After months of planning, waiting, and dreaming, the day had finally arrived. I set my out of office emails on at work, and headed home to finish packing. The next morning I got up early to head to Gatwick for my flight to Palm Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines with Virgin Holidays.
Words can't even express how excited I was to not only be flying to this beautiful paradise island for some very much needed R&R, but also to see my best friend again after six months apart!
Mum and Dad dropped me off at Gatwick, and after a speedy check-in process I headed through security and to the Virgin Holidays V-Room lounge. The lounge is only for guests flying from Gatwick or Manchester on a Virgin Holidays holiday, and can be booked in advance for a bargain £24.50 each.
The lounge is very 'Virgin', with a cool contemporary interior, and a designated adult area complete with a bar, as well as a designated children's room with soft play. There's even a computer and TV room for all ages, with an X-Box and various other games. The view from the lounge is right over the runway, so you can see all of the planes taking off as you sip champagne and munch on your complimentary breaky!
Talking of breaky, it's pretty darn good! I mean it wasn't as good as the Emirates lounge in Dubai, but I was definitely impressed! There's a wide selection of drinks, pastries and cereals, as well as fruit and muffins. Then there's also a hot bar where you can order various dishes, or you can opt for the full English. All of it is included in the price, so it's definitely worth thinking about if you have a holiday booked with Virgin Holidays!
Finally it was time to board the flight, and I settled into my wide leather seat in Premium Economy ready for the 8 hour journey to Barbados. Virgin Atlantic's Premium Economy really reminded me of all of the traditional trans-Atlantic airline's business classes, again it wasn't a patch on the likes of Emirates business class with their lay-flat seats and huge widescreen TVs, but it felt far more special than economy and I noticed a big difference between the two.
The seats were huge and I had plenty of leg room to stretch my legs out. I didn't feel cramped at all. We were each given a glass of bubbles at the start of the flight as a welcome drink, as well as hot towels. We weren't given an amenity kit on the day flight, but on my return night-flight we were. The food was OK, I loved that it was served on white linen cloths with proper metal cutlery (it's the little things), and there was a decent selection of options on the menu to choose from.
I spent the flight watching movies and it whizzed by - I always consider an 8 hour flight to be short haul as I'm so used to the 24+ hour London - Perth route, so I had to carefully plan my film-watching to make sure I saw all of the ones I really wanted to see! We landed at Barbados airport and myself and a couple on my flight were met by a Palm Island representative who took us through immigration and security and on to our connecting flight.
We had about an hour to kill in Barbados airport before our flight to Union Island, which is where I found this lovely lady!!!
Lots of hugging and squealing ensued, much to the surprise of everyone else in the airport. Woops. We spent the hour catching up and then hopped onto our teeny tiny little 12-seater plane for the very warm 50 minute journey to Union Island.
Flying over The Grenadines was incredible, they're so so beautiful and it just made us even more excited!
When we arrived at Union Island we were all taken by golf buggy to the bar on the dock for a drink before our boat arrived. James Lane Jr, who is the Manager at the sister resort, the Galley Bay in Antigua, came to greet us all and offer us cocktails while we waited. I loved how even in St Vincent and The Grenadines, Jam Jars are the in thing!
When the boat arrived the sun was just starting to dip behind the volcanic mountains of Union Island, and as we sped across the ocean to Palm Island the sunset quite literally took my breath away. I was stunned and utterly awe-struck by the beauty surrounding us, and Rach and I just looked at each other, grinning from ear to ear at how lucky we were.
Waiting on the Palm Island dock were members of staff, including Ed, the assistant manager (who quickly became one of our favourites!). We were each given a glass of rum punch, and after taking in the breathtaking surroundings Rachael and I were shown to our rooms. We were originally booked in to a twin room, but as it was low season and they had a spare room, they very kindly gave us a room each! Luckily they were next to each other, so we didn't have too far to walk to exchange suncream and nail polish (the essentials!).
Ed showed us around our Beachfront rooms and left us to unpack and get sorted for dinner. I wandered around the room tired and elated, and I'm not ashamed to say I may have cried a little. Words can't express how much I needed that break, and how grateful I was to have been given such an incredible experience. Take a look at my little vlog below to see our adventurous journey to Palm Island!
I can't wait to take you on our adventures over the next week or so - do check back daily to see if there's a new post up - I have some really exciting ones, including swimming with turtles!
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I was a guest of Palm Island throughout my stay. You can find out more about staying at this incredibly special luxury private island on their website, and you can book the brilliant all-inclusive package which includes flights through Virgin Holidays here. As always all opinions (and accompanying emotions and cry-sessions) are my own.