Escape to a minimalist masterpiece at Silversands in Grenada
By Scott Manson
“Now this,” said my travelling partner, “feels like the real Caribbean.” We were halfway through a whistle-stop cruise around some of the region’s loveliest islands and had arrived in Grenada – both of us first time visitors. And what a charming place it is. From the second we set foot there, the heady fragrances of the ‘‘spice island’’ added a beguiling, almost Christmassy feel with a gentle breeze studded with the smell of cinnamon, clove and mace.
While most Caribbean arrival points are busy places, often surrounded by unlovely high rise buildings, souvenir sellers and a crush of tour guide options, Grenada’s St George’s Port is a more sedate affair. A smattering of superyachts rub shoulders with smaller fishing boats in the harbour, set against a heavenly hilly backdrop that’s dotted with cute, colourful villas. It feels like the whole place hasn’t been updated since the fifties – a sign perhaps of its temporary period as a communist state.
While I was aware of that, and the subsequent 1983 US invasion of the island, I was sketchy on the details. Luckily, our Silversands Hotel-supplied chauffeur gave us a brilliantly articulated lowdown on this defining period – and all in the 15 minutes it took to get from boat to destination.
For a small island – it’s just 12 miles by 21 miles – Grenada punches above its weight when it comes to great hotels, with Silversands regarded as one of the finest. Set on the sweeping curve of Grand Anse Beach, it’s a minimalist masterpiece – all pale wood and white, built from natural materials such as limestone, marble and walnut – with a spectacular lobby that’s surely been the scene of many an Insta moment. Most impressive, though, is the 100m pool – the largest in the Caribbean, they say – flanked by palms and cabanas. The latter was instantly filed under ‘‘post-lunch lounging.’’
We ate at the relaxed Grenadian Grill, an open-air beach club-style restaurant with a menu that combines Mediterranean flavours with authentic local cuisine. It’s clearly a popular ‘‘long lunch’’ spot for those in the know, as we saw two groups arriving by superyacht tender who, when we left three hours later, were still ordering magnums of wine for the table.
After a quick chat with the chef, I decided it was a seafood day, starting with a beautiful plate of lightly battered fried conch, flecked with chili and served with a piquant dipping sauce. Crunchy, moist and slightly sweet, it was the perfect choice to accompany the crisp sauvignon blanc we’d ordered. Another treasure of the sea came in the form of my catch-of-the-day main course – a moist, flaky chunk of grilled grouper with roast baby potatoes, sauteed courgettes and a lemon-infused dipping sauce. This was truly healthy eating, but with an indulgent twist, and all our senses heightened by the widescreen view of golden sands and sparkling sea.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, bruising the sky in vivid purple and yellow, we saw the kitchen team firing up a garden barbecue. A procession of iced shellfish was walked past us and, just for a moment, we considered whether staying for dinner was a reasonable option. But no, the next stage of our trip was calling and we said goodbye, reluctantly, to an unforgettable Caribbean experience.