Grenada resort adds spice to a Caribbean holiday.
Hotel Insider: Mount Cinnamon, Grenada
There is only one Bentley on Grenada and it belongs to Peter de Savary, the British entrepreneur and owner of Mount Cinnamon. It was used to transport Kirani James on his victorious return from the Olympics to his home village, and it was at the airport to meet us, courtesy of Mark Scott, de Savary's right hand man, who happened to be around. The drive from the airport to the resort took less than 10 minutes and we were greeted with cold towels and fruit punch in the hacienda style clubhouse and then taken by golf buggy to our rooms.
Grenada is one of the prettiest and greenest in the West Indies. Mount Cinnamon sits on a hillside overlooking Grand Anse beach, a three-kilometre long sandy stretch that guests can access.
"What you see is what you get," says Barry, our guide for the three days we were there. A devastating hurricane in the 1980s (the first in over 40 years) destroyed 80 per cent of the local infrastructure. That, along with earlier political uncertainty, and the recent economic downturn have kept Grenada as an island for the Grenadians. There is little crime, the pace of life is slow - and that is the way they want to keep it.
Mount Cinnamon is a collection of white-washed villas. Most are on two floors with the sitting area above the bedroom, a bathroom on each floor and a kitchen. As there were three of us they suggested Cinnamon Heights, the newest, biggest and best villa. It was huge (557 square metres of indoor space) with its own pool with a wooden bridge and enough beds and sunlounging space to accommodate eight people. We were the first guests and there had not been much time to prepare so there were certain teething problems; the TV didn't work, the bath plug would not stay down and the shower leaked. But these were forgiven because of the view at the top of the hill.
Savvy's in the clubhouse is open for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is served at the table; cooked breakfast is US$12 (Dh44) and there is a choice of full American, traditional Grenadian (very oily salt fish souse) and banana bread french toast, or you can get a bowl of cereal for $3 (Dh11). Fresh fish is on the menu at dinner with a choice of how it is cooked; grilled with butter $23 (Dh84), or blackened Cajun style $25, (Dh91) or in a creole sauce $26 (Dh95). Lobster dishes are priced at $37 (Dh135). Lunch at the Beach Cabana is more about the setting than the food - a barbecue, salads and snacks eaten by the water's edge.
Ironing out the teething problems meant the staff were continuously being called upon to help out and they did so quickly and cheerfully. There is an island-time culture, but I found it rather enjoyable not to be a slave to the clock.
De Savary also owns Mount Edgecombe, an early eighteenth-century plantation estate on the western coast. Mount Cinnamon guests can go for the day and combine it with a Grenadian cookery lesson from Janice, the hotel cook. Sitting among nutmeg, mango, mahogany and cocoa trees, it is a step back in time. We also had a day on a yacht, anchored up in a small bay and dived into the waters. Bliss.
With only three days and so much to see, I never managed to get around to lying on the beach - which is, of course, what the Caribbean is all about.
The location of Mount Cinnamon could not be bettered and Grenada is the real deal: a Caribbean island with beautiful beaches, gentle people and an attractive interior.
The bottom line
A week's rental costs $7,200 (Dh26,447) including taxes, from May to December; $9,600 (Dh235,262) from January to April and $12,000 (Dh44,069) over the Christmas and New Year period.
The one-bed villas cost $420 (Dh11,542) and $720 (Dh2,644) respectively, per night (www.mountcinnamongrenadahotel.com; 001 473 439 4400).