Welcome (Back) to Palm Island
If vacationing on an island is the Caribbean dream, then vacationing on a private Caribbean island has to be the ultimate fantasy. Warm sea, soft sand and solicitous staff all to yourself; what could be more indulgent?
I’ve been lucky enough to stay at a few private-island resorts, and Palm Island in the Grenadines is one of my favorites. Following an electrical fire on Christmas Eve the resort closed temporarily, but as of today Palm is back up and running; hooray! A diminutive 135 acres, this idyll lies south of St. Vincent and north of Grenada, and boasts five beaches, three hiking trails, and lush landscaping punctuated with more than 1,800 coconut palms. Better still: Palm is an all-inclusive private island, so you won’t be putting your hand in your pocket when bartender Randy convinces you to have a second planter’s punch or shot of Vincy rum.
The atmosphere here is casual and laidback, and, as you’d expect at a resort with only 43 rooms, the staff learns guests' preferences pretty quickly. Palm Islanders bed down in peak-roofed beach and garden cottages and suites that compensate in living space for what they lack in décor (which, frankly, could use some modernizing). An adults-only oasis for most of the year, the resort accepts children from April through January. But when I was there in December I never found their presence intrusive or bothersome - and trust me, I'm sensitive to these things. There’s enough space for every member of the family to do their own thing, whether that’s biking the island’s circumference, lounging on the beach, taking afternoon tea on the beachfront terrace, or just swinging lazily from a hammock.
I’d recommend Palm as a great all-inclusive resort for families and couples who are adventurous enough to venture beyond the well-trodden Caribbean to a relatively far-flung corner of the region (it took me a total of 10 hours from Miami). Rates, which range from about $800 to $1,500 a night, offer decent value for an all-inclusive private-island experience in this part of the world. DEAL ALERT: Over at jetsetter.com they're celebrating the resort's reopening now through January 19 with special rates beginning at $439 a night! The only thing sweeter than that deal is the coconut water that comes from Palm Island’s very own thriving grove.