Grenada: Beyond the Beaches

Silversands Grenada’s 1647-square-foot Penthouse has two terraces, a living room area, a lounge area for two and a dining area for eight.

Grenada has spectacular beaches and friendly people, and yet it has so much more. Luxury Travel Advisor recently visited the island and we found it to be an excellent destination for adventure-seekers, history buffs and foodies. It also has a very impressive array of luxury hotel offerings. 

The new kid on the block is Silversands Grenada, which opened in December as a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The resort has 52 keys, including its nine way-over-the-top villas (five of which are beachfront, while the remaining four on the hillside behind the property). Silversands wows guests when they first walk into the property. Their first sight? A 330-foot pool stretching from the open-air lobby to the beach. (It’s touted as the longest pool in the Caribbean!) To the left of the lobby is Puro, which has a premium selection of cigars and over 200 rums and other rare spirits for a true taste of the Caribbean. 

The Puro Lounge at Silversands has a premium selection of cigars and over 200 rums and other rare spirits.

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The Beachfront Villas are the standout accommodations at Silversands, although they’re only suitable for families with adult children or groups of adults (particularly multiple couples). Each villa comprises five individual buildings: A main pavilion with a living area and full kitchen (private chefs are available) and four separate master suites, all surrounding the villa’s private pool, which is impressive in its own right. Two suites are beachside and have a patio with direct beach access; however, we would opt for one of the two that are set behind the beachfront suites. Each of these suites has its own private hot tub: During the day, couples can enjoy the beach and the villa’s pool, but at night they will be able to cozy up in their private Jacuzzi. 

While these rooms are the only ones on property that allow children of any age, due to the villas’ layout, we don’t see them as very well-suited to kids. 

Note: The three-bedroom Hillside Villas will be ready for occupancy by the end of March. These three-level villas will be connected by an interior staircase, so they may be more favorable for families with younger children. The villas will have one pool for the entire group, and a smaller option directly off its Garden Level suite. 

The open-air lobby, right, at Silversands is a sight to behold. A 330-foot pool stretches from the lobby to the beach.

Behind the Beachfront Villas are two three-story buildings that hold all of the suites. Due to their location behind the villas, we would pick a suite on the top floor. The best such option is the Penthouse (No. 223), which totals over 1,600 square feet, has two terraces, a dining area for eight, walk-in closets and a bath tub with views of the ocean. The Penthouse will be able to connect to up to two One Bedroom Suites, for a total of three bedrooms. Bonus: The Penthouse will have custom bath products, including a men’s and women’s fragrance by French Perfumer Blaise Mautin. Children under 12 are not allowed in the suites or in the main pool. 

Jorge Collazo ([email protected]), director of sales and marketing, can take special bookings and requests. 

There are two dining venues on property: Asiatique and Grenadian Grill. The former is a fine-dining restaurant open daily for dinner that integrates Asian cooking methods with Grenadian spices; the latter is a relaxed, beachside spot that serves Mediterranean cuisine and authentic Grenadian dishes. 

The spa has two single and two doubles rooms, an experiential shower, ice cave, steam room and fitness center located around a private spa pool. The signature treatment is The Silversands Massage, a 90-minute journey that applies natural Nutmeg oil. 

Spice Island Beach Resort, located on Grand Anse Beach, has 64 beachfront suites with contemporary Caribbean décor, terraces and private gardens. 

During our visit, we split our time between Spice Island Beach Resort and Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club — two quintessential Grenada resorts with very different vibes. 

The former maintains a Caribbean vibe but with some contemporary updates; for instance, flat-screen TVs, in-room Amazon Echos and sleek wooden furniture. The Caribbean aesthetic can still be found in the pitched roofs of the Pool Suites, the large wood ceiling fans in all rooms, and the color palette. 

We stayed in the Cinnamon Suite (No. 16-17), which is identical to the Saffron Suite. Each of these comprise two former Seagrape Beach Suites and are, therefore, exactly twice the size. One side of the suite is the living and dining area (Note: These rooms are the only ones on property with a wet bar), while the other side comprises the bedroom and master bath. Bonus: Each side of the suite has its own patio with direct beach access, a hammock, daybed, lounge chairs and a beach umbrella. For couples looking for plenty of space and a beachfront room, we would hands-down pick one of these. Families should even consider booking the Cinnamon or Saffron Suite with an adjoining room (the former connects to a king-bedded Seagrape Suite and the latter connects to a double queen Seagrape setup). 

Janissa’s Spa at Spice Island Beach Resort uses local herbs, organic Grenadian chocolate and spices to help guests relax and restore.

For guests who prefer additional privacy, one of the Pool Suites is the way to go. Both the Royal Collection Pool Suites and the Luxury Almond Pool Suites measure 1,500 square feet but with different layouts. The Royal Collection rooms have additional outdoor space, including a private cedar sauna, and the Luxury Almond Pool Suites have additional indoor space set up as a media / living room. Both have a 16-by-20-foot pool and a four-poster king bed. Children under 12 are not allowed in these room categories. 

Spice Island Beach Resort, which is all-inclusive, has two restaurants: Oliver’s Restaurant and Sea and Surf Terrace & Bar. Both spots are open for dinner and serve the same menu. The difference? Oliver’s does not allow children under five and requires “elegantly casual evening attire.” This way, parents who want a nice meal can enjoy such at Sea and Surf Terrace & Bar and still bring their children. At either restaurant you will likely find owner Sir Royston Hopkin, who is constantly greeting repeat guests by first name. During our visit, a couple was celebrating their anniversary so he had the live band play their song — and then a second time because the husband missed it the first go around. In fact, putting the Amazon Echos in each room was his idea, since one guest the year prior said he would enjoy a portable music player to take to the beach. Sir Hopkin took his suggestion to the next level and decided to put a device in each room. 

After a long week exploring the island, be sure to sign up for a spa treatment at Janissa’s Spa. We opted for the Deep Tissue Massage, which just did the trick, but Janissa’s Signature Massage, which offers a choice of local, stress relief or toxin relief treatment oils and a hand or foot paraffin treatment, remains one of the most popular. 

Spice Island debuted a yoga pavilion in December 2017. Here, guests can sign up for group or private classes. The space can even host small, private events.

Non-motorized water sports, tennis, resort bicycles, children’s activities and a fitness center are also available and included. Brian G. Hardy, the general manager, can be reached at [email protected] 

Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club, on the other hand, offers a much more rustic Caribbean feel than either previous resort. “Heritage-meets-modern haven,” the resort touts.

The newest rooms on property are the Cinnamon Suites, of which there are currently eight (with six more on the way by the end of 2019). These rooms are by far the most contemporary on property, offering Mediterranean colors (think white and blues), a flat-screen smart TV, a Bluetooth sound system and a furnished balcony with a view of Grand Anse and the capital city of St. George’s.

The Luxury Almond Pool Suites at Spice Island Beach Resort have a residential-size pool and an outdoor dining terrace.

The Luxury Hacienda Suites (our room category), the Luxury Villas and the Two Bedroom Garden Suite all have a similar décor. These rooms have bright colors (think greens and purples) and tile flooring that flows out onto the furnished patios, as well as separate living and dining rooms, full kitchens, multiple bathrooms and in-room laundry.

The Cinnamon Suites and Luxury Hacienda Suites are best suited for couples. Families should consider the Luxury Villas, which range from one to three bedrooms. Tip: The three-bedroom villa has its own pool. Cinnamon Heights is the largest accommodation, with 6,000 square feet of indoor space, terraces and decks. Sleeping eight, it also has its own pool, Jacuzzi and outdoor dining. 

Contact Molly Osendorf ([email protected]), sales and marketing director. 

Note: Most of Mount Cinnamon is set off from the beach and up a hill, meaning there is an inclined walk to many of the rooms from the lobby and restaurant. Across the road, a path takes you across a lawn and garden to the beach, where guests will find a beach bar and restaurant, a volleyball court and croquet field, as well as a single treatment room for beachside massages from the spa. The walk down to the beach is just a couple minutes.

Each Friday night, the beach bar (Savvy) hosts a bonfire and barbecue — this is a must.  Travelers can sample delicious, local cuisine and enjoy the show (in addition to the bonfire, the resort brings in a steel drum band to play traditional songs, as well as covers that most Americans will recognize). 

The Cinnamon Spa offers hot stone massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures, and more. Guests can also sign up for a variety of yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi classes.

Mount Cinnamon Resort, tucked on the hillside atop Grand Anse Beach, has 21 luxury villas and suites.

Bonus: There is a Dive Grenada outpost right on Mount Cinnamon’s stretch of beach where guests can sign up for both snorkeling and scuba diving. Grenada has two must-see dive sites: The Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park and Bianca C. The underwater sculpture park is a 10-minute boat ride along the coast where British artist Jason deCaires Taylor purpose-sunk dozens of sculptures (which range from a ring of children to a girl taking a selfie and a man riding a bike) to help rebuild coral after Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005 destroyed much of the existing reefs. The sculpture park is also accessible to snorkelers, as many of the works of art are less than 30 feet down and can be seen clearly from the surface. Bianca C, “the Titanic of the Caribbean,” is a 600-foot-long cruise liner that sank just off the coast in 1961 and is widely regarded as a top-10 dive site in the world. Our tip? Bring an underwater camera. 

All three resorts are located along Grenada’s Grand Anse Beach — perhaps the most famous and one of the best on the island. But if you’re looking to get off the beach and explore the island, there’s still plenty to do. 

First, we would visit the Seven Sisters Falls in Grand Etang National Park. The easiest to reach are Nos. 6 and 7, which create a double waterfall that end in a pool that you’re free to take a dip in. To get to these, it’s a roughly 30- to 45-minute hike (medium intensity) on a trail through the rainforest; however, the full tour of all seven can take a couple hours and includes getting a bit dirty — and wet. For either version, we would definitely suggest hiking shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting wet (as you may need to cross the river). The good news: Nos. 6 and 7, in addition to being the easiest to reach, make for the best sight. 

Our guide was Peter Green (011-14-734-591-582), who works for Hidden Treasures Hikes in the park. He is extremely knowledgeable, and we highly recommend him. 

Another must-see waterfall is Annandale Falls. Located on the cusp of the rainforest, this might be the easiest waterfall on the island to visit. Guests can pretty much drive right up to the falls (which are located down a path, just a couple hundred yards from the paved road). We recommend bringing a bathing suit as the pool at the bottom of the waterfall is great for paddling around. While visitors aren’t advised to do so, locals (dubbed the Grenada Dive Team) will jump from the top of the waterfall into the pool — about a 50-foot drop. To visit Annandale, we would recommend signing up for a Sun Hunters dune buggy tour. Based near the airport in south of the island, guests will hit several off-road sites, as well as a few scenic points on the island. The final stop is Annandale Falls, which is a great spot to clear all the mud off in the water. The “Dune Buggy Annandale Waterfalls and Forest Adventure” takes roughly three hours (drinks and snacks are provided). 

Grenada, above, is known as the Isle of Spice.

Grenada is known as the Isle of Spice — so what better way to experience the island than by visiting a nutmeg processing station? The Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station is one the largest on the island, and visitors can watch as workers choose, grade and package the island’s most valuable spice. Tours are fairly short, so they can easily be combined with a tour of another foodie must: Visiting one of the many chocolate plantations on the island. Belmont Estate and Diamond Chocolate Factory are two of the most popular. The former is on a site that dates to the 1600s; tours include visits to the organic farm, gardens, heritage museum and cocoa-processing facilities. There is also a restaurant that serves traditional Grenadian cuisine, a goat dairy farm and a petting farm. Tip: Try the fruit that the cacao comes from; it’s citrusy and nothing like you’d expect. 

Lastly, be sure to wash it all down with some rum. For an over-the-top strong rum, check out the River Antoine Rum Distillery, which says it’s the oldest continuously operating rum distillery in the Western Hemisphere. (Tip: It remains powered by an on-property, aqueduct-fed water mill.) Note: When it comes to the tasting, due to the rum’s 75 percent ABV, you will definitely need a chaser.

All four of the above destinations are located on the northern half of the island and make for a good day trip from the south, where many of the island’s top resorts are. 

Bathway Beach is also located in the far north and is usually filled with only locals. If you take a trip this way, be sure to visit Aggie’s Restaurant & Bar. It’s a small but colorful spot where there is no set menu; owner Aggie simply cooks what she picked up at the market that morning. On the menu during our visit? Hammerhead shark, rice, fried plantains, and pumpkin and green beans. It was our favorite meal of the trip. 

Fort Frederick, left, perched atop Richmond Hill is a major attraction for history buffs. 

Closer to the resorts, a good option for history buffs are Fort Matthew and Fort Frederick. Located just outside of St. George’s upon Richmond Hill, both forts bounced back and forth between French and British control and offer great views of the city and sea. 

In town, visitors can also check out Fort George, which sits 175 feet above St. George’s Harbor; it is the oldest and most significant on the island. Guests are free to explore all of the forts on their own, but we would suggest taking a tour for insider access.

For local dining near St. George’s or the resorts, head to Coconut Beach. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily (except Tuesdays, when it’s closed) and offers both local and international dishes. On Saturday nights, guests can enjoy live DJs. Due to its spot on Grand Anse Beach, it has a very casual setting where people walk right up from the beach to enjoy the food and music. 

If you prefer beer to rum, head to the West Indies Beer Company, which has indoor and outdoor seating and a great beer and cider selection — all brewed on property. A menu with standard American bar fare is also available. 

For transportation around the island, we recommend Sheldon Noel of Royalty Taxi & Tours (011-14-764-032-543).  

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