Petit St. Vincent is hailed as being amongst the best Small Luxury Hotels in the world, and with recognition from National Geographic as one of the Top Unique Lodges of the World, it is without a doubt one of the most captivating and incomparable places one can venture to in this lifetime. An unassuming, yet luxury-filled island, located at the southernmost tip of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a lush green hillside and vibrant blue water-surrounding that is indicative of the Caribbean, it has far more to offer than what the eye can see. Appearing at first glance as though this privately owned island has not seen a touch of human existence, on closer look one will find a beautifully functioning village of charm, tranquility, and privacy. If you find yourself lucky enough to happen upon this paradise, it may feel as though you have stumbled into utopia, a secret place where time stands still and your world stops. And isn’t that just what your vacation should be?
All images via Rory Doyle
Guests will inhabit one of just 22 rustic-chic cottages effortlessly nestled into the landscape of this bliss-filled land, and with a staff-to-guest ratio of 3:1, you can guarantee it’s a place you will never want to leave. One of 133 employees roam the island at regular intervals on their island-made, electric golf carts to attend to your every need. Always with a smile and a genuine desire to help, they are more than happy to fulfill your requests, top up your drinks, or whisk you away to another part of the island, making it clear that each guest is a VIP and that this island is in a class of its own. Taking pride in their incredibly unique “flag-pole” communication system and encouraging visitors to have a much-needed “digital-detox”, Petit St. Vincent, or PSV, as it’s affectionately known by locals, gives you a taste of how life should be. As a model for an emerging archetype of experience, this tiny island is both luxurious and well-grounded, opulent and sustainable, personal yet unified, and secluded yet connected, answering the age-old question of can you have it all? According to PSV, the answer is yes.
The journey to the island is a classic case of planes, trains, and automobiles, but staff ensures the voyage is as effortless as possible. The easiest and most direct route is to book your flight into Barbados, schedule a charter flight to Union Island, and take the PSV ferry to the island. After landing in Barbados, you will be met by a Petit St. Vincent representative who will guide you to your charter flight, making the process seamless. Following a quick 55 minute flight in a small aircraft, not meant for the queasy, you’ll clear customs in Union Island and will be escorted to the ferry dock where the boat will take you to the island on a 25-minute ride across the Carribean Sea, and you will receive your first glimpse into the enchanting life of this special place. Ferry arrangements can be made directly with the resort once your charter flight to Union has been booked. Pulling up to the island, staff will be waiting to greet you with a smile, a fresh moist towel and a deliciously chilled pina colada. They will then whisk both you and your luggage away to your room, which makes for a most pleasant arrival.
The most astounding element of this paradise, of which the Petit Saint Vincent Resort is the first and only human-inhabited dwelling that has existed on the island to date, is how effortlessly each structure blends into the landscape. With the intention of keeping the land preserved, and the experience private, only 22 beautiful wood and stone cottages litter the grounds. Choosing from either a discreet beach-front abode with walk-out sliding doors leading onto your own private beach, straight into the Atlantic Ocean or a more isolated hill-top nest perched in the luscious bluffs offering jaw-dropping views of the green and turquoise terrain, both will have you feeling as though you have the entire island to yourself. Each room is equipped with a plethora of amenities, from a Nespresso coffee machine to a state-of-the-art water filter used to fill the reusable bottles given to each guest, a minibar, and luxury bathroom toiletries. Should you find yourself in need, simply fill out one of the forms located in your room, meander out to your cottage’s personal flag pole system, and raise the yellow flag. Within minutes a bell will ring, announcing the arrival of your now-fulfilled request. The flag pole system is certainly the most unique element. This archaic arrangement supports the “digital detox” concept that guests are encouraged to embrace, enhancing your ability to truly disconnect. The system is simple. Raise the yellow flag for service, raise the red flag for peace. The only WiFi is in the main lounge, and with cell reception spotty at best, it won’t take long to adapt to this system.
The entire island can be walked in just shy of an hour, and for the more health-conscious folk, a fitness path and a hiking trail can be found near the west beach. To get from any cottage to the main lobby or the beach bar takes about 5-10 minutes only, although, in true Petit St. Vincent fashion, a pick-up can be ordered by raising your yellow flag. In no time your ride will appear. There truly is nothing to worry about here.
The Main Pavillion Restaurant serves as reception, a bar, a restaurant, and the coveted WiFi zone. Settled up a small hill, with partial views of the harbor, you can come here for any of your meals, or simply to cool-off with an afternoon beverage at the bar, where one of the friendly bartenders will engage you in light conversation and whip up a delicious specialty cocktail. Intended to be a more intimate, fine-dining type experience in the evening, it is the perfect spot to come for dinner.
Just down the way is Goatie’s Bar and the Beach Restaurant the second of two food and drink establishments on the resort. Stationed on the beach, right in front of the sea, this beautiful open-air space is just right for reading, relaxing, drinking or dining. With live lobster in a tank ready to be plucked and grilled right in front of you, this is a true ocean-to-plate type experience. On Friday nights, Goatie’s Bar and the Beach Restaurant is host to a buffet-style barbecue, accompanied by a live steel-pan band from Union Island that will make you want to feast and dance the night away.
The best part of the experience? All meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the room rate, so you never have to worry about carrying cash or card.
Activities, Entertainment, And A Much Needed Digital Detox
Although the idea of being on a private island with little to no WiFi, and the chance that you may go an entire day without seeing another guest, may instigate some trepidation in city-dwelling adventure seekers, there is no shortage of things to do should you choose to wander from your cottage. It doesn’t take long to forget about your phone, and perhaps even wish you didn’t have one. The resort encourages everyone to take a much-needed break from technology, and with WiFi only in the main lobby, they make it easy for you. With the flag-pole system to communicate, and a no-cash, no-credit all-inclusive experience, this means being able to fall asleep to the ocean breeze without the glare of a blue screen, not worrying about whether or not you left your wallet at the beach, and fully engaging in life’s experiences beyond the frame of your Instagram. Even if you resist it at first, you will feel far better for it.
Choose to engage in yoga classes at the open-air Pavilion, take a scuba diving trip with the legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau Diving School, or relax with a dreamy massage at the tranquil Balinese Hillside Spa. You can also request a snorkeling trip to the Tobago Cays to swim with the sea turtles, or indulge in a decadent wine-tasting in the islands very own wine cellar. Take daily hikes on the fitness trail, or book a sailing trip with Skipper Jeff on his boat named Beauty. The resort plans specially curated activities each night during the week, so there is never a shortage of options. Many guests love to have dinner delivered to their room, and there’s also the chance to have a private, romantic sunset dinner set up for you anywhere on the island which is perfect for lovebirds.
Although PSV is an open book, and what you see advertised is exactly what you get, we do have a few insider tips to help you feel even more like a VIP.
- If you decide to take a trip to the Tobago Cays after you swim with the turtles, ask the Captain if he will putter over to Petit Rameau. This vendor island is reminiscent of Pirates of the Carribean, and by paddling over you can spend an hour or two on the shore enjoying the sun, drinking local beer, bartering for t-shirts, or eating Carribean delicacies before heading back to your boat.
- Venture over to the west beach in time for sunset to enjoy the view. Use the flag-pole system here to order a nice glass (or bottle) of wine as the day dims.
- Spend time chatting with staff at the Main Pavillion Bar and ask them for stories of the island. Some of the members have been working there for over 40 years!
- As a caution, the rooms do not have locks on the doors, however, each room is equipped with a safe for your valuables. In the history of the island, there has never been an incident and the staff makes you feel incredibly cared-for and secure at all times. This is good to note to avoid the surprise when you arrive!
- The sunsets are early, and due to the proximity to the equator, this doesn’t change much during the year. Each room is equipped with a flashlight, and there are solar-powered path lights leading the way to support you when the island gets quite dark. The staff continues to roam on their electric golf carts all evening, happy to help until the last guest retires, making the entire experience complete.
There truly aren’t enough words to describe how special and unique this tiny spot in the Caribbean is, but one thing is for sure, Petit St. Vincent is certainly an island you want to find yourself washed upon.
For bookings to the island click here.
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