24-Hour Room Service: Raffles Resort, St Vincent & the Grenadines

Hurricanes hit the Grenadines on average once every 70 years, so it was with particularly bad timing that Raffles opened its first Caribbean resort on the island of Canouan last August - just weeks before Hurricane Ivan arrived.

Hurricanes hit the Grenadines on average once every 70 years, so it was with particularly bad timing that Raffles opened its first Caribbean resort on the island of Canouan last August - just weeks before Hurricane Ivan arrived. Raffles' staff retreated to the sturdy Villa Monte Carlo high in the hills and waited as months of handiwork was blown away overnight.

After a Herculean renovation effort, the resort re-opened in early November and, aside from a few landscaping issues, there's little evidence that Ivan was ever here.

It makes you wonder if nature was voicing some form of protest - the beautiful island of Canouan is being touted as the Caribbean's next big luxury destination. The five-star Raffles Resort takes up two-thirds of an island of just three square miles, Donald Trump has also bought a slice of the action; he plans to open a further 60 luxury villas in April.

You can see why. Canouan is the Carib-Indian name for "island of turtles" and it claims to have some of the best beaches in the region. It's just a short boat ride away from the marine park of Tobago Cays - a small collection of uninhabited islands with pristine sandy bays, horse-shoed by one of the world's largest coral reefs. It was here that Pirates of the Caribbean was shot; you can't get more picture-postcard than this.

LOCATION

Raffles Resort, Canouan Island, St Vincent & The Grenadines, West Indies (001 784 458 8000; www.raffles.canouanisland.com)

Time from international airport: Canouan is 100 miles east of Barbados and a few miles from Mustique. Cessna flights leave Barbados daily for the 40-minute hop.

The resort is in the process of acquiring a private jet that will be available for pick-ups from other destinations across the Grenadines.

COMFORTABLE

There are 156 rooms and villas with either garden or ocean views. Eight of these are "personality suites" that offer a private plunge-pool and direct beach access.

If huge high-ceilinged rooms and a luggage space the size of a small double bedroom are your bag, then you'll be happy here. But if you like things a little more manageable then it's probably not for you. All guests are issued with a personal golf buggy for the duration of their stay to get around the sprawling resort. Don't bother trying to walk to breakfast as you'll just get stopped by staff wondering what you're doing on foot.

Virtually everything is imported - the bathroom sinks come from Mexico, Murano glass panels from Venice and wooden furniture from Malaysia, so the styling is a little schizophrenic and could benefit from a local touch. In fact, if it wasn't for the lovely Caribbean staff, you could be pretty much anywhere in the world. Having said that, the dining options are impressive and include Jambu's, an Asian-influenced all-day restaurant, the European gourmet of La Varenne and the fine Italian of La Piazza. There are also a couple of bars to choose from, including the Godhal Beach Bar which opens directly on to the beach, or the resort's signature bar, Bellini's, where you can sample a cracking Martini.

Freebies: in the bathroom there are delicious RafflesAmrita Spa products containing essential oils including eucalyptus and rosemary. Bottles of chilled water are delivered to your bedside each day, along with fresh flowers, fruit and a morning paper.

Keeping in touch: As well as dual-line telephone with computer, fax and internet connection there's a Phillips widescreen TV with 23 satellite channels, multilingual voicemail and a bedside CD-player. You can also use two PCs in the business centre.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles start at $345 (£182) for a garden view. Abercrombie & Kent (0845 0700 614; www.abercrombiekent.co.uk) offers seven nights from £1,709 per person including British Airways flights from Gatwick to Barbados, transfers to Canouan and breakfast.

I'm not paying that: The Tamarind Beach Hotel and Yacht Club,

(001 784 458 8044; tamarind-beachhotel.com) a beautiful traditional Caribbean hideaway, has rooms that open directly on to a white sandy beach. Doubles from $280 (£147) with breakfast.

LENA CORNER

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam