On the end of a long, wooden pier beneath a thatched roof and above crashing waves, a private swing for two rocks back and forth in the island breeze.
Sipping a glass of champagne as I watch the sun set over the brand new Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort and Spa from this, the best seat in the house (or ocean, rather), it is easy to forget there is a bustling world (and frosty winter) behind me. I have definitely found my new happy place.
All-inclusive resorts can be a mixed bag. Depending on the location, brand and standards, they can run the gamut from spring break party headquarters to cheap and cheerful, easy getaways. Not so with Sandals LaSource Grenada in St. George’s. While Sandals bills itself as the “luxury included” vacation for couples, it is hard to believe just how much “all-inclusive” really entails. Top-shelf liquor delivered right to you while lazing in the sun? Included (tips, too). Snorkel and scuba trips? Included. Five-star gourmet cuisine, no reservations required? Included.
The difference here is the feeling of absolute, mindless serenity. There is no rushing to “save” beach chairs with one flip-flop and a towel; there are plenty available and staff are eager to help you find the perfect spot. There is no panicky feeling upon arrival to make reservations right away to ensure allotted a-la-carte experiences; you can walk right in to most restaurants and Ire seated at the best table in the house. And if you really need to feel pampered, you can book a private, thatched-roof “rondoval” suite with a pool, hot tub and butler service to anticipate every whim you didn’t even know you had. Breakfast in bed? Bubble bath drawn for two? A cooler of drinks and a hot pizza delivered to your sun lounger? Included, included, included.
The stunning resort with beautiful landscaping, sparkling pools and handsome architecture is, of course, lovely, but the atmosphere of wanting for nothing and never needing to rush, reserve or even think makes it incredibly easy to just drift away, stopping only once in a while to wonder if it is time for another rum punch with nutmeg, the island’s signature drink.
Nicknamed the “Spice Island” because Grenada is one of die world’s largest exporters of nutmeg, Grenadians are so proud of their spice that it is even featured on the nation’s flag: Whole nutmeg can be purchased for a couple of dollars almost anywhere on the island to take the Grenadian flavour back home.
Safe, friendly and rich in history and culture, it is no surprise that visits to Grenada by Canadians is growing rapidly. In fact, from January to September of 2013, Canadian arrivals to Grenada posted a whopping 32 per cent increase. With the launch of this new property, that figure is sure to keep climbing.
“The culture is very welcoming and hospitable in Grenada and that really sets this property apart,” said Paul Dobson from Cambridge, England. He and his wife, Wendy frequently vacation at Sandals but had already booked a repeat visit to the Grenada property while still vacationing there. The Dobsons are returning in part because of the world-renowned diving in Grenada (and because scuba trips are included in the price). The gourmet dining doesn’t hurt, either.
Often the gaping flaw of all-inclusive resorts is the ho-hum dining. Not so at this resort, which features gourmet dishes such as escargots and foie gras at French restaurant Lejardinier; oysters Rockefeller, tender Wisconsin steak and fresh lobster at the brand’s first steakhouse, Butch’s Chophouse; authentic Italian dishes such as scaloppini and osso buco at Gucina Romana; fresh, artistic sushi at Soy; wood-fired pizza at Dino’s: Teppanyaki at Kimono’s; and fresh mussels and ceviche at Neptune’s. Basic buffet boredom certainly isn’t found here.
While the resort is pricey, the accommodations don’t disappoint. The Grenada property features the brand’s first-ever Skypool suites with private infinity pools—the suites are beautifully appointed and everything is high-end. And if you ever tire of lounging on your private terrace, the pristine “pink gin” beach promises rows of conch shells and warm, clear water. The beachfront rooms aren’t the resort’s most expensive, so it is possible to snag an oceanfront deal when booking if butler service isn’t a must.
The resort celebrated the grand opening in May, when it was awarded two six-star black diamond awards by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences as well as two six-star green diamond awards for forward-thinking in environmental practices for the resort and the Red Lane spa, as well as a five-star black diamond award for Butch’s Chophouse. “Sandals LaSource offers guests the highest levels of personalized service and is the most contemporary and luxurious resort within our expanding portfolio,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts.
Luxurious becomes a bit of an understatement when lounging in an outdoor bubble bath on a private terrace (standard in nearly every room) overlooking lush gardens stretching out to the ocean. White curtains snap in the breeze, birds call to one another and the soft hum of music floats softly in the air. My new happy place is not soon to be forgotten and hopefully it won’t be too long before I return, because a serious reality check upon arriving back home? Sadly, that’s included, too.