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Barbados has some of the best hotels in the Caribbean, many of which are small and personally run.

Most of our recommendations are on fashionable St. James Beach, which is the entire strip of beachfront bordering the parish of St. James. Although hotels are scattered around Barbados, most of them lie on the tranquil west coast as opposed to opening onto the turbulent Atlantic in the east. If you're in Barbados on business, you may want a hotel in Bridgetown, the capital. If you're into the grand life, head for one of the fashionable resorts north of Bridgetown, all of which open onto sandy beaches. Otherwise, if you want something more informal and less expensive, go to the lower south coast, especially around the busy strip of St. Lawrence Gap, where you can find the most reasonably priced nightlife, restaurants, and local bars. This area also has beaches, although they're not as fabulous as those claimed by the pricey resorts north of Bridgetown. The prices of many of Barbados's hotels are among the most celestial in the Caribbean, rivaled by only Anguilla and St. Barts. Just when you think a hotelier won't dare raise prices any more than they already are, he adds another $200 or so to your daily room cost.

If you want a holiday in the southern Caribbean but haven't come into your inheritance, consider such neighboring islands as St. Vincent or Grenada.

To rent your own villa, cottage, or house on Barbados, contact Jennifer Alleyne Ltd., Weston, St. James, Barbados, W.I. (tel. 246/432-1159; www.jalbarbados.com), which represents about two dozen rental properties scattered throughout the island in a wide range of prices.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.