Travel: Gorgeous GrenadaBy Sarah Dave
April 12, 2011
So some of the text messages between my boyfriend and I over the course of my stay in Grenada went something like this:
What’s the hotel like? x
Gorgeous. I wake up and go 2 sleep wi the waves crashing outside. x
What did u do 2day? x
Went to a rum factory for breakfast, admired a waterfall, hand-fed some wild monkeys and helped out at a cocoa plantation. xx
Did u enjoy your spa treatments? x
Amazing. Havn afternoon tea by the pool now. Just been swimming in the lagoon. Curious crabs and fish check u out. Miss oo. x
I was only there for four nights but already I found my special place on the private beach of La Source resort in Grenada. The beach bar – emanating lilting reggae and dub music – was within striking distance and the clear waters of the lagoon and ocean beyond were a few steps away – it was like swimming through jade.
La Source is located on the southern tip of Grenada, known as the Spice Island, and 12 degrees north of the equator – so attention to sunburn is essential. The island has a population of 110,000 and is just 133 square miles.
A white limousine greeted us at the airport – our bonkers but fun transport around the island for the rest of our stay – and drove the five minutes to the resort.
The beaches here – wonderfully dubbed Pink Gin and Magazine (proper names Pingouin and Magazin) – are for guests only and uncrowded; there is plenty of room for everyone both on the sand and in the hotel lounge areas.
Children are not allowed on the resort (heavenly).
Empty nesters with a new lease of life and some honeymooners are dotted around this all-inclusive place – the only in the region to include dives (qualified divers get three free dives), spa, yoga and tai chi as part of the stay.
They also have a Learn to Dive programme for newbies keen to explore the island’s 22 wrecks.
Rooms are spacious, decorated in a fresh, colonial style with huge, hip-height beds – the tallest I’ve ever slept in so you can overlook the sea – big bathrooms and top quality service and attitude from staff make it a pleasure to stay. (Special mention to the lovely lady who battles the heat to merrily cook your morning eggs in the open kitchen whichever way you like them and the superior frozen strawberry margaritas made by the bar staff.)
The resort’s Oasis Spa has 17 treatment rooms providing massages, reflexology, mud wraps, acupuncture and the usual beauty salon services. I highly recommend the spicy Grenadian body scrub – my limbs were still glowing the next day.
La Source’s holistic theme is carried into the food. It has four restaurants and three bars all serving impressive, fine dining meals in the evening and light bites in the daytime.
And solo travellers who don’t want to dine alone are not forgotten – there is a special table set aside for singletons hosted by an activity co-ordinator.
You may choose to just lie back on the beach after an early morning go at tai chi in the sand and yoga in the garden pavilion but the island is ripe for exploring.
Here are my top five things to see and do in Grenada:
- Hike around Grand Etang rainforest with sparky guide Telfor Bedeau. Telfor is a mere 71 years old but has the heart of a teenager. He’ll keep you amused with his playboy tales while taking you through muddy passes and steep climbs and introducing you to the wonders of the forest’s trees and plants – scientists were taking samples when we visited for cancer cure research. Look out for Mona monkeys, opossums and armadillos. Telfor is also the uncle of British actor/writer/director Noel Clarke.
- Spend a day in capital St George’s, admire the yachts in the marina and bag some bargains in the market. Climb up to 18th Century Fort Frederick for an amazing 360-degree view. End the day with dinner at BB’s Crabback for fine Caribbean fare including jerk pork, conch shell meat and divine pumpkin fried with cinnamon www.bbscrabback.com
- Visit the newly opened Spice Basket cultural centre www.spicebasketgrenada.com. It houses a museum about the island and its heritage – as well as Grenada’s cricketing prowess – and there is also a bar and restaurant which serves great rum punch while steel drums, folk dancing and calypso entertain. Return home via one of the island’s many rum shacks – mini convenience stores on the side of the road that also serve shots of 78 per cent (or more) strength rum.
- Discover the island’s produce of spices and chocolate. Why not try Gouyave Nutmeg Station processing plant. The island is the world’s second largest supplier of nutmeg and mace – the lacy red covering on the shell. Then visit the Grenada Chocolate Company where a guide will explain the process from the plucking of the cocoa pod to the final product you can buy in the co-operative company’s shop. There is also a restaurant on site.
- La Source also runs several tours including the four-hour Garden Tour taking in various gardens and nurseries and the Spicy Half Day Tour including St George’s, Gouyave Nutmeg Station and Grand Etang rainforest (both tours US$60 (about £37) per person.
Or you can stay on site for a daily schedule of activities including water volleyball, boxercise, golf, tennis, walks and bike rides.
Gym staff members include a former Grenadian boxing champ. Wrap it up with a romantic dinner on the beach at La Source for US$250 (about £155) per couple which includes Champagne and lobster thermidor.
While I’d personally prefer a livelier resort, Grenada is an ideal introduction to the Caribbean islands and La Source a perfect retreat for those in need of rejuvenation and tranquillity.
Sarah stayed at La Source resort in Grenada. Visit www.theamazingholiday.com
Seven nights in Grenada with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Grenada, accommodation at La Source on an all inclusive basis with transfers included, starts from £1,627.
Prices are per person based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room, on departures on May 12, 2011, but for other dates visit virginholidays.co.uk, call 0844 557 3859 or visit one of Virgin Holiday’s 50 stores in Debenhams and House of Fraser stores.
The resort is also due to offer Yoga Diving available at no extra cost from May for those PADI-qualified. Plus workshops in life coaching and psychic healing (May and November) and Pilates (October) are scheduled with two-week resident experts.
For more visit www.grenadagrenadines.com