By Michael Reubens
it’s a personal choice for me being in either the Caribbean or Mediterranean regions of the world and it all depends on the season and time of year.
The Eastern Caribbean and specifically Grenada is my number one choice for this time of the year.
This West Indies holiday resort island is unspoilt, charming and relaxing. It has history and culture, fine wines and dining and to-die-for beaches, not to mention plenty of local rums to sample by the hotel pool or ocean front panoramas of both the Caribbean sea or Atlantic ocean.
One of the best tour operators in Grenada is Noel Sheldon. His company Royalty Taxi & Tours provides reliable and affordable airport transfers and island tours to fit the most discerning traveler: his air-conditioned mini van was waiting for me on arrival at the airport to escort me to my hotel True Blue Bay Resort in St. Georges and was on hand to act as driver and tour guide, taking me to most of the island in one full day, which I found both pleasurable and informative, covering the culture and history in rapid but relaxing speed with intelligent narrative from Mr. Sheldon.
We explored the remains of Forts Matthew & Frederick with detailed explanations behind the history of those bastions of defense and security from a time gone by!
At the Concord Waterfall, I observed several people swimming and diving as I watched from a safe distance.
Next stop Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station where we joined other tour busses full of international tourists as we met the in-house guide who showed us how the Nutmeg was produced and the globally generated export history. The sweet aroma permeated the warehouse.
The Belmont Estate next was a 17th Century working plantation and restaurant, organic chocolate factory and crafts museum.
The River Antoine Rum Distillery featured the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the Caribbean. Several locally produced rum tastings were displayed.
Finally the Grand Etang National Park comprised some thirty six acres and for the adventurous, several walking and hiking trails. If you’re lucky you may even see several Mona Monkeys roaming about.
The True Blue Bay is a wonderfully relaxing Boutique hotel in the Grand Anse, St George’s region of the island. Describing itself as a “Caribbean Boutique Resort” it certainly is all that and more. From the first impression at check-in to the last minute on property I was given a VIP welcome. The concierge staff, Kaylee & Alisha, were on hand for suggestions and concerns as were the owners, Russ and Magdalena Fielden – he an expat Brit and his wife originally from Mexico and their daughters, Renata and Marie, all perfect ambassadors for the property and always visible from the wee hours to late at night. Doing a great job as their own public Relations and Marketing representatives!
The facilities and services provided were amazing: I participated in some of their well organized events on offer including on Tuesdays a Rum & Chocolate tasting followed by a Grenadian Night Special featuring local chefs’ mouth-watering dishes accompanied by a live band and a Vendors market.
Wednesday’s offering was a “street food village” replete with live entertainment and on Thursday’s a cooking class on offer had tasty bites to wet your appetite including Pan Seared Fish with Sambai. On Saturday a Calypso band and BBQ graced us during dinner.
Something for everyone!
True Blue Bay offers Yoga classes, a spa and complimentary Beach Shuttle to Grand Anse Beach. Nearby is a shopping mall, supermarket and Umbrellas Bar & Restaurant.
On the other side of the island and well worth a visit for lunch and exploration is Petite Anse, a delightful 13 ensuite Beachfront Hotel . Expat Brit owners Philip & Annie Clift welcomed me as I joined them for lunch on a terrace overlooking the Caribbean sea. Mr & Mrs Clift just like Mr & Mrs Fielden had “welcome” and exuded a lovely positive energy.
Petite Anse at Sauteurs, St. Patrick’s is self described as “Paradise found…” No argument there!
If exploring outside the hotel is your thing I suggest a leisurely fifteen minute walk from True Blue where you’ll find Sales Restaurant. Chef/Manager Shereen is guaranteed to welcome you with suggestions and good food. Sales recently opened their second location in True Blue.
Pure Grenada is just that. The spice of the Caribbean.
* Royalty Taxi & Tours
* True Blue Bay Resort
* Sails Restaurant & Bar
*Petite Anse Hotel
* GTA/Grenada Tourism Authority