One Resort, Five Beaches, and No Crowds on Palm Island
By Tab Hauser
Taking a vacation at Palm Island Resort is a five-star luxury experience in a private island-style setting. Located in the lower Grenadine Islands, this island is only 130 acres or about a half-mile long.
You come here for its privacy, romance, scenery, and serious downtime. It is also one of the more affordable resorts for this type of private island setting.
The resort is located on a striking island with more than 2000 palm trees, a saltwater pond, and a few hump-like mini-mountains going up to 100 feet.
There are five beaches with the most popular ones near the bar and water center. There is also a swimming pool and tennis court.
Scattered about Palm Island are friendly iguanas in different shades of green, brown, or orange. You may also see the occasional tortoise along with several species of birds flying around. Besides the resort’s facilities and guest accommodations, there are half a dozen small private vacation villas on one side of the island.
With a maximum of 90 guests, it never gets crowded on Palm Island. This means (even in peak season) you do not have to wake up early to reserve that prime location lounge chair at the beach or pool.
Lounge chairs are also spaced out far from each other for maximum privacy and everyone has a perfect view.
A benefit on the beaches here is that you’re never disturbed by vendors selling beaded jewelry, massages, or tours.
It takes about 40 minutes to walk around Palm Island. Guests also have free use of bicycles to ride on its paths. For further privacy, couples can rent out the end of one of the beaches for themselves.
For the day, they get a rustic shelter with a thatched covered picnic table above, and a shaded hammock with two lounge chairs below.
At Mid-day, a special picnic lunch with drinks is delivered.
Palm Island Activities
Most people we met were on the island for its seclusion and downtime. Many were repeat guests.
The main guest activity was reading, napping, and floating in the very light surf. Some did a lap around the island in the morning.
Others used the tennis courts and gym to work off the good food and drinks. Resort activities may include cooking demonstrations, rum tasting, and a weekly movie on the beach.
On the beach, guests have use of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and Hobie Cat sailboats.
Sailing on the Hobie Cat was fun due to the consistent breeze.
We also liked taking out the kayaks for a close-up look of the large yacht of the day anchored 300 yards off the beach.
The resort has a full spa run by the same ladies who have been here for years. I recommend starting the week with a 90-minute couple’s massage. The tension from traveling just melted away.
For an island break, consider one of two sailing excursions on the resort’s 60-foot catamaran for a fee. We opted for the snorkel cruise to Mopion Island and Chatam Bay, on Union Island. Mopion, also known as Umbrella Island, is a picture-perfect 100 yards of sandy island complete with one thatched umbrella where we snorkeled for 30 minutes.
Chatham Bay, our second stop was a place to stroll the beach, have lunch on board and take in some very good snorkeling.
This area had lots of tropical fish, cuttlefish (small squid), lobsters, and eels along with coral in good condition.
The other sailing experience for small groups offered is on the “Pink Lady”. This is a pretty pink sailing sloop that does day and sunset cruises. When the wind is right, this can be a fun and thrilling ride.
Diving in this part of the Grenadines is excellent. I recommend contacting Glenroy Adams in advance to reserve a half-day two-tank dive. www.grenadinesdive.com
Union Island Next Door
Palm Island guests can arrange a tour of Union Island a mile away. The island has been called the “Tahiti of the Caribbean” due to its unique look. Union Island, with 3000 residents, looks and feels a lot larger than its 3.5 square mile footprint.
Our driver Simone took 2.5 hours to show us around while telling us what it was like to grow up here. He stopped at different points of interest as well as some hillside viewing points to see several of the nearby Grenadine islands.
Part of the tour was a 20-minute walk into a preserve. The main town of Clifton has a few shops, restaurants, a sleepy yacht club, and produce markets.
Union Island Artist
If you like hand-crafted woman’s jewelry contact local artist Anne-France of Grenadine Jewels. You can see her products in her home/studio up on the mountain. Here she produces everything by herself using semi-precious stones inspired by “the visual paradise at hand”. www.grenadinesjewels.com/
Guests on the island get three meals a day plus afternoon tea. All meals are served ala carte by an efficient, fun, and friendly staff.
For breakfast, the menu had everything you can think of to start your morning. The kitchen also serves a “Caribbean” style breakfast of the day.
We enjoyed lunch with our toes in the sand and a large thatched umbrella above. On most days we started with the sashimi of the day. The menu included sandwiches, the local roti, burgers, fish tacos, pizza, fresh fish, steak, and salads.
Dinner always started with guests mingling at the bar. Every night there was music played by a guitarist or a two-man band. The fine-dining menu had soups and salads along with plenty of entrees to choose from. Each evening there was a local dish one can try. If you are not comfortable ordering the local food as the main course, try it as a side dish.
For picky appetites or anyone with food allergies, the staff is very good about taking care of them.
Lighter Fare, Too
On a few nights that we wanted lighter fare so we simply ordered off-menu their tasty Caesars Salad with either grilled chicken or shrimp as the main course.
A nice feature of Palm Island is their customer care. Each evening the resort manager or a senior manager would stroll around the dining room and spend a few minutes visiting each table to see how things were going.
Drinks are included for guests and the bar was always opened after breakfast and closing when the last guests retired for the night. For dinner, a nice selection of reds, whites, and roses from France was poured generously. We also heard the sound of Champaign corks popping before dinner.
The bartenders know what they are doing here when it comes to mixology. The drink menu includes some tropical specialties as well as frozen drinks. I recommend the aged rum chocolate martini after dinner instead of the desert!
Palm Island Accommodations
The resort has four different accommodation styles. They include palm view and oceanfront rooms, cottages called the loft, oceanfront suites, and large villas. All units are spacious having lounge chairs in front with some having day beds. The refrigerator comes stocked with soda and beer and is replenished daily.
We enjoyed our time in the loft which was a large cottage complete with high ceilings, duo air conditioning, and a fan. It also had a large balcony with comfy cushion lounge chairs having a partial ocean view. All units have Wi-Fi but no TV. (A feature we liked.)
For those that need to watch the news or a movie, there is a TV room next to the gym. You can also stream Amazon and Netflix if you bring a device. Prices average about $1100 for two all-inclusive
Getting to Palm Island
Traveling to the “good places” sometimes requires an extra step and with Palm Island, it is worth it.
Guests need to fly to Barbados and then board a small twin-propeller airplane for the 45-minute flight to Union Island. After landing it will take five minutes to get your luggage and clear customs.
Resort staff will then escort you and your luggage via golf cart five minutes to a hotel boat waiting at the dock. Once aboard, it is a one-mile scenic ride to Palm Island. This smooth service means that guests will have their welcome cocktail and be checked in within 20 minutes of landing. Lunch, with your feet in the sand, will then be recommended while your luggage goes off to your suite.