Grenada: Spice up your stay

Grenada: Spice up your stay

Image credit: Sandals

Jeannine Williamson joins agents on a trip to get a feel for Grenada’s hotels

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Sitting in the alfresco beachside restaurant, the moonlight picks out a movement in the sand. Just yards away, a large leatherback turtle is laying her eggs. The impromptu interruption to our dinner at Flamboyant Hotel & Villas, situated on Grenada’s famous Grand Anse beach, is one of many surprises during our trip.

I joined five agents and an operator on a Grenada Tourism Authority fam to the ‘spice island’, which is about the size of the Isle of Wight. It might be lesser known than some of its Caribbean cousins, but we were amazed at how much it has to offer.

Beyond the two-mile sweep of Grand Anse, regularly voted one of the world’s best beaches, it boasts many attractions.

One day we hiked through lush forests, the next visited a chocolate-making plantation and historic rum distillery (followed by tastings, of course). Other highlights included snorkelling and diving at the world’s first underwater sculpture park and an exhilarating river tubing expedition.

UK visitors represent nearly a quarter of the island’s tourists, with 15,478 Brits heading to Grenada from January to July – a 5.8% increase on 2014. As interest in this charming and friendly island grows, here’s first-hand feedback on hotels to recommend.

Best for…Luxury

Hotel: Spice Island Beach Resort

Location: Grand Anse

Vibe: With a tranquil spa and 64 rooms ranging from chic beachside suites with hammocks to private walled villas with pools and the personal services of holiday ‘co-ordinators’, this five-star ticks all the boxes for luxury-loving clients. Attention to detail includes a room-service breakfast with bread you toast yourself, so it doesn’t get cold.

Agent verdict: “Stylish and elegant, every need has been looked after,” says Caribtours marketing manager Amberley Shermon.

“The rooms are spacious and well thought out. The staff are friendly and attentive, and get to know you straight away.”

Best for…Budget

Hotel: Coyaba Beach Resort

Location: Grand Anse

Vibe: Set in landscaped gardens beside the beach, this laid-back resort has 80 rooms in eight two-storey blocks, and leads in with room-only stays. The swim-up bar is the focal point of the large pool, and there are complimentary watersports.

Agent verdict: “It’s a home from home in the Caribbean and oozes traditional charm,” says Travel Counsellor Julie Welfare.

“It offers excellent value for money and would be ideal for second-time visitors to the Caribbean.”

Best for…Style

Hotel: Mount Cinnamon

Location: Grand Anse

Vibe: Brightly decorated modern villas provide the wow factor at Peter de Savary’s boutique hillside resort. Golf buggies are available to ferry guests around, while across the road, a path leads to the cool Beach Club, which features live entertainment. Guests get pre-loaded mobile phones for the duration of their stay.

Agent verdict: “The colourful and contemporary rooms are amazing and very different,” says Beverley Brett from Reigate Travel.

“The welcome was very personal and the property would suit everyone from couples to families with older children.”

Mount Cinnamon

Best for…Variety

Hotel: True Blue Bay Boutique Resort

Location: Grand Anse

Vibe: With 49 villas, suites and rooms, True Blue has broad appeal. Ex-pat Russ Fielden and his wife Magdalena like to offer something a little different, and the resort’s centrepiece Dodgy Dock, a restaurant, bar and music venue, is a lively magnet for visitors and locals.

Agent verdict: “This is a lively and quirky resort with lots going on, including cookery classes, watersports, yoga and ‘street food’ nights,” says eShores’ Gavin Lapidus.

“It’s for anyone looking for a bit of fun.”

Best for…Seclusion

Hotel: Petit Anse

Location: St Patrick’s

Vibe: Hospitable British couple Philip and Annie Clift, who grow their own produce, run one of the few hotels in the relatively undiscovered north of Grenada. With each of the 11 rustic rooms a coconut’s throw from the beach, it’s an idyllic hideaway.

Agent verdict: “This is a hidden gem,” says Laura M’hadhbi of Co-operative Travel.

“It’s really good for independent travellers and geo-tourists who are looking for a quaint and unique setting. You could twin the hotel with a resort stay.”

Best for…Families

Hotel: Blue Horizons Garden Resort

Location: Grand Anse

Vibe: With nearly 30 species of birds spotted in the six acres of pretty grounds that are 300 metres from the beach, Blue Horizons will appeal to nature lovers. The 32 self-catering rooms offer well-equipped kitchenettes, while the one-bedroom suites can accommodate a family of four.

Agent verdict: “This is great for families and independent travellers who want to explore the island,” says Caribtours’ Amberley Shermon.

“It’s very good value for clients who still want a bit of luxury.”

Best for…All-inclusive

Hotel: Sandals LaSource

Location: Pink Gin Beach

Vibe: Stunning Skypool suites, 69 suites with butler service, 12 dining options and unlimited diving for certified divers are among the many amenities at the 225-room resort spread over three ‘villages’, each with a distinct feel.

Agent verdict: “It’s a familiar name and tipping is included, so people know what they’re going to get,” says Lesley Dean from Escapes by Travel Designers.

“And with so many restaurants, room categories and things to do, it’s a perfect way to introduce clients to Grenada.”

Best for…Couples

Hotel: Laluna Resort

Location: Morne Rouge

Vibe: Nestling in a bay on Grenada’s western coast, the intimate 16-suite Balinese-style Laluna is a blissful retreat. Teak wood and bamboo are used extensively in the rooms and public areas, while the thatched beach restaurant serves imaginative Italian food.

Agent verdict: “It’s a secluded haven, yet only a 10-minute taxi ride from the island’s capital St George’s,” says eShores’ Gavin Lapidus.

“If offers the best of both worlds and would suit couples looking for a peaceful location that’s still close to other attractions.”

Best for…Weddings

Hotel: Radisson Grenada Beach Resort

Location: Grand Anse

Vibe: Occupying eight hectares on the best spot on Grenada’s landmark beach, the modern 229-room property has a vast ballroom, nine function rooms, two pools, two restaurants, three bars and an on-site diving centre.

Agent verdict: “This is a brand clients will recognise,” says Lesley Dean from Escapes by Travel Designers. “It is especially good for weddings, as clients can get married in the gardens or on the beach, there are fantastic settings for photos and it can handle groups.”

And one to watch

Hotel: Grenadian by Rex Resorts Location: Five minutes from the airport

Vibe: Situated in 12 hectares, this property will be closed for refurbishment from May to July 2016, during which the number of rooms is being reduced from 212 to 190.

Agent verdict: “Once the refurbishment is done, it will really appeal to families looking for a great standard and a good location,” says Laura M’hadhbi of Co-operative Travel. “It’s good value for money and there’s lots of space.”


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