A private plunge pool is the height of luxury in a modern, all-inclusive resort. But Sandals LaSource Grenada takes the aqua action to a whole new level.
Our suite was one of seventy with a pool attached at the newest and most innovative adults-only resort in the popular Caribbean chain. But the dimensions of the pool and the rooms were particularly impressive. The large balcony included a Jacuzzi, outdoor shower, table and chairs with two chaise lounges for relaxing and a step-in infinity pool measuring 20 feet by 8 feet – long enough for gliding or even swimming a few strokes. It was so relaxing in the late evening. We’ve had plunge pools at other resorts but this was the most decadent!
Our room layout was equally spectacular. The suite had a living room with wet bar (drinks included), comfortable chairs and a huge LCD TV. The bedroom, with its own high definition TV (including all the key US channels plus CBC), had a king-size bed and ceiling-high French doors overlooking the plunge pool, the well-groomed resort and the volcanic hills beyond. The bathroom was as big as our living room at home and included two separate, extra-wide marble sinks, a carved stone bathtub and a massive shower stall with both traditional and rainforest showerheads. Robes and slippers are included but the small slippers are not suitable for large, male feet.
This was our fifth stay at a Sandals property and we’ve been impressed with the careful, planned growth of the Jamaica-based chain since its beginning in 1981. The Chairman, Butch Stewart, raises the bar every time he builds a new tropical property or, as in this case, converts and expands an existing resort and “Sandalizes” it to a new, high standard. The resort’s manager, Kressville Ritchie, said the company has taken the best of the other properties and put it all together in Grenada. “We’re the Sandals of tomorrow, today,” he boasted. He also claimed it to be the most romantic Sandals. We can’t disagree.
The resort is laid out in a series of “Villages” along a stretch of Pink Gin Beach, one of almost 50 fine beaches on this small spice island (just 34 kilometres long) situated 150 kilometres north of the coast of South America. The water is warm, calm and crystal-clear and filled with tropical fish, many of which swim in schools close to the shoreline. The immaculate grounds are covered in lush, colourful flowers and shrubs.
The rooms at Sandals LaSource Grenada come in 20 different price categories but even the entry-level accommodation is luxurious and includes the same cuisine, drinks and activities that everyone enjoys.
With just under a week at the resort, we weren’t able to try all ten of the restaurants but we did our best to sample the skill of the Executive Chef and the ten Sous Chefs responsible for each venue. Among the choices we enjoyed were Le Jardinier, fine French cuisine including seared fois gras, Soy with its outstanding sushi, Dino’s, serving pizza as good as we’ve tried anywhere and Spices, the buffet restaurant with excellent breakfasts and a grand variety of foods at lunch (including wonderfully spicy Caribbean cuisine). The Café de Paris has a great choice of tasty pastries and ice cream (the unique nutmeg flavour is a must to try).
There’s also a first for the Sandals chain, Butch’s Chophouse (named for the Chairman), that features a variety of well-aged steaks and chops including tender Wagyu beef. We enjoyed our first visit so much (the crab cakes are full of crab and quite delicious) we went back a second evening but, unfortunately, one of our steaks was not as tender as expected. A rare miss. A fine extra-cost wine list is offered at dinner but we enjoyed the complimentary house wines from Beringer of California.
Many couples stay on the resort the whole time (there’s complementary sailing, snorkeling, SCUBA and glass-bottomed boat riding) but we took a half day tour of Grenada, the most southerly of the Windward Islands. Wrapped in rain forest, the volcanic island (with its two smaller, sister islands) became independent in 1974 after colonization by the French (1650) and the British (1783). Now its economy is based on tourism and spices. The capital, St. George’s (named for King George III), a lively cruise ship town with a population of 37,000, includes an excellent daily marketplace and two well preserved forts from colonial days, Fort George and Fort Frederick. Close by is Grand Anse beach, a pristine three-kilometre stretch of white sand that’s rated among the best in the world.
Leaving St George’s, we climbed on narrow, switchback roads to Grand Etang National Park, passing the picturesque Annandale Falls and several farms where the island’s famous nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and cocoa beans are produced. These tasty souvenirs are available everywhere and make ideal gifts.
Back on the resort we enjoyed a day of relaxation before heading home. There seemed to be a lot of newlyweds and young couples on the property (weddings are a specialty of Sandals) but we were also pleased to see many folks of, shall we say, mature years. One older couple from Michigan has been to eight Sandals resorts. “We’re here to rest, relax and enjoy the atmosphere,” they told us. “We love the level of service at Sandals. There’s a party pool on that side of the resort. We like the quiet pool on this side.”
Grenada is a long flight from Canada but well worth it for the unique pleasures of the Spice Island. Air Canada Vacations will start its weekly non-stop service from Toronto in November, lasting until late April. There’ll be a second weekly service from February to early April.
All photos by John and Sandra Nowlan. All rights reserved.
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