Spice Island

Aug 2nd, 2002, 10:27 AM
  #1  
marilyn
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Spice Island

I see where LuxuryLink.com has a special package to this resort. If it's half as nice as the website shows, it must be wonderful. Anyone have any experience at this resort? Can you share some info? Thanks.
 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:36 AM
  #2  
Nancy
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Hi Marilyn,
We stayed there in 1996. It is not a bad place if you can get a good deal. Unless there has been a major remodel (which there may have been) since we went, I feel it is way overpriced for the quality. The pluses: HUGE whirlpool tubs in the beachfront rooms, very friendly staff, nice beach with seagrapes. The minuses: beach gets very busy with vendors, the window units in the beachfront rooms did not keep up with the heat, food not the greatest for the prices.
All in all, we liked it, but again, unless there's been a major upgrade/remodel since 1996, I would not classify it as luxury. The people of Grenada are some of the friendliest you'll find anywhere.
 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:48 AM
  #3  
beach lover
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I've never been to Spice Island but have been to Laluna. You can do a search in the archives for my trip report.

In the meantime, here's an article on Grenada from the May 19, 2002 Sunday Times (UK)which briefly mentions Spice Island:

PART I

Grenada: Riddle of an island lost in spice
It’s fragrant, fun and feisty — but Grenada has a split personality, says Howard Jacobson

Of all words which retain the odour and the shape of their meaning, none do so more evocatively than the names of
spices. “The islands are fertile,” you read in the 16th-century geographer Hakluyt, “of cloves, nutmegs, mace
and cinnamon,” and immediately you are transported. It was the very idea of a spice island that persuaded me to come
to Grenada in the first place, someone telling me that when the winds are right, the smell of spices is wafted down from the mountains, so that you can distinguish them — cinnamon from nutmeg, mace from cloves — even while you lie frying on the beach. I do not have an acute sense of smell,but these are strong aromas, and I am in the mood for a strong experience.

I am on Grand Anse beach, on the Caribbean side of the island, watching the volcanic rainforest smoke and steam,
not with fire but with vapours. Maybe it is more like weeping than smoking, a mist running down the cheeks of Grenada’s capital, St George’s, a pretty, pastel town which some liken, a trifle fantastically, to Portofino. St
George’s climbs halfway to the top of the volcano, before giving up as though rebuffed by the elements. Because of
Grand Anse’s position at the southern tip of Grenada, where the island seems to fall away in a series of dramatically
serrated points and inlets, you look back up at St George’s and its over- topping volcano as though from another island or from a boat at sea. I like this feeling of disconnectedness. You are both on the island and off it.
 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:51 AM
  #4  
beach lover
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PART II

Something isn’t quite perfect about the beach, even when the sun is out and the blessed trade winds blow and the nutmeg twitches in your nostrils. The sand is soft and golden and the sea is warm, but I want the beach either to be more populous or less, either developed or deserted. If there have to be coconut palms here, I think I would like more. And I am not sure what I think of the sea grape,snaking dangerously along the sand. For someone who doesn’t swim or build sandcastles and who is never really sure what he is doing on a beach at the best of times, this might seem like the most preposterous pickiness. And probably it is. But I was for Grenada in principle before I got here
and I am willing it on — not just the beach, the whole island — wanting it to be just the best place on earth,
fertile of everything beautiful, which it almost is, but isn’t quite, not yet.

Among the advantages of this limited development is the tentativeness of the beach pedlars. They wander up and
down, a touch disconsolately, selling spice necklaces and plaited banana-leaf hats, offering to braid your hair or
massage your back, but you only have to look up sternly from your book and they leave you alone. I spy a shirt I like on the arm of a sweet- mannered, rather care-worn lady called Joyce, only it isn’t my size. She offers to go home
and make me one immediately. “And God willin’ I’ll see you tomorrow,” she says.

This isn’t the first time God has played a part in my wardrobe on Grenada. “You’ll be getting your laundry back tomorrow, not today, please God,” the maid at my hotel
tells me. I laugh. “Please God? Is there a problem with the washing machines?” She laughs back, boldly. That’s the local style — bold. “If God spares us,” she explains.

I’m a sucker for this. I like a bit of God-fearin’ in those whose job it is to see I have a good holiday. And this is a
religious island, mainly Catholic as a consequence of its early French settlement, but all faiths are here, as you can see when you gaze down from the old fort above St George’s upon the many spires: Methodist, Scots Kirk,
Anglican. The Anglican church, whose bells chime to echo those at Westminster, is very pretty, with a mosaic’d floor and shiplike rafters — a quiet repository of 19th-century
prose among other things, as witness its memorial to Ann Horsford, who “by the kindness of her disposition and the
correctness of her deportment... was the comfort and delight of all connected or intimate with her and a pattern and an example to her sex”.
 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:52 AM
  #5  
beach lover
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PART III

Not quite so elegantly phrased but no less pious are the slogans which turn up everywhere on the island, on walls,
on car windscreens, on Tshirts. “Mothers mend torn hearts.” “A great man’s company are his thoughts and
achievements.” “All things grow with love.” “Jah is me light and me nation.” In the lovely little National Reference Library, once a waterfront warehouse,
instructions as to behaviour and dress gather momentum the further in you venture. First “Eats and drinks are not
allowed”, then there are warnings against “Extra short shorts or dresses”, then “No see-through garments (male and female)”, and finally “No hats, caps and other headpieces
unless it is a religious requirement.” At their desks the students work with that touching industriousness you find
only in new nations. The periodicals are out of date. In a glass showcase are books on inspiring women — Indira
Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana.

The keenness breaks your heart. Undoubtedly this has something to do with how young the population of Grenada
is. There are groups of schoolchildren everywhere, not just in town but suddenly appearing around the bends of highland roads, or materialising as though by magic from the forest, all in spotless uniforms like the schoolchildren of a nostalgic never- never land. “Stay away from drugs,” they
are warned on litter bins, “it kills.” “Our greatest history is our future,” the same bins exhort them to
believe. While I am having coffee on the Carenage in St George’s a dozen vans pass in procession, warning of the
dangers of Aids. “Postponing sexual intercourse is a sensible option,” a poster proclaims, “it can save your
life.”

Grenada’s greatest history is its future and it is anxiously hoarding it.

Not that such high-mindedness takes from the verve of the place. You cannot hear yourself haggle in St George’s
market for the noise of women’s conversation. It is a poor market. Nobody has much to sell. The men sleep on their stalls or build modest piles of lumpy lemons, three storeys
high if they don’t run out of patience, or lazily tie up kicking crabs, while the women talk and flirt. One, a
sensual, plump-faced spice- necklace seller with wild streaks of grey-blonde in her hair, tells me not to forget
her when I come back. “How could I?” I ask. She strokes my belly. “You take care of him,” she tells my companion, “if not I’ll give him good lovin’.”
 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:54 AM
  #6  
beach lover
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PART IV

The second you set foot out of the market you are honked by taxis. Nissan or Toyota vans with inexplicable nicknames on their visors — DOWNLOAD, SEXY NIGHT GIRL, BELIEVE — the
taxis charge around the island in endless pursuit of one another, this one overtaking when that one has to pick up passengers, then that one overtaking when it’s this one’s turn to stop. No calm calculation that it’s the same for all of them, that it will even out in the end, halts these taxis in their reckless dash.

I travel by more conventional private hire when I want to go further afield than St George’s, or I beg the services
of Mandoo, Grenada’s best tour guide. But I don’t get close to making it round the island even though its circumference barely exceeds Greater London’s. Too many things to look
at. One day I fail to make it past the sprawling cemetery just north of St George’s, so spectacular are its grand
views over the bay and over the Queen’s Park cricket ground, and so redolent of the sad vicissitudes of migration its marble sepulchres to the Fakhre family of Lebanon, and to Olof Karlsson, and to Emma Ogilvie, and to Alan Anthony Hercules. Careless of death, goats the colour of crème caramel meander through the stones and broken masonry and dusty flowerpots, sometimes pausing to flutter
their soft eyelashes at you, but mainly just grazing imperturbably on the graves.

On another day Mandoo takes me on a spice-route tour, which is as obligatory as doing koalas in Australia, except that the nutmeg is more interesting, more versatile and more useful. You want chutney? Try nutmeg chutney. Sore joints? Rub on Nutmed. As a rule, I am not a traveller who gets excited about matters agricultural, but the nutmeg-processing plant in Gouyave, some 20 miles up the
coast, is a marvel of manual ingenuity, the nutmeg passing through an infinity of processes to determine its size, its
quality, its readiness, and who should not say its beauty. Gouyave itself, otherwise known as the village that never sleeps, on account of its all-night fish raves, can also boast a sort of beauty. Approaching it on a rainy day you think you have happened on a ghost town from Umbria, one of its two distinctive spires having attained an Italianate loveliness of delapidation, its bandstand latticework overrun with foliage, its sardine-tin weather vane askew. I fall for Gouyave, where chickens wander about the high street, and a brand-new fire engine — the reddest red you ever saw — sits proudly in its forecourt. The main street,
permanently festooned with fairy lights, is only feet from the sea, but a whole shanty town of fishermen seems to be squeezed into those 24 inches.

 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:56 AM
  #7  
beach lover
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PART V THE END

There must be excellent fishing here. Overhead, frigatebirds, more fearsome than eagles, circle one another, then make their forked dive into the waves.

They perform the same elegant killings where I can watch them from my deckchair on Grand Anse beach. I am staying at the Spice Island Resort, a determinedly unobtrusive hotel which sits on Grand Anse as airily as a sarong. From almost every bed in every room and from every table in the
restaurants you see the sea, so that you can forget you are inside at all. A light touch — the light touch of the
island — prevails here. There is some argument going on about the food, how much to be local, how much to be
international, but the local wins every time. Who wants an American steak when you can have mahi-mahi served with
grated christophene, a nutmeg sorbet to follow? To say nothing of Oil Down, which is everything the island produces, scented with half a forest of callallo and cooked for a month. Friday night, it’s that or jerked chicken. My
advice is have both.

Both is what you get when you come here, anyway. Both spoilt and unspoilt. Both backward and forward. Between
tourism too little and tourism too much the island trembles anxiously,uncertain of its fate. And meanwhile the young
absorb the meaning of all those slogans, hovering between dare and not dare.

Howard Jacobson travelled as a guest of Elegant Resorts. His latest novel, Who’s Sorry Now?, is published by
Jonathan Cape at £16.99

TRAVEL BRIEF

Tour operators: Elegant Resorts (01244 897999,www.elegantresorts.co.uk) offers a full-board seven-night package from £1,645pp, including flights from Gatwick and private transfers, staying at the Spice Island Beach Resort. Regional add-ons from Glasgow and Manchester start at £30. Or try Abercrombie & Kent (0845 070 0600), Complete Caribbean (01423 531031) or Just Grenada (01373 814214).

Getting there: British Airways (0845 773 3377, www.ba.com) flies to Grenada from Gatwick, via Antigua, from £530.
Biggles (020 8234 0606, www.biggles.co.uk) has flights from
London starting at £511 with BWIA, via Trinidad; and from Glasgow and Manchester from £586, with British Airways, via Gatwick. Or try the Virgin Travel Store (0870 066 4477,
www.virgintravelstore.com) or First Call Travel (0870 742 3344, www.firstcalltravel.com). Twohigs Travel in Dublin (01 648 0800) has flights from ¤984 with BA, via Gatwick and Antigua.

Where to stay: Spice Island Beach Resort (00 1 473-4444258, www.spicebeachresort.com) has doubles from £323 per night, all-inclusive. Or try the Allamanda Resort (444
0095, http://allamandaresort.com), which has doubles from £79 a night, or the Mariposa Beach Resort (444 3171,
http:// mariposaresort.com), from £58 a night.

When to go: high season is from December to April, mainly because of the cold weather in Europe and America. The rest of the year is also good, though it can get muggy.

Best guidebook: Caribbean Islands (Footprint Handbook 2002 £14.99).
 
Aug 2nd, 2002, 11:57 AM
  #8  
beach lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
PART V

There must be excellent fishing here. Overhead, frigatebirds, more fearsome than eagles, circle one another, then make their forked dive into the waves.

They perform the same elegant killings where I can watch them from my deckchair on Grand Anse beach. I am staying at the Spice Island Resort, a determinedly unobtrusive hotel which sits on Grand Anse as airily as a sarong. From almost every bed in every room and from every table in the
restaurants you see the sea, so that you can forget you are inside at all. A light touch — the light touch of the
island — prevails here. There is some argument going on about the food, how much to be local, how much to be
international, but the local wins every time. Who wants an American steak when you can have mahi-mahi served with
grated christophene, a nutmeg sorbet to follow? To say nothing of Oil Down, which is everything the island produces, scented with half a forest of callallo and cooked for a month. Friday night, it’s that or jerked chicken. My
advice is have both.

Both is what you get when you come here, anyway. Both spoilt and unspoilt. Both backward and forward. Between
tourism too little and tourism too much the island trembles anxiously,uncertain of its fate. And meanwhile the young
absorb the meaning of all those slogans, hovering between dare and not dare.

Howard Jacobson travelled as a guest of Elegant Resorts. His latest novel, Who’s Sorry Now?, is published by
Jonathan Cape at £16.99
 
Aug 3rd, 2002, 10:24 AM
  #9  
alexa
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Posts: n/a
Please do not waste your money on the Spice Island Inn. I spent $5000 on a beachfront suite and airfare and lost about $2000 of it b/c I had to leave. The rooms are GORGEOUS! but that's it. The beach is narrow and small and there was construction garbage right next to it. The island is a third world country that is not very developed and the people all seem to be living in poverty right outside of the resort. I understand that not every place is very developed, but I'm talking two COMPLETELY different worlds between the resort and the first step you take outside of it (where you get to look at garbage, construction, crabs or whatever crustaceans are all over the place, and the cows that looked like THEY needed a good steak, tied up in an empty field) The food was not good (they like to use nutmeg, their #1 import on EVERYTHING), they don't have real milk for the cereal (powdered only) so I couldn't eat the only thing I liked on the menu, the pool is right next to the bar and restaurant (NO privacy - I don't like well dressed people watching my fat [email protected]@ in a bathing suit and I'm sure they don't like it either) and I got SO sick! I couldn't eat or even get out of bed for 2 days! I finally get out of bed and try to eat a hamburger and guess what? There's a GREEN WORM CRAWLING IN THE BURGER!! I gave my fiance the plate, and went down the beach and threw up (which I'd been doing for the past 2 days anyway). They offered me the world to stay, but I left, I had enough. The first day there we forgot to bring stuff so we tried to find a store - no luck. The "malls" they have required us to walk through narrow streets as crazy drivers almost mow us down, the stores have all this outdated, no name stuff (even sneakers) that looked really cheap. We were asked several times a day to buy stuff by peddlers at the beach, even when we were napping, they'd wake us up!! We could've gotten so much more for our money staying someplace else! I couldn't even get money back b/c my trip insurance refused to pay since I didn't see a doctor that was there. I wanted to go home! I didn't want to see their doctor, who knows what kind of conditions their facilites are in, no way! And did I tell you we had to take a plane with propellers and two seat aisles from puerto rico to get there? With NO air conditioning? In JULY??? I thought I was going to die. Then you walk from the plane into the airport. Since we arrived at night customs consisted of two guys behind a podium! Then we go outside and KNOW from the second we're there, that this is by far, not a very safe place to be.
We went in July of 2001 if that helps.
 
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