The Caribbean island of Barbados is a sovereign country in the Lesser Antilles composed of about 166 square miles of coral and surrounded by coral reefs. Its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters combine with tropical trade winds to provide a setting for romance, making in easy for hotels to capitalize on an already good situation. The east side of the island is windy with heavy Atlantic Ocean surf, so most -- but not all -- of the romantic hotels are on the Caribbean coast. Whether you want all-inclusive luxury or a quiet hideaway, this island is a little slice of romantic paradise.
Sometimes it's more romantic to have everything done for you. The adults-only, all-inclusive Club Barbados Resort in St. James Parish provides an array of tropical gardens for a romantic tete-a-tete, three swimming pools, ocean-view suites, whirlpools, water sports, entertainment, all meals, drinks, gratuities and a full afternoon British tea service. Spa and wedding packages can be purchased separately. Also in St. James, the smaller Waves Barbados is more of a boutique hotel. Choose from three restaurants and eat your fill of seafood, steaks or Mediterranean delicacies. In addition to the included wines and cocktails, you can request special brands for a modest up-charge. Here, the staff specializes in arranging outdoor excursions, such a submarine ride or a swim with turtles.
The Fairmont Royal Pavilion is an English-themed luxury resort with loads of complimentary services, such as valet parking, welcome cocktails, afternoon tea and a Wednesday cocktail party. Reserve the junior suite and you'll not only have a private beach deck for a romantic candlelight dinner, but also your own personal butler. If you want to kick it up a notch, try the mind-numbingly expensive Orchid Suite at Sandy Lane, which also offers a special romance package of dinner, massages and a cruise for two.
On the south side of the island, Little Arches Boutique Hotel has only 10 rooms and suites, allowing the staff to provide personalized service to all guests. In addition to such regular amenities as beach lounges with chilled towels, beach cruiser bikes and a welcome cocktail, a seven-night stay comes with daily breakfast and one sunset wine and cheese service. A 10-night stay will net you other romantic perks, including a bottle of champagne and two massages or a catamaran cocktail lunch outing with a spot of snorkeling.
On the windward east side of Barbados, Tent Bay is home to two romantic hideaways with spectacular views of the rugged Atlantic seascape. Atlantis Hotel Barbados is near the legendary Soup Bowl, a surfing spot treasured by the upscale wave-seeking crowd. The hotel's eight rooms and two apartments feature four-poster beds, vibrant colors and colonial-style decor. The romance is provided by picnics on unpopulated beaches, cocktails by the crashing waves and sunset dips in the free-form pool. A bit smaller is the nearby Sea-U Guest House, a bed-and-breakfast furnished in a casual Caribbean style and surrounded by a lush tropical forest, but with a peek-though view of the ocean. No phone, no pool, no kids -- if your idea of romance is isolation, Sea-U is for you.