Review: Mandarin Oriental, Canouan
The real gem is the view from your private suite garden, which is just steps away from white powder sands and turquoise waters
Location: They tell me it’s not the new Mustique or where billionaires go to get away from millionaires, it’s simply Canouan - a secluded and small island in St Vincent and the Grenadines. At three-and-a-half miles long and one‑and-a-quarter miles wide, it is a tiny slice of Caribbean paradise. But it’s also extremely accessible, and just a 20-minute private Learjet flight from Barbados. The aircraft is owned by Mandarin Oriental and is the smoothest way for its A-list clientele to arrive.
First impressions: Your experience truly starts on the private jet, but once you’ve landed it’s only a 15-minute drive to this stunning property, where you’re greeted by a dedicated butler. The check-in experience is the sleekest I’ve ever had. You’re whisked from the lobby to your spacious suite within minutes and then offered a quick run-through of your room’s iPad, which controls everything. Your butler then gives you his mobile number in case you need him at any time of the day. The suite is out-of-this-world luxurious. The comfy king-sized bed with drapes and a multitude of pillows takes centre stage but there is no time to rest – in the lavish bathroom, decorated in a palette of whites and grey marble, there are Acqua di Parma toiletries waiting to be squeezed. Then there’s the mirrored walk-in wardrobes that even have a separate shoe cupboard that would turn Carrie Bradshaw’s head. But the real gem here is the view from your private suite garden, which is just steps away from white powder sands and turquoise waters. Are you in heaven? You’d better believe it!
The facts: Mandarin Oriental made this 26-suite, seven-villa property its own last year. It had previously managed the property under the Pink Sands Club name, but last year rebranded it as Mandarin Oriental, Canouan, making it the brand’s first fully-fledged Caribbean hotel. Italian design and attention to detail ensure this resort is the epitome of luxury beach chic. Each of the stylish $10 million villas stand proudly upon the hillside away from the main resort overlooking three private beaches, ideal for clients seeking total isolation.
Explore: Take a catamaran to the Tobago Cays, famed for some of the Caribbean’s best diving. This archipelago comprises five small islands: Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Jamesby and the island made famous by the film Pirates of the Caribbean, Petit Tabac. Each are uninhabited and have been declared as wildlife reserves by the government. Here, you can dive with the gracious green and leatherback sea turtles. If diving is not your thing, be one with mother nature and hike up the rugged slopes of Mount Royal for the best views of Canouan. The hike takes 30 minutes through lush woodlands. Or swing your clubs on the resort’s 18-hole golf course, where hole 13 is the best place for a sundowner. But remember, you’re in the Caribbean, so some beach days are essential.
Wow: There is loads to love here, like the ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ magic mirror TV. This state-of-the-art screen is like something from a sci-fi movie (even if I didn’t know how to turn it off on my first night), and takes up the wall next to the bed. When you get bored with it, press a button and it disappears to reveal the lounge and conservatory, with an amazing view of the ocean – what better way to watch the sunrise than from your bed?
Also make sure your clients take advantage of the spa, which has seven treatment rooms spread across the hillside – there’s nothing quite like having a blissful massage to the sights and sounds of the sea lapping on the nearby shores. And if a 60-minute massage doesn’t build up an appetite for the property’s cuisine – a fusion of Asian and Caribbean – nothing will.
As the art editor and production editor of all Travel Weekly Group products, Flora is responsible for the visual style and images in our print publications. She also creates the overall design and supervises others working on the production desk. She has more than 30 years in the travel industry and has built up a great knowledge of the luxury travel sector.