St Lucia is renowned throughout the world for its natural beauty, from dramatic volcanic mountains to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea. The island caters for all holiday styles, from honeymoons and adults-only breaks to family holidays and wellbeing breaks…
In August 2016 Waves Hotel and Spa is re-opening its doors to the public as a part of the Elegant Hotels portfolio. The hotel has been completely transformed to become an all-inclusive resort with a focus on wellness and the mind, perfect for those looking for a relaxed Caribbean holiday.
Travel specialist Karen visited Grenada with the island’s tourist board. Read all about her trip below!
Nights 1 and 2 – Coyaba Beach Resort
Eagerly awaiting our flight at Gatwick, the sun was shining into the departures lounge as I enjoyed a coffee and wondered what Grenada was going to offer. My expectations were of a beautifully green and mountainous island, but nothing could have prepared me for just how stunning Grenada was when we finally arrived.
Roger, our driver and tour guide, greeted us with a smile on arrival at Maurice Bishop International Airport, and we set off for our first destination, Coyaba Beach Resort. The 30-minute transfer was a real opportunity to take in the scenery, the perfect start to the trip. Enjoying the spectacular views, I instantly got a feel for the green hillsides and expanses of beach and ocean. I couldn’t have been more excited to arrive at our first hotel and start exploring.
Arriving at Coyaba in the late afternoon we wandered around the resort, taking a look at the newly refurbished rooms and making the most of the beautifully well-kept tropical gardens. Once we were settled in we all headed down to beautiful Grand Anse Beach and soaked up the sunshine and enjoyed the sunset – wow! Being located directly on this most stunning of beaches is definitely one of the main plus points of staying at this great value property – the location really is stunning.
That evening we enjoyed a lovely meal in Arawakababa, where we were served both a combination of local delicacies and international cuisine – it was delicious. Overall I felt this 4* property offered excellent value for money due to it’s location, facilities and standards – a great way to spend our first night!
After a well-deserved night’s sleep, we got up early the next day, well-rested and ready for 3 hotel site visits…
Firstly, we stopped in to see The Radisson, a beautiful 4-star resort just a short walk away from Coyaba, still based on Grand Anse Beach. The grounds were spacious and it had a beautiful lagoon-style pool, as well as a vast array of facilities.
Secondly, we visited True Blue Bay which is under a 10-minute drive south of The Radisson. The resort was colourful and vibrant, perfect for families, groups or couples who are looking for somewhere to use as a base, as they offer a variety of room types suitable for different sized parties. In particular it’s recommended for divers as Grenada offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean, and has an excellent Underwater Sculpture Park if you still want to enjoy some marine life but with a snorkel instead. We had lunch at the hotel’s Dodgy Dock restaurant where the atmosphere was lovely, offering excellent local cuisine which smelled amazing – everyone was having a great time. To wash down my lunch I had my very first chocolate beer – it was delicious and highly recommended!
Our final hotel visit of the day was to Blue Horizons Garden Resort which is just 300 yards from Grand Anse Beach. Although it’s not directly on the sand, it’s the perfect location for those who want a more affordable alternative but to still have close access to the beautiful beach. The accommodation is spotlessly clean and spacious and has all the amenities any family may need for a long stay, with very helpful staff who can’t do enough for you. Blue Horizon Resort is perfect for those who want to explore the island from an affordable base. We enjoyed an evening meal at La Belle Creole which is the resort’s main restaurant, and indulged in plenty of Caribbean cuisine after a long day of site visits.
Nights 3 and 4 – Mount Cinnamon
Day 3 came and it was time to move resort. After a really lovely stay at Coyaba, we moved to Mount Cinnamon, located at one end of Grand Anse just a few minutes walk from the beach. The resort has a laidback feel and offers spacious accommodation in suites and villas, perfect for families looking for a home from home with a full kitchen and lovely views.
Once we were settled into our rooms, the chocolate theme continued as we made our way to Belmont Estate to have a hands-on (or more like feet-on) tour of the traditional chocolate plantation. We were given a cultural and informative tour of the chocolate plantation and were lucky enough to be part of the process by walking over the beans in a process known as ‘polishing’ – to give the beans their smooth texture before they are made into rich, smooth chocolate. It was a great experience getting involved and learning all about the traditional methods, and of course the chocolate tasting at the end – it really is to die for!
That afternoon we had just enough time to enjoy a brief swim at Mount Cinnamon before we headed down to Savvy’s Beach Bar where we were treated to the sounds of the steel pan and local dancers – entertainment Caribbean style! The weekly beach BBQ is highly recommended at Mount Cinnamon and was a great way to end the day, set off by the magnificent sunset over the horizon.
The next day we rose early and ate a quick breakfast as we were heading out to go River Tubing. I couldn’t wait to get started as I’d really been looking forward to this excursion and it really lived up to my expectations. Halfway down the river the organisers encouraged us all to sing as they splashed us playfully, and although I fell in a couple of times it was still a highlight of the trip. It was great fun and something I would recommend to anyone heading to Grenada, as it’s an enjoyable way to see a different side of the island. Don’t forget to bring water shoes though – they make all the difference when walking across the rocky riverbed.
That evening, we headed to Patrick’s, a small, traditional and quirky restaurant that offers a true Caribbean experience and comes highly recommended. We arrived not really knowing what to expect, so we ordered a drink before being served 21 courses of local Caribbean cuisine such as oil down, the island’s national dish – it was wonderful! As there is no menu, this is an excellent opportunity to sample the local cuisine. In the background the local group the ‘Jolly Boys’ sat on the veranda singing a variety of songs (including plenty of reggae!), really adding to the Caribbean atmosphere. We enjoyed some rum and danced the night away until our long day caught up with us and we headed to bed.
Nights 5 and 6 – Spice Island Beach Resort
Although sad to leave Mount Cinnamon, we were excited to depart for Spice Island Beach Resort the following morning as we had heard nothing but good things about the property. Set directly on Grand Anse Beach, this beautifully furnished resort offers spectacular views and great service. The accommodation was stylish and modern, and I was lucky enough to stay in a Seagrape suite which opened directly onto the beach, my very own piece of paradise! I would describe the resort as breathtaking luxury – a real treat.
We decided to venture outside of the resort for lunch at Le Papillion, located just a few minutes away. I chose French toast which was amazing and was closely followed by carrot cake, impossible to say no to! The food was really lovely and another alternative to having lunch or breakfast in the resort all the time – it’s nice to get a feel for all the other places nearby without having to venture too far.
That afternoon we were lucky enough to experience a rainforest walk around Grand Etang Lake. It’s only around a 2 mile walk – but it is not for the faint hearted! Often there are small rickety bridges and there’s no real set path, so it really becomes a true rainforest trek in a very real sense. It was a unique experience and a great opportunity to explore the island and the lush greenery of Grenada. Our tour guide, who could only be described as Grenada’s answer to ‘Bear Grylls’, taught us lots about the local vegetation and the lake itself. It was definitely worth doing – just don’t forget a good pair of trainers or walking shoes!
In the evening we got an opportunity to visit Laluna, another of the resorts on the south west coast. The atmosphere at Laluna was really peaceful and romantic and it would be a perfect destination for couples and ‘honeymooners’. The food was really excellent as the resort offers a combination of Caribbean and Italian dishes, which was a pleasant alternative to the local cuisine for one night.
Waking up to the stunning views from my Seagrape Suite, I got up early to make the most of my last full day at Spice Island Resort. We enjoyed the à la Carte breakfast, freshly cooked and prepared, and made sure we filled up with fresh fruit, pastries and freshly brewed coffee… A few hours later, we headed over to the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa for lunch.
Set beside Prickly Bay, Calabash is a small boutique hotel with spacious, modern rooms and a beautiful pool – I particularly enjoyed the sun loungers which are partially submerged to keep you nice and cool! The hotel is perfect for those looking to experience the quieter side of Grenada, with spacious gardens and pretty views. We enjoyed a lovely tapas style lunch at Bash Beach Cafe, allowing us to pick and choose from a range of foods whilst looking out over the bay. It was a lovely peaceful lunch and I really enjoyed seeing a more tranquil, boutique alternative on Grenada’s south coast.
When we returned to Spice Island we enjoyed a few hours relaxing and making the most of our last afternoon in Grenada, and were treated to a sunset cruise out of St George’s. As the sun set over the horizon we were able to see all of Grand Anse and the surroundings from the sea – it was magical, and clear to see why Grenada is known as the prettiest island in the Caribbean. We drank champagne and ate canapés while enjoying the beautiful views and reflecting upon our wonderful stay in Grenada.
For our last evening in Grenada we were treated to a 7 course gala dinner at Oliver’s which did not disappoint – a really lovely end to the whole experience.
All in all, I fell in love with this beautiful island and would highly recommend it to anyone. When can I return?!
Peter Island Resort & Spa is holding a food festival in November 2016 which will celebrate Caribbean cuisine and cooking techniques, bringing together chefs from across the region for a weekend of delicious food and culinary competitions. Run in association with the British Virgin Islands tourist board, the event will raise money for the Peter Island Culinary Scholarship Fund which assists aspiring culinary professionals.
Those in search of a last minute tropical getaway can take advantage of the many special offers that are still available for travel to the Caribbean over the next few months. We have selected some of the very best deals available to bring you holiday ideas to outstanding hotels in Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and Nevis. To discuss your Caribbean summer holiday, call our friendly travel specialists on 01752 880880 or email [email protected].
To view a larger selection of deals for a tropical getaway, head over to our Caribbean Special Offers page.
It’s important to be armed with all the facts when embarking on your dream holiday! So here are all the essential travelling tips that you need to make the most of your stay in St Lucia – from getting around the island to service charge; this post should give you the essential facts and information that often gets forgotten.
In honour of World Chocolate Day, it’s only suitable that this week’s post is about Belmont Estate in Grenada; a true experience of chocolate harvesting, where you can even get involved yourself and enjoy the smells and tastes of true organic chocolate.
Jo and Mark headed off to the Maldives in 2016 to visit some of the resorts we featured.
Read Jo’s Trip Diary of her island hopping experience below…
“We flew into Male Airport in the mid-morning and immediately the hustle and bustle of the airport got Mark and I excited for our island hopping Maldivian trip. Escorted by a local rep we were taken to our speedboat transfer which was about 30 minutes away from our first stop, Makunudu!
The beautiful white sands and the expanse view of the Indian Ocean was spectacular upon arrival. We disembarked the speedboat and straight onto a sandy walkway directly onto the beach, and we just took some time to take in the horizon. Later that day, I also took the opportunity to explore the views underwater with an afternoon of snorkelling.
That evening we took part in a complimentary sunset fishing trip where Mark and I were taught to use a handline (a traditional fishing method) by the local people whilst watching the most beautiful sunset across the ocean. We had a really enjoyable evening mixing with the locals, and learning something new (but I think I need a bit more practice!).
Later that evening when the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon, we made the most of the bar and restaurant – the food was delicious and much appreciated after a long first day.
A 6:30 rise and we were at breakfast sampling a lovely buffet of pastries, curries, fresh fruit etc. It was a short stay, but a lovely one – we look forward to our return visit.
We set off back to Male Airport for our second transfer, this time by sea plane, to Atmosphere Kanifushi. The speedboat ride was fast and fun, but the views from the sea plane were spectacular. Flying over all the atolls and seeing the islands was breath-taking.
We flew over Atmosphere Kanifushi with its 2.5km of white sand beach before landing on the water and taxiing to the jetty. Greeted by musicians drumming makes one feel very special – it really has the WOW factor.
We were escorted to the beautiful reception, offered a choice of fresh coconut water or champagne before we set off to explore the island, this time by golf buggy.
We were shown around the stunning, oversized suites and were delighted to see that they all looked out onto the amazing long beach and all faced the sunset.
Having looked around the water sports centre, beautiful spa and well equipped children’s centre we were drawn to ‘Just Veg’, the first vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch and well-earned glass of wine.
We woke to another sunny morning and headed off to Spice Restaurant for breakfast – this was a real treat as one of the Chefs took time to make me a crispy cone dosa to accompany my dish of daal and fish curry – it may sound strange but I was delighted with the breakfast, they offer a huge choice of fruits, pastries, eggs (cooked anyway you like), pancake stations etc. but I personally love the curry options!
Next on the agenda was a snorkelling trip to the house reef (a 5-minute boat ride away) which is a must for anyone visiting the Maldives as the underwater scenery is spectacular.
During the afternoon (when I was not snorkelling) we relaxed at the sunset bar at the end of the island, read books and played backgammon – after all, we are in the Maldives where one is supposed to relax.
Following breakfast, it was time to leave Atmosphere Kanifushi, transferring next to OBLU, the sister resort. We took the seaplane back to Male then journeyed by speedboat on to OBLU, which has the most incredible house reef just off the beach. Again, having settled in we made our way to the bar (is this a theme I wonder?) to chat with the management team before heading for dinner at ‘Just Grill’ the resort’s Al a carte dining experience beneath the stars. The food was excellent and beautifully presented – small pieces of edible artwork! A magical evening that I would recommend to anyone.
We got up early the next day to make the most of our time at OBLU, starting with breakfast, which was a feast in itself. The choice and variety were exceptional and exceeded our expectations for such a small island.
I then headed off to the dive centre – joining a group of divers I was able to practise my scuba skills in crystal clear waters (a little different from the Plymouth Sound) before heading out on a drift dive with a guide where we ‘cruised’ along the reef wall, 18m below the water. The highlight of this dive at Kuda Helengeli Corner was watching three magnificent Eagle Rays.
Later that day I decided to go snorkelling in the reef, as it is known for being one of the best in the Maldives – it did not disappoint! Sitting between two channels the reef hosts a huge number of species and I honestly felt I was in an aquarium.
Our last destination was Gili Lankanfushi, one of the original resorts to coin the phrase “no news, no shoes” – it takes barefoot living very seriously – on the speedboat journey to the resort they took our shoes off our feet, bagged and sent ahead with our bags to the room.
On arrival we were taken to the suite – the resort features oversized, over-water suites with a private roof top space, as well as a large deck area over the turquoise lagoon. A superb spot to watch fish, sunbathe and see the sun go down.
Reaching the end of our trip we spent the last couple of days biking around the island and sampling the various cuisines available. We enjoyed superb breakfasts sitting by the beach, where we were treated to huge choice. The usual offerings ranged widely from Maldivian curry, sushi and Sashimi, eggs, pancakes, at least ten varieties of granola, freshly made yoghurts, a fresh fruit station and mouth-watering pastries, or one could step down into the beautiful air-conditioned wine cellar and select cheese and homemade truffles – a first for breakfast but an indulgent treat.
In the evening we sipped cocktails in the Over Water Bar and enjoyed their fine dining menu one night and their live cooking extravaganza, but our evening dining in their Japanese Restaurant (By The Sea) proved a fitting finale to a lovely, and varied trip.