The Caribbean Tourism Organization in conjunction with the Grenada Tourism Authority, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Virgin Atlantic and LIAT Airlines, recently hosted a twin-centre destination familiarisation trip, on the islands of Grenada and Saint Lucia. Here’s what the travel agents had to say about the trip…
Roberta Gordon – Holidaysplease
I was lucky enough to have recently joined the CTO on a fam trip to Saint Lucia and Grenada through the Caribbean Travel Guru Training Programme. As a lover of the Caribbean I was excited to see how as a first time visitor to both Saint Lucia and Grenada these compared with other Caribbean islands I had visited in the past. After a delicious breakfast and a cheeky Virgin Redhead cocktail in the Clubhouse lounge it was time to board our Virgin Atlantic flight and first stop Saint Lucia.
During the trip we got to stay in a range of hotels and what became apparent early on is that both of the islands have something for everyone. For families, Coconut Bay Beach Resort Saint Lucia is simply perfect with its short transfer, on-site waterpark and a relaxing adults only section for when the parents need a break.
For honeymooners there is no better option than the stunning Jade Mountain, which offers rooms completed with infinity pool with the Pitons as a backdrop. I had to keep pinching myself that the view was real and it provided a great setting for a fantastic lunch followed by a delicious tasting session of one of the island’s biggest exports…chocolate.
For those clients who like a view with a difference, I’ll suggest Capella Marigot Bay where I really enjoyed my stylish contemporary suite complete with a backdrop of luxury yachts berthed in the marina, and a tasting menu which offered delicious fresh local produce.
I loved the opportunity to sample what the island had to offer and really enjoyed having a mud bath in the thermal springs and zip-lining through the rainforest.
Our time in Saint Lucia sadly came to an end and after a few days, it was time to take our short LIAT flight to Grenada.
Although Grenada boasts over 40 beaches for me the best was the world famous Grand Anse beach with its two miles of white sands and where some of Grenada’s best hotels like Radisson, and Spice Island are situated.
There are some quirky accommodation options on Grenada like True Blue Bay Resort and its ‘dodgy dock’ restaurant where we enjoyed our final night dinner or La Luna with its romantic cottage suites, the perfect setting for a romantic break.
One of my personal favourites in Grenada was Mount Cinammon with its fabulous villas situated on a lush hillside with offered stunning views. The resort also has its own beach cabana where we enjoyed a great ‘catch of the day’ lunch and I was told by one of their staff how to make their signature cocktail.
It was great to have the opportunity to explore the island more, the people are so friendly. We enjoyed a trip to the nutmeg factory, a rum distillery and the Concorde waterfalls to watch the brave locals diving into the water. All too soon our time in Grenada was over and after another delicious meal this time at Sandals La Source we headed to the airport for our flight home.
The trip has given me a great insight into what both of the islands have to offer. For those seeking an authentic Caribbean island with more to do than the traditional beach resorts do not hesitate to recommend Saint Lucia and Grenada – I cannot wait to return!
Susan Hepburn, Personal Travel Advisors
Sitting looking out my office window at the grey winter sky, it’s hard to imagine that not too long ago I was swinging through the Rainforest like Tarzan or running round an estate in Grenada. I was lucky enough to be on a Caribbean Travel Guru fam trip, three nights in St Lucia and four nights in Grenada courtesy of the Caribbean Tourism Organization along with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and the Grenada Tourism Authority.
The hoteliers from both islands really made us all feel welcome and seemed to go out of their way to make sure we had a great stay. From the 6-course meal on the first night at the Coconut Beach Resort in Saint Lucia to the 3-course gourmet experience at Gary Rhodes restaurant at Calabash in Grenada, the hospitality never stopped!
Saint Lucia gave me two of my biggest ‘wows’. First there was the Soufriere Sulphur Springs and secondly the spectacular view of the Pitons from the Jade Mountain Restaurant. I enjoyed covering myself in mud at the Soufriere Sulphur Springs.
It was after the springs that we went to the Jade Mountain and Anse Chastenet Resort. We arrived by boat and it all felt very ‘Fantasy Island’, mixed with James Bond when we left by speedboat later heading for the beautiful Capella at Marigot Bay. I don’t think it would be possible to get a better view anywhere than from the restaurant at Jade Mountain, looking across the bay to the Pitons is absolutely stunning and I couldn’t even guess as to how many photos and selfies we took that afternoon. The views from the open- front top floor rooms are equally as good and come with their own in-room infinity pool!
Another highlight of Saint Lucia was our ziplining adventure through the rainforest. Initially I felt apprehensive about this but after seeing other persons getting excitedly trussed up in their belts and helmets, I didn’t think backing out was an option. I am so glad I didn’t, the whole experience was brilliant and I came away thinking, right next time I will do a bungee…
Along with the Coconut Beach Resort and the stylish Capella we stayed at The Landings, which gave us very spacious luxury apartments complete with hot tubs on our balconies. The Landings also gave us great musical entertainment, it’s the first time I had seen a Caribbean cowboy singing Johnny Cash – brilliant!
In Grenada we were greeted by Roger at Maurice Bishop Airport after we had taken our Liat flights from Saint Lucia to Barbados and then a quick change on to Grenada. Roger looked after us for the duration of our stay in Grenada. As a representative of the Grenada Tourism Authority he took us on our Island Tour, he told us the history of the island from the Arawak Indians through to the military coups in the 80s and more recently how the Chinese have funded hospitals and the pride and joy, the new Athletics Stadium.
Apart from the history, the attractions and the geography, Roger also arranged for the local radio station to give us a shout out on our first morning which was a great welcome.
We stayed our first two nights in the comfortable and very conveniently located Rex Grenadian Hotel, which is literally two minutes from the airport. During our first couple of days Roger took us on a tour which included visits to the Concord Waterfalls, a Nutmeg factory and a Rum Distillery. For lunch we stopped at the Belmont Estate where we ate pumpkin Soup, spicy chicken and nutmeg ice cream. After lunch we all took part in a treasure hunt. I think it was meant to be a fun way of finding out about the property and what they produce but it got very competitive, very quickly. I don’t think the staff at the Belmont had ever seen anything so entertaining as a group of travel agents charging round their shops and gardens, screaming! It was really good fun and we all made up afterwards, so no harm done.
Our final two nights were at the super stylish Calabash Hotel and although the rooms were great it was the bathrooms that really impressed me as they were huge and sleek and modern. I also enjoyed breakfast on the balcony, it really was a lovely way to start the day.
Of course we did visit other hotels while we were there and a group of them dotted along the 2-mile beautiful sandy beach of Grand Anse. There is a real variety on offer from the brilliantly located 3-star Flamboyant to the luxurious Laluna, perfect for a romantic getaway. I also loved chilling out with a beer over lunch at the Mount Cinnamon beach bar; and Mark the General Manager was a perfect host. In fact all of our hosts were lovely including Russ at the True Blue Marina.
Another highlights of Grenada included our champagne sunset cruise on the Shadowfax catamaran, I will definitely be recommending that trip to future customers.
The whole trip really was fantastic from start to finish.