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Grenada the spice island gem

I can’t believe I have just returned from my 6th holiday in Grenada. It really is that beautiful. No matter where else in the world we venture, something always tugs at the emotions and requires a return to this Caribbean gem every couple of years.

grenada spice islandMost people won’t have heard about Grenada – or at least they will think it is somewhere in Spain. In fact it is in the southern Caribbean and those with long memories might remember that the USA invaded Grenada in 1983. But that little episode is long past. Now the island is surrounded by warm turquoise sea, white (and black) sandy beaches, mountainous rainforests, and possesses a friendliness almost unsurpast. It is known as the Spice Island as a result of all the nutmeg and mace that they produce. The rum is pretty good and strong as well.

We stayed at the Coyaba Beach Resort on the superb two mile long Grand Anse beach. Now Coyaba is not the most luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in. In fact the last time I was in Grenada we stayed a couple of doors down at the Spice Island Beach Resort with its Egyptian cotton sheets, multi-cushioned beds, Molton Brown products and ambitions to become to Grenada what Sandy Lane is to Barbados. As a result it lacks personality and the staff lack warmth. It’s luxurious but it has no soul.

grenada spice islandCoyaba, however does have soul, passion, warmth and an irresistable charm. From the staff who seem to be on a mission to get to know you personally, to the extensive, lovingly maintained gardens with colourful plants and trees, to the walk up pool bar, to the bar manager, Stanley, who has been mixing cocktails there for 22 years, to the restaurant supervisor who will go out of her way to buy you a hand made Kite – the place is very special. The rooms are not huge but they are well designed and decorated in a minimalist Arawak style and are spotlessly clean.

Grenada Spice Island

In fact the gardens themselves outway the artifical luxury of places that cost three times as much. Coyaba promise a bed turn down service every night. This is something I have always thought to be an over indulgence – but I also believe that if a hotel offers such a service then it should make good on its promise. Coyaba is the only hotel in the world that I have stayed in that offers this service that has fulfilled its promise every night, and that includes chains like Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott. Small things like this make a real difference.

grenada spice islandThere are plenty of good restaurants nearby or in St Georges, but the food at Coyaba is also of very high quality. I particularly like their gourmet interpretation of Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings.

Grand Anse beach is very clean and the waters although a little choppy are great for swimming and snorkelling. Don’t ignore the beach traders. They will not pester if you don’t want to talk to them but it’s worth watching for the ones who have genunine talent at carving up a piece of black coral into a lovely keepsake.

grenada spice islandTake a day trip to Carriacou – Grenada’s sister island – and even more deserted paradise.