Sandra Greiss was one of the lucky winners of stylist.co.uk’s Instagram travel competition. Here, she spills the beans on her trip to the luxury Spice Island Beach Resort on the Caribbean island of Grenada.
The light scent of the sea was the first thing that hit me as I stepped off the plane. Sparse clouds dotted across the blues sky as, mere metres from the runway, the ocean stretched out across the horizon. My husband and I were greeted at the five-star Spice Island Beach resort by the general manager Brian and the director of operations Ryan. From the receptionists to the bag handler, everyone welcomed us with a genuine and warm smile. I knew we were entering a little piece of paradise. It wasn’t long until sunset so we rushed to the beach to catch our first glimpse of fiery shades of orange and pink as the sun fell into the sea.
Idyllically located on Grand Anse, the most popular white sand beach on the island and regularly voted in the top 10 best beaches in the Caribbean, Spice Island Beach Resort comprises of 64 luxurious suites, two restaurants, a bar, central swimming pool, fully serviced spa, boutique, fitness centre, tennis court and more.
Every day, we joined the locals on their morning walks before breakfast. The hotel catered for all appetites; international and locally inspired dishes each made the most of the island’s bountiful produce. The restaurants are open-air and facing the beach – picture your morning coffee and eggs royale in front of the Caribbean Sea. Expectations were constantly met and often exceeded thanks to the attentive care of Fabian, the food and beverage manager, and his team. Live bands serenaded us each evening.
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The perfect all-inclusive luxury experience makes it tempting to spend every minute in the resort, soaking up the sun while sipping delicious cold coconut water or freshly prepared rum punches. Yet, exploring the culture of other countries is my idea of enrichment so we ventured out of our incredible 1500 sq ft suite – did I mention that it had its own private pool? – to mingle with the locals on Hog Island one afternoon. We join the crowds at Roger's Bar, where many gather on a Sunday afternoon, drinks in their hands, barbecues lit, feet in the water, listening to live jazz. The music makes it impossible to get lost; wherever you walk around the island, the melodies guide you back.
Another wonderful way to explore Grenada is by going for a spiritual walk with nature in the Grand Etang National Park. Filled with all sorts of tropical trees and plants, miles of hikes of different levels lead to beautiful waterfalls. After three hours of using muscles I didn’t know I had, we were rewarded with a simple yet incredibly flavourful local meal in Grenville. Go with a guide but be prepared to spend at least four hours on the tour. Guides charge a standard rate of East Caribbean $25 (around £7) per hour.
If being in the water sounds more tempting than climbing mountains, then paddle boarding or kayaking during the day can get you close to curious turtles swimming at the surface of the water. As seasoned open-water divers, we felt it was well worth squeezing in a few dives while in Grenada, there are many wrecks to be explored around the island. With the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the underwater world is as beautiful as this paradisiac island.
Anyone who appreciates chocolate should visit the Belmont Estate in St Patrick – ask for Kelly as your guide. He took us through every step of the production of chocolate, starting with seeing the cocoa trees, tasting the pulp inside the pods that is found around the cocoa beans, to the fermentation and drying processes. The restaurant at Belmont Estate is known to serve delicious local organic food. Not only does it have its own cocoa plantation but it also organically grows many vegetables, fruits and herbs and supply them to local hotels and restaurants, including Spice Island Beach Resort.
Finally, if you want to know how rum is produced then River’s rum distillery still uses the same methods as it did back in the 1800s. The smell of fermentation dominates the tour which ends with a tasting of its 75 per cent rum, unsurprisingly the most popular one it produces, plus a rum punch (or three). River’s rum is in such high demand in Grenada that it can’t produce any for exportation. Cheers to that!
After a week of deliciously prepared, fresh tropical food, warm hospitality, laid-back vibes and crystal clear waters, I was ready to stay for life. Grenada, when will you have me back?
Rooms at Spice Island Beach Resort start at around £805 per night, based on double occupancy. For reservations, contact spiceislandbeachresort.com