There are some special places and experiences that exude the term “paradise”…for the location, the impeccable service, the adventure found and the ultimate in comfort and food. With so many fabulous destinations, worldwide, you might think there are more paradises found than initially thought! But, when you happen upon the quintessential place that deserves the term, you succumb completely and excuse those who had formerly acquired the overused expression.
Nestled in the Caribbean archipelago nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines lies the small island of Canouan. The island is known for its white powder stretches of fine beaches, calm turquoise waters, and panoramic views. And, as the cherry-on-top of this little island, is found the Mandarin Oriental’s luxury hideaway. Situated along Godahl Beach, the opulent resort promises impeccable attention to detail. The resort is home to a collection of atmospheric restaurants offering a variety of culinary delights accompanied by stunning ocean views.
This Canouan paradise reopened in 2018 and offers just 26 suites and 13 villas, an all-ocean view luxury hideaway perfect for families and friends. Boasting a dreamy Caribbean setting of glass-clear seas, powdery sand beaches and vibrant greenery, Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is surrounded by the Caribbean’s largest living coral reef. This secluded island hideaway offers plenty of activities including golf, water sports and the finest spa in the Grenadines archipelago.
“On the five-square-mile island, there’s not much to do beyond snorkeling the coral reef, relaxing in the sun loungers on Godahl Beach, or paddleboarding at Shell Beach.” – AFAR
For those worldly beach aficionados, the Mandarin Oriental was said to have been inspired by Barbados’s Sandy Lane. Beachfront suites, designed by a team of Italian architects, offer opulent and spacious accommodations including private dining rooms and infinity pools. The villas have uninterrupted views of the vast Caribbean Sea and have the perfect mix of indoor/outdoor living space.
“Avoid the hottest months of the year: August through October.” – AFAR
Dining could be restricted to a private villa…for the entirety of a stay. However, five superb restaurants and bars are located within the resort and tempt the palate. In addition, Canouan is part of a 1200-acre estate community: Grenadines Estate. Four additional restaurants are just a short golf cart drive away. All restaurants and bars within Grenadines Estate offer guests the ability to charge to their suite or villa.
Outside of tried and true island play, the spa will surely be a place to visit over and over again during your stay. Canouan is a retreat for body and soul. At the decadent Caribbean spa, a wide choice of treatments and therapies, in suites that are looking at the sea, are adapted for each individual guest. Seven hillside treatment suites are available complete with the sound of rolling waves. Delight in a Royale Journey, a three-hour treat noted as a ‘pure island experience’. End your journey with meditation and calming movements in a private yoga class.
*A fully-equipped fitness center is onsite for the more active fanatic.
Traveling to Canouan should be just as tailored as your stay. Flight options to the island’s seaside airstrip include inter-island charter flights from St. Vincent or Barbados, a resort private jet or a personal private jet. A three-hour ferry ride from St. Vincent on the MV Barracuda provides hours of anticipation as well. For the yachties, the recently opened superyacht marina – Sandy Lane Yacht Club – has 120 berths able to accommodate superyachts up to 100 meters in length, and has now made Canouan even more accessible for those arriving by boat.
Here, children are as celebrated as couples seeking refuge from the family routine. With that in mind, a few unique adventures abound. Travelers can take a catamaran tour to Tobago Cays, where scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean films were shot. Kids and adults, alike, are sure to enjoy the recollection of such exciting footage!
For the more peaceful outing, there’s playing golf – and there’s playing golf in the Caribbean, with friendly tortoises for an audience and a Technicolor sunset over the ocean as a reward. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, take your golf buggy for a tour of the 18-hole golf course to take in the spectacular setting. Canouan has the only championship 18-hole golf course in the Grenadines. It also has one of the world’s longest par-3s at 305 yards. A sundowner at the 13th hole is an unmissable treat.
So, go seek out this paradise! Canouan, in the heart of the Grenadines, is small – just five square miles in size – yet expansive and not to be missed. The Mandarin Oriental provides the seclusion and serenity that complements such a piece of paradise…and makes for an experience unmatchable by most. Perfection. Paradise.