There are few places in the world where we can completely switch off. Luxury travel expert, Hannah, discovers a world away from the distraction of emails and social media, finding the true meaning of relaxation on the island of Petit St. Vincent.
Leaving a grey and miserable London in search of palm trees and Caribbean sunshine certainly brightened up my Monday morning. My first stop was St. Lucia followed by an easy connecting forty-minute flight to Union island, an enjoyable scenic journey over the glistening waters of the Grenadine Islands and beyond. After arriving in what has to be one of the smallest airports in the world, with no luggage collection, just a trolley and two check- in desks, I was greeted by blue skies and friendly faces. My guide, Goaty, who has worked on Petit St. Vincent for over fifty years, greeted me and before I knew it, I was on board a speedboat being transferred to the resort. With the wind in my hair and the sun beating down, I was more excited than ever to reach this little slice of paradise, an island spanning little over a hundred acres, surrounded by two miles of white sandy beaches and turquoise water.
The check-in process at Petit St. Vincent, or PSV, was totally hassle free. No stress, waiting around or paperwork, instead, a piña colada and a mini moke waiting to whisk me away to my bluff cottage. Now, I’m sure you are wondering what on earth a mini moke is. These little fibre glass vehicles are made on the island and are the only form of transport there. They deliver food and drink straight to the door of your cottage as well as transporting you around the island as you please.
On PSV, there are twenty-two luxury cottages dotted around the island, located both on the beach and bluff. Each one has a big outdoor sun terrace with expansive sea views and are complete with hammock, living room, bedroom and a spacious bathroom. What really struck me was the complete seclusion of each cottage, with uninterrupted views of the blue sky and sea. The service at PSV is quite unique and just amazing. With a flag system in place at each cottage, you can request room service or total privacy by simply changing the color of your flag. There is no television, phone or WiFi except in the main reception, giving you the chance to tap back into reality. At first, it felt quite alien not having my phone glued to my side, but I soon learned that this island is all about unwinding, and relaxing. A true island escape.
It did not take long to completely fall for the island’s charm. My days were spent trying out sunrise yoga overlooking the ocean, kayaking around the island and basking in the sunshine. As a self-confessed water baby, PSV did not disappoint, in fact it exceeded my wildest expectations. There is an array of water sports available and a PADI diving center on the island. Marine life is abundant on the island thanks to its amazing reefs, and on my first dive, I spotted many Nemo, baby sharks and sting rays, to name a few. A day trip to the picture perfect Tobago Cays, a collection of small coral islands with its sparkling sands and turquoise water, made me fall in love with PSV even more. The snorkeling was just incredible, with turtles, colorful reefs and thousands of fish at your fingertips.
One of my favorite pastimes was walking around the island, exploring its hidden beaches and spectacular viewpoints. Marni Hill is simply not to be missed, a forty- minute trek through lush greenery will be rewarded with stunning views of Petit Martinique and even further afield. Upon reaching the top, the views are breath-taking and two deck chairs are strategically placed for you to sit and enjoy the moment. If this sounds like too much hard work, the treetop spa is a tried and tested haven for relaxation. The four open- air treatment rooms, and the choice of amazing treatments are the perfect late afternoon remedy after a day of sun worshipping.
I haven’t yet mentioned the amazing dining options here. Not only can you enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in your cottage, there are also two restaurants on site, one beachfront and one nestled on the hillside. On a few occasions, I enjoyed the luxury of in- villa dining on my terrace. Other nights, I enjoyed cocktails and freshly caught fish at Goaty’s bar with my feet buried in the sand. I was fortunate enough to be there during lobster season, which runs from November to April. Unlimited lobster and a glass of champagne is the ultimate indulgence! A personal favorite was the beach barbecue, serving fresh tuna and prawns whilst a traditional steel band played made for a real Caribbean experience. The weekly cinema under the stars means that no other cinema will ever compare- the Odeon just doesn’t quite cut it anymore!
All too soon, my island escape was coming to an end. Thoughts of my long forgotten phone signalled that reality was looming. As I was sitting on the boat back to Union Island, waving goodbye to this little island paradise and team of friendly staff, I was struck once again by the magic of this corner of the world.
When it comes to dream destinations, a private island surrounded by turquoise waters and secluded white sandy beaches might just be what springs to mind. I think I’ve just found paradise!