Photo credit: Sandy Lane Hotel

Pink sands, rich history, and a wide range of plush places to stay. The Caribbean island of Barbados, stretching just 21 miles long, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site (its 17th century capital city of Bridgetown) and boasts of more luxury resorts per square mile than any other Caribbean island. Choose from old-school hotels with a genteel sense of history, brand-name lodgings, and all-inclusive resorts. Stay on the west side of the island for calm waters, or stay on the east side for brisk waves. Here are the best hotels in Barbados.

Sandy Lane Hotel (Sandy Lane; 246-444-2000) St. James

Located on a white-coral sand beach on the island’s west coast, the 113-room Sandy Lane has three golf courses and is “the most luxurious and famous hotel in Barbados,” writes Afar, and “known for hosting celebrity guests.” The magazine also likes the resort’s “paths lined with towering mahogany trees” and the “loungers bedecked in signature pink upholstery.” A Google reviewer writes that the resort was “transformative and beneficial to my overall mental, physical and spiritual health. From the outstanding service to the amazingly appointed rooms, everything about this place is magical.”   >> Book this hotel for less

Sugar Bay Barbados (Garrison Historic Area; 246-622-1101) Bridgetown

This 138-room, all-inclusive resort in Bridgetown’s historic Garrison district will please families and anyone who wants mellow waters. “The bay is so calm and lovely,” writes a Tripadvisor user who also raves about the kids’ club and the “‘decent snorkeling in the bay right in front of the hotel.” Travel+Leisure likes that the resort is “a prime location for shops and lively restaurants” and that “many of the bright and spacious rooms feature beach views; even those rooms that don’t face the ocean have spacious patios.”   >> Book this hotel for less

Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados (Carlisle Bay, Aquatic Gap; 246-426-4000) Bridgetown

Afar likes this 124-room branch of the Radisson, located on a one-mile stretch of white sand, for its “eight floors of Barbadian-designed rooms, each one with a view of Carlisle Bay, the island’s historic harbor and now a protected marine area.” Some Tripadvisor users say the hotel could use some updates, but one points out “you get exactly what you pay for. The hotel is located on the best beach in Barbados so 10/10 for location—and most of us only visit for the stunning scenery. We used the community shuttle buses along the main road to transport us into Hastings.”   >> Book this hotel for less

Coral Reef Club (Porters Folkstone; 246-422-2372) St. James

Condé Nast Traveler likes this 88-room hotel on the island’s west coast for its “Old World charm, from its mahogany wicker sofas softened with cream cushions to the elaborate tea trays and heated games of doubles before breakfast.” Founded in the 1950s by a British hotelier, the hotel also offers tennis, water sports, and a plush spa. “The intimacy is there because it is a beautiful compound,” writes a Google reviewer, “with privacy and no ‘big box’ atmosphere that you get from the chains.”   >> Book this hotel for less

The Crane Resort, Barbados (The Crane Resort; 246-423-6220) St. Philip

Want away-from-it-all bliss?  This 1887 resort on the island’s southeast coast is “located away from the tourist-heavy south and west coasts,” writes Afar, and “its famous coral-pink Crane Beach, considered one of the top beaches in the world, is just steps away from a glass-front elevator.” Amenities at the 40-acre resort include five restaurants, five pools, a spa, and tennis courts. A Tripadvisor user commends the personal service and calls the beach “stunning” but notes that “it’s on the Atlantic side so it’s much more wild than some of the other beaches, but that makes it more fun playing in the bigger waves.” The same reviewer points out there is a bus stop outside the hotel for easy access to Bridgetown.   >> Book this hotel for less