Canouan Island - A Diamond in the Rough

I recently had the pleasure of returning to the Canouan Island Resort for my third visit. I had previously enjoyed this property so much and was curious to return for a third time to see what was happening. Before I get into details, I will say, that I will return again. I thoroughly enjoyed my recent stay.

Being that I am a travel agent specializing in luxury travel I am always seeking new and unusual locations and Canouan is exactly that. The first time I visited Canouan was in January 2002 when the resort was managed by Rosewood and then again in January of 2006 when the property was managed by Raffles. The hotel is now self managed and many of the same staff and services remains in place. The hotel has downsized from its original size however I wouldn’t let that deter you.

The property is currently going through a transition however I would still consider recommending this property even during this transition. The property is huge (it covers ½ of the island of Canouan) and consists of a small hotel and 30 luxury 3-7 bedroom (privately owned) villas located on the hillside (with spectacular views). Many of these villas are available for rent and have available the use of the hotel facilities.

The new boutique hotel is currently under construction and will be located on Godal Beach. The new hotel is partially owned by Sandy Lane (Barbados) and will consist of small number suites and villas within the hotel site. This construction does not affect your stay at the current resort. The new resort is anticipated to open December 2012. I was not aware that any construction was going on except when we took a catamaran out and were able to see what was going on from the water.

Overall, however, the hotel offers an experience which is hard to find elsewhere.
This is a great spot for someone seeking a very low key experience. We were at the resort during spring break week in March and we were three of only 40 or so guests staying at the resort. The resort has a staff of 300+ which remains in tact due to a contractual agreement with the government. It is very quiet resort so I would not recommend this property to someone seeking “action or excitement”. The hotel operates four separate restaurants. Two are always open for lunch and then one rotating restaurant is open for dinner each night which I found to be perfectly acceptable as they change the menus (Italian, Continental, French, and Asian). The quality of the food is very good and on par with any other Caribbean or Mexican luxury resort. They have nightly live entertainment which I found enjoyable and a small casino. For those of you who have been to Canouan, you would be pleasantly surprised to learn that the prices have come down on the food & beverage (which were previously excessive). The hotel now operates its own hydroponic farm which provides excellent fresh vegetables, lettuces, etc.

All of the rooms are very large and nicely appointed with all the necessary amenities including flat screen TV’s, complimentary internet, huge bathrooms, etc. The décor is very nice and simple with cream colored slip covered sofas, dining areas and all have large balconies. Some rooms have private plunge pools. The hotel is a great choice for families since the rooms are very large and the resort itself is very family oriented. While I say that this is a great family resort, I don’t want to scare away couples because this is an excellent romantic destination too. The property is so large that a couple can enjoy private beach areas, etc. The individual rooms scattered within the very spread out resort and a golf cart is provided for each room. Feel free to email me for suggestions on room locations/categories, etc.

The beaches are some of the best beaches I have been to in the Caribbean. They are large and quiet and the water is perfect for a family with small kids. Because the hotel has so few guests, it is a very serene peaceful experience. I will also mention the main beach is raked & cleaned everyday. I have never been to a better maintained beach!

The kids club at this hotel was one of the best I have experienced to date (I have a 3 year old). The staff at the kids club were fantastic and have been there for years. They interact with the kids and do a lot of outdoor activities including swimming, boating, etc. They have a nice outdoor playground and are very flexible with any specific requests. Officially they state children need to be 4 years old however they gladly took in two 3 year olds and my friends 1 ½ year old and worked with our children’s personal schedules (for eating and napping). It was a nice experience and our kids loved it.

Another appealing aspect of this property is the “over the top” golf course. As an avid golfer I have golfed all over the world. This golf course is, by far, the best in the Caribbean for many reasons. It is very well maintained with the most spectacular views I have every seen on almost every hole. It is many elevation changes. You are almost guaranteed to be the only person on the golf course at any given time. The greens fees are incredibly reasonable for the quality of course. It is managed by Trump golf courses.

All in all I would recommend this property for the right client, a couple or family seeking a luxury resort that is low key, relaxed, very scenic. Canouan can be reached by flying to Barbados and taking a connection (scheduled service) or I would highly recommend for a family of 4 or more arranging private transportation via either Barbados or preferably St Lucia (which is only 70 miles away). Private air transportation runs about $1800 for a flight one way (from Barbados). I am not sure what the cost would be from St. Lucia which is about half the distance than Barbados.

The hotel offers many interesting promotions some of which include all meals or private air charter. The hotel is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and I found that many of the guests seemed to come from Europe. I would also highly recommend this property for clients seeking a villa rental. Please contact me if you would like more details. Please feel free to email me with any questions or if you would like my help recommending the best room locations, etc.