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After Hurricane Ivan slammed the island of Grenada in 2004, Spice Island Beach Resort was so damaged that it was closed for 15 months.
Janelle M. Hopkin, deputy managing director for Spice Island Beach Resort, remembers her father’s response: “What are you all crying for? I’m fully insured. We’ll build better than ever.”
And he — Sir Royston O. Hopkin KCMG, chairman and managing director of Spice Island Beach Resort — was true to his word. Originally built in 1961, the present-day incarnation of Spice Island Beach Resort takes the all-inclusive resort experience to the highest level. The resort receives most of its guests from the United Kingdom and about 15 percent from the United States. The average length of stay for U.S. travelers is four nights.
Rooms at the AAA Five-Diamond resort are luxurious, with Frette linens, Molton Brown toiletries, aromatherapy, a well-stocked minibar and more. During my recent stay in one of the Royal Collection Pool Suites, I had my own pool, an outdoor patio and even a sauna — all private. I enjoyed taking breakfast out on the patio, watching hummingbirds dart from one blossom to another.
“Some people find it strange that rooms have their own toasters,” Hopkin said. “Soggy toast is one of my father’s pet peeves — that’s why we have toasters in the rooms.”
The resort is in the process of switching out whirlpool baths for eco-friendly soaking tubs as well as installing Amazon Echo speakers in all rooms.
“I had Amazon Echo in my home, and I really enjoyed coming home and relaxing,” Sir Royston said. “I’d say, ‘Alexa, play Andrea Bocelli.’ Then, I’d sit back and listen as the Echo played one piece of music after another. It was an experience I want my guests to have.”
Hopkins advises agents to book well in advance for busier seasons.
“For February and holiday season stays, I recommend booking eight months to a year in advance, especially if your clients want to stay in one of the popular Seagrape Beach Suites,” Hopkin said. “For us, four months ahead is considered a last-minute booking.”
Seagrape Beach Suites are located about 25 feet away from Grand Anse Beach and offer views of the capital city of St. George’s in the distance.
Spice Island Beach Resort has a full-service spa called Janissa’s Spa, which features specialties such as hot-stone massages, chocolate wraps — Grenada is famous for its chocolate — and bamboo massages. Each massage room has its own shower. The fitness center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but can be opened additional hours by request.
Access to Nutmeg Pod Children’s Activity Center, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, is available at no extra fee for children ages 3 to 12. Popular with families, the tennis court can be booked for an hour at a time.
Fine dining is also a large part of the resort’s appeal. The menus of both on-property restaurants — Oliver’s Restaurant and Sea and Surf Terrace & Bar — are locally-infused and inspired by the family recipes of Sir Royston’s mother, who was famous for her island cuisine.
“We only want to use local produce,” Hopkin said. “But if a guest requested an item that wasn’t local, such as blueberries, we would acquire them and keep them in the kitchen for the guest’s use or provide for the guest to keep them in their room.”
This is a good example of the extra mile Spice Island Beach Resort goes when it comes to service. During my five-night stay, resort staffers were unfailingly attentive and pleasant, without being subservient. That’s a delicate balance to achieve. While I wouldn’t have been surprised to have the sales manager remember me by name, it was a real surprise to have a gardener greet me as “Mr. Rogers.”
At the end of a delightful dinner with Sir Royston and Lady Betty Hopkin, his wife, at Oliver’s Restaurant, Sir Royston leaned over.
“I never worked a day in my life,” Sir Royston said. “This is my passion.”