TRAVEL | Grenada

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For a few days between Christmas and New Year’s we continued our quest to find the “best” place for us to spend some tropical family time over the Winter Break. With all four of my kids growing up and experiencing life on their own terms I think it’s important to find our own traditions that they may want to continue when they have kids of their own. This year we decided to check out Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada.

Our family Christmas party wrapped up and we got home to Oakville around 11PM. Time for some last minute packing, a tidy up of the house and a quick nap. Pearson airport at a little past 3AM is quiet and dark. Our flight left a little late but once we were on the plane we were all zonked and napped most of the 6-hour direct flight.

How do I know I’m on holiday? Tequila. (So weird to toast all of my kids!)

As a complete surprise to all of us – especially Claire, a tasty chocolate cake was brought to our table in celebration of Claire’s 23rd birthday. There was much singing and laughing. The only way they knew about Claire’s big day was when we registered. The attention to detail through the week was remarkable. With few exceptions every employee called us by name – and not one called me Mrs. – I was always Miss. Well done!

The tropical full moon is lovely.

Every day there were plenty of clouds and strong breezes that made the 34°C heat easier to manage. I never once felt overheated which is a rare (and welcome) thing. I liked that the beach was prepared for the weather with permanent ‘tiki’ huts and umbrellas with sturdy (incredibly heavy) concrete bases.

Cole and Caden are all about the body surfing. They were infinitely patient waiting for the perfect wave. It was even worth skinning themselves going from the soft sand into the more rough broken shells and pebbles in the surf. Like five year olds this kept them occupied for the better part of the day. So fun!

There is nothing like tropical rain. It would often blow right by us as we sat comfortably on the beach. It rained every day, usually overnight.

Perfect day at the beach = a margarita, a good book, sunglasses, sounds of the surf. Bliss.

It is so nice to take a camera right into the water. A few years ago I bought Chloé an Olympus to record her scuba diving adventures. I’m so glad we brought it. The picture quality is great, too.

Plenty of horsing around happened. Some things never change!

It looked like a pirate ship from shore. I met a couple from Edmonton on our flight home who were on it. It is a working ship and you can take cruises on it – which is what they did for a week!

The flowers were abundant and beautiful. As, were the birds, butterflies, lizards and mosquitos (note to self: bring stronger bug spray) everywhere! The tree frogs would sing from sundown to dawn. It was lovely.

Happy crew! Even with liberal amounts of Ombrelle SPF60 we were all getting crispy!

The best thing for my psoriasis is salt water. A definite cure-all for so many things

Tea time! Cole shared in the tradition of afternoon tea with me. It was lovely.

The Christmas photo by the big tree in the lobby.

I love that there were Christmas crackers at the tables. The attention to detail and fun was apparent every day.

Caden couldn’t miss his Liverpool game and since Claire and I were too crispy to be outside we joined him. This was followed by watching the World Juniors – as is our tradition from Boxing Day onward. I’m thrilled we got the TSN feed from Canada!

This was my daily view – my kids playing cards – a game called Crazy 8 Countdown which not only took a long time to play but they did so endlessly. Chloé, it turns out, was by all accounts the champion.

Another typical view – and this of our last evening – my kids in their loungers reading. I think between us we finished seven books.

* A note on my photos: with the exception of the occasional straightening of the horizon, cropping or converting to black and white, ALL of my photos are always Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) using no flash.

This was a relaxing holiday – exactly what we all needed after a full and stressful first term at school. The week away gave each of my kids an opportunity to re-connect with each other and connect with the easy flow of the tropics.

The food was incredible giving us plenty of opportunity to experience tastes we’ve never had before – specifically barracuda and lionfish, both delicious. I do not enjoy spicy food and I was able to eat well even with that limitation. I always enjoy when I come away from a holiday with some meal ideas and I have more than a few.

The service was outstanding. Everyone working at the resort knew our names which was weird at first but we all got used to it. We got to know a few better than others and the kids definitely had their favourites.

The accommodations were lovely. We girls had an Anthurium Pool Suite though the pool was not used, the water was freezing. The boys were in a Oleander Garden Suite. We were all very pleased with the Molton Brown toiletries provided as well as the lovely lavender room spray. If we are to return I hope to get a suite closer to the beach so I can hear the waves all night long.

The beach is public which is similar to what we’ve experience in most of the Caribbean. There are few vendors and most are either passive and respectful of your lack of interest, or incredibly persistent. It would have been nice to have had more security around, particularly in the afternoons.

Pack bug spray! There is a can of OFF spray provided in each room but I think I’d like to get some of the stronger stuff from our local infectious disease immunization centre where we get our travel shots. It’s not so much the mosquitos but the noseeums.

Though all-inclusive, this is NOT a party resort. The pool closes at 6PM and bar closes at 11PM. Given that our purpose was to sleep, eat, read, and enjoy the heat it was absolutely ideal for us. It is an intimate space – nothing sprawling or overly large. There were many families – large and small. More Europeans (Brits) than Americans and a few Canadians. Thanks to Erica Tu, travel designer extraordinaire, it was a great choice!

Rating: a strong 4 out of 5 margaritas! We will be back.

Guest reviews! My kids had this to say:

 

Claire –

After multiple stays at resorts all over the Caribbean, I can definitely say I was very impressed by Spice Island Beach Resort. It is a gorgeous location with tasteful décor and a great beach. I liked that there wasn’t too much variety when it came to choices for food – there was really only one restaurant with a “formal” and “informal” side. And the food was AMAZING.

The rooms we stayed in were a good size and very comfortable. One thing I would say is that the pool in our suite was FREEZING cold, which made getting that particular suite pretty pointless. The beach, however, was well-maintained and the sand was fine – no annoying rocks or algae. The waves were also pretty big, which made being in the water a lot of fun. BUT since it is a public beach, everyone could have benefitted from better security patrols.

The part that stood out the most for me though was the outstanding service we received from the minute we arrived until the minute we left. The staff made an effort to get to know you and ensure your stay there was nothing short of the best. They seemed more like friends than staff in the end. Overall, I really enjoyed my stay here and I’m looking forward to staying there again in the future.

 

Cole –

Spice Island Beach Resort is, to begin, stunning. The buildings themselves, the ambiance, the gardens, and the beach are immaculate, and give the entire space a sense of freedom and calm.

Of all the islands I have visited with my family, I have to say I enjoyed the weather of Grenada. Grand Anse beach sits in a cove, which makes it protected. This has two effects, 1) the water is the perfect temperature and 2) a constant light breeze makes it feel far cooler than what it is in reality. I am not one to spend hours on a beach, I usually overheat, however I did spend countless hours reading Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and I was ecstatic about it.

Of the resort itself, the one aspect that stood out to me most was the food and beverage services. The staff were splendid, calling each of us by name and almost telepathically anticipating our every desire. The food as well was gorgeous, in particular the selection of tropical fish, from Mahi-Mahi to Swordfish to Lionfish.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience at Spice Island Beach Resort, and I cannot wait to stay there again next year.

 

Chloe –

Spice Island Beach Resort was impressive. The resort itself is visually stunning and filled with gracious employees who made you feel at home upon arrival. We were able to build relationships with our servers and bartenders which made the whole experience more pleasant.

Our rooms were located close to the beach, which is beautiful with smooth sand and warm waters. Although Grand Anse Beach is public, I for one did not feel unsafe at all. The resort provides 24-hour security, beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as bar service on the beach.

Grenada is one of my favourite places I have visited with my family for a number of reasons. The weather is amazing with bright sun and light breezes, and waters are the perfect temperature. The food provided and the people we met only made the experience better. I tried foods I never thought I would, such as barracuda and rabbit, and met people of all walks of life.

I am excited to return to Spice Island Beach Resort in years to come.

 

Caden –

“T’was a good time.” Is a direct quote when I asked him to type out a review and he declined.

 

And there you have it. One more holiday recorded and shared!

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