Myself and my colleague Sharon recently paid a visit to the “Spice Island” of the Caribbean, Grenada, where beautiful beaches are joined by lush interiors, cascading waterfalls, fragrant plantations and charming colonial towns. A trip filled with discovery, fun and, of course, luxury hotels, we’ve shared the best bits and top tips from our adventures…
What is there to do in Grenada?
There is no denying (and why would we want to?!) that Grenada’s beaches are some of the beautiful we’ve ever seen in the Caribbean and beyond, complete with perfect white sand and calm, turquoise waters. What became clear to us during our time here, though, is that this charming island also offers much more than just gorgeous coves. The first of many wonderful excursions we enjoyed while here was a visit to the Concord Waterfalls, just a short drive north of the town of St George’s. Hiking through the lush green rainforest with our guide, we passed a host of weird and wonderful fruit-growing trees, before coming to the first striking waterfall (Concord is actually made up of three falls, two of which can only be reached on foot) in all its glory. Amazingly clean and clear, you can swim in the waters here – what better way to cool off from the glorious Grenadian sunshine?! The natural splendour of the falls is certainly the centre of attention, joined only by a couple of shops, a great viewing platform and vendors selling local spices.
Speaking of spices, Grenada is famously dubbed the ‘Spice Island’, mostly due to its exportation of nutmeg. Our guide explained that Grenada supplies nearly 40 percent of the world’s annual nutmeg and the fruit even features on the national flag! Cinnamon is also grown here, along with our favourite crop: cocoa. As absolute chocaholics, we couldn’t wait to visit the Belmont Estate, a 17th century cocoa plantation that lies within 400 acres of land. We took part in the ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate tour that explains the production of chocolate from, you guessed it, bean to bar! It began with a visit to the cocoa fields to watch how the beans are harvested, cracked and collected, before sampling the fresh beans. Then, we made our way to the chocolate factory to watch the raw product become the chocolate bars we know and love, enjoying a chocolate-themed lunch with gorgeous views of the tropical gardens.
Another great Grenadian product is rum, and the island is home to the privately-owned River Antoine Rum Distillery, the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the whole Caribbean. Our guide explained that the processes here haven’t changed much since the 1800s, creating quality rum in the traditional way. Of course, a tour of the distillery must end with a tasting!
Though the above are just some of the activities we took part in, Grenada offers much, much more. The capital of the island, St George’s, is completely enchanting, home to lovely old buildings, quirky shops and the bustling harbour. From here, you can visit Fort Frederick, built in 1779 by the French and one of the best-preserved forts on the island, offering seriously impressive views over the town. St George’s is also the place to head to reach the famous underwater sculpture park, a gallery of sculptures beneath the water that attract a range of magnificent marine life… unsurprisingly a snorkelling hotspot!
Which luxury hotel is for you?
Of course, to enjoy all the amazing activities that the island has to offer, you’ll need a lovely, luxurious base. We were lucky enough to stay at two properties here, each one offering a completely different (yet equally fabulous) luxury stay…
Spice Island Beach Resort… for classic Caribbean charm and a home away from home
Classically Caribbean in its style, décor and service, the moment we arrived at Spice Island Beach Resort, we felt at home, greeted with a refreshing sorrel and Champagne cocktail and a wonderfully warm welcome, each member of staff addressing us by our first names. Speaking of the staff, they were incredible here, so naturally warm and accommodating. It also struck us just how well they got on with each other and enjoyed their work, again contributing to the feeling of staying at a family home. We stayed in two different suite types, giving us first-hand experience of various accommodation options, each one enjoying Molton Brown products and in-room bars with full sized spirit bottles. I stayed in an Almond Pool Suite, which was wonderfully private with its own entrance, tropical garden and large swimming pool, while Sharon was treated to the stunning Seagrape Beach Suite, located directly on the beach… and what a beautiful beach it is! The hotel enjoys a prime position on Grenada’s famous two-mile-long Grand Anse Beach, where the sand is perfectly white and the sea, a beautiful shade of turquoise.
Spice Island Beach Resort is all-inclusive, again giving that feeling of homeliness and inclusion, while still offering exceptional quality dining. This began with breakfast, served in Oliver’s Restaurant with views over the Caribbean Sea. We have to mention one of the chefs here, Natalie, who made us smile each morning with her warmth and friendliness, as well as the delicious eggs benedict and soursoup juice she served (the latter said to have a range of health benefits – bonus!). In the evening, Oliver’s Restaurant became adults-only, with an adjacent restaurant, Sea and Surf, offering the same menu but allowing little ones. Unique and wonderful, the menus come from local chef Jenson Church, offering two pages of exciting options and concoctions that changed daily and tasted amazing. Despite this, the kitchen would always be happy to take any special requests. One evening, I just couldn’t decide between the scallops and the mahi mahi, so asked whether I could have half and half. Of course, this was no problem at all, and I was so glad to have sampled both delicious dishes… you could taste just how fresh the seafood was!
Silversands Grenada… for contemporary luxury and beach club glamour
At the opposite end of Grand Anse Beach (and opposite also in style) stands Silversands Grenada, an ultra-contemporary and intimate resort where the first thing you set your eyes on is the 100-metre-long swimming pool, lined by palm trees and beach cabanas, and leading towards the Caribbean Sea – our jaws literally dropped when we first set our eyes on it! Young and vibrant, the resort is popular with couples, and children are only allowed to stay in the (stunning) villas away from the main accommodation.
Again, the food here was dreamy, the fine dining restaurant, Asiatique, merging Grenadian spices with authentic Asian cooking methods. The design of the restaurant itself was also super impressive, boasting a statement ceiling piece and floor-to-ceiling windows. Absolutely everything we ate here was delicious, though the grilled mahi mahi (yes, I ate this in both hotels!) deserves a special mention, perfectly cooked in a banana leaf, giving a distinct Thai flavour while using the produce of Grenada. We also got to experience the beachside Grenadian Grill, which gave a super cool beach club vibe through its open-air design and resident DJ (from St Tropez, no less) playing a fusion of chilled out music. Who knew that John Lennon played over Amy Winehouse would sound so good?! The food here is, unsurprisingly, all about the grill, with steak, fish and juicy prawns taking centre stage. Much like Spice Island, the service was fantastic throughout.
Another thing we must mention about Silversands is the stunning spa which truly has the “wow-factor”, made up of just four treatments rooms centred around a serene private pool, as well as thermal circuit and gym. The design, again, was super modern and I loved the unique spheres that hung above the pool. Here, we were treated to the amazing signature Silversands Massage, which used traditional Asian techniques along with local nutmeg oil, again combining the ultimate luxury experience with the natural bounty of beautiful Grenada.
Whether you're seeking classic Caribbean hospitality or a cool, contemporary hideaway, Grenada has it all, guaranteeing the perfect luxury hotel from which to experience the glory of Grenada. To plan your luxury Grenada holiday today, get in touch with our expert Caribbean team.