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Grenada: Selling the Spice Island

Written by  Melanie Reffes

In the southeastern Caribbean north of Trinidad, Grenada and the smaller sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique is a popular getaway for sun seekers looking for an alternative to the more crowded Caribbean islands. Gorgeous and green, the island nation is affectionately dubbed the ‘Spice Island’ for the wonderfully fragrant nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves that grow in the volcanic soil. “With so many activities and adventures available in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, we at the Grenada Tourism Authority are able to provide travel agents with the right tools to tailor unique experiences based on their clients’ interests,“ said Francine Stewart, marketing manager for the Grenada Tourism Authority.

A spicy melange of seaside villages and dive sights including the Caribbean’s first underwater sculpture park, Grenada also invites with rainforests, cascading cliffs, hot springs, crater lakes, sandy beaches, groves of frangipani, historic forts, potent homegrown rum, downhome island food and delectable dark chocolate. “We value the support and loyalty of our trade partners and recognize the importance an incentive program has on strengthening current and future relationships,” added Francine Stewart. “We are reviewing a framework that will not only educate, but build awareness and loyalty to brand Grenada.”

Sweet dreams
Foodies give the thumbs-up to the curated culinary experiences at Spice Island Beach Resort on Grand Anse Beach at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. With a AAA Five Diamond rating and a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), this 64-suite resort is beachfront elegance with superb dining and spectacular suites with ocean view whirlpool tubs and Phillip Starck designs. Where Prince Harry popped by for lunch during his visit to the Southern Caribbean, dining choices range from Oliver’s where the five-course dinner menu changes every three weeks (herb-crusted lamb rack with coconut rice is a stand-out), to Sea & Surf Terrace for a light bite and a Spice Island Classic cocktail potent with sparkling wine and the island herb called sorrel. “Many of our staff have backyard gardens,“ smiles Janelle Hopkins, deputy managing director. “We buy what they grow like lemons, tomatoes and callaloo rather than import from outside the island.”

Catnip for luxury clients, a stellar staff pays sharp attention to detail. “Life is imperfect, which is precisely why we crave a seamless vacation experience when we have the rare opportunity to break away and indulge ourselves,” said Sir Royston O. Hopkin, chairman of the resort and the island’s most decorated hotelier.
Pure Grenada with a dash of his Jamaica courtesy of Jamaican-born Sandals Resorts founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart who supplies his resorts with Blue Mountain coffee and Appleton Rum, Sandals LaSource Grenada is unplugged romance in a Sky Pool Suite with a soaking tub for two, solar heated ocean view infinity edge plunge pool and a butler who arranges dinner on the beach and bubble baths pour deux. Sprawling over 17-acres, the posh 257-room and suite resort on the southwest coast is sweet on romance with swinging hammocks, hanging chairs built for two, chocolate buffets ,five pools and 10 restaurants including a pizzeria with funky pies like one smothered in chocolate and bananas.

Add-ons worth the splurge include ‘Scents of Love’ couples massage at the Red Lane Spa, a Champagne and Seafood cruise, and to spice things up: Spicy Island tour visits the Belmont Chocolate Estate and the picturesque waterfront capital of St George’s.

Around the corner from Spice Island, the cottages at the Blue Horizons Garden Resort front well-manicured gardens. On a sloping hillside facing the Caribbean Sea, the hotel comes with a fresh water swimming pool, library, bar and Creole restaurant.

Overlooking the Bay, Mount Cinnamon is hillside perfection with rainbow-colored décor in suites and villas that are big enough for families. Surrounded by panoramas of the Caribbean Sea and mountainous shoreline, the resort is delightful with a poolside cocktail bar, Savvy’s Restaurant, spa and Dive Grenada
( where you can book underwater adventures on Grand Anse Beach. Set to debut on July 1, eight new suites with views across the bay to the capital of St. George’s.

New on the hotel horizon includes 176-room Levera Beach Resort opening its first phase in December, Silversands Grenada, set to open Spring 2018 with 44 suites and a mix of 9 hillside and seaside residences for purchase, and 146-room Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort targeted for early 2019.

Out and About
One of the prettiest port towns in the Caribbean, the capital city of St. George’s is popular with yachters who dock in the horseshoe-shaped harbor called Carenage. Made for a stroll along the water’s edge, Carenage is also a hit with those who like to sip and snack in the many bars and restaurants that line the water’s edge. Built by the French in 1700’s, Fort George and Fort Frederick are popular pit stops for history buffs while St. George’s Market Square is a must-do for fans of spices.
Close to the city, Dragon Bay is an away-from-the fray beach near the Underwater Sculpture Park. Sloping along the west coast, the bay is a protected area with gentle waves and beach bar. At Grand Etang National Park, hiking trails thread through the rainforest and petite monkeys pose for snaps, while on the northeastern shore, Levera National Park is where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Fringed by sea grapes and coconut palms, Grand Anse is the island’s most coveted beach with calm waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. South of Grand Anse, Morne Rouge Bay is a quieter alternative with plenty of shady areas and footprint-ready sand. In the mountains north of St. George’s, Annandale Falls is a 10-meter waterfall where divers leap into the water from the top. For foodies, Dougaldston Spice Estate is a nutmeg plantation open to visitors and for fans of the sweet stuff, the Grenada Chocolate Company is nestled in the cocoa groves.

Save the date
July 9: Tri de Spice is the annual triathlon with athletes from around the world.
August 4-7: Carriacou Regatta includes boat building lessons and racing competitions.
August 14-August 15: Spicemas Carnival is the big summer ticket with enough pomp and pageantry to keep family and friends busy from sunrise to sunset.
October 9-13: Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) attracts the regions tourism movers and shakers.