I have had my eye on Buccament Bay Resort in St. Vincent for a year or so and recently managed to get a great deal through BA Holidays.
We arrived at St. Vincent airport after a long delay waiting for LIAT to fix a problem with their Dash 100 plane for the short hop across from Barbados.
The airport has a little terminal with two immigration desks and one customs lady. The paper work took an hour and a half to get through and the customs lady was being particularly thorough and riffled through almost everyone’s bags. I have no idea what she was looking for in among all those clothes and swimming costumes, but none of the collection of middle-aged people who arrived with us looked like drugs or contraband smugglers to me. Consequently, arriving into St.Vincent counts as one of the most unpleasant immigration experiences in over 20 years of travelling.
Outside we met Creese who looked very smart in his cream and burgundy Buccament Bay Resort uniform. He apologised for the customs people and verbalised my earlier thoughts about what on earth it could be that they were being so diligent in looking for.
Creese drove us up and down hills, round many tight bends, the busy streets of Kingstown and through the dark countryside to our destination.
On arrival at Buccament Bay Resort we met Deanna from guest relations who greeted us and then led us across the impressive wooden bridge into the resort. At the foot of the bridge a lady handed us an ice-cold towel and as you would expect there was another lady at other side of the bridge to collect it after we had used it to cool down. As we stepped off the bridge the head barman from the Bay Beach Club introduced himself and handed us cocktails that were both refreshing, cold and laced with strong rum. He invited us to come to the bar later to try his signature cocktail.
Everyone knew and used our names right from the start. It is such a nice touch and smacks of superb service.
Deanna took us to our villa. Now this was the most pleasant surprise. I had booked what I thought was a two bed roomed room. I wasn’t quite expecting the quite frankly huge villa Deanna led us into.
It was vast with a high roof and the front door opened immediately into a comfortable seating area. To the left and right were two huge bedrooms each with bathrooms containing “rainforest showers”, a bath, basins and a walk in closet. I loved the detail in the shower – a wooden platform to stand on surrounded by pebbles.
On each bed they had scattered rose petals and folded the towels to resemble swans. Cushions and throws added to the tasteful colour scheme and feeling of comfort.
Outside was a deck area with its own plunge pool overlooking a small lake. This became a lovely place to spend the early evening after the sun went down.
Although exhausted from nearly 18 hours of travelling we had a late dinner at the Bay Beach Club. As we took our seats and scanned the menu a few guests were finishing their evening and drifting off to their villas.
We enjoyed starters of chicken satay, and crispy squid. Main courses of boneless beef rib and jerk turkey burger completed our welcome to this great place. We retired to bed and fell asleep quickly, to the sound of tree frogs singing, impatient to see what the light of day would show us about the Buccament Bay Resort.
In the morning we learned more about our home for the next 10 days. Buccament Bay Resort nestles in a long valley created by the Buccament River which of course flows into the Caribbean at the front of the resort. It is surrounded on three sides by mountains covered in green foliage. Apart from one three-story building which they use for staff accommodation all the rooms are single storey villas set among an extensive garden with sandy walkways, lakes, flowers and bushes.
Most of these villas are painted a pastel shade of either cream or orange. Some contain a single bedroom others have two. All have balconies overlooking either the gardens, lakes, river or beach and each has a plunge pool. The two bedroom villas have larger pools. Each has several mini bars containing soft drinks, fruit juices, water and beers which the staff refilled daily. The resort has a vaguely oriental feel to it.
The sun above Buccament Bay Resort was already fiercely hot as we went to breakfast, across the bridge, in the open air Bamboo Restaurant. We found an extensive hot buffet of bacon, French toast, sausages, fried potatoes and baked beans.
At the egg station a smiling gentleman happily cooked fried eggs sunny side up and an omelette with tomatoes and onions. At the fruit station another craftsman cut up slices of fresh fruit to order, including the sour tasting but delicious wax apple. He also whizzed up an ice-cold smoothie of fresh banana and orange and ice.
Time to explore the resort. Back across the bridge we paused to watch a flock of white geese, or were they ducks, begging for scraps from the guests. Squalking and honking they pursued us across the bridge obviously thinking that we had a pocket full of bread.
We then wandered to the beach, a thick wedge of brilliant white powdery sand washed by the crystal clear blue Caribbean Sea. There are several random sets of sun loungers waiting for sun seekers, but I saw no sign of any books, magazines or shoes laying claim to their ownership.Two wooden huts contain a beach bar, and a grill offering delicious burgers and chicken for lunch.
Try this beach grill. The food is delicious but it is never crowded. For lunch one day I enjoyed freshly barbecued ribs served with salad and some Caribbean hot pepper sauce. This stuff is almost painful to eat but it tastes delicious. It makes the endorphins flow into your body which creates a feeling of pleasure like the after effects of an orgasm. I had two portions.
Finally we decided to settle in front one of the two huge horseshoe-shaped infinity pools. I’d later discover that the water was as warm as a bath. We picked sun loungers directly on the edge of the sea and these were comfortable and adorned with Buccament Bay branded towels and mattresses.
A barman from the nearby Bay Beach Club materialised to offer a drink. Was it too early for a cocktail right after breakfast. Probably. But we didn’t hold out for long.
For lunch the Bay Beach Club offers a detailed but light menu. Sometimes simple is best. And with the hot Caribbean sun blazing above us surely the most sensible thing to do would have been to enjoy a crisp light salad for lunch.
But my eyes were dawn to the linguine – a simple dish of pasta, tomatoes, garlic, chilli flakes and white wine. Delicious but fiery the chillies ignited a fire in my mouth that only another beer could extinguish.
One day they brought out a giant Mongolian circular grill. A line of eager diners soon appeared as everyone selected their mix of meat and vegetables which the chef cooked to order, tossing the ingredients with spicy sauces and garnishes.
Buccament Bay boasts a Diving School, a Tennis Academy, Football Academy and a Performing Arts Academy as well as a Spa and Fitness centre. I went to a very calming restorative yoga class one evening.
On the first afternoon I noticed a very tanned gentleman with a shiny bald head cooling off in the pool and sipping from a glass of beer balanced on the pool edge. I swam over for a chat and discovered that he was in charge of the resort’s Performing Arts Academy. But he had no customers that day.
He told me his name was Phil Cavill. He’s quite a famous name in London Theatre land and on Broadway. Back in the 1990s he had a lead role in Miss Saigon and the went on to star as Jean Valjeane in Les Miserables in the West End.
As well as running the academy, Phil also sings in the restaurants at night. Obviously he specialises in musicals and as a tenor, wants to treat the guests to some really loud renditions of famous songs. Unfortunately some guests have delicate ears and often ask for him to be turned down (because he is loud not because he can’t sing). I really wanted to hear Phil really let rip.
For dinner the resort offers four restaurants but check the schedule as only the Bay Beach Club is open every night.
Bamboo: Offers a delicious Caribbean buffet.
The Bay Beach Club: Described earlier, this is the focal point for the evening. Sip cocktails at the bar, go to your table for an international three course meal and then head back for more cocktails after.
Jack’s: This impressive restaurant specialises in Steaks and Seafood cooked to your liking. A simple menu that changes daily accompanied by tasty side dishes. Try the garlic mash, sautéed spinach and mushrooms.
Safran’s is an Indian Restaurant serving an impressive array of curries. You won’t find many of these dishes on the menu in a typical UK curry house but if you do fancy a chicken tikka, have a word with the chef and he will rustle one up for you.
Open all day is HQ, a coffee, ice cream, smoothie and cake shop. A mango smoothie, banana bread and pistachio macaroons made a tasty change for breakfast on more than one occasion.
Buccament Bay Resort is teeming with staff all of whom seem to know your name and are pleased to help. Some drive around in silent golf buggies and will happily stop and pick you up and take you where you want to go.
On the last evening we went on a sunset cruise on a huge catamaran. The sky was blue as we left the beach and we enjoyed a light swell of waves on the ocean as schools of dolphins leaped around the boat showing off their acrobatic skills. We were even treated to a tropical downpour which lasted long enough to soak us all to the skin. We had to dance all the way back to dry ourselves out.
Any negatives? The resort is plagued by mosquitoes as are many in the Caribbean. But the resort use a fogging machine each evening to drive most of them away but don’t forget to put on your insect repellant. The swimming pools became quite cloudy one day but were cleaned and vacuumed by the following morning.
We were sad to leave Buccament Bay Resort. A stunning place, beautiful beach and facilities and lovely staff. Creese drove us to the airport but not before, Guido, the General Manager had stopped by to wish us farewell.
I’d also like to mention: Brod from Bamboo and The Bay for looking after us at breakfast and at lunch. Keon who mixes awesome cocktails at The Bay. Carlson who kept the drinks flowing during the day by the pool. Abby who was almost dancing as she served at The Bay and at Safran’s. And finally Lionel the gentleman by the pool for whom no request was too much trouble. And thank you for those bottles of hot sauce which will keep our memories of St Vincent alive for many meals to come.
Your turn: Did you enjoy my review of Buccament Bay Resort St Vincent? I would love to hear more stories about this great place. Please post your comments and links to your own experiences below where it says, “Leave a reply”.