Palm Island in the Grenadines offers the ideal synthesis of “Cast Away” isolation with the opulent facilities of a contemporary, five-star hotel. Arriving at this 135-acre island resort seems like a scene out of HBO’s White Lotus after a 3.5-hour flight from Miami to Barbados, an hour-long inter-island flight from Barbados to Union Island, a two-minute drive to a dock, and an eight-minute boat excursion – in the best of ways. When we arrived, the manager and workers were greeting us with a colorful rum concoction in their palms and waving from the pier. I could hear the theme song playing in my brain.
Palm Island is often compared to the Maldives or French Polynesia because of its velvety green hills that ramble upward from blindingly white beach and its water, which changes color as you go away from the coast from crystal clear to blazing Powerade to denim. Your favorite island candle comes to life in the air, filling the space with the aroma of salt and plumeria. It’s hardly surprising that Palm Island Resort & Spa took third place on Travel + Leisure’s list of the top 25 hotels in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas for the 2022 World’s Best Awards.
The Baobab Treehouse
Palm Island hasn’t in its present shape for very long. During a renovation in 1999, the pristine paradise got all the modern comforts (including a desalination plant). Since then, the resort has welcomed groups of friends, families, and couples, many of whom have stayed for years and mostly British, American, or Canadian.
This long-standing commitment is best shown in the open-air library, where hundreds of volumes seem to represent every genre, country, language, and time period. Another hilarious relic from the past, the adjacent TV and internet room now has Wi-Fi over the whole island. Palm Island, formerly known as Prune Island, leased by Americans John and Mary Caldwell for 99 years starting in 1966. The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines agreed to let the Caldwells lease an unusable arc of land with a marshy interior for $1 per year if they constructed a hotel to provide jobs for residents.
The Caldwells created Palm Island Beach Club, which they operated for the next 30 years, with their sights on the undeveloped beaches lapped by crystal-clear seas. The hotel underwent substantial renovations, as well as the addition of 41 rooms and suites, a spa, and other facilities after being bought by the present owners in 1999. Palm Island Resort is an adult-only all-inclusive where all on-site restaurants, bars, and amenities included in the stay. Elite Island Resorts is a group of distinctive beachfront resorts in the Caribbean.
The Lokelani Presidential Suite
The two restaurants, Royal Palm or Sunset Grill & Bar, open for dinner. Alternatively, guests may reserve a romantic table at one of three adjacent quiet specialized locations, such as under a heart-shaped lighted tree. The theme, the meal, and the live entertainment change every night; our favorites by far the lobster supper in the gazebo and the Caribbean BBQ buffet with a steelpan band. A picnic lunch at Hammock #4, a beachy tree house with a covered upper deck, hammock below, overwater wooden swings, and a tranquil location facing a calm bay, another unforgettable meal.
You may engage in as much or as little activity outside of mealtimes as you choose. There natural paths for driving directions biking and hiking, a complete gym, a pool, daily fitness classes, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, paddleboards, and Hobie cats. A highlight of our trip a half-day sailing trip around Tobago Cays Marine Park on the Yannis catamaran, which made stops at two sparsely populated islands and one tiny, uninhabited island where you can snorkel and see green turtles. Other optional add-on activities include a sunset sail on the Pink Lady and a half-day sailing trip on the Pink Lady. (One of the unrivaled delights of life is lying in the net of a catamaran with the ocean floating a few feet under you.)
Casa del Coco Residence
You can learn to kitesurf, do scuba diving, and more on Union Island. Or, no one would blame you if you simply want to relax under a palm tree and gaze out at the sometimes black, occasionally cerulean sea. Naturally, a trip to a tropical island wouldn’t complete without spending some time at the spa, and Palm Island’s is a dream. Spend 2.5 wonderful hours together by booking the Hibiscus Package. The treatment includes a foot ritual, a seaside flower bath, a scrub, a wrap, a massage, and a facial, all performed by two skilled Balinese masseuses.
The finest of the Caribbean may found on Palm Island, which is only reachable by boat and beyond the storm zone. The island may explored on foot or by bike and most of it is still undeveloped and little touched. It takes a golf cart around 10 minutes to travel the whole island. Along the uninhabited island’s outer edge, there are 43 rooms, suites, and villas scattered among five distinct beaches and more palm palms than you can count. Although it seems anonymous, it is not: A user on Instagram informed me that a season of the popular MTV show Siesta Key shot here in 2021.
The Beach House
Even though Palm Island seems quite distant from reality, traveling there is exciting in and of itself: The only word to describe flying to the Grenadines during golden hour is breathtaking. A commercial trip to Barbados followed by a small Grenadine Alliance aircraft to Union Island is the suggested route. (If you’re fortunate, you could also land in Canouan or Bequia to pick up a few shared charter travelers before continuing your journey.) You’ll welcomed by a driver when you arrive on Union Island, and he or she will drive you to the pier in a matter of seconds so you can board a boat for the eight-minute trip to Palm Island.
The brand-new Seahorse Villa is Palm Island’s crowning achievement if it is a well-liked travel destination in the Grenadines. It is remote in the eastern end of the island, encouraging peace and alone. I didn’t know I had forgotten our room key until I meant to turn it in; we didn’t lock our doors once while we there and didn’t give it a second thought. Villa visitors do, however, get a personal golf cart, allowing you to quickly return to the island’s more populous end (or, at least, as fast as you can go on those bumpy, sandy backroads). Even after following the same paths for many days, you will definitely become lost, but fortunately, on an island, you can never travel too far from your intended location.
The Cliffhanger Mansion
The white-picket-fenced residence has room and more space, as well as your own beachfront garden and, best of all, no other buildings in sight. You could bring far more people than the four people this 4,000 square foot villa beds and never cross paths unless you wanted to. The naturally furnished home is illuminated with wicker pendant lights placed high in vaulted ceilings, providing an undoubtedly warm atmosphere for a tropical island escape. It constructed from indigenous and salvaged bleached timbers with dramatic pops of blue to mimic the Caribbean beyond. The breakfast bar and storage in the spacious kitchen constructed from ship masts that recovered from a shipwreck.
Beach cabanas, enormous walk-in closets, a half-bath, and — my personal favorite home-away-from-home amenity — a laundry room with a washing and dryer all available. Indoor showers tiled and have sturdy doors that open out to views of the ocean. A stay at the Seahorse Villa is the only way to really feel like an island in the Caribbean is all yours.