Sandy Lane Hotel St. James
The most expensive hotel in the Caribbean, classic - revived in 2001, with continual updates, the most recent in 2008 - works hard for its money.
You will have a hard time even setting foot on the property without a reservation (gawkers note: one for lunch or cocktails will do), but once in, you have everything.
The smallest of the 112 rooms is 779 square feet, and even those have parabolic speakers on their terraces, enormous flat-screen TVs, heated mirrors in the bathrooms (lift the phone and a staffer comes running to fill your giant tub and deliver chocolate truffles), and blackout drapes that operate by push button. In the surrounding parklands, among palms and mahogany trees, are three internationally known golf courses (including the spectacular new Green Monkey, where green fees for no guests are in the four-digit range), nine tennis courts, a large freshwater pool, and a ridiculously large Romanesque spa.
You can drop the kids off at the Tree-house Club and ignore them until dinner-time at no extra charge, maybe while you get a blow-out at the John Frieda salon or go for a spin in the chauffeured Bentley. The beach, let us not forget, is perfect, and swarming with attendants. There are four bars and four restaurants, including the super-fancy L’Acajou and, new for 2009, a casual beachfront restaurant and wine bar, Bajan Blue.