This is a glorious place, offering complete tranquillity, fantastic views, good food; good company in an environment that is completely in keeping with the resort but in many cases cannot be called luxury.
Getting there for us was very seamless. Our Virgin flight from Gatwick arrived on time @ 14.00 in Barbados and the Palm Island rep was waiting for us in Barbados and seamlessly guided us through the whole process for our next flight to Union Island. You don’t collect your bags or anything so make your bags distinctive and take photos. There is little to do at Barbados airport but we only had 90 minutes to wait and we were soon walking out to our little plane. Now this flight was very different but we really enjoyed it and felt it was part of the holiday experience! Take your video camera for the flight as you get some great views of the islands (including Palm). We stopped at Bequia, on the way to Union but it only took 50 minutes and then we were landing at Union Island and then quickly through the “terminal” and being put on a golf cart to take us on the less than 5 minute journey to the waiting boat. There were quite a few arrivals so our bags followed shortly afterwards and in the meantime we were given a welcome cold towel and bottled of chilled water, which was a nice touch.
A few minutes journey and we were arriving at Palm, as the sun had started to set, which was very nice and pretty exciting. The boat pulls round to give you a view of the main beach and you get your first view of what looks like paradise. We were welcomed by a reception committee and a rum cocktail, and after a brief greeting taken to our room. After leaving home 17 hours earlier we were finally here!
The rooms were what we expected having read up on the resort. They are perfectly fine and fit in well with the whole resort “look and feel”. The fixtures and fittings are more rustic than luxury, but everything you need is there, apart from a power shower, the dribble of water did get annoying after a while! Most importantly the rooms are kept very clean, as is the whole resort.
We felt the food throughout our stay was really good; a lot of variety, nice tasting and the portions for us were ideal sizes. The speed of service was again what we expected and absolutely suited us, we like to sit down and take our time talking to each other. Grafton was very good, remembering our names from day 1 and Kevin was good when he remembered to smile!!
We had some Spa treatments and these were excellent, if you are having a massage make sure it is with Veronica.
We only did the Scaramouche day trip and had a good day going to Mayreau and seeing the turtles at Tobago Cays (not our last experience with turtles on this holiday I am pleased to say). There are various trips available on different boats but you should not miss this experience.
The pool was very nice, but as it is in the middle of the island it seemed a shame to be there as you are missing out on the spectacular views from the beach and it felt like being in your back garden! The views, the peace and the bike rides around the island, where you can stop off and walk along the other secluded beaches or up the hills, is what makes a holiday to Palm unforgettable.
And I guess at the end of the day that is what it is all about at Palm Island. The beach and setting is spectacular, the feeling of getting away from it all really does happen as soon as you arrive and continues until you eventually have to take the long journey home.
As always there are some things that could be improved. There is virtually no drink service offered on the beach, I think we had 4 or 5 drinks brought to us and as people commented, we were pretty much there all day every day!! There is no chilled bottled water and the tepid water from the taps gets warm very quickly.
Overall the staff were very good and very attentive, I have already mentioned Grafton and Kevin, but recently promoted Anthony is a real star for the future, but a terrible beach volleyball player! We also liked Modica and Sendrina (not sure on spelling but she started at the end of October and was a really nice girl). Last but not least was Kendol at the bar, what a great character. If only he had continued to be the main man behind the bar for our whole holiday. Unfortunately we felt that the whole resort and staff were let down by the poor service provided by one member of staff at the bar. A couple of days after we left Palm we heard that he no longer works there, so I will leave it there as it sounds like the problem has been resolved but a bit late for us unfortunately.
We met some lovely people at “our local” every night and I think the size of the resort really helps everyone get to know each other and makes the evenings work, without the need for loads of entertainment. Having said that Godfrey was always very entertaining on the nights that he performed and the crab racing was a bit of fun! Horace managed to clear the bar when he sang on a few nights (just joking but learn another song for a bit of variety Horace)!!
As I said earlier we had other experiences with turtles, which really added to the Palm experience. One night the bar was cleared with excited guests as Horace alerted us to hatching turtles at the top end of the island. A short walk and all the guests and management were collecting up these tiny little babies and then releasing them into the sea. On our last night the security guy came to the bar and showed us a turtle building a nest and laying her eggs just outside the bar on the beach. Both experiences were quite remarkable.
Horace and the management team are passionate about making Palm Island the top resort in the Caribbean. Vital to this is listening to your customers and while we were there some friends we met suggested keeping the Sunset Bar open in the evening and on our last day Horace had introduced the grand opening, a bit late for us again!!.
As I have said Palm listen to their customers, so now is the time to mention the 1 key area that from our experience needs attention, getting home! This made us feel that Palm were just happy to see you go and this was the only part of the whole experience that I felt was not to a very high standard.
So here is the issue …. I had previously e mailed the resort to clarify that we were on the later flight from Union, which leaves at 14.15, rather than the 10.45 flight. I received an e mail from the resort confirming this and giving me the actual flight number. Happy days, or so I thought! A couple of days after arriving I happened to check my tickets given to us in Barbados and noticed that we were on the earlier flight. I found James Lane (CEO) who, when he had greeted us, said if we had any problems to let him know. I told James about the e mail from the island and advised him of the change, which now meant that our last day would include over 6 hours at Barbados airport! The annoying thing for us was that neither James or Horace could give a definite reason why the flight home had changed, we were told the airline did not start their high season service until November 1, I pointed out that was the day we flew, then I was told it was mid-November and then I was told that the airline would just cancel the flight if there was not enough passengers. None of this explained why I had received an e mail from the resort that was no longer accurate. This aspect was very disappointing, especially as we alerted the friends we met at Palm to warn them and they managed to ensure they were on the later flight, lucky so and sos!!!
I guess the moral of that story is check the actual flight tickets when you are given these at Barbados and query it there! To be honest it felt as if Palm Island were just not interested in getting to the bottom of this and I never felt they tried to resolve the situation and get us on a later flight.
So come on Palm Island, you must have sufficient clout to be able to enforce a year round schedule that provides your clients with a better option than leaving the island at 09.15 for an 18.15 flight (or later) and spending a whole day travelling and at Barbados airport. You cannot leave your luggage until 4 hours before your flight so there is little choice other than hanging around an airport where there is little to do! This rather takes the gloss of an otherwise fantastic holiday.
We absolutely loved Palm. During the first couple of days we were slightly concerned about staying for 14 nights as it was so quiet but by the end of the holiday we just wanted to stay there for much longer. That is the spell that Palm puts on you!
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- Also Known As:
- Palm Island Hotel St. Vincent And The Grenadines
- Palm Island Grenadines
- Palm Island Resort & Spa St. Vincent And The Grenadines/Union Island