Canouan, located in the heart of the Grenadines, isn't your typical beach getaway. With 3 miles of secluded white sand beaches and access to one of the largest coral reefs in the Tobago Cays, this idyllic island is the Caribbean's best-kept secret.
Where: The Grenadines, comprised of 30 small islands covers 150 square miles in the Southern Caribbean between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. Canouan Island, less than 20 miles south from celebrity-filled Mustique is 110 miles west of Barbados and can be reached via a quick 40-minute charter flight from the Barbados airport. Don’t forget your camera; the views as you fly to the island are beyond spectacular.
Unlike its larger Caribbean counterparts, Canouan (meaning “Island of the turtles” in Carib-Indian) spans a modest 3.5 miles by 4.25 miles; a tranquil respite much of which is surrounded by lush vegetation, private coves and gleaming white beaches. Charlestown, its capital village with a population of 1,200 is an eclectic fusion of old-world heritage and untouched landscape.
Where to stay: Indulge your travel itinerary by experiencing luxury at its finest at Raffles Resort. Situated on a sprawling 300 acres of a 1,200-acre private estate, the intimate retreat (which was built in an amphitheatre style around the rolling hills of the island) offers its guests inviting, yet chic villa suite accommodations that would make even the most seasoned urban girl feel like an island princess. Pamper yourself with the RafflesAmrita Spa amenities before taking a dip in your private plunge pool. Then, jet off on your very own golf cart(the main form of transportation around the resort) to tour the island while taking in the panoramic views of the protected bays and coral reef. After sightseeing, pop into Bellini’s Bar located in the Galleria where you can sip a cool cocktail under their cozy terrace.
What to do: Whether you’re an active athlete or a languid lady of leisure, the Resort offers a multitude of possibilities to explore the island’s unique beauty. Snorkel gear, wind surfing and hydro-bikes are all complimentary to guests while scuba diving excursions and day sails can all be arranged. An absolute must? Book a snorkeling trip on the Splendid Adventurer; a catamaran owned and operated by the oh-so-affable British couple Phil and Nicola Jones who will take you through the Tobago Cays to swim with sea turtles. Perfect your swing by going for a round at the Trump International Golf Club; a challenging championship par 72 course. Not to be missed is the redesigned #16 hole which is one of longest par 3 golf holes in the Caribbean.To soothe both body and mind escape to the RafflesAmrita Spa; perhaps the most gorgeous of settings in the entire resort. Featuring 11 authentic thatched-roof palapa spa suites, nine of which are scattered along the hillside while the remaining two over-water suites are accessible only by boat, the Spa offers therapeutic and beauty treatments like their Elemis Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap; a 75-minute treatment that uses seaweed to detoxify and cleanse the skin. Or, opt for their signature Amrita Balance which combines eastern and western massage techniques for an undeniably soothing experience. After the treatment is complete, spa goers can luxuriate in their own private ocean-view deck featuring a Jacuzzi and Asian day bed.
Where to drink and dine: World-class cuisine fuses with authentic island fare at Raffles with its four unique gourmet dining restaurants. For the crème de la crème, slip on your favourite stilettos and toast over champagne at La Varenne. This chi-chi European-styled restaurant offers the very best of French cuisine such as their succulent selection of fois gras and Raffles’ private-label caviar. Adjacent to the Trump Club Privee, gamble the night away at their Monte-Carlo style casino after dinner.
For a more relaxed, after-beach vibe chill at Godahl Beach Bar & Grill while savouring some traditional Caribbean dishes like their Callaloo soup with crispy Baracuda. Delicious. Or, head to Jambu’s, Raffles signature open-air restaurant. Enjoy the island breezes as you peruse a menu which combines a myriad of trans-ethnic Latin and Japanese cuisines. For the trendy girls at heart, La Piazza is a funky, contemporary spot perfect for ordering that Cosmopolitan. Housing the island’s finest Italian wines, nibble on time-honored Italian dishes like the misto alla griglia or savour the mouth-watering Alba truffles and aged Parmesan cheeses. Bon Appetito!
For more on Raffles Resort Canouan Island The Grenadines, please visit: www.raffles.com