Story and photography by Manos Angelakis
Liming in Grenada...*
“The fury of Hephaestus (the god of fire and volcanoes) manifested Grenada surrounded by Oceanus, from the azure depths of the Caribbean Sea”.
If I was an ancient poet that is the way I would describe Grenada, the most southerly of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean. In contrast to many of the Caribbean islands that are created mostly out of coral, Grenada is a volcanic island; the reason that black obsidian sands are present on some of the island’s beaches, and the Grand Etang -- a crater, now a lake -- is in the rainforest near the capital. Called the Spice Isle, because it produces vast quantities of spices, especially mace, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, Granada has a fertile volcanic soil that supports the growth of many agricultural products that include cacao, coffee and sugarcane.
Christopher Columbus “discovered” the island in 1498 and named it Concepción. Spanish sailors found its lush green hills so suggestive of Andalusia that they renamed it Granada (now Grenada). The island is still fairly undiscovered and not very frequently visited by the myriads of tourists that inundate the rest of the Caribbean’s better known islands.
The locals are passionate about sharing the joys and hidden treasures of their charming island, with its cascading rivers and waterfalls, lush rainforest, sulfur springs and one of the prettiest lakes in the region. The capital of Grenada, St. George's, is probably the most picturesque city in the Caribbean with its horseshoe-shaped harbor.
Grand Anse Beach is the best known white-sand beach in Grenada and the Spice Island Beach Resort on Grand Anse, is the perfect example of a deluxe property; a family owned and operated resort with Sir Royston Hopkin K.C.M.G at the helm, while wife Lady Betty Hopkin, son Ryan (the resident deputy manager) and daughters Nerissa and Janelle, are all contributing their considerable talents towards envisioning Royston’s dream of a dazzling luxury resort. Attention to every detail combined with courteous and friendly service; that is the mantra on this resort.
The entire property is located amidst a luscious tropical garden and the aroma of the flowers combined with the aroma of the nutmeg shells that line some of the paths, permeates the air.
There are individually gated garden villas named for spices and nuts, i.e. Royal Ginger, Royal Mace, Royal Clove, Royal Sage and Nutmeg, Almond, Cinnamon, and Saffron; they are private self-contained romantic hideaways with plunge pool, lounging areas and dining terraces; the royal suites have also saunas. The Seagrape suites open up directly on the beach. Spice Island has some of the best appointed rooms in the Caribbean. Every luxury is found in the villas, from Frette linens, bathrobe and slippers, to an oversized Molton Brown amenity package, to flat screen TV and complementary high-speed wireless internet access. Once registered in the resort’s system you will be greeted by name throughout your stay by all staff members.
Breakfast can be traditional British, with items cooked to order -- I loved the callaloo omelet -- or a self-service buffet, depending on your taste. Lunch and afternoon tea are offered at the Sea and Surf Terrace and Bar, and every evening a plate of delicious hors d’oeuvres is delivered to your room to tide you over till dinner.
Oliver’s, the gourmet restaurant on a covered terrace overlooking the sea at the Spice Island Beach Resort, is a beautiful cross between an epicurean extravaganza and an adventure into the mysteries of Creole cuisine, by combining international fare and traditional island dishes.
Peter de Savary's Mount Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club is another luxury property on Grenada.
Perched on the sides of a rather steep hill, the airy hacienda villas and suites of this luxury property overlook a green hillside with wildly exotic tropical gardens and have a fantastic view of the southern end of Grand Anse Beach.
The resort is actually a group of private villas cascading down Mount Cinnamon with multi-level suites having clay tile floors and whitewashed walls decorated with pieces of colorful West Indian art. Subtle island-specific details are found throughout the suites. A gargantuan four-poster bed with perfect firmness and immaculate linens was in every bedroom; well-appointed bathrooms plus changing areas were at each level; and a stylish, full kitchen was complete with a flaming red or iridescent blue retro refrigerator. A very generous balcony overlooking two miles of idyllic, white sand completed each individual casita. Mount Cinnamon’s rooms aren’t beachfront, but the walk down from the resort to the sea through the sweet aroma of flowers is a joy all by itself. Or you can always call the reception for one of the golf-carts that act as transports to the main building that houses the offices, the pool, the restaurant and the bar.
* The expression “liming” as used by the locals means socializing in a very relaxed atmosphere.
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© June 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.