Southern Palms doesn't have to try very hard because it is situated on the most stunning beach. And therein lies the problem! We recently stayed for 10 days of complete relaxation, and location-wise, this was perfect. However, if I am to make a judgment on the hotel, there are a few downfalls.
We were shown to our room and immediately felt uncomfortable - it was sizeable, and seemed clean, but it had a very thin adjoining door to the next room, there were quite a few ants in the bathroom coming in through a very open air vent (which could fit larger creepy crawlies through!), and the balcony was not very private or pleasant to sit out on. We enquired about changing rooms (we rarely, if ever, have done this before!), and the room we settled in was much better - we sacrificed size, a bath and a kitchenette area, but it was in another part of the hotel that was much nicer, and the balcony literally overlooked the stunning beach with nobody able to view you from around.
Apart from three individuals who stand out, the service here is diabolical, and I rarely use such a strong word. Eldrick, who showed us to our room and moved us again, was lovely and nothing was too much trouble; the man in the watersports office was very friendly; and the guy who puts the sun loungers away at the end of the day and who seems to be general help was also lovely and they all deserve recognition. Apart from that, the staff are unbelievably miserable and unhelpful. We've been to Barbados before, and encountered only a sunny demeanour - not here! The management really needs to do something to cheer them up, especially the ladies who work in the bar - asking for a cocktail solicited such unfriendliness I was puzzled! I can't comment on the reception staff as we didn't really speak to them, but they seemed fine. We didn't use the restaurant (but would have been more inclined to if the service at the bar was better!).
Additionally, the rooms are very tired. We knew this hotel was not luxury, but they could do a lot to improve it - simply updating the curtains, bed linen and pictures on the walls would help! It's not a problem for me, as on a holiday such as this I use the room to shower, change and sleep, but as a warning, don't expect too much - it just feels a bit lazily managed. Oh, and yes it takes about 5 minutes to get hot water in the shower, but that's no big deal (apart from for the environment). The surface area around the pools and most of the hotel too is quite dated. The bar area is really open and breezy though. There are two pools - one much nicer by reception, where the better rooms are, although the other one seemed to have its regulars so might just be personal taste.
Afternoon tea is a nice touch, and you're served a different cake each day, without exception delicious. Again, service was miserable most days! The steel band that comes to play are very good, and there was a band there one night when we got back from dinner. Try a Banana Bliss cocktail - yum! Oh, and another plus, there is free internet if that sort of thing floats your boat!
I would come back here but purely for location - the beach is absolutely stunning, and especially the stretch in front of Southern Palms. Our first week was very quiet generally, and the second week got much busier because of Easter, but still there was plenty of space on the beach. You can clearly view the turtles popping their heads up at regular intervals!
With regards to the environs, the hotel couldn't be better located - within walking distance are numerous bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and agendas. We ate at Pisces and David's two nights, but for more casual evenings enjoyed Pun de Grill and you must try De Hideaway Bar for their home-cooked food on a couple of nights a week and the fantastic owner who is just the nicest man on the island! There was an excellent band on at the bar at the far end of the beach (turn right outside Southern Palms). Josef's is also a beautiful setting - we've been before but just went for a cocktail this time.
Focus on the beach, ignore the miserable service, and have a great time!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC