“Carribean Splendour” To be honest I think I deliberately wanted to leave doing this review for a little while after coming home, to balance my opinion and not just gush positive superlatives in a typical post holiday nostalgic torrent.
I suspect if you are reading this, you are probably already looking for an esoteric and unique kind of holiday. You have stayed at a lot of the brand hotels before and now you want something different. Well you are in the right place.
Grenada is a very unsophisticated island, and that kind of surprised me. I expected a more cosmopolitan and touristy island, resplendent with abundant five star hotels, international brands, shops, bars and restaurants. I expected the capital to be full of tourists and that upon arrival, I would be anxious to seek refuge from them at our quiet resort. I thought I would wish to escape this commercialised centre that must exist in this southern part of the carribean, in this famous run of idyllic islands. But how wrong can you be.
There are only currently two airlines that fly direct to Grenada from Britain: Virgin and BA. You can also only fly either of these operators from Gatwick, so a lengthy drive to the airport awaits those not living in the south east, or maybe even a lengthy drive still awaits anyone driving from the south east… . We are lucky though, as there are no direct flights from France at all, despite their colonial heritage. Nor is there from Switzerland nor I am sure from a number of other countries. This is borne out when you arrive in Grenada as yours will be the only jet on the tarmac. Get ready to start winding down…
All of this is a good thing. If, like us that’s why you went on holiday. Because when you arrive, after clearing the airport, you are greeted with vibrant colours and inevitably an effervescent friendly reception. We were met by a lady from Rodney’s car hire, who accompanied us to the police station (to get our driving license) who told us that there was no need to return the car to the rental office, and that we could just “leave it at the airport, unlocked, with the keys under the drivers side mat in the main car park”. Welcome to Grenada!
With only one motorway half a mile long, its difficult to believe the island is only the same size as the Isle of Wight. Each ‘road’ is a voyage of views of incredible scenery due to the volcanic mountain island construction. Its beautiful and epic scenery, a stunning place in which to spend a vacation.
This set the scene then for an incredibly friendly uncommercialised highly characterful and unique holiday. I had not even dreamed that going to Grenada’s second ‘city’, my wife and myself would feel like the only tourists. Perhaps I have become over-burdoned with a western style skyline of branded shops and uniformity. You will struggle to find even a hint of this in Grenada.
So this leads me to Crochu Bay and Cabier. You can look high and low, far and wide, but you will struggle to find a more enjoyable place to spend a holiday. We stayed at Two Bays Villa, which is owned by Hamilton holiday homes and managed by Bruno & Iris at the adjacent Cabier Lodge. It’s a stunning villa named after the views over the two bays next to it. Two Bays is fully self contained, with all the home comforts you could want, with a 100 ft balcony and a 5 minute walk to Cabier where you can have all your meals at reasonable cost if you wish, as well as Iris’s rum punch cocktails. Two Bays has an infinity pool and air conditioning, beautiful beaches and braying donkeys from the Cabier zoo.
Nick could not have been more helpful in providing information relevant to helping us enjoy our stay. You get the impression talking to him that he does not NEED to let these holiday homes, and you feel more that you are staying as his guest. Our villa was spectacularly kitted out and a real event of a place to stay. No TV (you wont miss it) but there is comp wifi. Fantastic attention to detail. I suggest that around 5’oclock you make a jug of cocktail and sit down to a round of rumikub, although my wife is currently 5:1 up, curses for marrying someone smart!
Although the island is beautiful, the beaches are fantastic and lifestyle wonderfully sedate and idyllic, it is Bruno’s help, assistance, service, wit, accommodation and cooking that will always stay with me as the pinnacle of this wonderful holiday. Bruno is very charismatic and a great host and is well known by many people on the island. Maybe this is partly because he takes his pet monkey, Judy with him a lot of the places he goes. I recommend you go on at least one island exploration trip with Bruno, its inexpensive and a valuable insight. If you have never heard of the colonial tradition of the ‘hash’, you should ask Bruno to take you on it. Don’t worry, its nothing to do with illegal highs, although it may have a few geographical ones as there will be hill walking to do and in 28 degree heat, that makes you thirsty….
In a way I don’t really want anyone to read this review as I enjoyed Grenada as an uncomplicated happy island a million miles away from the grief and hastle we all get at work. As well as an idyllic holiday location, it felt like going back in time to me. Maybe other areas of the carribean possess this idiosyncracy to the same extent, but I doubt it. I met a number of ex-pats in Grenada tearing their hair out that the tourist board seem to do nothing to promote this beautiful island. But to the lucky tourist who discovers it, that’s a god send. You should do yourself a favour and visit Grenada, Grenville and Cabier before it changes, but do me a favour and don’t tell anyone else.