On-site restaurant Juliet provides a selection of signature dishes and fine wine. // © 2017 The Pink Sands Club
Feature image (above): The Pink Sands Club, which recently underwent a $120 million renovation, features 26 suites and six hotel villas. // © 2017 The Pink Sands Club
Looking down on Canouan, I couldn’t believe I was finally landing on this relatively unknown island in the south Caribbean. The journey from Washington, D.C., to Barbados, then a private jet to this island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was long, but each stop got me closer to what would be an exclusive luxury experience my body and brain were craving.
Canouan Island is home to The Pink Sands Club and Canouan Estate. Only 25 miles south of St. Vincent, Canouan is 3.5 miles long by 1.25 miles wide and home to some 1,700 residents. This is where guests come when they want to get away from it all. Couples and families can unplug if they want to, but Wi-Fi access is available.
A seven-night stay includes complimentary roundtrip airfare on the daily Grenadine Airways flight. Guests traveling on Wednesdays or Saturdays may enjoy an upgrade on the resort’s private jet, which takes only 25 minutes from Barbados. The ride is smooth, and the pilots are nothing but hospitable. A recent expansion at Canouan’s airport created a 5,900-foot runway, which allows for any private jet up to a Boeing 737 or Airbus 319 to land.
Upon arrival, we quickly cleared customs, as there were only four of us on the flight, and The Pink Sands Club van was waiting to whisk us to the north side of the island to start our luxury adventure. As we stepped out of the car, we were handed a refreshing cocktail on the veranda overlooking the property and Caribbean Sea. The clear blue water was calm, with just a few tiny waves slapping the shore (thanks to the large barrier reefs on this part of the island).
The Pink Sands Club features 26 suites and six hotel villas on-site, with rental villas available through Canouan Estate. The exclusivity and sumptuousness in every detail of the property screamed elegance and a lavish lifestyle, and yet the island vibe balanced out the resort, creating a space that guests could really relax in and not worry about the stresses back at home.
My standard suite was palatial at nearly 1,300 square feet, thanks to a more than $120 million-dollar renovation unveiled in October 2016. Little details such as textured walls and knickknacks throughout made it feel more like a home away from home than a resort space that screamed “Look, but don’t touch.” The king-size bed and soaker tub with bath salts were a blessed relief after getting up at 3 a.m. to make my flight down.
All aspects of my room — from the curtains, doors and lights to the air-conditioning and entertainment options — were controlled via one of three iPads provided. Most fascinating of all was the television built into the sliding door that separates the bedroom from the living room and patio. Every night, I sank into a mound of pillows to relax after a day in the sun, closing the door and watching a few silly shows to unwind. Each morning, I pressed one button on the iPad next to me to open the door and curtains to watch the sun shining on the water just outside. I could order room service or head down the hall to grab a bite to start my day.
Breakfast is a simple affair at Lagoon Cafe, featuring a.m. staples and one of the best banana breads I have ever eaten. Dining options change day to day depending on hotel occupancy and guest requests. The pool bar serves a fabulous seared tuna plate that goes well with a crisp white wine (which I enjoyed at the swim-up bar).
Juliet is the preferred option for a nice meal with friends and family. The wine selection is excellent, and the menu features signature dishes such as Black Angus Prime beef filet, Irish native oysters, H. Forman & Son’s smoked salmon and foie gras. Romeo features Pan-Asian cuisine but is not open every night. Guests with allergies should let the staff know immediately, as there are many nuts, soy and other common allergens used in the kitchens.
The highlight of the weekend was a catamaran cruise to the Tobago Cays archipelago, where we swam with native turtles, squid and tropical fish. This day trip was great with a bunch of friends, but would have been just as wonderful for families with kids who can swim and aren’t afraid to dive right in.
For parents looking for a little quiet time on their own, the Pirates of the Pink Sands Kids Club and Teenagers Club is one of the best kids’ clubs I’ve ever seen on the islands. Teens have their own space so they don’t feel crowded in with the little ones. There are regular activities that make the club feel more like a summer camp than a babysitting service, and there are two kids’ pools, one of which includes a splash pad and waterslide.
Since my kids weren’t with me, I took advantage of one of the best amenities of all — the spa. I experience the Tickled Pink, which is a 110-minute signature scrub and massage treatment perfect for any trip from a winter destination. There are nine hillside treatment rooms that are accessible by tram, and two overwater bungalows that are currently accessed by boat but will soon be accessible via a walkway.
Flying out of Canouan was bittersweet. I knew I had to get back to my family, but this quiet getaway was just what I needed. As I headed back to cold weather, I knew I would continue dreaming about those warm, white-sand beaches for many weeks to come, until the first flowers start to bloom again in spring.