Just back from two weeks at the Spice Island Beach Resort spent with my wife, three children (20,20 and nearly 18) and our adult friend and also our daughter's boyfriend. This was without doubt a memorable holiday spent in fine surroundings. On arrival we were almost overwhelmed with the friendliness of the welcome from the management and staff, including a personal greeting from the owner, Sir Royston Hopkin. This remained a constant theme throughout - the warmth and friendliness of the staff and the trouble they took to remember names and assist us in any way they could. No corporate hotel group experience this; instead a highly professional operation in which a family takes great pride and where the concern for guests to have a memorable time is genuine.
The hotel itself is stylish and elegant, spotlessly clean and set in the most beautiful of locations directly on the beach and in acres of beautiful gardens that are an explosion of tropical colour and a balm to the soul in themselves (and were being well tended every day).
The rooms (we had three Sea Grape suites and a Royal Almond suite) were all spacious and extremely well appointed and equipped. The Sea Grape suites were, as has been mentioned many times by other reviewers, stunningly set, directly overlooking the white sand beach and blue, blue, crystal clear Caribbean Sea. The view from the beach across to St George's is heartstopping in its loveliness. We three oldies were in the sea every morning by 7 am and simply bobbed around with smiles on our faces that nothing could wipe off. Our Royal Almond Suite had its own private garden and swimming pool. It was a calm oasis to retreat to. But if I had to choose, I would go with the Sea Grape as the room of choice: they are so special in their location and have more effective A/C, though the RAS had perhaps more character.
Food was oustandingly good every time and requests for items not on today's menu were always met. One weak spot might be breakfast service, which could be somewhat slow and we would probably have preferred an all buffet service rather than having to order cooked items, which only tended to arrive at the speed of the slowest item to be prepared. In the morning we all ate such different combinations and tended to arrive at table at different times that being able to go up and ask for something to be cooked at a hot station when one was ready rather than have to wait for orders to be taken and then prepared to arrive together would have been ,for our party at least, preferable. That said the breakfast selection is extensive and well presented, though not being able to take a glass of water from the juice station at the buffet (it had to be asked for) was a bit odd.
The only other meal-related suggestion we might make, is to perhaps have the ability to have the alternative on some days of slightly less formal dining in the Sea and Surf restaurant (used for lunches) in the evening, though there may be good reasons why this isn't offerered if it would lead to the dread need to book tables every day.
The swimming pool was fabulous: beautifully laid out and landscaped and a step away from the stunning beach and sea enabling an easy move between each several times a day.
Bar staff were friendly, with only one or two less communicative individuals - as one gets anywhere. Drinks were spot on, the only challenge being to decide what to have. Wine can be served by the glass and was regularly refreshed. Mini-bars (complimentary) in each room were re-stocked each day, including with plenty of bottled water. Top tip: the Spice Island Classic cocktail.
Room service (at no extra charge) was always available as an alternative to eating in the restaurant areas and was often taken as an alternative for breakfast and lunch by the younger members of our group.
Each week there is a cocktail party hosted by the owner or the manager and we were fortunate to attend one at Sir Royston's home as well as at the hotel. This gesture of entertaining guests at his own home, I think, speaks volumes for how much care, pride and dedication to their guests that the Hopkin family have: it is not just a business to them. The parties were also a welcome way of getting to speak to other guests and breaking the ice generally.
We also had two complimentary massages each in Janissa's Spa ( a temple of coolness and calm) which we all thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed.
It would be invidious to select specific members of staff to single out for comment as successful hotels are the result of a team effort, but here goes:
Devon, Dexter, Stephen, Ainsley and Lyndonna for bar service;
Carlanna for restaurant service;
The fabulous Fabian for the whole food and beverage service;
Wendy on reception,
but, truly, all staff were impeccable.
I think it fair to say that this is a holiday that will stay with us all in our memories and it was a genuinely sad moment when we had to leave. Several of our party, me included, felt really quite emotional at having to say goodbye. And just as they had greeted us when we arrived, they bade us personal goodbyes, with the General Manager and the owner's son turning up to say farewell. We would love to go back.
On a more general note, some thoughts about Grenada:
A beautiful island with very friendly people. Beware though of the Spice Market: you will need to be pretty firm, but always friendly, in dealing with the vendors: there are only so many nutmegs a person can buy.
The biggest tip I would give (apart from choosing the SIBR for your hotel) would be to take plenty of US dollars in cash or traveller's cheques. All tours and bills are priced in US dollars. To pay with EC dollars or by credit/bdebit card (which are always denominated into EC dollars) is to suffer a big exchange rate hit, expecially where the local tour companies are concerned. Example: price of a day trip, say, US$90 would if you had bought US dollars in the UK be around £57. However, the tour operator will translate US into EC at 2.7 to the US dollar = EC$243, which at the rate being used from Sterling to EC is about £65. Not much difference for one, I agree, but when paying for six people it soon mounts up!
A comment also on the mosquitoes: on the day we arrived the hotel grounds were being "fogged", so the local authorities do make an effort to tackle them. Yes, we were all bitten, but we coped (liberal use of repellent did help) and I personally have suffered worse bites in Spain in the summer.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.