Thursday, 8 October 2015

Hotel Review: Palm Island Resort, The Grenadines.

The Palm Island Resort in St Vincent and The Grenadines is a predominantly adult-only (they take children from 12 years and above during the summer - 7 April to 20 Dec 2016) private island with just 43 villas. The island has five beaches, and enough staff for 1-2 members of staff per guest. My week on Palm Island was probably one of the best holidays of my life. So after telling you all about our Journey to Palm Island yesterday, naturally I need to share the rest of it with you all and tell you about this incredibly special resort...

^That's my dolphin impression *ahem*

The Room - Beachfront Villa

We were staying in a Beachfront Villa, which was located right by the main restaurant overlooking the beach and ocean. Rachael and I had a villa each, which were semi-detached. The villas were set back from the path, and we both had a small terrace at the front, with two sun-loungers and a table and umbrella. We loved laying on the sunbeds to read our books, knowing that if the heat got too much we could quickly run inside. 

My room contained a huge kingsize bed (and also the comfiest pillows I've ever slept on), two chairs and a table, a huge wardrobe with plenty of hangers and drawer space, an ironing board and iron, a safe, and also a little sink and mini-fridge full of soft drinks, beers, and ice. Everything in your fridge is complimentary, and there was also a coffee maker, and a kettle for the huge array of teas on the tray next to the sink. 

The island are really eco-friendly, so the tap water is completely safe to drink and they provide you with a Palm Island water bottle so you can reuse it and then take it home with you. I really loved this and it was so much better than using heaps of throwaway plastic bottles. They also had ceiling fans, and air-conditioning if you really needed it on really hot days.

The bathroom was absolutely huge! It contained a massive shower, but no bath, however this didn't bother me as I can't stand baths anyway. The bathroom feels quite dated, but strangely this didn't bother me in the slightest and it just somehow 'fitted' and felt right. The amenities were Gilchrist & Soames, and the bathrobes were made from a really light material. 

The villas aren't particularly contemporary, they're very rustic, however it works so well and still feels luxurious. There's wooden features everywhere, and tiled floors so you can come straight in off the beach and not worry about getting sand all over the floor. One thing I really loved was that they provide you with a natural mozzie spray because the sand flies and mozzies on the island are quite bad (they're so sneaky - you don't even notice them until you've been bitten!). 

Top Tip: Take your own hair conditioner as I found the one provided wasn't enough for my hair in the heat. And cover yourself in mozzie spray every time you're going to go outside - remember to reapply after swimming!

The Food

The food here is absolutely incredible. Despite there being only two restaurants, every single meal blew me away. This isn't your usual all-inclusive with a buffet and bland food at every meal . Every meal there is an A La Carte menu with a decent variety of options. Despite a number of delicious sounding meat dishes, I stuck to fish the entire week. It was fresh in every day and far too good to resist.

Over the week I had; tuna, bar jack fish, king fish, wahoo, marlin, lobster, snapper, and barracuda. I even had marlin twice in one day; once at lunch as a marlin ceviche, and then again at dinner as a carpaccio.

Dinner was at the Royal Palm restaurant and was a more formal affair with a dress code and more interesting and well-presented dishes, while lunch was at the Sunset restaurant right on the beach.

The lunch menu was much larger than dinner as the restaurant is open to yachties as well as hotel guests. It's the only area on the island open to non-guests, so the menu has a variety of international dishes as well as daily specials. 

Breakfast is also a la carte, I absolutely adored the Caribbean Eggs Benedict and the Waffles with fresh fruits. As well as the a la carte menu there's also a breakfast buffet with fresh fruit, pancakes, french toast, pastries, cereals, fresh juices (the guava was amazing), and a 'coconut special'. Due to the palm trees on the island coconuts are the island's specialty. Every morning they offer a different sweet treat made from coconuts. We had coconut cookies, cake, strudel, amongst other yummy things.

Top tip: 'Get the Banana Bedsheet' cocktail at Sunset Restaurant and always get their daily fish and ceviche options - omg amazing. Also their ice-cream is always a winner! At breakfast have the Eggs Benedict with a side of hash browns - you won't regret it!

The Beaches

The beaches are one of the main selling points of Palm Island, they are simply stunning. When we walked out of our villas the morning after arriving we ran down to the ocean and just hugged each other laughing at the sight in front of us. It was like something out of a travel magazine or off Pinterest, the water was sparkling and a perfect shade of pale blue. 

The main two beaches by the restaurant and villas are man-made, but you wouldn't know. These are the calmest beaches as there are no reefs and they're on the Caribbean Sea side of the island.

Just round the corner in front of the private residences (there are a few private houses on the island which start in the millions), are two beautiful natural bays with perfect soft golden sand and gorgeous reefs. There are also huge hammocks dotted around the island on the beaches.

There are plenty of fish around the island, and loads of our fellow guests saw a shark swimming up and down the beach one day (we missed it sadly, apparently they have a few reef and nurse sharks in the area). I'll tell you more about the beaches in another post next week, they're far too special to share only a couple of photos!

Top Tip: Go to the beaches in front of the private villas for good snorkelling and privacy, go to the beaches by the main restaurant for swimming in the most beautiful clear waters.

The Pool & Essentials

The swimming pool is a beautiful lagoon style pool with a waterfall at one end. It's surrounded by palm trees and sunbeds, and a big lawn where cricket is played on Sundays (guests vs staff).

There's free wifi in the lobby/reception and library, but they really encourage you to switch off from the digital world, and as such there is no TV or electronic equipment in the villas. There's a computer room right by the spa, as well as a gym and tennis table room.

The Spa. Oh my the spa. Rach and I had a 60 minute wellbeing massage each and it was heavenly. Without a doubt one of the best massages I've ever had (it was up there with the massage I had at the Sofitel in Egypt). Veronica was an absolute star and was really lovely. The spa is really tranquil and relaxing, and I felt so relaxed when I came out that at lunchtime I kept having to ask Kashi our waitress to repeat everything she was saying as I was so sleepy! If you ever go to Palm Island, promise me you'll get a massage from Veronica?!

The Bar. Well well well. There are two bars on Palm, the main one is next to the Royal Palm restaurant, and is open all day until the early hours of the morning, and then there's the bar at the Sunset restaurant which is open over lunch and in the afternoon. Our favourite was the Royal Palm bar, Rachael and I spent a lot of our evening time sipping on delicious cocktails and making friends with older couples (who we adopted as our grandparents for the week) and honeymooners.

Top tip: Kendol makes a bloody good cocktail, ask for the Mudslide or 'Rachael Special'. Shac makes a top notch La Bombe and a Coco Loco with an added fruity bit (ask for the 'Catherine Special for this one), and Kashi makes a mean Strawberry Pina Colada!

The Wildlife

The Wildlife on Palm Island is incredible. On our first morning at breakfast an Iguana just casually came and sat next to me and watched me eat my food. The island is covered in Iguanas and lizards, as well as land turtles (imagine my shock when I opened my shutters to see one outside my villa?), and a variety of birds.

In the ocean there are heaps of different fish, and as mentioned before they also get nurse and reef sharks swimming around (which are really gentle and don't harm people at all). Turtles often lay their eggs on the beaches at Palm, so during the season (May - October) you'll regularly see signs dotted around asking you to be careful as there's a nest located there. 

While we were there a load of baby turtles hatched, and all of the guests and staff were waiting impatiently for it to happen...then it happened while everyone was at dinner. Bloody typical!

Top tip: Go and explore the island to find even more wildlife!

The Entertainment

This isn't your standard all-inclusive, it is pure luxury and therefore they keep the entertainment classy, fun, and in tune with St Vincent and The Grenadines local culture. 

On Saturdays there's a Caribbean buffet with a steel band, Sundays there's a cricket match between the guests and staff. On Tuesdays there's a 'silent cinema', where they put a huge cinema screen up on the beach and you watch a movie with wireless headphones. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean, and as the movie was filmed on the islands that surrounded us, it was a pretty special experience.

On Wednesday's they host a cocktail party which the hotel manager attends. It's the chance for guests to get to know the manager (which is usually Katie, but she was on vacay while we were there so we had the lovely manager from their sister hotel in Antigua - James), and find out more about the island and resort. They serve yummy canapes, and a steel band plays before everyone sits down to a BBQ. On the two nights a week when there's a buffet, guests can book in to eat at the Sunset restaurant for the A La Carte menu. I love that they give you the option!

Thursdays is Crab Racing day. Yes. Crab Racing. It's a fundraising event with the bets placed on the crabs going to local children's charities. It was a lot of fun and everyone really got into it! Those crabs move surprisingly fast!

Top tip: Definitely make the most of all of the above - I promise they're all really fun activities and you won't regret getting involved!

The Day Trips

We only did one day trip - the Pink Lady trip to the Tobago Cays to swim with the sea turtles. We loved it so much we did it twice. I think that says enough! I'll be doing a full blog post on this trip in the next coupla days so keep an eye out for it.

Some other guests did the Mopion Buzz trip and absolutely loved it, but it's more geared up for couples so Rach and I avoided it. Another couple did the Union Island trip and really enjoyed their experience at Swallows Bar on Union (apparently the lobster there is incredible)!

Top Tip: Do not miss out on a day trip to the Tobago Cays! If you get motion sick do the Yannis trip, but if you're OK on a Schooner boat then definitely do the Pink Lady. It's such a beautiful boat!

The Staff

I could never write this post without telling you about the staff. The staff were honestly the kindest and most welcoming I have ever met in my life. By the end of our week on Palm Island they felt like family, and on our last morning we gave each of them a huge hug (even Shac, the quiet and reserved man of mystery who made me some delish cocktails, gave us both a big group hug).

From the very moment we got off the plane to the moment we got on the boat back to Union Island, the staff were just a pure delight. I never saw any of them in a bad mood, I never saw any of them being rude to guests, each and every one of them looked genuinely happy to be working there and all of them always had a smile and 'how are you today?' to offer.

On one morning Rach and I missed breakfast because we slept in, and every time we saw any of the waiting staff the rest of the day they all said 'Are you OK? We didn't see you ladies at breakfast!' It felt so lovely to know that they take notice of what the guests are doing and ask if you're ok. I was sick all week with my sore throat and Kendol the barman made me a drink every night to help soothe it - grand marnier heated up with a flame, with lime juice and honey squeezed in and all mixed together!

Then there was the time I hit my toe and it bled everywhere, the assistant manager Ed sat me down and kindly fixed it up for me. Then Shac bought me my favourite cocktail over to help me feel better.


On our last morning when we were leaving it was Ed's (pictured above) day off, yet he still came and said goodbye to us on the jetty and then got the boat back to Union Island with us (he claimed he was going to the supermarket, but we're pretty sure it's just because we're so amazing). But seriously, what other luxury resort hugs their guests goodbye? What other luxury resort waves them all off on the jetty when they leave, and greets them in a long line with rum punch cocktails? This place is truly amazing. They make you feel like part of the family and it's so so lovely.

Special mention and thanks to; Kimean (you rock), Troy, Ed, Kendol, Olive, Veronica, Kashi, Shac, Naiya, Afiya, Cornelius (he caught us a fish for lunch one day), Silaz, Anthony (aka, Tiny Tony - he's 6ft 7), and of course Grafton and James!

Final Thoughts

To put it simply, Palm Island is hands down one of the most luxurious and special experiences I've ever had. It's perfect for honeymooners, couples, older families, and yes, even friends wanting some rest and relaxation.

Palm Island was so special that we're already planning to go back in 2017. Rach and I have made a deal that next time we go back we're gonna go back with boyfriends and have them meet each other for the first time there. We just have to actually find us some boyfriends first... :/ wish us luck, coz I really want to go back ASAP. Mainly so we can go to Mopion Buzz, and take photos in the twinkly heart and not look like total losers. Take a look at my vlog below to see what we got up to throughout the week on Palm Island!

You can book the brilliant all-inclusive package (which includes flights) through Virgin Holidays here. If you're looking for something luxurious and very special, then I honestly can't recommend Palm Island enough.

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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.


  1. Catherine, this just looks magical! What an incredible place to have a digital detox. Land turtles?! Can't wait for your post on swimming with turtles, it looks like such a special experience and a truly incredible place to relax, explore and enjoy! I love that the staff were so attentive; it really does make the experience a thousand times better.

    Can't wait to read more!

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

  2. Loved this post!! As we were saying the other day, luxury really is about the overall experience and that is friendly staff, a beach all to yourself, incredible food and special experiences such as swimming with turtles. But most of all getting to experience it all with your best friend must have been wonderful - though I love the idea of going back with boyfriends.
    Lots of love,

  3. Lush, lush, LUSH! I'm especially impressed by the variety of fish you had in a week - you must've felt like an aquarium ;) x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

  4. How nice that you watched Pirates of the Caribbean where it was filmed! Love the look of the food, is Caribbean Eggs Benedict slightly different to the norm?

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  5. Wow wow wow! This place looks amazing! I would love to experience this, lovely post x

  6. This looks amazing! I want to go!!! I wonder if my mum would have our little man for two weeks... lol I think that maybe be pushing it. But this is definitely going on my list. I await your turtle post, its one of the things I have always wanted to do. Love the photos :)

  7. This looks like paradise! Everything and everywhere looks amazing! That blue sea and white sand is beautiful! The food looks great. And the Iguana? I LOVE Iggys. Oh my goodness, I'd go there just for that reason alone, haha. The experience of watching pirates of teh Caribbean where it was film must have been amazing! xx

  8. This literally looks like paradise! And swimming with sea turtles, how incredible! Fantastic post, I'm feeling pretty envious as I sit her on the train on a grey irish day :) It looks like the perfect couple getaway, I should start saving now.

  9. Palm Island sounds spectacular! I would love to hop on a plane & go right now. Your Beachfront Villa is gorgeous & looks like the perfect place to relax. It's wonderful to hear how nice the staff are & how they go above & beyond. That makes all the difference to a holiday. x

  10. This looks amazing, something the tis a must before having kids!! I love the idea of this sort of holiday but its something I will now have to wait for until our children are old enough to stay on their own. It looks so very private with only a handful of vials and 5 beaches there must be so much space and privacy.

  11. Wow that water looks amazing! I'm not surprised you liked swimming with the turtles so much you did it twice!

  12. Such beautiful photographs! The beaches are so beautiful. Makes me want to go on holiday all over again:) So lovely

  13. I followed your whole trip on Instagram and i'm positively jealous. It looks like you had an AMAZING time. Those beaches are the sort you only see movies, never thought they actually existed. I want to go!!

    Aftab | Fresh And Fearless

  14. Oh my goodness - this place looks amazing - every bit of it! I would love to go to somewhere as luxurious and fabulous as this! Kaz x

  15. Oh my gosh! That water looks beyond incredible and is now on my bucket list!! :)
    Simone x | The Aussie Flashpacker

  16. This looks like PARADISE Catherine, what an absolutely amazing place!!! So jealous. Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions


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