Blank, baffled stares. It’s what I was met with when I instructed folks I was heading to Canouan, a petite, a few-sq.-mile island — just 1 of 32 within the string of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “Where’s that?” my mates, even the most perfectly-traveled ones, would ask. I pulled up a map on my mobile phone, dragging my finger alongside the Caribbean Sea, pinching the monitor in and out, eventually pointing to a question-mark-formed speck surrounded by Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada. I waited for a glimmer of detection. “Never read of it,” they’d say. The truth is, I hadn’t either.
Canouan is a little something of an enigma in the Caribbean: Just a 45-moment flight from beloved Barbados, it has managed to continue to be a magic formula, conserve for a privy few — an in-the-know group who will come to moor their million-greenback yachts (Robert Downey, Jr.) or dodge the paparazzi (George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio). It is really even been touted as a “place exactly where billionaires go to escape millionaires.”
Not lengthy back, nevertheless, the island was without the need of running h2o or paved streets, and it tallied much more turtles than human people. Now, there is a runway for personal jets, a flurry of new luxury hotels and villas, and a multimillion-greenback marina for mega yachts. However, arriving here still feels like unearthing a little something new.
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
From the aircraft, Canouan mimics a lot of other Caribbean islands: turquoise waters, interrupted only by emerald-inexperienced hills and slick, masted sailboats — every single tropical spot cliché is on comprehensive show from above. Up shut, as the island quietly unfurls, streets reveal locals accumulating on the streets of a smaller, energetic village and unfettered ocean views at each and every bend. There are no packs of cruise passengers, no tawdry tchotchke stores, no overdeveloped swathes crammed with accommodations and dining places. Rather, here, targeted visitors suggests breaking to enable turtles move (Canouan is the Carib word for “island of turtles”), and the mother nature is so unspoiled you experience as if you are just one of the to start with to take a look at. Even improved, it all sits just down below the hurricane belt, steering obvious of storms that historically hammer the region, so you will find no terrible time to stop by.
The attract is apparent, so its pleasantly hushed profile is, then, possibly owing to its comparatively remote tackle, one that can be achieved by way of private charter, while ferry and professional flight support — the latter stopping on quite a few other islands — are also selections. (Mandarin Oriental’s individual jet also can make the 20- to 25-minute jump from hubs like St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, and Grenada.)
We flew from New York to Barbados, where by a devoted workforce whisked us to our personal charter on SVG Air, looking after our baggage and pandemic paperwork. Twenty minutes right after touching the tarmac, we arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, a attractive, gated resort that rebooted the Pink Sands Club in 2018.
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
Sitting on a 1,200-acre estate, the beachfront property doesn’t need to advertise alone as a luxe hideout: The 26 suites and 13 villas, all of which facial area the beach front and have personal butlers, are evidence adequate. Suites are extra than roomy, setting up at 1,300 sq. ft, with marble bathrooms and a terrace or backyard garden mere ways from the sand — a see only built greater with a glass of new watermelon juice in hand. And whilst chic, eliminated-from-the-entire world lodging are customary in the Caribbean, the Mandarin’s multistory hillside villas are in a league of their very own: Personal infinity swimming pools, out of doors patios, elevators (in some), and far more than 5,000 sq. feet of house are standard in each plush perch.
Regardless of this getting the Mandarin’s initial Caribbean outpost, the lodge acknowledges its origins with signature bursts of pink, from the umbrellas dotting the seaside to the loungers by the amazing infinity pool that seemingly drops into the ocean.
The resort’s luxury credentials rely toward its meals, way too, regardless of whether you choose to gasoline up at just one of the fantastic-eating establishments, in your suite, or right on the beach for a private torchlit food, toes in the sand and all. (Order the saltfish and coconut dough boy for breakfast.) The lodge can even organize a castaway-fashion picnic on a secluded beach for a pretty Robinson Crusoe-esque practical experience.
Canouan Estate (a shorty dinghy ride absent) also has two tasty eating places — L’Ance Guyac and Shell Beach — and Soho Beach Household, also new on the island, and Shenanigans are excellent for all those who want to venture off the estate. No make any difference where you take in, while, kick off the night with a sundowner at Turtles, a cocktail bar that appears to be like like it was yanked from the Hamptons.
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
And then you can find the spa: Not succumbing to environmental restrictions, the remedy cabanas are all tucked specifically towards a mountain overseeing the h2o. The assets also just lately debuted two overwater villas with an outside balcony, steam shower, and glass floors so attendees can gaze at the cerulean waters as they drift off in the course of a massage, facial, or physique scrub.
You can find heaps to engage lively tourists, as well, like a round of golfing at the Jim Fazio–designed course adopted by sunset cocktails on the 13th gap, or getting out a catamaran, stand-up paddleboard, or kayak.
One particular morning, I opted for the limited — albeit deceivingly steep — climb up Mount Royal with Kezzy, the Mandarin’s nature manual. Pumping my arms and hoisting my knees superior to retain the momentum likely, I pulled my way to the 877-foot summit — the highest point on the island — pausing to value the tortoises and soldier crabs with whom we shared the trail, until finally a hummingbird flitting concerning branches commandeered my gaze down. Achieving the peak quickly erased my memory of the hard work it took to get there: Gorgeous sights, which includes neighboring Mustique, Union Island, and Petit St. Vincent, unravel in each and every direction. I asked Kezzy, who tackles the path almost each and every day, no matter whether he tires of the see. “Under no circumstances,” he said.
This would seem to be a concept on the island. Yet another morning, we sailed out to Tobago Cays, cradling five uninhabited islands and a safeguarded coral reef with some of the greatest snorkeling in the Caribbean. Somewhere involving swimming alongside a trio of inexperienced turtles and recognizing a university of stingrays and sea urchin, I assumed to myself, this is far too fantastic to be real. Later on that afternoon, as we bobbed again towards the hotel on our catamaran, our manual, unprompted, shared: “I love the drinking water. Each day is various — it would not get old.”
Nevertheless couple pursuits exist over and above the gates of the Mandarin, there is no need for a jammed itinerary. Most times, I found myself moseying to the sand in entrance of my suite much more than a dozen instances a day, dipping my toes in for a moment, viewing the waves slow dance in the evening breeze. In the afternoon, I might linger on a lounger with a book, finishing every chapter with a dip in the ocean.
On my ultimate day, I snapped 1 very last picture of the ocean, translucent below the midday sunshine, and texted it to a friend with the caption, “We have to arrive back.” Soon after all, I’m not one particular to continue to keep a solution.