Do you ever want to escape the fast pace of life? The constant hum of technology and the flicker of screens? Well I know a place where you can get away from it all; an emerald island in the Caribbean sea called Petit St. Vincent Private Island.
Getting there isn’t easy but that just makes it feel even more special…after an eight hour flight from London to Barbados, a short hop on a small plane to Union Island and a twenty minute boat trip I arrived at Petit St. Vincent to a warm welcome and a ice cold Pina Colada pressed in to my hand. An exclusive hideaway, PSV is a private island that functions entirely as a luxury resort with only twenty two one and two bedroom cottages spread across 115 acres of lush hillsides, sandy beaches, and exotic jungle. Due to it’s one-of-a-kind and super special nature the resort has been a part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio since 2013 and is one of Andrew Harper’s recommended hideaways.
I was soon whisked away in one of the hotel’s signature ‘Mini-Mokes,’ cute fibre glass cars used to convey the guests around the island when they would rather spend lazy days relaxing than walking around in the Caribbean heat.
My home for the next few days was cottage one. A gorgeous home-away-from-home clinging to the cliff top with sweeping views across the island and no need for a lock and key. Guests can choose from these cottages peppered across the bluff or stay right on the beach, stepping out on to the sand to have their morning coffee. It’s no surprise guests return year after year – I met a couple who’d come back every year for fifteen years – ‘why go anywhere else?’ they said and I heard many similar stories about other repeat guests. These loyal guests often have their favourite cottages, and the PSV staff do their very best to accommodate these wishes.
Outside every cottage and throughout the hotel, Petit St. Vincent run a unique flag pole system. Anytime you want room service, a cocktail or transportation, you simply fill out one of the forms in the room, tuck it into the driftwood pole and raise the yellow flag. Soon a butler will be on hand with a delicious feast beautifully set up in the comfort of your cottage. Don’t want to be disturbed? Simply raise the red flag.
It really didn’t take long for me to fall in love with cottage one – in fact that spacious home away from home had me at hello. Are you ready to take a peek inside?
As I entered the first thing I saw was a hammock suspended from the roof top…isn’t swinging in the hammock the epitome of relaxation? To me it conjures up the thought of lazy days with no worries at all.
Tucked behind the hammock is a fridge packed with drinks, a nespresso machine and a jar of homemade cookies – which my hand found it’s way into several times.
A terrace with spectacular views wraps around the entire front of the cottage with a table for two for room service and two sun loungers where you can sleep off the day. Three meals a day are included (some packages include alcoholic beverages some don’t) and these can be taken in one of the two restaurants or in your room so you never have to leave the comfort of your cottage if you don’t want to.
During the day, blue blends into blue as the sky touches the Caribbean sea on one side and the Atlantic on the other. PSV is the Southern most island of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines archipelago and the other islands are a short hop away – you can visit the famous Marine Park in the Tobago Keys, local markets on Union Island, play golf on Canouan Island or mix with celebrities at Basil’s Bar in Mustique.
As it gets later, the sky takes on a pink hue, and that in turn is reflected in the sea as hot days turn into cooler evenings.
In the morning or after a swim in the warm water, there’s an outdoor shower to refresh you…not every room has one but I already told you there’s something a little extra special about cottage one.
Inside the cottage interior blends perfectly with beauty of the outside, understated and modern but with an organic, authentic feel. The room is completely open plan, flooded with light from the floor to ceiling windows and with no escape from the panoramic view overlooking the island.
The exposed stone is native to the island, high ceilings made with purple heart hardwood make the room even more spacious and I loved the ‘by-the-sea’ feel from the green and blue soft furnishings. It all looks fresh and new having been refurbished in 2011 in a style in keeping with the original traditional West Indian concept.
All natural fibres are used in the furnishings, I loved the tree trunk table!
There’s no gym per se at Petit St. Vincent but weights and a yoga mat are provided for those who can’t help but expend a bit of energy on holiday.
The space moves seamlessly on to the bedroom where the organic theme continues and the beautiful blues from outside are reflected in the original artwork on the walls.
Have you noticed something a bit unusual? There’s no TV in the cottage at Petit St. Vincent, this is a place that’s well and truly about switching off. And with that being said, there’s no wifi in the room either – though internet addicts can get their fix in the resort reception. And what about this internet addict? Well I have to admit I was unsure at first but soon (sooner than I thought) I got used to not starring at a flickering screen before I went to bed. I slept better and with no phone and constant email / social media checking over meals we re-engaged in the art of conversation. You will be pleased to know that though the room is devoid of distracting technology, there’s a phone for emergencies and the whole suite is fully air-conditioned.
The bedroom flows easily into the bathroom which includes luxurious L’Occitane products and beautiful woven baskets to store your stuff. In the wardrobe is a gorgeous beach bag which I used throughout my stay on the island.
The room itself was so totally private that you could use the outdoor shower with no fear of being seen.
In fact from this hilltop view point you can see just how far apart and secluded the cottages are.
I also took a look at the two-bedroom cottage and almost asked to move in! With one double room, one twin room and a huge stretch of private beach with outdoor seating, dining and that all important hammock, you seriously couldn’t want for anymore!
To give a little more background to the island, the story actually begin in 1962 with Hazen K. Richardson II (Haze) an Air Force officer turned sailor. Haze and his friend Doug Terman and one of their customer’s Mr H W Nichols came across the uninhabited island and made a deal to buy it in order to build a dream hotel. Haze took the position of ‘temporary’ manager but clearly never wanted to leave and eventually became the full owner. 2010 saw the completion of the purchase by current owners Robin Paterson and his friend Philip Stephenson who renovated the island with care to preserve its natural charms.
The Main Pavilion Restaurant and Bar is at the hub of Petit St. Vincent (and no that’s not because it’s the only place where you can pick up Wifi!) and it’s a place that fuses refined dining and excellent wine with a laid back and relaxed environment.
I’ll be going into more detail on food and dining at PSV in my next post but I just wanted to show you the beautiful architecture of the open plan restaurant and the stunning organic furnishings.
We dined surrounded by cacti, frangipani and hibiscus trees and I personally thought the Main Restaurant had one of the best views on the island with the quintessential exotic palm trees swaying in the breeze.
Petit St. Vincent has been recognised by National Geographic owing to a dedication to sustainability and eco-friendly practices, something I’ll expand on in my next post but guests can be rest assured there is as little waste as possible throughout the hotel.
Reception will be able to answer any queries that you have and there’s a small library of books, many beloved classics left behind by other guests for the next visitor to enjoy.
It’s up here around the reception bar area where you can make some new friends…teeny tiny turtles born right here on the island.
You’ll find plenty of wildlife else where on the island from these scary looking crabs.
To the more friendly faces of the island goats.
The hotel’s beach restaurant restaurant is the place for casual dining with your feet in the sand.
And once again nothing looks out place here as you dine on hardwood or glass tables under traditional grass thatched roofs.
Or pull up a stool at Goatie’s Bar, named after the most senior member of the PSV team, and order a pina colada to drink whilst chatting to the friendly staff…
Or settle down on a comfy lounger and order bowl after bowl of plantain crisps to enjoy with whatever you have mixed with your rum!
Beautiful sarong* by the talented Pam Weinstock!
Away from the restaurant, there are plenty of secluded spots on the island and with 115 acres and only 22 cottages, it rare to see another soul on two mile long beach.
Though you won’t need to move far if you’re in dire need of another Vincentian rum punch! The signature flag pole system is located around the island and simply fill in a menu form, hoist the yellow flag and a member of staff will whizz by on a Mini Moke to pick it up. Service here is excellent, warm and friendly and with a ratio of three members of staff to every guest you’ll never have long to wait!
The resort is overseen by British-born general manager, Matt Semark who not only made us feel so incredibly welcome but also has a hugely impressive knowledge of food and wine. Beginning as a chef, Matt has gone on to manage some of the world’s best resorts such as Karma Jimbaran Resort in Bali, Fundu Lagoon Resort on Pemba Island in Zanzibar and with Áman Resort Group as Assistant Manager for their Ámanwana Resort on Moyo Island. With his friendly personality and charm he mingles with the guests continually, including a weekly cocktail party and is incredibly hands on with the running of the resort – he even fixed my broken shoe for me!
Health and wellness are a big deal on the island too, I already mentioned that there’s no gym instead guests can partake in the calisthenic fitness trail. There are twenty stations dotted along the beach and throughout the woodland and guests can jog between each with the encouragement of the hotel’s onsite fitness guru.
Admittedly, I’m not usually a yoga fan but it’s a bit different when this is the location. Jet lag meant I was up at six every morning so it was no real chore to head to one of the two yoga pavilions first thing in the morning when the air was still cool in order to do a few sun salutations.
Ok, I’m still not quite at this stage… so perhaps a little more up my street was the Marni Hill Trek. A hike taking about twenty minutes over steep hills and through forest paths (bring trainers) but leading to a rewarding view across island.
If water sports are more your thing, head to the dive centre, partnered with Jean-Michel Cousteau. Here you can choose to kayak the circumference of the island, snorkel among the fish, dive into the reefs or even deep sea fishing.
There are several boats to charter, including the 49 foot sloop, Beauty, which was our vessel for the day.
Finally is the island’s beautiful treetop spa, the perfect way to get busy doing nothing! Like the rest of the resort, it’s constructed with local material and blends into the surroundings.
The treatment rooms are adorable treehouses linked by wooden bridges so that a trip to the spa feels like a jungle adventure in itself.
Treatments are inspired by Balinese techniques but many use local ingredients from the Caribbean such as St. Vincentian honey, fruit and spices which are known for their healing properties. Aloe is grown on the island and we found it great for soothing our skin while we were there.
The treatment room features floor to ceiling doors so that it’s open to beautiful views, the sounds of birds and the sea and the gentle fragrances of the island. I enjoyed a Island Haze massage which featured long strokes and relaxing oils which put me into a dreamlike state leaving even more relaxed if that’s possible!
For this beautiful stay at PSV, I was excited to bring along my Aspinal of London luggage* for the first time. The large cabin case in deep shine Amazon croc is not only the most beautiful bag I’ve ever owned but also the most useful. Lined in gorgeous silk, the inside of the bag is perfect for fitting my camera and flight necessities, the pocket in the lid seemed to be designed especially for fitting my Mac Book Pro. The accompanying travel wallet and passport holder are the ideal accessories and perfect for storing important documents and currency.
As someone who is more than a little addicted to the internet, I was worried the lack of wifi would be a problem. But it really didn’t take long for me to fall into the pace of life at Petit St. Vincent Private Island – to disconnect, turn off and tune out….
Rates at Petit St. Vincent start from $1,100 (£841) per room per night, based on two sharing a one bedroom cottage. Includes three meals daily, all non-alcoholic beverages, the use of non-motorised water sports and all facilities at the resort. For further information, visit www.petitstvincent.com | +1 (954) 963 7401 | firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local travel agent.
PIN FOR LATER:
I was a guest at Petit St. Vincent Private Island as part of a press trip.
*I was gifted these items.