OP-Ed & Features - Saturday, April 11, 2009 10:30

Remembering Sam Lord’s Castle: the tragic fairytale of Barbados’ best hotel

By , Deputy Editor

Update: Sam Lord’s Castle destroyed by fire – October 20, 2010

A fire of unknown origin broke out at the historic Sam Lord’s Castle on October 20th, 2010.  Reports indicate that the building was extensively destroyed, leaving only its frame. The Antillean’s original news story is below.

Here’s a fairy tale for you…

Once upon a time, Barbados was the it country for tourism in the West Indies.

Its economy was strong, its tourism product (honed from early colonial days) was the envy of other islands, and the standard of its accommodation was bar none.

That was then.

Then, as fairy tales go, I stayed in a castle in St. Philip, built by a notorious buccaneer who probably could have never had a clue that the mansion he founded on plunder could one day be one of the greatest hotels in Barbados’ stock. That castle, of course, was Sam Lord’s Castle, a 248 room mixed hotel/villa masterpiece which I and so many other ‘royals’ feel in love with.

That was the heyday of Barbados’ tourism supremacy, when a Bold & Beautiful crew filmed and stayed there, when it was not uncommon to neighbour a noted millionaire beside your immaculate seaside villa – the good days.

Nothing lasts forever, of course, and Sam Lord’s (then owned by Marriot’s) was sold to (presumably) a local company called Grants Hotels Inc. in 2001.

In short order, the quality and standards that seasoned repeat visitors grew accustomed to had gone, the Castle’s debt grew and its coup de grace was its sale to the CLICO Group of Companies in 2005.

The rest, as they say, is history and photos speak louder than words:

That video was yesterday. Let’s rewind to 2005…

Sam Lord’s Castle is set to arise from the ashes of bankruptcy and a two-year closure to once again become one of Barbados’ top hotel properties.

When the transformation of the famous property is complete, it will be one of this island’s largest hotel facilities.

The Sunday Sun has learnt that the 248-room facility would be transformed into a 650-room property – 450 hotel rooms and 200 condos – as part of the $54 million facelift for the historic St Philip hotel.

Leroy Parris, chairman of Clico Holdings Barbados Limited, the company buying the debt-strapped Sam Lord’s property, confirmed the upgrade and said discussions were ongoing to secure international branding for the property through a North American hotel chain¹.

That hasn’t happened yet.

Clico Holdings (Barbados) Ltd’s new Sam Lord’s Castle hotel and condominium venture could be replicated in the rest of the eastern Caribbean if it is a success. This was stated by Leroy Parris, executive chairman of the insurance and finance group, as he spoke at a Press conference held [in 2006] to introduce a new line of Clico insurance products.


The story continues…

During the question-and-answer period, Parris said he had a “tourism vision” for Clico, but was keeping it “close to his chest” until he had the opportunity to discuss it with executives from Trinidadian parent company CL Financial Ltd².

CL Financial Ltd?

Isn’t Clico Holdings (Barbados) “separate and distinct” from its parent company CL Financial in Trinidad³? The recent drama and PR response coming out of Barbados says as much, yet one can’t help but to  wonder if the failed restoration of Sam Lord’s Castle thus far speaks to a cash issue at home. Some will recall that there was even speculation that Sam Lord’s may be ready for Cricket World Cup 2007, which gives an idea of just how long the Castle was slated to be redeveloped.

Given that Clico touts the Castle among its high value assets which can be easily liquidated if need be, it takes little to imagine that it would not be very sagacious at this time to touch Sam Lord’s if liquidity issues necessitate its future sale by Clico. That said, to be fair, Mr. Parris recently said that Sam Lord’s Castle’s redevelopment is “still on stream”, albeit with no definite timeline and during intense questioning about whether Clico (Barbados) was facing a financial crisis.

I respectfully digress, and take Mr. Parris’ guarantee at face value.

Loving Sam Lord’s Castle as much as I and my fellow guests did, the watch and wait period seems like forever. Indeed, the longer that the Castle remains in ruin will not only be a shame to its legacy and the Barbados tourism product that was, it will also stand as a blight on Clico’s fiscal image at a time when it could ill afford any hint of financial distress.

Ashmita Maharaj · Trinidad & Tobago

Born in Trinidad and resident in Goa, India, Ashmita Maharaj is a controversial Trinidadian and a ‘consummate West Indian’, with a fondness of cricket, Caribbean regionalism and Caribbean culture.


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Greece J. Bois from Attiki, Greece
Apr 11, 2009 17:03

Shame to be a closed castle.

United Kingdom Andy from Leicester, United Kingdom
Apr 19, 2009 7:05

Barbados is a real gem that people from the UK love to visit. This is the first I have heard of this castle and it really saddens me. This is the problem of allowing none Barbadian people or corporations to purchasea landmark property like this. I represent a small business in the UK providing live booking facilities to private villa owners who rent their properties and I would love to be able to help and restore this magnificent building. I am sure it could be restored to its former slendour and bring in additional revenue to the island. Maybe you should form a support group and lobby your toruist group to drive political will and make this happen?

Good luck!!

United Kingdom Graham Coles from London, United Kingdom
Jun 8, 2009 17:36

I stayed at Sam Lord’s twice in the 80′s when I was asked to survey it for a London insurer.
It was one of my first trips to the carribean, christened with a bottle of champagne in the jacuzzi at 2am, in the peace and quiet, looking up at the millions of stars. Boy, had I arrived!
I tried to re-visit recently and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find booking information – now I know !!!
What a great shame, not only for a unique property but also the eager, friendly staff who always seemed to be enjoying their day even though they were working.
The best of luck for the future, but I can’t help thinking that somebody has missed a trick here.

United Kingdom Graham Coles from London, United Kingdom
Jun 8, 2009 17:38

For your information – it was one of the top rated hotels in the carribean as regards insurability on the world market.
How the mighty fall!

United Kingdom Graham Coles from London, United Kingdom
Jun 8, 2009 17:46

Actually, I take it all back.
Just looked at the video.
Nobody has missed a trick.
It’s the old ‘buy a listed building, let it rot, convince the local authorities it can’t be restored, tear it down and build condo’s’ ploy. Isn’t it ?
Or is it a listed building in B’dos that can’t be touched

United Kingdom John MacQueen from Devon, United Kingdom
Jun 25, 2009 18:26

I stayed at Sam Lords with my mother in 2002. We had been to a number of other Caribbean Islands and were greatly looking forward to Barbados which we had always felt was one of the premier Islands to visit. We travelled with British Airways holidays and paid a considerable sum for the holiday. The hotel had recently been taken over by Grants Hotels Inc and you could still see where the Marriott signs had been removed. All reviews on the net etc were very positive but its demise was obviously quick. We found ourselves sat next to people who had paid under £300 for two weeks holiday and were drinking lager from cans around the pool. The hotel staff were totally demotivated, lethargic and very rude. The food was poor and the drinks awful. Very disappointing. The rooms were actually quite good although hot water was patchy. The main castle had clearly been stunning and many fab holidays had there. Unfortunatley it was not being maintained or run by people who knew how to. There was a birds nest on the chandelier in the dining room that remained untouched for over a week. Only reception was accessible in the house and it was obvious the hotel was going down. I ended up having a massive row with the hotel manager who was clearly inexperienced and demanded BA pay to transfer us to the Almond Beach Club where we completed the holiday. I hope somebody buys Sam Lords soon and renovates it to its former glory.

United States John Hancock from Missouri, United States
Jul 5, 2009 16:11

I went on vacation there in the late 80′s and early 90′s and I can say without a doubt it was one of the premier resorts in the Caribbean. I’ve been to every island except for Cuba (I am a Yank after all, haha) and it was head and shoulders above most resorts. The rooms were clean and had a Caribbean decor, there was no television (always nice to escape technology and enjoy your holiday), and the pools and beach were amazing. Marriott does an excellent job running hotels and I was surprised when they divested themselves of this property. Local ownership is wonderful but larger resorts should be run by companies that live, sleep and breathe hospitality like Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt.

Norway Kristin from Oslo, Norway
Aug 2, 2009 19:29

It’s a tragic, to see this fantastic hotel closed. I was there with friends in 1994 and was now searching for a booking site. I really wanted to go back again to this beautiful place… Hopefully it will be possible in future…..
Regards from Norway

Barbados Fam. Stroek-de Miranda from Saint Michael, Barbados
Aug 6, 2009 18:43

We took our two boys for their first visit to Barbados. And of course Sam Lord’s Castle they had to see. But man were we disappointed when we arrived at the gate today. So sad to see this piece of Bajan inheritance in such an appalling state. A disgrace to all who love the island.
Clico by the way in my native Dutch language means garbage-bin, shame on them.

Australia terry proverbs from South Australia, Australia
Aug 12, 2009 22:09

I grew up in Barbados and lived in a home that was less than a kilometer from Sam Lords Hotel. As kids we had the luxury of this fine hotel as a part of our back yard. We would come and go and mingle amounst many lovely guest that stayed there. We would go on treasure hunts around the gardens as kids thinking that we would find some treasure!! It is so sad to see that this lovely piece of history has been left in ruin and no one cares about it or appreciates the history and what it has to offer. Shame on Clico, your lack of appreciation of such fine history you should not have a place in Business and show no respect for the people of Barbados. Shame on the Barbados Government for not stepping in and securing this property as a historic land mark for your people.

United Kingdom Helen Clare from Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Aug 13, 2009 12:11

We visited here in 1993 and were blown away by the beauty of the place. We are going back to Barbados in November, and planned to go and visit again. I can’t believe what I have just seen. It seems scandalous that original Mansion has been allowed to fall into such disrepair. Surely somebody can come to the rescue of such a wonderful house and beautiful setting.

United States Douglas and Beverley Phillips from Massachusetts, United States
Aug 17, 2009 23:39

My wife and I vacationed at Sam Lord’s three times (twice when it was owned by Marriott – and it was magnificent; once shortly after the Grants takeover, when it was clearly going down hill). Nonetheless, it is one of the greatest properties in the Carribean.

To the people and GOVERNMENT of Barbabos:
(1) Please declare the entire Sam Lord’s resort property a national historic landmark. Please take it over by eminent domain. Force Clico to forefeit any possible money they could still squeeze out of the property. (They deserve to lose everything. What they have allowed to happen to the property is a crime!)
(2) Then offer a significant tax break to the best qualified bidder that will restore the castle and the property and reopen it as a hotel/resort, maintaining its original character and ambience (Allow some condominiums, if the winning bidder considers this to be a necessary part of their investment). Require the castle work to be a period restoration, based on its original materials and design.
(3) Define the qualifications for a “qualified bidder”. These should include (a) documented and verifiable proof of financial viability/stability/ability to complete the project; (b) a commitment to put the money needed for the restoration into an escrow account to be withdrawn only for work that, when completed, truly advances the property with appropriate quality craftmenship. In addition, (c)consider making the selected bidder a major hotel chain with proven ability to operate a classic resort facility with quality lodging, quality restaurants, quality service, quality ammenities, and banquet/meeting facilities.
(4) Require the hotel operator to hire and train local Barbadian people to staff the hotel (with the possible exception of the management team). During the restoration, advertise to find original Sam Lord Castle staff members. Require the bidder to hire them as consultants to bring back the quality once known and to provide insight of the original character of the property, including the contributions made by local artisians and beach sales people. The consultants’ knowledge of how the dining areas were run, beach barbeques were organized, evening entertainment was booked and operated, and pool side lunches were run should be followed to reinstate these services into the restored facility.
(5) Make a commitment to advertise the restoration and reopening of the resort to the world to aid in its rapid economic contribution to the country when it reopens.
(6) In return for the tax break, stipulate that the rate structure should not include a component for investment recovery, thereby enabling a broader market to be able to afford the restored property. The clientele that once supported Sam Lord’s Castle would like to be able to return to this property and once again support and enjoy it.

Barbados and the world need this treasure to come back. If people are needed to coordinate this entire effort, consider us.

United States Camille Avakian from New York, United States
Nov 5, 2009 0:38

This truly does bring tears to my eyes. My husband and I spent our honeymoon at Sam Lord’s in 2000 and are devastated by what’s become of it. It was one of the most magical places we’ve ever stayed – the grounds, views and staff were spectacular.

I honestly don’t believe Clico ever had any intention of using this property as it was. It seems quite apparent they intentionally let it degrade so they could level it – if they had tried demolishing it when it still was a proper national treasure, they would have run into much resistance.

What boggles my mind is how Barbadians are allowing this part of their history to be destroyed like this. It not only steals history from them, it takes revenue as well. We spend an average of $3,000-5,000 on a Caribbean vacation each year and would love to return to Barbados regularly, but no other property there seems to be able to offer what Sam Lord’s did.

What’s most upsetting is Sam Lord’s Castle is prominently written on the Google Maps version of the Barbados map. Does Google realize it’s importance but the government of Barbados doesn’t?

United States J. Smith from Kansas, United States
Nov 6, 2009 17:10

My wife and I stayed at Sam Lord’s when it was a Marriott property. We thought it was the greatest place in the world. It was a 70+ acre cruise ship that just stayed at the dock. There was no reason to leave as they had everything including a branch of a local department store (spent way too much money there).

It is hard to believe that someone would let it rot, but that seems to be the way in the islands and not just Barbados. We typically go to St. Thomas. The old Renaissance was coverted to an all inclusive, sold to a number of folks and now is said to be in the process of cenverting to time shares. This has been the story over the past four to five years. A beautiful property is just sitting there rotting away.

United Kingdom frank loyden from London, United Kingdom
Nov 12, 2009 7:53

I stayed at Sam Lords Castle in 2001 and fount the hotel and surrounding to be beatiful, i cannot believe it has been neglected and run down in this way. I am planning to go back to Barbados in the next 6 months and hope this lovely Castle is restored back to its former glory.

United States Glen Davis from New York, United States
Dec 8, 2009 18:21

I spent my honeymoon at Sam Lords in 1981. I have been all over the Carribean and nothing compared to my stay in Barbados. The Castle was head and shoulders above the rest. What I would give for a Sam’s Punch or a Lucy. Hope one day they restore the beauty again. Guess I will spend my 30th somewhere else. : (

United States DH from California, United States
Dec 22, 2009 16:19

I stayed at Sam Lord’s Castle in October 1983 during the Grenada Invasion Operation Urgent Fury. I was the USAF officer in charge of the video, film and still documentation of the operation and would fly in to Grenada on a C-130 and out again each night with the refugees at night. Each day the video and film would be sent to the US for the Joint Chiefs and the President to view. It is a long story, but suffice it to say that for me and those in my unit, having death during the day and paradise at night was an interesting experience.

Canada A Canadian Teen from Alberta, Canada
Dec 23, 2009 18:45

Went back to Barbados for the first time since I was a young child this summer. On the plane ride down, my brother and I talked of the marvels from old travel brochures and videos we were to see. As our car came up to the gate over the broken concrete, it didn’t seem possible that this deserted place could have been the legendary hotel we read so much about.

Then we saw the letters faded onto the gate, where the signs once must have stood. It brought tears to the eyes of everyone in our car. To see such a true treasure simply cast away without any care, and the deterioration that’s happened in such a short time, is mortifying.

We asked my relative what had happened later that night, but they still seemed under the impression that construction was starting and it the hotel wasn’t being left to rot. It’s a shame more Barbadians don’t see this, and that the government has some hands pretty far down their pockets.

United Kingdom CO from Cumbria, United Kingdom
Jan 21, 2010 12:53

I got married in Sam Lords Castle in 1999 and thought it an amazing place and it really is a shame to see the way it has been neglected, the Government of Barbados should use compulsory purchase laws and do something about this.

United States Aimee from New York, United States
Jan 29, 2010 21:54

I stayed at Sam Lord’s Castle in 1986 when I was 12. It was my first visit to the island, and the impression left on me was significant. I will never forget that place, the beauty and the wonderful people at the resort. I was recently thinking of returning and was heartbroken to see the demise of the splendour there. The people of Barbados deserve their history to be respected and honored. I hope someone with the means will do the right thing.

United States Kathy from Minnesota, United States
Feb 10, 2010 19:53

We visited the castle last week (Feb.2010) and we were convinced that it had been abandoned at least 20 years ago based on the level of decay. It was horrible. I ran from the house when bats took flight. The walls are splattered with feces.The amazing plaster ceilings are broken and scattered on the floor. Everything is totally trashed and overgrown. I can’t believe there is any hope of restoration at this point. It must have been something in it’s day! How sad.

United States Angela from Vermont, United States
Feb 14, 2010 2:06

I am saddened to see what has become of Sam Lord’s. My husband has been going there since childhood and took me in 1999. We have traveled many places but Sam Lord’s is one of our favorites. I was looking to go back with our 3 year old and came across the video of the ruins. It makes my heart break. I hope someone will return it to its glory

United Kingdom Mr J.R.Preston from Sheffield, United Kingdom
Feb 15, 2010 11:46

MY daughter was married in the grounds of Sam Lords in 2001 and after seeing recent footage of the building and grounds as it is today is heartbreaking. In 2001 the grounds were immaculate with stunning views of the ocean. The staff and locals were wonderful friendly people which made our stay even more memorable. Sam Lords Castle could once again be a jewel in the Caribbean if some entrepreneur with vision and forethought could see the potential. This could be a most loved and sort after holiday destination for many worldwide, but alas, as it stands today, leaves one feeling very very sad.

United States Alexandra Haines from Pennsylvania, United States
Feb 16, 2010 21:51

We stayed in one of the villas next to Sam Lord’s last week. Having never been to Sam Lords before I did not know what to expect. The beach is a scene from LOST. That said, although it was eerie and litter was everywhere, you could still feel how grand it must have been in its heyday. I do hope that someone who appreciates the history of the property will bring it back to its original splendor! I know that while our experience at the neighboring villa was tremendous, it would have been even more spectacular if the Castle was still standing and its beach still maintained.

Canada Pamela from Ontario, Canada
Mar 7, 2010 20:39

What about Sam Lord’s family? How do you think we feel? To see the property in such poor condition is completely disheartening. Unfortunately, I have never been able to visit the family ground, and by the looks of it, I won’t. Why take away a part of someone’s life? Please think about this. It’s taking away people’s identities.

United States Rosemarie from New York, United States
Mar 10, 2010 20:02

We honeymooned in 1973 at the Castle and seeing the condition it’s in today breaks my heart. The memories of such a beautiful location and facility will be with us forever.

United States Adam from Maryland, United States
Mar 13, 2010 23:35

How sad. My parents and I stayed their in the early 70s. I was probably 5 or so. Being so young in age my memories are a bit foggy but I do remember it being a wonderful place.

Canada george from vancouver canada from British Columbia, Canada
Mar 14, 2010 16:00

I think it is criminal to waste such a beautiful historic property. I hope with todays restoration technology it may be possible to restore all or at least some of the original building. The government should urge the owners to do the right thing . I’m a decendent of sam lords and my grandmother always said that he wasn’t everthing people made him out to be.

Canada Francine Richardson from Ontario, Canada
Mar 17, 2010 15:56

Sam Lord is my Great -Great Grandfather…I along with some of Sam Lord’s family live in the Toronto area … My Grandmother’s name was Irene Lord, she married my Grandfather George Richardson and immigrated to Canada in the early 1900′s .. I remember my family talking of Sam Lord and how he was a pirate when I was younger.. my grandparents use to visit Barbados every few years and bring back beautiful pictures of the Castle and the beaches and of family I have never met… and I agree with my cousin George from British Columbia ( Hi ) that this Beautiful Castle should be restored.

Canada Brittany from Ontario, Canada
Mar 18, 2010 19:37

Sam Lord was my Great Great Great Great Grandfather, and i don’t think he wanted his casltle to be like this. This is disrespectful, to Sam Lord’s memory. I feel as though the goverment should help in restoring the Castle, this was a beautiful spot where obvi, alot of people liked to vist and many people have many memories.

Canada Brent Smith from Alberta, Canada
Mar 21, 2010 23:07

Too bad I went to the Castle as a kid and It was Magicial………Now a Mess

United Kingdom Peter Prieur from Reading, United Kingdom
Mar 22, 2010 2:45

We stayed at Sam Lords in year 2000 for my 50th Birthday . We , my wife and 2 Daughters were absolutely delighted with the location and although some aspects of the resort were “a little tired” we had a fantastic time.

I was devastated to see the u tbe video and cannot understand how a property like the Castle could not have been preserved.

Come on you so called investors, Get it sorted.

Peter Prieur

United Kingdom Nigel Tarrant from Telford and Wrekin, United Kingdom
Apr 9, 2010 4:36

I used to love this place, had fantastic family holidays there 10+ years ago. I’ve been a hotelier for nearly 30 years now and grew up in a resort hotel. If I had the funding it would be my dream project to restore it and run it to the same high standards it was when we used to stay there. It really was/is / could be a special place .So relaxing,classy and unpretentious all in one place, a great experience. I think about Sam Lords often and thank it for wonderful memories. Just need to plunder a passing ship to secure funding lol, or rename it Bank of Sam Lord can I have soem government baleout dosh please?

United States Jen from Georgia, United States
Apr 15, 2010 11:43

I stayed in this hotel back in the 1970′s. I was a child. I recently vacationed at the Crane. I drove over to see the resort. I was stunned when I saw the falling down gates and the general disarray of the property. I was hoping to see it be rebuilt…but your video shows a building that is on the verge of needing to be condemned. How sad to see such a gorgeous place decay like that, simply from neglect. thank-you for sharing this.

United Kingdom simon & joy smith from Manchester, United Kingdom
Apr 27, 2010 8:54

we got married at sam lords castle in 2001 and have to say how wonderful it was magical comes in mind i really couldnt believe the video (shocking) come on get it sorted please…….. xx

United States chris from Illinois, United States
May 2, 2010 23:29

I spent a glorious week at Sam Lord’s castle for my honeymoon back in the 80′s and have thought of this resort often over the yrs. Today I found out from a guest at a wedding shower that Marriott sold the property and now is disaray. I viewed the brief filmstrip and am almost in tears. How could such a beautiful resort in the most gorgeous part of the world be allowed to be so demolished. It’s a shame and so senseless. Hopefully it can be resorted to its hayday.

United Kingdom helen from London, United Kingdom
May 7, 2010 16:01

i have been to sam lords since 1991 when they had a shark and monkys there wow what a fantastic place that was i loved it ,i have been going to Barbados for 15 years i am very sad to see this happen and a pieace of Barbados has gone …..very upsetting to see whats happened

United States peter from naples from Florida, United States
May 17, 2010 8:20

I visited the castle in the late 60′s and early 70′s. I am greatly saddened by its current condition. Shame!
The Sunday brunch by the pool with the steel band was not to be missed.

United States Diane from California, United States
Jun 22, 2010 18:45

I stayed at Sam Lord’s Castle in 1990 and had the time of my life. It was such a gorgeous resort and so romantic,. It’s a time in my life that I will always treasure. I’ve always thought about returning but felt I could never top the time when I was there. I’m just so thankful that I didn’t as I’d have been heartbroken to have stumbled across the ruins it’s in now. It’s so painful to view the video.

Germany Karla Erika Weber- Ehrlich from Sachsen, Germany
Jun 23, 2010 5:25

Mein Verwandter hatte das Sam Lords Castle1924 gekauft und es auch bis zu seinem Ableben 1954 aufgesucht und verwaltet. Das habe ich von meinem Vater erfahren, weil der besagte Herr 1933 zu Besuch bei seinem Bruder war. Er und seine Tochter schwärmten förmlich von dem Anwesen, sodass ich mir die ganze Geschischte über den Verlauf und auch den Verfall des Besitztumes meines Verwandten verfolgt habe. Ich bin schockiert über den Verlauf, So hatte sich das garantiert mein Verwandter nicht vorgestellt, dass nach seinem Ableben sein Sam Lord s Castel so ein schlimmes Ende mal haben würde. Er verbrachte immer die Wintermonate dort, weil es ihm in den USA zu kalt war. Ich hoffe , dass sich noch alles zum guten wendet und Sam lord s Castle zum neuen Glanz erblühen wird. Bis dahin alles alles gute Sam lord s Castle!

United Kingdom Gerry Frew from Bonny Scotland. from United Kingdom
Jun 23, 2010 9:20

I was really saddened to see the deterioration of the world famous Sam Lord’s Castle.
My wife and I stayed there often, starting way back to the time when the Stewarts owned it.
In those days you were treated like a part of the Stewart family, super food, marvellous attention night and day, wonderful evening entertainment.
We were still going there once or twice a year when it was taken over by Marriots.
Cheffie Benson suddenly had to agree to the way Marriot did the food with strictly measured portions etc, that didn’t go down well with him and he eventually left to go to another hotel up the West Coast.
Most of the loyal returning guests like us started to see the writing on the wall and gradually found other resorts to suit our needs.
Marriots built a huge new block on the cliffs but the ambiance was lost and it was becoming a resort for five day visitors from the USA.
Attendance at the restaurants in the evening got thinner and thinner as guest chose to dine at bars that sprang up outside the gates offering food at considerably lower prices.
The added conference centre that had kept some business going, fell away too.

Many years later on a stopover from a trip to Guyana to the Kaiteur Falls we decided to return one last time to Sam Lords.Now you had to pass a gateman to get in !
What a disappointment with guests so thin on the ground it was obvious something was wrong.
All the staff we had known were gone, with one exception, a Mr Husband who used to be head barman, now apparently manager in the conference centre.
As we walked down the entranceway he was walking towards us and lo and behold he recognised me after all those twenty years.
That was really something and definitely made my day.

Sadly now all gone with the memories of so many friends we made there.

United Kingdom Jimmy from Surrey, United Kingdom
Jul 6, 2010 12:49

I proposed to my wife at Sam Lord’s Castle back in 1999 in the restaurant at the far end of the estate and we returned two years later as a married couple. We’ve had two children since who are fascinated by pirates and were delighted when I suggested that we go to Sam Lord’s Castle… but it’s not to be. It was a superb holiday destination with great food, bars and entertainment. The employees there were fabulous too; very friendly, helpful and professional. I do hope it’s brought to life again and my budding buccaneers hope so too.

United States David Pogodinski from Massachusetts, United States
Aug 8, 2010 9:31

I stumbled on this article by accident and could not belive my eyes. My wife and I stayed at Sam Lord’s in 1972 before Marriott purchased and expanded the property. It was the first of many vacations to come, and it still rates in my top three. I was so enthralled with the carved plaster ceilings that I have in excess of 100 slides of the details. It took a european master over four years of his life to create those ceilings. All I can say is that this is shame beyond belief.

United States Michael in NYC from New York, United States
Aug 10, 2010 9:03

I never visited the Castle, but some of my colleagues did and I had always wanted to see it.. Having been involved in meeting & incentive travel since the 1980s, I was always impressed by the history and reputation of this place, as well as the ambiance of Barbados which I have experienced at other properties. Given the timeline, surely 9/11 and the war played a role in Marriott’s exit and its demise as a profitable hotel, and perhaps given the current financial crisis, there is no business case to be made or financing available to reopen it, several other old-school Caribbean resorts have closed as well like Dorado in Puerto Rico…But for heaven’s sake, the Castle itself is a historic treasure with a great story behind it and should be preserved if not for tourists, than at least for the people of Barbados as some kind of museum.

Canada Annie Mathura from Ontario, Canada
Aug 25, 2010 18:12

i visited Barbados for the first time last week from Toronto Canada and of course was fascinated by the Sam Lord’s Saga so it was a must see for me.Imagine my dismay when i saw the once fabulous mansion.The Gov’t should without hesitation take over that site and restore that building to what everyone said it once was.Then i would visit Barbados again.Hopefully this doesn’t happen to Harrison’s Cave!!!!

United States Steve from Connecticut, United States
Aug 30, 2010 20:17

It is a shame that such a wonderful place in such a great location has fallen into ruins. I was there in 2001and it wasn’t in the greatest shape but its remoteness and history is what I loved most. I hope that someone takes charge and renovates it so I can stay there again someday. The beaches were wonderful.

United Kingdom sandie carnes from Bath and North East Somerset, United Kingdom
Sep 14, 2010 17:21

We were married in Sam Lords Castle, and having just looked at the film made me cry, we were going to stay here with our children, so very very sad, i cant imagine how it came to this, please bring it back to us,

United States Marie and Mark from Pa., U.S. from Pennsylvania, United States
Sep 17, 2010 18:10

Honeymooned for a week at Sam Lord’s in ’85. Wanted to return for our 25th…shame on the government of Barbados for allowing this to happen!

United Kingdom Noel Stannard from Lancashire, United Kingdom
Sep 25, 2010 6:31

I spent my honeymoon there early in 1963 – a beautiful place – far superior to the hotels on the lee side of the island. The above video was so sad to see and what an absolute waste of a beautiful building, and business.
Noel Stannard – London

United Kingdom Sarah and Nick Andrews from North Ayrshire, United Kingdom
Sep 28, 2010 17:14

We got married at Sam Lords Castle in 1999 and had the most amazing time and it is heartbreaking to see it now. We hope to return one day when it is restored.

United States Tracy from Michigan, USA from Michigan, United States
Oct 18, 2010 22:43

I am absolutely shocked! I just decided to look up the hotel that my husband and I became engaged at . What a sad moment for me. We visited in 1994 and the place was absolutely breath taking. I’m very sad to hear of the demise of Sam Lord’s Castle. I have such wonderful memories and lots of beautiful pictures and video to remember this gem by the sea side. I hope in the future that someone will bring back this beauty to its potential. The beach area was the best I’ve ever visited……can’t believe it!!!

United States Victor Edwin Stewart from New Jersey, United States
Oct 22, 2010 0:43

I have made this same posting on several blogs with the Barbados Free Press, but feel that I should make it here as well. I am a litigator by profession in the United States, and specialize in securities and commodities fraud, both domestic and international, and I would dearly love to meet the perpetrators of this atrocity in a jurisdiction where I could return the favor:

As a member of the family that owned Sam Lord’s Castle in its glory days before we sold the hotel to the Marriotts, I can say unequivocally that this is a complete and utter disgrace. Now, at best, the Castle can become a burned out shell, much like Farley Hill, where visitors to the grounds can only speculate as to what former grandeur once existed therein. I well remember as a small boy roaming around inside that wonderful mansion before it too was burned to the ground “under mysterious circumstances.”

From a cynical point of view, I will observe that since everything possible had already been stolen out of the Castle, including the very balustrade going up the staircase to the first floor bedrooms, few if any of the precious heirlooms belonging to the Castle were destroyed by this fire. Perhaps those that have stolen all of the valuables out of the Castle in past years will now think that they are safe, and will try to claim that such items were destroyed by the fire, but luckily there are sufficient intrepid photographers who have photographed the interiors of the Castle in the last few years who have the necessary evidence that everything of value was long gone before the ravages of this fire.

Perhaps now, if the government of Barbados has any sense of remorse over the mishandling of this priceless and unique national treasure, it will finally launch an investigation into where all of the stolen paintings, furniture and other items belonging to Sam Lord’s Castle and thus rightfully to the people of Barbados might now be secreted on the island. I will be happy to bear witness to the fact that when my family sold the Castle to the Marriott’s, it was with the strict condition that the contents of the Castle, including the paintings, furniture, Sam Lord’s bed and dining table and many other valuables were never to leave the Castle, and were to remain in perpetuity there in trust for the people of Barbados. Pehaps in some small way now the government of Barbados might attempt to redeem my father’s legacy and recover some of those valuables, many of which I believe are still on the island hidden away in private homes.

With great sorrow on this mournful day, I extend my sincere condolences to the people of Barbados on the tragic loss of part of their heritage.

Victor Edwin Stewart
Castle Close
St. Philip

Canada Ruby Hamilton (nee Lord) from Ontario, Canada
Oct 22, 2010 9:38

I am the granddaughter of Fredrick and Annie Lord of St. Lucia and the second daughter of Walter Bruce Lord. I am now 82 years old and so saddened by this loss. I well remember my visit there and the family stories my father told to me. He too said that Sam Lord was painted with a more colourful brush than the actual truth. It really doesn’t matter, it is my heritage and I know that some of my and my children’s history, has been lost. I am happy that so many people were able to enjoy what he had built and wish that it had continued.
Sadly, Ruby Lord

United States Andy Peters from Alabama, United States
Oct 25, 2010 10:17

I was the food and beverage director for Marriott 1986-1989 at Sam Lord’s Castle – this picture is very sad. I visited with my family January 2009 and we took a taxi over to the resort and saw what had happened to this once beautiful resort. What a shame. Lots of memories here…………..good times.

Canada Bob D'Arcy from British Columbia, Canada
Oct 31, 2010 20:23

Working for Stewart Smith out of Montreal in 1971 we were so fortunate to have George Stewart host a gang of us for a “business conference” at the Castle. As near as I can figure all but 2 of the attendees are no longer with us and now the Castle is gone too. It was great even including the trips late to town to “Dirty Harry’s”. Such great memories.

United Kingdom Mary from Derbyshire, United Kingdom
Nov 4, 2010 6:21

We stayed at a hotel 5 minutes from here from the 1st October 2010 to the 15th October 2010 this year (1 week before the fire). The gates were open and we walked in and looked all round the grounds and the castle. There were loads of bats inside – the castle was amazing, but totally derelict and falling to bits. No signs of any security of any sort. Its such a shame that this was allowed to happen.

Sarah McGuffie-Terpstra from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Nov 15, 2010 17:28

To George, Francine, Ruby, Brittany, and Francine Lord: My great-great-great grandfather, John McGuffie of Wigtown Scotland, was a personal friend of Samuel Hall Lord and had business dealings with him for several years while he lived in Bridgetown. My parents visited your grandfather’s mansion in 1981 when it was so beautiful. Our hearts are broken at this tragedy. I am so sorry for your loss. To learn more about my grandfather, read the book The House that Sugar Built by Donna Brewster. I would love to meet you all in person sometime!

Peter Bruce
Nov 16, 2010 17:02

I echo the sentiments of others, here. I was at Sam Lord’s Castle several times in my childhood with my parents and once as an adult in 1997. It serenely and majestically complemented Barbados’ island charm. I’ll miss it dearly, but I have happy memories. If someone restores it, as I hope, so much the better.

Nov 23, 2010 0:57

I was there in 1989 as a camera man there to film the castle and we stayed there too , i was jus thinking of booking up to go there for christmas and i was saddened to come across this news, i still have the footage some where showing Barbados and Sam Lords of people enjoying them selves on the beach and in the pool, waving at the camera,
and grand shots from the fountain,
are well yes its a shame

John Mowles
Nov 23, 2010 3:37

I have just read of the fire that has destroyed what was once a large part of Barbados` heritage. Indeed , at the time I first visited Barbadaos ( 1972) Sam Lord`s Castle was a premier tourist attraction and was on every new visitors` places -to-see list.
I have many fond memories from those pre-1990s years when a group of new friends would make our (mini-moke & rum) tour of the island ; the lovely secluded beach was always the obligatory stop-for-a-swim place, never failing to impress the “newbies’ in the crowd. And the not-so-newbies. The house and grounds were well kept in those days and provided a beautiful and elegant look into the past.
It was sad to witness the deterioration and then the plans for renewal, a 600 room hotel not exactly imparting the ambience of the original. So the visits became less frequent ; in fact I hadn`t been to the site since 1993.
One by one the old friends depart…the Caribbean Pepperpot, the Bird`s Nest, Slim and his Bel Air jazz club, Seawell airport….
It saddened me to see such a tragic ending for Sam Lord`s.
I think a Mount Gay and coke would be an appropriate farewell.

Rich Donow
Dec 24, 2010 17:16

My wife, Lenore and I honeymooned at Sam Lord’s back in March 1980, and have always wanted to go back there someday. Life, three kids, and a rather lackluster job history have left that impossible. Now I have come across this story, and video, and am thoroughly heartbroken. Aside from the sunburn that we suffered on our first full day there, I truely enjoyed every moment. We do have a wonderful photo that I took of the castle that shows the windows of the room on the second floor where we stayed. That will have to remain our lasting memory of this jewel of the Caribbean where we started out over thirty years ago.

Peter Valenzuela
Dec 27, 2010 13:51

As a former Marriott General Manager from 1990 to 1996 I was saddened by the pictures and the article.

Jim Magnes
Jan 9, 2011 6:01

Our memories of Sam Lord’s Castle Resort go back to 1974. We visited yearly until 1983 and we now visit yearly again since 2007. What a mess. It’s hard to believe that this has happened. Our early memories are special, and we were very surprised at the mess we saw in 2007.
Being a national treasure, we expected the government to step in and clean everything up for us all, so what a disappointment. Hopefully this will happen now as the structure is still OK and all of the wonderful and historical items will be returned for the reopening – they must be in storage somewhere.

Janet Gates
Jan 20, 2011 21:30

We stayed at Sam Lords Castle in 1990 for our honeymoon. I’ll never forget how shocked my husband was to find out that there were no televisions in any of the rooms. The place was remote, the scenery was gorgeous and we had a ocean view room. There were nice gardens and a beautiful pool on the premises. Though this treasure is gone, I would hope that the owners would rebuild a similar place as a tribute to Sam Lord and the people of Barbardos.

Jan 31, 2011 14:21

I was privledged to stay at the Castle several times in the 1970s and it was “paradise.” I was a nanny helping to care for six kids and you would have thought I was a treasured guest, not just someone employed by the wealthy parents. The staff was so good to the children, even arranging an Easter Egg hunt for Easter Sunday, even though it’s not a Bajan custom. The beach was perfect , the villa was gorgeous, and the food was amazing. I an heartbroken this beautiful, historic, treasure has been lost to the Bajan people. The Government should confiscate the land and find investors to recreate the Castle, exactly as it once was.

ann gower
Mar 15, 2011 6:43

My family stayed at Sam Lords for two weeks in 2000 it was paradise.From the moment we arrived at
Sam lords we were on holiday,and were taken to the accomodation by an electric buggy.the food was fantastic and so were the staff.The gardens were amazing, it was the best holiday and hotel we have ever stayed at. When I learnt of the destruction of this beautiful place it brought tears to my eyes.
The place was steeped in history and had a magical quality about it. Why are people with money allowed to desecrate beautiful places with there ugly developments.They clearly left it to decay and set fire to it leaving the way clear to demolish. I shall cherish the memories of the place along with the videos and photographs I have. THE OWNERS SHOULD BE MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT TO RESTORE THE PROPERTY TO ITS FORMER GLORY. THE WHOLE ISLAND IS BECOMING A PARADISE LOST.

Donald S. Consiglio
Mar 21, 2011 19:50

The fiery destruction of Sam Lord’s Castle is a major tragic loss to the beautiful citizens of Barbados, and the visitors as well. I just came across this sad news as I was reading different articles about Barbados on the internet. Many years ago in 1977 I visited the castle, and then a year later my fiance Alice and I got married in Barbados (june 1978), (Worthing parish). We visited the castle together, enjoyed the park like property and took a number of photos. Within the next few years, (32 years since we were last there) hopefully less, we will be visiting your lovely tropical isle. I have been following the news in Barbados, some archives too. You folks have experienced many changes. Respectively I say to the officials of government, please do not allow rampant development to spoil your small country….Preserve open spaces for the pleasure of your citizens and for the children. Take care of what you have there. Cherish it. God Bless You All. Sincerely, Don S. C from New York State PS Rebuild Sam Lord’s Castle.

Nancy Moser
Apr 7, 2011 17:10

My husband and I had the privilege to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversay at Sam Lord’s Castle. It was a beautiful and magical place. We had always hoped to go back one day. How very sad to see what has happened to it. We will always remember it fondly.

Susie from South East London
Apr 14, 2011 4:12

My husband and I celebrated our honeymoon at Sam Lords Castle in May 2000. It was an amazing place and we have so many wonderful memories. Its gutting to see what has happened to it now. I hope one day someone restores it to how beautiful it used to be.

Jun 27, 2011 22:14

I had the privledge of being stationed in Barbados back in July 1976 – December 1977. I was able to stay at Sam Lords Castle for a very enjoyable weekend. It was such a beautiful and wonder place to visit and stay at. I was shocked to see what had happened there. I have so many wonderful memories of Sam Lords Castle. I will never forget the wonderful time that I had there. I will miss it……..

Jul 21, 2011 20:25

Stayed at Marriott’s Sam Lord’s Castle in the late ’80s and was the best vaca ever! Hoped to return soon but never heard of the tragedy. The staff taught us as kids to make little lassos to catch the lizards and everyday at 5pm “ole, ole, ole ole, feelin hot, hot, hot …” would play to start happy hour. So sad :(

Sandy Krause
Aug 8, 2011 23:21

I was absolutely heartsick to hear of & see the demise of what brought me & my husband such wonderful memories. I so hope the Castle will arise again.

Bill Schooley
Aug 23, 2011 11:46

I had visited Sam Lords several times in the md 80s and my wife, then fiance took our first vaction there. We stayed in the castle proprt and attended the Queen’s Dinner twice.. It is a treasure that will live on in our memories.

George Cowie
Aug 28, 2011 16:56

We stayed at Sam Lords Castle resort in 1999 and 2000. Both holidays were amazing. My children still talk about it!n We hope that someone develops it again and that we can return!

Aug 31, 2011 6:46

WOW!! How sad!!!!!
My wife and I got married there in November 2000 and it was awesome. What a great place it was. Great history, great resort.
We are going to Barbados in 1 month and we were planning on bringing our children there to show them where we got married….really a sad story.

Bill Gardner
Sep 2, 2011 15:27

Stayed at Sam Lord’s for our honeymoon back in 1979. Not only was it a fantastic property, but we found the people of Barbados to be so friendly and pleasant to be around. Hope that still holds true.

We were going to go back to Sam Lord’s for our 25th anniversary and we really disappointed to find out it had fallen into disrepair and closed.

Where on the east coast would one stay now?

Cindy Bracy
Sep 7, 2011 14:27

My husband and I stayed at Sam Lord’s in 1992 for our honeymoon. I remember the bats flying by the pool, the outdoor restaurant, the nearly empty beach with the “coconut man”, and the turtles and monkeys on the property on display. So sad that we cannot go back next year for our 20th wedding anniversary. It was a beautiful and magical place.

Terry Lambert
Sep 27, 2011 16:56

My wife and I married in 1983, didn’t have the opportunity to have a “real” honeymoon but in 1985 had the chance of a life time. The company my wife worked for sent us on a 7 day all expense paid trip to Barbados… to Sam Lords Castle, our real Honeymoon!! I just found out today what has happen to one of the MOST special places in our lives. I did shed a tear, Thank God I have a ton of pictures of that beautiful place.

Oct 7, 2011 12:46


Oct 11, 2011 21:51

I went to Sam Lord’s Castle in 1978, a first time vacation with my then boyfriend and another couple. It was a lovely place, with several pools, all “womb” temperature. I recall sitting on the beach, facing Africa, being totally relaxed and blissful. The staff was polite and welcoming. I have often thought of those five days with fond memories and a glow of recollections. I am so sorry to learn of its downturn and destruction, A glimpse into another by-gone time gone forever.

Oct 29, 2011 9:21

Wow, this is tragic! how can the Barbadian government allow part of their history be destroyed like this?

I stayed here with my then girlfriend in 1998 and fell in love with the place and my girlfriend. The girlfriend is now my wife of 12 years and we now have 2 lovely daughters.

Thankyou Sam Lords, for all the memories of the best holiday I’ve ever had..

Nov 11, 2011 0:08

My early teenage years were and are immersed in the tree frog nights of Barbados (1960′s). I can still hear the steel drums playing down by the pool bar overlooking the moon lit beach. George Stewart the owner of the hotel would be playing poker using the serial numbers of the Bajan money and the rum would be flowing freely poured by the albino bar tender named Red. The regulars would flock to the island every winter and spring and on New Years George would provide a fortune in fireworks which we merrily ignited after changing from our cumberbun and Tuxedos into asbestos gloves and sweat shirts.

In the Castle a formal dinner was held each New Year and we all sang God Save the Queen as well as God Bless America. George was English but his wife was American so we divided things evenly. These vacations I took with my family were like something from a dream as I look back today. I don’t think it is possible to have had a better childhood.

I stayed in Castle Close a few years ago with my own family and as I walked the old derelict grounds, past the now blackened pool,where my teenage years still echoed and my father and mother still delighted in their afternoon bloody Mary or Bull Shot I was saddened to my core. I couldn’t believe this grand, historical place with all its wonderful memories had been left to rot. When I heard it was burnt down I almost preferred the idea of the castle being cleansed from the earth instead of sitting in a state of continuous dilapidation.

I’m coming back to Barbados this January and though the Castle is no more the tree frogs at night and the waves crashing on the shore transport me back to those halcyon days so long ago.

Nov 13, 2011 17:48

omg !!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have just found out what happened and its really upsetting we got married at sam lords in1999 andthen went back the following year . It is one of the most beautiful islands we have visited and to find out we may never be able to stay there again is tragic . I hope sam lords rises from the ashes to become the great place that it was.

Jennifer Kay Hubbard, Oil & Watercolor Artist
Dec 1, 2011 10:54

After visiting Sam Lord’s Castle during its splendor in June 2000, I will forever hold the mystical memories of this property within me. So saddened by its demise, I would like to share an image that is synonimous in my mind with the island of Barbados. We walked out onto the colorful grounds, past the Castle. A wedding was taking place on the property, under the coconut trees. Flowers and lush tropical plants were everywhere.. As we stood on the high cliff, facing the Atlantic sea, the 7′ waves were raging. The wind was strong, blowing fierce. I imagined Sam Lord, 1778-1884, standing where I was, looking out toward the sea. Only a memory now, never to be forgotten. Will I ever be able to re-live this memory? Will someone please rebuild and restore the historical Sam Lord’s Castle?
Please view my painting of Bathsheba Beach, Barbados on Facebook: Jennifer Kay Hubbard ART

Dec 21, 2011 18:32

We lived on Barbados when we were children in the late 60′s and our father was building places like Sunset Crest and the hilton Hotel – a treat would be to go to Sam Lord’s Castle of a weekend for the Sunday buffet with lobster salad, it was magical , both the castle and the beach below – luckily no-one can take those memories from us all, but what a tragedy to see it gone.

Kayleigh Allen
Jan 15, 2012 19:42

This news has broken my heart I can’t believe this could be left to happen to such a beautiful national treasure! I stayed here as a child, our first caribbean holiday in 1998, 1999 and 2000. They’re still the best holidays we ever had as a family. The Sea Grill Restaurant the best place I’ve eaten and the tales of Sam lord still fresh in my memory today. Bajan government ought to be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen! If I was a multi millionaire I’d buy and restore the place my self!

helen tomlin
Jan 29, 2012 8:22

i have seen and been to sam lords castle many times and was shocked to see how this fairy tail land has ended up ,but now i feel it should be put to rest and known as it was in memory for glory days to be fullfilled,it a wonderful island for people to move on and enjoy ,ive been going every year since 1991 and things change for better and the worse but dont restore the past move on but just dont forget ….enjoy you had a piece of heaven cause thats where Barbados is ….

julia clark
Feb 2, 2012 6:39

when i holiday in barbados i saw sam lords castle all i would have liked to do was been given a joint opportunity to turn the castle into a profit making business like it had been in the past but better, i have worked in catering most of my life and now am saddened to hear of the fire in 2010, a paradise island in loss of a great asset, sorry to hear this, good luck to the future!!

Jean Mansfield
Feb 10, 2012 12:32

I must be the last person to hear of this tragedy! We spent a few days there 20 years ago while visiting this beautiful island.
If I could afford it I would go back in a heartbeat but it would be very sad to see Sam lords in the present state.
Such wonderful memmories! Loved the Island and the people.
Thank you Barbados.
p.s. Just had a thought…..Perhaps sir Cliff Rchards could help with funding for restoration?

helen tomlin
Feb 24, 2012 19:41

went back infebruary 2012 may be in ruins but the memory is ever lasting in my heart the island is wonderful

Chris Falletta
Feb 28, 2012 15:46

What a shame…

I lived on the property for about a year before moving to Castle Close when I was working for Marriott from 92′ to 95′ Sam Lord’s Castle was not only a magnificent property but the staff who worked there made it even better. I was one day hoping to bring my now Wife and Sons there to visit….. Here’s to hoping the Economy and Tourism Industry gains strength so that a major Resort Investor can realize “their dream” on one of the finest pieces of Resort Property in the World…..!

Erika Sachsen / Germany
Mar 1, 2012 12:09

Ich kann nur meine Frage vom Juni 23. 2010 wiederholen!
Wer waren die Eigentuemer von Sam Lord s Castle ab 1920 – 1960 ?
Die Sprache war mal von einem amerikanischen Millionaer ?
Wie war sein Name !
Ich bitte Euch um Antworten auf meine Frage.
Mein Verwandter ist um 1900 aus Germany ausgewandert und soll Sam Lord s Castle
Gekauft haben.
Kann mir das jemand bestaetigen und seinen Namen schreiben?
Vielen Dank !

David Blackburne
Apr 9, 2012 23:28

My wife and I stayed at Sams Lord Castle in the late 80s. We loved it, we even met another family by the name of Blackburne which is rare.(dblackburne@hotmail.com), just incase they read this, please drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing. I have to admit I lost your address. And to my friend “Tedford Grimes” a security officer there, please drop me a line Tedford. We’ll miss this place had some nice memories.

coral dinner
Jun 13, 2012 4:51

i am very sad to hear what has happened to SAM LORDS. mY husband and i stayed there in 1999 and it was a wonderful place. Lovely friendly staff and a wonderful atmosphere . ihave the lovely memories on the warm trade winds as sitting on the beach late evening while the music of bob marley sung by a member of staff.. I DO HOPE THERE IS A WEALTHY PERSON OUT THERE WHO COULD BUY SAM LORDS AND RESTORE THOS HISTORIC BUILDING TO ITS FORMER GLORY AND RETURN THE LOVELY HOTEL TOTHE STANDARD IT WAS. is Richard BRANSON READING THIS!!!!!

Jim McGinnis
Jul 1, 2012 21:20

My wife and spent our 10th year wedding anniversary back in 1990. We loved Sam Lords Castle. What a same a beautiful Hotel burned to the ground. I hope they bring the pirate of Sam Lord back. Come back Sam Lord.

wendy purvis
Jul 15, 2012 12:19

It is very sad to see what has happened to sam lords castle. my husband and me spent 10 days there for our honeymoon in feb 2001 it was a true paradise. would love to have gone back there again but now it is not possible.please someone do something with it as it was a very gorgeous place to stay. i can still remember the sea veiw from our room and the fab beach party.

Jul 27, 2012 21:59

We spent our honeymoon there in 1987 while it was a Marriot. It was a wonderful resort. Such a terrible shame.

Jul 31, 2012 18:10

My husband and I and several friends stayed at Sam Lord’s Castle in the 90′s. We had a wonderful time! The rooms, the food and the staff were great! I was trying to find information for another vacation there when I read that it was closed! I am so saddened that no one has been able to save Sam Lord’s Castle!

Paul Wild
Sep 5, 2012 18:15

My late wife,June, and I spent a fabulous fortnight at Sam Lord’s Castle in 2002. It was such a lovely homely hotel and the staff were really friendly and helpful. I was filled with sorrow when I heard recently of it’s demise.

Brent Hotham
Sep 22, 2012 15:50

What a Bajan national tradgedy that the castle is gone. I think a greater tragedy is the way the government has allowed it to happen. There are other items the government has lost sight of as well such as the sad state of the island. Having travelled to Barbados over 40 times I find the cleanliness of the island very sad. The Gap is turning into a joke; example the closing of The Ship Inn, Josefs, etc. The people of Barbados need to get back to the friendly people of years ago as well.

Richard Tougas
Oct 8, 2012 16:01

I visited Sam Lord’s Castle for the first time in 1968, I was apprentice mechanic for Air Canada at the time. In October 1972 Sy lvie and myself spent our honeymoon there. We enjoyed the guests, the staff, namely that nice bar tender who had lost a leg to a shark or that gentle trainee with giant hands that we reassured after he spilled some turtle egg soup on the tablecloth. We found the beach so nice past the mahogany trees yet so powerful. Sylvie was terrified by the tiny crabs under her lounge chair and by the lizard on her night gown.
In 1974 we returned with my parents, their first vacation by plane. We stayed in the adjacent Clark’s cottage; my father loved getting up early to watch the sun rise. We toured the island in a mini-moke, at one point the 3 passengers had to disembark to climb a hill that was too steep for the miniature engine. Barely a year after my father passed away.
We only have good memories of Barbados, espacially of Sam Lord’s Castle and we hope it can rise again from its ashes. I could then provide again so much joy, comfort and good memories to new generation of guests.

Richard and Sylvie Tougas,
Terrebonne, Qc, Canada

Nov 13, 2012 21:28

My husband and I honeymooned at Sam Lord’s Castle in 1989. I am saddened to learn that it has since burned down. I hope the Barbados government has a plan to restore the property.

Cara Sauriol
Jan 10, 2013 19:08

I read a comment that said that they must be the last person to find out about the terribel neglect and fire – no, I’m the last person. I also have loads of memories about Sam Lord’s Castle – my first visit there was in 1973. It sparked an interest in history that I have never lost. I am saddened that I will not be able to share this treasure with my twin girls on our upcoming visit – they’ve heard stories and seen the pictures.

I do grieve for what was and can only hope that someone who cares will take Sam Lord’s Castle and bring it back to it’s glory. I also think that the Bajan government needs to take a hand in getting this particular historic site back to where it should be. Shame on those who let things come to this!!!

Veronica Bartlett
Jan 13, 2013 12:22

I lived in Grenada, with my partner Martin Woodhouse (Author) when he completed his book Mama Doll,
we decided to to plane hop to Barbados, and stayed at Sam Lords Castle for a well earned rest.
This was in 1968 and Sam Lords Castle was the place to be, We had a lovely garden guest suite in the magical grounds
the beach just a walk away,being on the Atlantic side the noise of the breaking waves was fantastic,and the stay
was memorable,it had a beautiful boutique and I remember buying Mary Quant clothes.
While we lived in the West Indies we did a lot of Island hopping (BWIA),of all the places we stayed
Sam Lords Castle was the best.
How sad it was when I read what had happened to that wonderful hotel, brings back so many happy

d. rexrode
May 20, 2013 10:54

My husband and I stayed at Sam Lords Castle Marriott in June 1985 . The staff allowed me to go through the castle and take pictures. It was an experience to remember. Thank full for my great photos from then, not knowing of this tragic disaster leaves me troubled.
The staff also informed us that Princess Diana and her other half were going to be staying at the S.L Castle in the month of October of that year.
It has been 28 years now and I wanted to go back someday with my husband. What a shame, time lost.
I will now cherish my pictures and hold dear those memories.

D. Rexrode

Jul 9, 2013 20:13

In 1978 I stayed at Sam Lord’s Castle with my family. At 12yrs old I could appreciate the splendor and history of the Bajan people and their island. Apparently something these “developers” can’t grasp. It absolutely breaks my heart to see what has happened. I was hoping to take my father back and was horrified when I saw why I couldn’t find the resort anymore. Granted it was only a 10 day vacation when we were there but the memories of eating flying fish almost every night, dancing, drinking “virgin” piña coladas by the pool, wind surfing and swimming in the most perfect ocean ever ( despite the natural tar staining my suit) and the staff. Oh my goodness! The staff! They are absolutely the loveliest memory I have. They made you feel as if you were their family and belonged there. I wish I had the millions needed to make it right.

Elena K
Aug 7, 2013 11:14

My friend and I flew to Barbados all the way from California for a much needed vacation. It was in the mid 90′s and we stayed at Sam Lord’s Castle. It was owned by the Marriott corporation at the time. We arrived in the evening, and the castle was so very imposing all lit up. It was a marvel to look at. We stayed in one of the cottages closer to the path to the beach. But every morning we would walk by the castle on our way to breakfast and exclaim at how beautiful it was. Once evening we even walked into it’s interior to take a peek. I remember the staff was so welcoming. We were even invited to a luau on the beach one evening. I remember all of the cats on the grounds. As I love cats, I thought it was wonderful that these creatures were so content to walk and play on the grounds. We stayed for 10 days and at the end of our vacation, didn’t want to leave. I am so very heartbroken of hearing about the news of the fire of this wonderful mansion and the degradation of the entire estate. I am hoping that one day there will be another great resort built on the property and that it will be a homage to Sam Lord himself

Chris Carnevale
Aug 23, 2013 17:13

Sam Lord’s Castle was not just a place, but an amazing experience that I will cherish forever. I stayed there as a 12 year old back in 1973 with a wonderful Pan American flight crew (my dad being one of them). Eating together with the crew, I remember how everyone loved being there and would try to arrange their trip schedules to get back there as much as possible. Everything was perfect, including the staff, the beauty and the atmosphere. For example, I still remember the nice, morning cook offering me to make anything I wanted while standing behind an amazing buffet of food including fruits that I never heard of. However, the essence of Sam Lord’s Castle is indescribable. Sam Lord’s Castle was the jewel of the world and will remain the paradise of my dreams.

B Chuhran
Sep 10, 2013 18:16

We also stayed at Sam Lords castle. it was our honeymoon and it was Oct of 1985. We were trying to plan a repeat visit this year and are devastated to now the castle and resort are gone. We have so many great memories of the castle and the people we met there. I can’t imagine going to Barbados and staying anywhere else. We also will cherish our memories and photos.

margie &Floyd Poore
Oct 2, 2013 18:23

We were heartbroken to finally learn @ Sam Lords fate! It was one of the most beatiful resorts in the world and we visited it often, We loved Barbados so much even thought @ purchasing property near Sam Lords. Hopefully someone can restore this property to its rightful place. Crane Beach appears amazing.. Mayme that owner could purchase it with help from the government

Felicia F
Dec 3, 2013 23:50

We stayed at Sams Lords in Sams room, his masters chamber as it was called next to the library upstairs. We stayed for quite a while and befriended some locals who explained that the hotel was haunted….we didn’t believe them till after the third or so night. Wierd noises like whispering, camera “fell to the floor” by itself and very cold spots in an otherwise warm room. According to the neighbors there that worked in the hotel for a time, the room next to ours they could only put flight crews because the energy and goings on would scare them. The fire could be the spirits upset of the condition and wanting it to themselves is my take….you would have to stay there in that place to know what I am talking about. It was definitely nothing my husband or myself would believe unless we felt and saw it for ourselves. Not a joke…wierd energy in there especially around the library next to us. It was Sams personal living area.

San Lord was a land based pirate…he was deported as a British Subject back to England and was killed in the Tower of London for hanging lanterns in the trees off the craggy point in St. Philip. The ships would come in from England loaded with antiques and provisions and he would send his slaves out to loot the ship when they would crash on the rocks thinking they had landed in a harbor…..

The place had many antiques and royal paintings etc that the Kingdom wanted returned. He declined the request and they came and tool him back and beheaded him under the piracy act of England. He is the only non ship captain to ever be killed in the tower of such a crime.

I am however very sad, it was indeed a beautiful place and a bit of history and pirate lore that is in ruins…it is back to the natural state and alone as it wishes. I am very sad as it is a place I will never forget….I remember looking out over the lawn from his masters chambers with the original wooden shutters making noise in the wind…looking out to the windy cove the ships came in on thinking of Sam and what he thought of it all then. A part of my life….


pat odwyer
Dec 23, 2013 6:29

my husband mike was director of engineering in the late 80′s we lived down by sharkhole , sam lords had the best of everything the staff were lovely and seemed to enjoy working in sam lords , i can only say it added a wonderful memories to out lives back in england i still keep in touch with friends there in st phillip, not only have they lost a national treasure they have lost a big chunk of the community as there is very little work in st phillip and so im told it was arson which makes it even worse

Michael Doyon
Mar 1, 2014 11:04

Was a guest many times in the 80′s…it was the best place in the whole region to stay and play. I watched the video and was heart broken when I saw how bad the property looked. At this point I really don’t want to return to Barbados.

marc smith usa
Mar 25, 2014 13:22

Have been many times over the decades. As a developer of properties and projects I can guess that what was left of Sam’s was torched to keep people and their cameras away. Much more easy to start anew than work with something historic.

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