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Exploring The Spice Isle

Located toward the tail end of the main string of Caribbean islands, tiny Grenada is easy to overlook. It doesn’t have the flash of the Bahamas, the forbidden allure of Cuba or the groomed golf courses of the Dominican Republic. But that’s a large part of its charm.
 

This is where you go to get away from it all, to take long walks along the beach, stopping for a cocktail when happy hour hits. It’s about lazy days basking in the sun, punctuated—if desired—by visits to the capital of St. George’s or to one of the rum distilleries. And then there’s the chocolate. With its many cacao plantations, Grenada is an island Willy Wonka would have loved.
 

Arriving at my resort, I feel like I’ve won the golden ticket. Silversands Grenada is a new hotel, and it’s a beauty. As I enter the open-air lobby, I can’t help but gawk at the infinity pool, which starts just steps away and stretches down to the beach. Lined with palm trees and comfy chaise longue—waiters at the ready—it’s everything a tropical escape should be.
 

         
Silversands Grenada        
 























Silversands comprises 43 sleek suites overlooking the Caribbean, two restaurants, a cigar-and-rum bar and a spa to up the relaxation quotient. Guests even can make this home away from home their actual home by buying one of the nine villas, outfitted with private pools.

 
Up in my room, the bellman offers to give me a tour—and asks for my phone. After downloading the hotel’s app, he shows me how almost everything, from the blackout curtains to the lights to the “do not disturb” signal, can be controlled remotely. I notice that I can even order room service without leaving bed—tempting, but the beach beckons, and my timing is perfect: Dusk is falling and I catch a gorgeous, tangerine orange sunset. A few sunbathers linger nearby, while a handful of fishermen finish tying up their boats in the shallows.
 

The next day, I set out with Sweet Grenada Tours to see what else this Eden has to offer. First up: Belmont Estate. In addition to cacao, this verdant plantation dating back to the 17th century grows many of the aromatics that give Grenada its nickname, The Spice Isle, including nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Here, we walk through the bean-to-bar process, the smell of chocolate scenting the air. Of course, the best part is the tasting at the end. I try to pick a favorite: 60 percent milk? 74 percent dark? A bar with sea salt mixed in? It seems only fair to buy one of each. 


            
A variety of spices and an open cacao pod from Belmont Estate        
 














 

 

After a filling Grenadian lunch at the estate—callaloo soup, fish and meat curries, and a touch of chocolate for dessert—it’s on to rustic River Antoine Rum Distillery, where the spirit has been made since 1785. The rum is so incredibly popular that it’s difficult to find off the island, so tourists typically snap up a few bottles to take home. And while it’s not the classic 150-proof product that Grenadians enjoy (the alcohol content is too high to take on a plane), the distillery has created a lower-octane rum—a mere 138 proof—that’s safe to travel with.
 

Winding our way back down through the hills, we make a final stop at Grand Etang National Park. Grabbing a bunch of bananas, our guide slowly walks along the edge of the rainforest, cooing in hopes of attracting one of the locals: a mona monkey. Although wild, these curious, bearded creatures understand the payoff of the bright yellow fruit. One comes bounding out, grabs a piece and poses for a few selfies before moving gracefully back into the depths of the forest.
 

We head home, too, hoping to catch another sunset and enjoy the chill island vibe that is so uniquely Grenada.

 

Where to Drink

Umbrellas Beach Bar offers Caribbean views, an extensive drink menu and a weekday happy hour. Friday nights, Silversands throws a rosé party, where guests and locals alike enjoy the blush wine by the glass or mixed into cocktails while a DJ plays creative mixes.  

 

Where to Get Your Chocolate Fix

At The House of Chocolate in St. George’s, a café/shop/museum, you can learn about the history of cacao and pick up bars from local companies, as well as fresh spices and gifts. Don’t leave without trying the nutmeg ice cream. 

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