“And when she turned one final time, a single tear rolled down her cheek.” Sorry to be cheesy but YES, it’s true. That’s how I actually felt when I left Palm Island but let’s start from the beginning.
Where is Palm Island you say? It’s a private island in the island chain within the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and The Grenadines. Think white sand beaches with flecks of pink, clear turquoise waters and palm trees swaying in the wind – basically exactly what we think of when we think of paradise.
I’ve now been to the Caribbean for the past 3 years to different islands and it’s a place I love to come back to again and again. The Grenadines are a special place – for me, they are off the beaten path. Everyone goes to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica (nothing wrong with this – both are still on my list!) but if you are looking for something a little bit different then I would HIGHLY recommend St. Vincent and The Grenadines and in particular Palm Island.
HOW TO GET THERE
To get to Palm Island from London, there are return flights from London Gatwick with British Airways that fly directly to Bridgetown, Barbados (Grantley Adams International Airport). You then hop on a charter flight for about 50 minutes from Barbados to Union Island, which is an island that’s less than 10 minutes away by boat from Palm Island.
Upon arrival at the airport it’s really easy because there is someone there to show you exactly where you need to go to catch the charter flight. I loved the charter flight as well – it’s a tiny little plane but it’s quite a fun one to catch and the views over the ocean are INSANE. When you are about to land at Union the views are something like you see from pictures of the Maldives – absolutely mind-blowing.
Once you get to Union, someone takes you to the dock in a golf cart (with your luggage) where you catch your short boat ride over to Palm Island. I really loved this part of the journey because you really feel like you are off the beaten path in terms of travel in the Caribbean. When you start a holiday like this you just can’t beat the feeling of excitement you have from the very beginning when you step foot on the island.
WHERE TO STAY
Once on Palm Island it’s actual paradise. The resort is owned by Elite Island who if you followed my last adventure to Antigua you will know I stayed at a couple of Elite Island resorts already which I loved (they have so many amazing ones from Panama to St. Lucia). The resort is all-inclusive so you don’t need to worry about a thing when you arrive. I love that because I get so hung up on what to tip (and when) so it’s nice knowing you just need to show up at a meal (without your wallet) and you don’t need to fiddle with bills during the trip. This actually takes a lot off your mind knowing you can order what you want and not have to worry about it as it’s already covered.
WHAT TO EAT
I was SO impressed with the food at Palm Island – everything is so fresh being farm-to-table or sea-to-table. The fish is so fresh because they send a fisherman out everyday so the fresh catch is really the fresh catch of the day. They also buy all of their fruits and vegetables as locally as they possibly can so either the vegetables are grown on the island or they get them from St. Vincent.
I ate so much ceviche and sashimi on the trip simply as the seafood was so fresh with sea bass, marlin, mahi-mahi, tuna and even shark. The salads are all made with organic vegetables as well and you just feel good eating the food on the island because of the freshness. I never felt bloated or sick from the food because if you go fresh, you never feel that way. The fruit is also incredible, with a fresh array everyday at breakfast like passion fruit, papaya and melon.
There are two restaurants on the resort (the Royal Palm or the Sunset Bar & Restaurant) and where you have your meals varies between the two. For breakfast you can choose to eat from the buffet or order a la carte or do both. The menu options offer something for everyone from coconut porridge to eggs benedict to French Toast (my favourite) to a Cajun-style breakfast. Honestly you won’t go hungry.
For lunch I tended to stick with something fresh and healthy like ceviche, salad and a fresh papaya smoothie everyday and then for dinner choosing the catch-of-the-day and trying a new cocktail pretty much every evening (my favourite has to be the banana daiquiri – freshly made, no syrups or flavourings). There are options for vegetarians and vegans as well so nothing to worry about if you do have dietary requirements. If you want to try Caribbean dishes like curried goat or jerk chicken you can also try those too!
I liked that the dinner style was a course menu with several options to choose from so you actually order a 3-course meal every night. I liked this because I never left feeling overly full because of eating too much. Everything is served in nice portion sizes so you can try several different things but you don’t eat too much and you don’t waste food.
The rooms at Palm Island are beautiful and our beachfront suite looked out to the sea and a grove of palm trees. We had a private balcony as well with lounge chairs, an outdoor shower and an incredible sun bed. Honestly, I could have stayed forever. The beachfront suites are SO nice with high ceilings, lots of room and bright and airy. I loved that they had double closets so that I could unpack my things straight away and organize my clothes so they weren’t strewn about the room all week. It feels like your own little home. The mini bar is also complimentary and included so if you need any snacks or drinks during the day the fridge is always full.
Another great thing to mention about the resort is that the water is treated and drinkable! That means NO plastic bottles. In fact, they give you a BPA-free water bottle at the beginning of your stay so you can simply fill up as you go from the taps. Think of how many plastic bottles of water this will save over time. Hotels, resorts and the guests (it’s all of our responsibility) should always be thinking of sustainable tourism and how to reduce our carbon footprint.
There is an incredible spa at Palm Island that I have to highly recommend to you simply because when you travel for a long time to get somewhere there’s bound to be kinks and knots! I love to do a spa treatment at both the beginning and the end of my holiday (usually in the form of a massage). I like to get a massage at the start to get rid of all the aches and pains of travelling and to ease myself into holiday mode. Then at the end I like to get another one to relax me before the long flight back to London. It may sound a bit ‘extra’ but if you work your tail off like me then you need it just to rebalance your body.
If you are going to travel all the way to Palm Island I recommend just going full-on and booking in the Hibiscus package. You can do this solo or with another person (and get your treatments at the same time) and it’s BLISS. The spa itself looks out onto the ocean so immediately when you walk into it you feel at ease.
The reason why I recommend the Hibiscus package is definitely because of the treatments but also because of the bath. Now with this package you start your treatment by taking a flower-filled, Hibiscus oil bath overlooking the beach. You can fit two people in the bath so if you want to share the experience with your partner it’s quite nice as well. How many times in your life are you going to be able to do this? Probably not many so best to take advantage and just book it in. YOLO.
The bath is meant to calm and relax you which is aided by a cold glass of champagne – honestly my dream scenario. Once you spend 30 minutes soaking in the tub you are gently directed to lie down in the treatment room for the next part of the treatment, which is a body scrub that makes your skin ultra-smooth, soft and glowing. Now at the spa you can choose Aromatherapy Associates products (which trust me, I do love) but if you have the chance it’s best to choose the Hibiscus package because some of the ingredients in the spa products used for that particular treatment are harvested on the island. And the Hibiscus flower is known as the ‘Botox of the Caribbean’ for its firming and smoothing abilities so why not?
The scrub is followed by a deep tissue massage which is always blissful. The technique is a Balinese-style massage which you simply can’t go wrong with. You can let the therapist know if you like firm or soft pressure so no need to be shy. I always encourage people to let the therapist know what you like before the massage – it’s better they know and better for you so you get the kind of pressure you like. Because at the end of the day they want you to be happy with the massage too.
The muscle-melting massage is followed by a Hibiscus facial. Now the Hibiscus flower as I mentioned has some amazing skincare benefits – it’s really high in Vitamin C so the brightening benefits have to be mentioned as well. My skin goes mental in the sun with pigmentation from melasma so the facial was really great at soothing my skin and calm down some of the redness from the sun. I was so glowy afterwards you could have spotted me from space.
WHAT TO DO
There are SO many things to do on the island. Never for a moment think you will be bored. And if you want to be bored, so be it! The great thing about Palm Island is that you have the freedom to design whatever kind of holiday you want. If you want to sunbathe all day and read books you can do that. If you like an active holiday (like me) then there are so many things you can do.
Also worth to note there is Wi-Fi on the island but only in two spots. There are also no TVs in the room. This was definitely done on purpose so that people can actually switch off and get back to nature. Despite living my life online, it was nice to not have Wi-Fi in the rooms and I lived without Netflix for a week quite happily. So get out and embrace nature!
The obvious choice is swimming. I’ve always been a strong swimmer so for me a wild swim everyday for an hour was heaven. The water is pretty warm so it’s a lovely swim on a hot day (or any day, really). There’s also cycling. You can borrow a bicycle from the hotel and cycle around the island. There are actually other beaches on the island that you can explore – beaches that are a bit wilder and more deserted as well. I loved cycling around the island everyday – it was so much fun. You can also go for a mini hike up Iguana Hill for some INCREDIBLE views of the island that you won’t want to miss.
If you want to stick to your workout routine you can because everyday there are so many activities you can sign up for including yoga, pilates, beach volleyball, etc. Or if you like water sports you can take a kayak out or a Hobie Cat or go snorkeling. Literally the list is endless. There’s a fitness centre, tennis courts and a swimming pool as well if you want more of a controlled environment for your daily swim.
But the key point is you can make this whatever holiday you want – whether it’s a detox/get back into shape/get rested kind of holiday or a eat whatever you want/drink all night/sunbathe all day kind of holiday. It’s totally up to you. The island is super relaxed so you can do what you want. And in the end, that’s what you really want from a holiday isn’t it?
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @beautyrocksblog for all my travel pics from this trip!
*This post was a press trip with Elite Island resorts but all words/opinions/images/views are my own as always!