Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
Blank, baffled stares. It is really what I was satisfied with when I informed persons I was heading to Canouan, a petite, 3-sq.-mile island — just one of 32 inside the string of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “Where’s that?” my friends, even the most nicely-traveled ones, would check with. I pulled up a map on my phone, dragging my finger along the Caribbean Sea, pinching the display in and out, sooner or later pointing to a problem-mark-shaped speck surrounded by Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada. I waited for a glimmer of detection. “Hardly ever listened to of it,” they’d say. The reality is, I hadn’t both.
Canouan is anything of an enigma in the Caribbean: Just a 45-moment flight from beloved Barbados, it has managed to remain a solution, conserve for a privy handful of — an in-the-know group who arrives to moor their million-dollar yachts (Robert Downey, Jr.) or dodge the paparazzi (George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio). It truly is even been touted as a “position in which billionaires go to escape millionaires.”
Not long in the past, although, the island was without having jogging h2o or paved streets, and it tallied more turtles than human inhabitants. Now, there’s a runway for private jets, a flurry of new luxury inns and villas, and a multimillion-greenback marina for mega yachts. But, arriving below still feels like unearthing one thing new.
From the plane, Canouan mimics numerous other Caribbean islands: turquoise waters, interrupted only by emerald-green hills and slick, masted sailboats — every tropical place cliché is on total exhibit from above. Up close, as the island quietly unfurls, roads reveal locals gathering on the streets of a smaller, energetic village and unfettered ocean sights at each bend. There are no packs of cruise passengers, no tawdry tchotchke outlets, no overdeveloped swathes crammed with motels and dining places. As a substitute, in this article, website traffic suggests breaking to permit turtles pass (Canouan is the Carib term for “island of turtles”), and the character is so unspoiled you really feel as if you happen to be 1 of the first to go to. Even superior, it all sits just below the hurricane belt, steering very clear of storms that historically hammer the area, so you can find no bad time to stop by.
The allure is obvious, so its pleasantly hushed profile is, then, probably thanks to its relatively distant tackle, 1 that can be arrived at by using private charter, although ferry and industrial flight support — the latter stopping on various other islands — are also options. (Mandarin Oriental’s very own jet also will make the 20- to 25-minute soar from hubs like St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, and Grenada.)
We flew from New York to Barbados, in which a devoted group whisked us to our non-public charter on SVG Air, hunting immediately after our luggage and pandemic paperwork. Twenty minutes after touching the tarmac, we arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, a stunning, gated resort that rebooted the Pink Sands Club in 2018.
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
Sitting on a 1,200-acre estate, the beachfront residence would not need to endorse alone as a luxe hideout: The 26 suites and 13 villas, all of which face the seaside and have private butlers, are proof more than enough. Suites are far more than roomy, beginning at 1,300 sq. ft, with marble bogs and a terrace or backyard mere methods from the sand — a look at only designed better with a glass of clean watermelon juice in hand. And though chic, removed-from-the-entire world lodging are customary in the Caribbean, the Mandarin’s multistory hillside villas are in a league of their own: Personal infinity swimming pools, outdoor patios, elevators (in some), and additional than 5,000 square toes of room are typical in just about every plush perch.
Irrespective of this currently being the Mandarin’s initially Caribbean outpost, the resort acknowledges its origins with signature bursts of pink, from the umbrellas dotting the beach to the loungers by the amazing infinity pool that seemingly drops into the ocean.
The resort’s luxurious credentials rely towards its food, way too, no matter if you pick to gasoline up at a person of the wonderful-dining institutions, in your suite, or right on the seashore for a personal torchlit food, toes in the sand and all. (Purchase the saltfish and coconut dough boy for breakfast.) The hotel can even arrange a castaway-style picnic on a secluded beach for a extremely Robinson Crusoe-esque knowledge.
Canouan Estate (a shorty dinghy ride absent) also has two delicious dining establishments — L’Ance Guyac and Shell Seaside — and Soho Seaside Property, also new on the island, and Shenanigans are wonderful for those people who want to undertaking off the estate. No make any difference wherever you take in, although, kick off the night with a sundowner at Turtles, a cocktail bar that appears to be like it was yanked from the Hamptons.
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
And then there is certainly the spa: Not succumbing to environmental restrictions, the procedure cabanas are all tucked directly in opposition to a mountain overseeing the drinking water. The home also a short while ago debuted two overwater villas with an out of doors balcony, steam shower, and glass flooring so attendees can gaze at the cerulean waters as they drift off through a therapeutic massage, facial, or human body scrub.
There is certainly loads to engage lively travelers, much too, like a round of golf at the Jim Fazio–designed course followed by sunset cocktails on the 13th gap, or having out a catamaran, stand-up paddleboard, or kayak.
One particular early morning, I opted for the quick — albeit deceivingly steep — climb up Mount Royal with Kezzy, the Mandarin’s character tutorial. Pumping my arms and hoisting my knees high to retain the momentum likely, I pulled my way to the 877-foot summit — the highest place on the island — pausing to respect the tortoises and soldier crabs with whom we shared the trail, right until a hummingbird flitting concerning branches commandeered my gaze down. Achieving the peak quickly erased my memory of the exertion it took to get there: Gorgeous sights, which include neighboring Mustique, Union Island, and Petit St. Vincent, unravel in each way. I requested Kezzy, who tackles the trail practically each individual day, no matter if he tires of the look at. “Under no circumstances,” he explained.
This would seem to be a topic on the island. An additional morning, we sailed out to Tobago Cays, cradling five uninhabited islands and a shielded coral reef with some of the very best snorkeling in the Caribbean. Somewhere among swimming along with a trio of eco-friendly turtles and spotting a faculty of stingrays and sea urchin, I believed to myself, this is way too fantastic to be legitimate. Later on that afternoon, as we bobbed again toward the lodge on our catamaran, our tutorial, unprompted, shared: “I really like the water. Each and every working day is various — it won’t get outdated.”
While few pursuits exist further than the gates of the Mandarin, you will find no will need for a jammed itinerary. Most times, I observed myself moseying to the sand in entrance of my suite additional than a dozen periods a day, dipping my toes in for a instant, seeing the waves sluggish dance in the night breeze. In the afternoon, I’d linger on a lounger with a book, finishing each and every chapter with a dip in the ocean.
On my ultimate day, I snapped a single final photograph of the ocean, translucent underneath the midday sunshine, and texted it to a friend with the caption, “We have to occur back again.” Immediately after all, I’m not a single to maintain a secret.