of Barbados.
Hastings and Worthing
Hastings and Worthing have nice beaches, tons of restaurants, and easy access to the South Coast Boardwalk. You can also walk to amenities like grocery stores, shopping centers, and convenience stores. I stayed in this area during my first trip to Barbados and it was very convenient because we didn’t have a rental car at first. A few different ZR van lines run along the main road so it’s easy to get around.
In this area, you can grab a coffee at Art Splash Cafe, listen to live music at Blakeys and Mojo, go for a fancy dinner with ocean views at Champers, or try the amazing outdoor Worthing Food Court. One of my favorite things to do in this area is walk along the South Coast Boardwalk which runs from Rockley Beach to Drill Hall Beach. You can surf at Drill Hall Beach too.
Where to stay in Hastings and Worthing, Barbados:
- Coral Mist Beach Hotel: Coral Mist Beach Hotel is located right on the beach and you can book suites or full apartments. There’s a pool, game room, fitness center, and restaurant.
- Worthing Beach Apartments: Full one-and-two-bedroom apartments located on peaceful Worthing Beach with top marks for location.
St. Lawrence Gap
St. Lawrence Gap is the best area in Barbados for nightlife. There are so many restaurants and bars, and this is definitely the place to stay if you’re looking to go out and dance the night away. There are also beautiful beaches in this area, like Dover Beach and nearby Maxwell Beach, so you can chill out during the day and party into the night.
St. Lawrence Gap has several beautiful all-inclusive resorts and hotel options, plus there are charming little cafes and shopping areas to explore. Make sure to check out the magic show at Barbados Magic Lounge and grab dinner at Castaways after for a memorable night.
Where to stay in St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados:
- South Gap Hotel: This is a smaller hotel and all the rooms have a sea view and kitchenette. The sea-view pool deck is incredible! Read my full review of the South Gap Hotel Barbados.
- O2 Beach Club and Spa: O2 Beach Club is a highly-rated option if you want an all-inclusive resort experience on the beach.
- Bougainvillea Barbados: Bougainvillea is another large resort with lagoon-style swimming pools, perfect for a family-friendly vacation. Read my full review of Bougainvillea Barbados.
- White Sands Beach Condos: The White Sands Beach Condos are a good place to stay if you want a private apartment close to the action. (Some units even have private plunge pools!)
You can read more about the best hotels in St. Lawrence Gap in this guide.
I stayed in Oistins on my most recent trip to Barbados and it’s always been one of my favorite Barbados neighborhoods. Oistins is a laid-back fishing village located on the south coast of the island. You’ll find great surf spots like Freights Bay and South Point, and it’s also home to the famous Oistins Fish Fry where you can try traditional Bajan food in a fun outdoor atmosphere.
In Oistins, you’ll live in board shorts and flip flops. You can find incredible food and beaches, but the atmosphere is casual and approachable. Plus, it’s only about a 20 minute drive from the Grantley Adams International Airport (depending on traffic, of course).
There are some fantastic hotels in Oistins and nearby Maxwell, and this is also a good spot to stay if you’re looking for a house or apartment rental. When we stayed here we visited for a month so having a kitchen was a big plus.
Where to stay in Oistins, Barbados:
- Little Arches Boutique Hotel: Little Arches is great for a romantic getaway since this is an adults-only option. It’s close to Miami Beach and you can eat at onsite Cafe Luna, one of the best restaurants in Barbados.
- Butterfly Beach Hotel: Butterfly Beach has apartments or regular suites available. There’s a pool with a sea view, and our friends who stayed here said they felt right at home.
- Beach View Cottage: This adorable little beach house on Maxwell Beach has three bedrooms, a full kitchen, and an amazing wrap-around veranda with a sea view.
- Red Door Condos: This is where I stayed on my last trip to Barbados and it was perfect for a longer visit. The AC worked well in the bedrooms and having a kitchen was a game-changer. (The breakfast in Barbados is amazing, but sometimes you just want to make yourself a bowl of oatmeal.) Plus we could walk down to the Fish Fry and Miami Beach.
You can read more about the best hotels in Oistins in this guide.
St. Philip is the southmost part of Barbados before you round a corner and hit the east coast, and it’s very quiet and peaceful. You’ll need a car if you stay here since most places don’t have easy access to restaurants and amenities, but if you’re looking for a more laid-back vacation away from it all, this could be a good option.
The beaches in St. Philip are beautiful, but can be rough. They often aren’t suitable for swimming. Bottom Bay is a great spot for picnics and sea views, Crane Beach is Barbados’s only pink sand beach, and Shark Hole is a fun little swimming spot that’s more sheltered and protected from the choppy waves. St. Philip is also where you can visit historical attractions like Sam Lords Castle and the Sunbury Plantation House.
Where to stay in St. Philip, Barbados:
- The Crane Resort: I stayed at the Crane for a few nights on my first trip to Barbados, and I loved the lagoon-style pools with sea views. They have spacious rooms and you get direct access to Crane Beach (beautiful but a bit too rough to swim when I was there) plus there are several delicious restaurants on the property. Read my full review of The Crane Barbados.
- The Pool House: A charming one-bed one-bath house with a private swimming pool, beautiful gardens, and a veranda for enjoying the sea breeze. This house has excellent reviews for the hosts as well.
Where to Stay in Barbados on the West Coast
The platinum west coast of Barbados is perfect for travelers who want an upscale vacation with the works. Luxury resorts, spas, high-end shops — the Barbados west coast has it all. You might even see an occasional celebrity!
The water on the west coast is calmer compared to the other parts of the island so it’s great for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. You can find renowned fine dining experiences, beautiful golf courses, and and pristine hotels that look fit for royalty. Plus, you’re only a short drive from attractions like St. Nicholas Abbey, Cherry Tree Hill, and Harrisons Cave.
The main towns on the west coast are Holetown and Speightstown.
Holetown is one of the most popular neighborhoods on the west coast of the island. The beaches are small but calm and you can go snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming right off the shore in most places. If you need a break from the sun and sand, you can visit the Limegrove Lifestyle Center — one of the best places to shop on the island.
Holetown is also home to the famous Sandy Lane Hotel and golf course, as well as the fancy One Sandy Lane residences where Rhianna has a home. Luxury is the name of the game, so Holetown is a great place to find high-end resorts in a prime location.
Where to stay in Holetown:
- Fairmont Royal Pavilion: Enjoy beautiful views of the Caribbean, 11 acres of tropical gardens, freshly renovated rooms, and spa treatments.
- The Sandpiper: The Sandpiper is a 5-star luxury boutique hotel that’s family run.
- Coral Reef Club: Family owned and operated 5-star resort with tennis courts, golf, water sports, gardens, and two swimming pools. Some rooms have private plunge pools.
You can read more about the best hotels in Holetown in this guide.
Speightstown is the second largest city in Barbados after Bridgetown, and it’s also a port city packed with the island’s history. There are great beaches and a marina along the water, and you can also take a historic walking tour to learn more about the legacy of Speightstown.
Like Holetown, Speightstown is a good choice if you’re after a luxury holiday. There are incredible resorts and dining options, and make sure to go by Sea Shed to try one of the best rum punches on the island.
Where to stay in Speightstown:
- Little Good Harbour: Little Good Harbour is a family-run beachfront hotel with one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom suites and cottages.
- Port St. Charles: Port St. Charles has luxury apartments located on a beautiful marina near Heywoods Beach.
- Cobblers Cove: Cobblers Cove is a romantic family-run hotel with 40 rooms and suites overlooking a quiet beach.
You can read more about the best hotels in Speightstown in this guide.
Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, and it sits right between the south coast and west coast. This historic port city is more industrial with shops, warehouses, and the cruise terminal. The downtown area of Bridgetown is not very residential, and you won’t really find hotels or resorts here. Plus, the city and beaches near the cruise port can get pretty packed on days when ships come in.
That said, staying here can be a good option if you want to be close to Carlisle Bay, or if you’re adding on days before or after your cruise and want to stay near the terminal. It’s also a nice jumping off point for tours and activities, like:
- Exploring Carlisle Bay: Carlisle Bay is one of the best beaches in Barbados and a famous snorkeling and SCUBA diving destination. Carlisle Bay just south of downtown Bridgetown. (Note: A lot of cruise ship passengers go to Carlisle Bay for shore excursions, so keep an eye on this cruise tracker schedule if you want to avoid the crowds.)
- Taking a catamaran cruise: I recommend Calypso Cruises for a smaller, intimate experience, or El Tigre if you want to experience a larger boat.
- Going on a historic Bridgetown walking tour.
Best hotels in Bridgetown:
I don’t recommend staying in downtown Bridgetown because it’s more industrial and there aren’t many accommodation options to choose from. But if you travel a short distance down the coast along Carlisle Bay toward the Garrison UNESCO World Heritage Site and Historic District, you’ll find some great options that still have a Bridgetown address.
- Hilton Barbados: The Hilton has two white-sand beaches, two outdoor pools, guest rooms with sea views, and a full-service spa.
- Sugar Bay Barbados: Sugar Bay is a beachfront all-inclusive resort near Drill Hall Beach and the Garrison race track. Read more about Sugar Bay Barbados here.
- Coconut Court Beach Hotel: Coconut Court is a family-run beach hotel with a sheltered lagoon and outdoor pool for swimming.
- Sweetfield Manor: Sweetfield Manor is located behind the Garrison so it’s not directly on the beach, but it has great reviews for ambiance and the garden pool area.
Where to Stay on the East Coast of Barbados
If you’re a surfer, head to the east coast of Barbados. The waves are world class and the overall atmosphere of the east coast is laid back and tranquil. This part of the island is more rugged and rural but it’s great hiking and spending time in the great outdoors. You’ll also be close to the Barbados Botanical Gardens, Barbados Wildlife Reserve, and Andromeda Botanical Gardens, so this is the perfect place to reconnect and immerse yourself with tropical island nature.
Again, I recommend renting a car if you’re staying on the east coast. There are only a few shops and restaurants in walking distance, and the east coast isn’t as well connected with public transport and taxis.
One thing to note is that the ocean is much rougher here so it’s not as swimmable as the beaches on the south and west coasts. There are some small wading areas where you can take a dip, but otherwise this is a better fit for surfers. (Keep an eye out for urchins!)
Where to stay on the east coast of Barbados:
- Roundhouse Barbados: Roundhouse Barbados is a historic boutique hotel located right on the beach. It has a famous restaurant on the property and you can see beautiful views of the ocean while being just a short walk from surf.
- Rest Haven Beach Cottages: These rustic one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or three-bedroom cottages are just steps from the beach. Great for peace and quiet far away from it all.
- Santosha Barbados: Santosha has studios and suites with spectacular views over the coastline. There’s a shared pool and the location is peaceful and quiet.
Read more about the best places to stay on the east coast in this guide.
Where to Stay on the North Coast of Barbados
The north coast of Barbados is the most remote region of the island and there aren’t a lot of hotels and restaurants. There are a few tourist attractions like Animal Flower Cave, but in general this is a much more quiet option. You can probably find rental houses up here, but in general there isn’t as much infrastructure for visitors here compared to the other coasts.
The waves from the north will also be rougher so your best bet for swimming is to drive over to the west coast. That said, the north coast is incredibly beautiful and worth taking a drive to do some exploring. You can go hiking along the cliffs and see interesting places like water spouts, secluded bays, and lookout points.
What’s the best place to stay in Barbados?
The best area to stay in Barbados will depend on the type of trip you want to have.
- The south coast is the best place to stay in Barbados if you want a lively and casual atmosphere with lots of things to see and do.
- The western coast is the best area to stay in Barbados if you want an upscale, luxurious getaway with post-card-worthy views.
- The east coast is the best location in Barbados for advanced surfers and anyone looking for nature and tranquility.
- The north coast is the best place to stay if you want a remote experience away from it all.
What’s the best place to stay in Barbados for couples?
Couples looking for a romantic place to stay in Barbados should look on the west coast or the south coast. If you want a luxury retreat, Holetown and Speightstown have high-end resorts that are simply breathtaking. If you want a romantic getaway with a little adventure, the south coast has more going on outside the hotel and some great all-inclusive and adults-only options.
What’s the best place to stay in Barbados for surfing?
If you’re a beginner or intermediate surfer, the best place to stay in Barbados is Oistins. Here, you’ll have access to Freights Bay, South Point, and Surfers Point, as well as several surf schools and rental options.
If you’re an advanced surfer and your primary goal for your trip to Barbados is surfing, the best place to stay is Bathsheba on the east coast. Here, you can surf world-famous breaks like Soup Bowl just steps from your front door.
What’s the best place to stay in Barbados for nightlife?
The best place to stay in Barbados for nightlife is St. Lawrence Gap. St. Lawrence Gap is filled with exciting bars, restaurants, and entertainment that runs late into the night. It’s also close to beautiful beaches so you can relax during the day and save your energy for a fun night out.
What would I choose?
If I were to book a trip to Barbados right now, I’d probably go with…
- Something centrally located like Little Arches (Oistins), South Gap Hotel (St. Lawrence Gap), or Worthing Beach Apartments (Worthing) for the majority of my trip
- Then I’d love to snag a few nights at a fancy resort like Coral Reef Club (Holetown), The Crane (St. Philip), or O2 Beach Club and Spa (St. Lawrence Gap) to splurge.
Luckily, Barbados is so beautiful it’s hard to go wrong!
Check out these guides to learn more about the island and plan your dream trip: