I have just returned from my honeymoon - my husband and I spent nine days in Barbados :) We spent a lot of time researching hotels before we booked them, and ultimately decided to spend the first few nights of our trip on the south coast of the island, near St. Lawrence Gap - an area known for activity and nightlife. We decided to spend the next five nights on the west coast of the island, which we understood would be ritzier and quieter with calm waters. For our stay on the west coast, we flirted with the idea of spending $600-800 per night on a room - it's was our honeymoon. But after lots of looking, we stumbled upon this place, which seemed like a hidden gem! We read reviews and thought we'd found the perfect place for us! The pricing was so reasonable, and it seemed like a great deal. We understood this hotel came without a lot of the usual accouterments like pool, restaurant, and spa, and we figured that's how they kept the pricing down. We were okay with these things because the hotel sits directly on the beach, so we figured a pool wasn't necessary. We also didn't care about a hotel restaurant because it was described as "near lots of walk-able dining". Overall, we were excited to have found a place that was so reasonably priced because the 600-800 per night was starting to feel too ridiculous.
We arrived at the hotel on a Tuesday evening at about 6pm, after a long day of touring the island. We were tired, eager to get showered, and excited to explore the Holetown area and find a fun spot for dinner near our hotel. When we arrived, we were surprised to find that no one was actually working at the hotel except for a night porter, whose English was unintelligible. The office in the lobby had a sign that said office hours are 8:30am to 5:30pm, and if you have an emergency, call these numbers. The night porter showed us to our "luxury apartment" and gave us the key, and off he went. As we explored the apartment, we were shocked with disappointment. How could this be what we read about? Luxury apartment?? The apartment was dated, to say the least, with a stock of library books and a jam box / radio for cassettes. I suppose someone had actually used the radio player recently, because it had what appeared to be blood or ketchup smeared all over one of the speakers. Mystery unsolved. The kitchen was stocked with some glasses, dishes etc. The glasses were dirty (like disgusting, no exaggeration), and in one of the cabinets there was a half empty plastic bottle of some old / unfinished sports drink. The place clearly had not had a detailed cleaning. The air conditioning had been off, and the rooms were blistering hot and stale. The bed was hard, like what I imagine jail beds to be like. And the shower was broken. We were sorely disappointed, and by this time, it was late to start searching for another place to go. Also, we'd already paid for the five nights here. We wondered how we could leave and still get our money back. I went down to the closed office in the lobby and found the emergency numbers to call. When I called the manager's number - it was her home phone number, and her husband said she wasn't home. We were sad to be in such a $#!++& place, and we knew we could not stay here for five nights. An hour later, the manager returned my call. I explained everything that was unacceptable and expressed my confusion about how this apartment could be described as luxury. I told her we wanted to leave immediately and we wanted our money back. Again, it was getting later, and we didn't know where we would go. She offered we stay the night and said she would refund the balance for the next four days in the morning. We stayed the night, went out around the area, and left the next morning. Here are the things to know about this place: 1) It's not in walking distance to Holetown or restaurants. It may look like it on a map, but the road is narrow and winding, and you can't walk to Holetown from here. 2) There is not a walkable shop or grocery store either, and there is no room service or restaurant. So when you arrive and are happy to have a kitchen, you have to take a taxi or bus to a grocery store to get coffee, milk, sweetener. There is no access to any kind of food or drink at this hotel. 3) At night, no one works here, so you're on your own if you need anything. No one is there to even call you a cab!
We had just left Oceans Two resort on the south coast of the island when we arrived here. That property is also described as "luxury" and was not much more expensive than this hotel. Oceans Two was realllllly nice, so we came into this situation with similar expectations. Luckily, the manager refunded the following four nights, and we were able to go somewhere else. But geez, we were really disappointed and upset. And I can't imagine how anyone would give this place a good review. It is awful!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The St James is positioned right at the centre of Paynes Bay, and looks directly out across golden sands and the azure Caribbean Sea. The St James is literally right on the beach and our guests have a wide stretch of beach on which to relax on their sun loungers under sunshades.A huge attraction for the St James is the presence of a large family of friendly turtles who have made their home in the waters in front of the hotel. The opportunity to swim with the turtles each morning has become a unique experience for our guests.The St James consists of 11 different apartments and studios and we can accommodate a party of any size.We do not have a bar or restaurant as our guests love experiencing the world renowned bars and restaurants in the local area, or preparing their own meals with delicious fresh Caribbean foods from the supermarket just down the road. Each apartment has a fully equipped Italian open plan kitchen, and we can also provide a cook upon request. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The St James Barbados/Paynes Bay