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Palm Island Resort - © Raphael RICHARD / EASYVOYAGE
Palm Island Resort - © Raphael RICHARD / EASYVOYAGE
Rating and opinion given by a member of our team of Easyvoyage experts
Mark out of 10 for geographical location
Evaluation of the hotel based on its size, its decoration, the number of rooms, the attractiveness of its architecture and the quality of any swimming pools, lobbies or sport and leisure facilities it may have
Evaluation of the quality of the room or suite based on cleanliness, decoration, size, view, services and comfort of bedding
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What better place to go for a seaside holiday than an island hotel? The Palm Island Resort is not the most luxurious of establishments, but it does offer quite an exceptional setting. The hotel is completely open to the outside, leading right down to the sea. Once you get used to the concept, it is hard to fault what is an extraordinary all inclusive establishment.
Palm Island is a little islet opposite the port of Clifton on Union Island. A free shuttle service, consisting of a pleasant 10-minute crossing, provides a connection between the two islands four times a day. The transfer is organised at set times and is free of charge both for arrivals and departures.
Union Island is at the southern tip of the Grenadines, and takes 2 hrs 15 mins to reach by speed boat from Saint Vincent. The tiny airport on Union Island also provides a link with Barbados.
However, the resort itself does not cover the whole 74-acre Palm Island, whose circumference is almost 2 mi. The guest rooms and communal spaces are grouped in the west of the island, along the prettiest of the beaches. However, various other areas of the hotel open right out across the rest of the island, which also has a golf course (in very poor condition when we visited), a coconut grove, little villas (whose private owners visit for barely one month a year), beaches and a few rocky promontories. All of this sets the scene for lovely walks, accompanied by only the many iguanas that live on the island.
The only year-round residents on Palm Island are a French couple who have been living in the coconut grove for 15 years. The man they call 'The Doc' is a real character, a doctor who has turned his hand to painting on a full time basis but continues to perform medical duties on the island. He is a real character, who will be happy to welcome those holidaying here for a quick refreshment on his front porch (although bear in mind that his native tongue is French). In fact, many of his paintings can be seen throughout the hotel.
Palm Island Resort has its own catamaran, the Yannis, which takes guests on day trips to the Tobago Cays and the surrounding area.
In 1966, Palm Island was an area of mosquito-infested marshland. It was bought by an American couple who gradually cleaned it up and built bungalows, which together formed a 24-room hotel. To cut a long story short, the hotel reopened in its current form in 2000, and it now has 43 guest rooms.
The two restaurants and the guest rooms are located in little ground-level buildings (apart from one building with two storeys) set along the edge of the beach. The pretty, meandering swimming pool with artificial rocks and waterfalls, the tennis court, the library and its pool table, the gym and the massage room are all a bit further back, beneath the coconut palms. There is certainly no shortage of facilities! Activities are organised every day, and a show livens things up one evening a week. The fresh air and all the coconut trees create a superb setting, but the design of the buildings is very basic and unremarkable.
The Palm Island Resort also has two villas available to rent. The 3-bedroom Seafeather villa is the ideal place for larger families to stay. The Southern Cross Villa (2 guest rooms) is superb, and has a completely isolated location on the east of the island. This is the place to stay if you can afford the rates!
The standard rooms are called 'Palmview rooms'. These eight rooms are in the second row of buildings back from the sea, so they do not directly overlook the beach. This is the only aspect in which they differ from the 20 'Beachfront rooms' in the superior category. All of the rooms have a terrace equipped with loungers and a parasol, which is an especially pleasant feature in the Beachfront rooms (the four rooms occupying the single-level building have a covered terrace-cum-balcony).
Inside, the rattan furniture lends the place a cheery, local feel in which you soon start to feel at home. The 'Doc's' paintings depicting brightly coloured tropical fish hang on the walls. The ceilings slope upwards with the roof, and the rooms are well ventilated thanks to the big windows with vertical shutters, which enable you to let as much or as little light and fresh air in as you wish. Still, on really hot days, you can always switch on the air-conditioning. In terms of facilities, you will find everything you would expect, and the mini-bar is even continually re-stocked at no extra charge if you have opted for the all inclusive package.
Two other accommodation categories are also available. The suites are in a peaceful setting a little further down the beach, and what really sets them apart is their immense bathrooms. However, without a doubt we liked the five 'Island lofts' the best. These wooden buildings are perched on top of stilts and open onto the outside, giving your stay a truly Caribbean feel!
The Palm Island Resort offers a genuine all inclusive deal (although other package options are also available). This includes all drinks except wine, Champagne and... mineral water. Next to the beach, to either side of the reception, there are two restaurants, each with its own bar. Therefore, both the Royal Palm and the Sunset Grill have the sea to provide the backdrop and background music. On the menu, they offer a wide choice of salads, fresh fish, various grilled or cooked meats, and local and international specialities. Everything is ordered à la carte and served at your table. The food is good, and the service charming, and it is all included in the all-inclusive deal!
The beach at Palm Island Resort, on the Caribbean side of the island, is one of the most beautiful in the Grenadines. Its fine, white sand, turquoise water and coconut trees make for a real picture-postcard setting. There are two bars nearby, where tables, chairs and hammocks are arranged, and there are plastic and cloth deckchairs arranged on the beach itself, as well as parasols are readily available to provide a bit of shade.
On the Atlantic side of the island, the beaches are subject to rougher seas and waves that can reach quite a height, and no facilities are provided.
A number of water sports activities are offered at the Palm Island Resort, including diving (a team of professionals comes over from Canouan), windsurfing, catamaran sailing and sea kayaking.