Young Island holds a very special place in our hearts. We've been there twice--once on our honeymoon, and now again, 33 and 1/3 years later. (If you recognize that number as the speed of vinyl, then you'll appreciate how long it's been between visits.) Would we be taking chances with irreplaceable memories by trying to revisit the past? Would we be disappointed in what we found? Memories may have colored our recollection of Young Island in rose-colored hues, but seeing it again instantly reminded us that beauty is eternal.
In 1979, St. Vincent seemed a more mysterious, and dangerous place than today. When we first visited, there'd been a coup on the nearby island of Grenada, the political pot was stirring, and Soufriere had just erupted, blanketing the north of St. Vincent in ash. (not to mention, our landing gear malfunctioned on the descent into Barbados, and we were instructed to brace for a possible crash landing!) When we finally made it to Young Island for the first time, it felt like we'd landed in a place closer to the primal heart of paradise.
Today the garden of Young Island has matured. What was once new, and wild, has acquired a complex patina of youthful flowering growing over an enduring structure. Immaculately swept pathways lead past newly thatched huts. Stone steps ascend through jungle-flowered arbors, rising to a palm glade, where ancient paths skirt a well-manicured tennis court, and then wander out toward windswept sea grapes. It's impossible to tell where the garden ends and nature takes over. We didn't think it would be possible, but Young Island is more beautiful today than ever.
We're sad to see the reef in front of the resort has suffered over the years, but the meticulous gardening, the new cottages, and the enhanced quality of the dining, has more than made up for the loss. The meals, and their setting are magical! A breakfast might consist of mahi-mahi, caught that morning, and served in morning glow alongside the beach. Perhaps lunch is brought to you under sheltering huts, as a warm afternoon rain glistens the profusion of tropical plants surrounding you. Dinner might be intimate tastes, stolen from the imaginative presentations on each other's plates, or a hearty barbecue, enjoyed in the company of other vacationers, as enthralled as we.
Two notable things came to Young Island, between our visits; first were the Yacht crews, who discovered Young Island as an anchoring jewel in the string of island pearls making up the Grenadines, and second were the film crews, arriving for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, and needing a civilized place to stay, while filming in untamed locations. Both crews provide the impetus for wonderful fantasies. You can sign up for a "Sailaway" vacation and spend a few nights onboard a yacht, exploring iridescent lagoons, or you can remain marooned on Young Island, and imagine yourself a "pirate," stranded in the same rooms used by Kiera Knightley or Johnny Depp. (We called our room, with its sweeping sunrise view, and private plunge pool, the "Orlando Bloom" cottage.)
Years ago we were charmed by the warm hospitality of Vidal Browne. Today, Bianca Porter and her staff are every bit as gracious. The staff at Young Island are friendly and accomplished. Show an appreciation for the job they do. They're anxious to show how well they can do it.
We don't know why it took us so long to return; maybe it's all the warnings that you can never go back to what once was, but it's a wonderful thing to see that even if you can't go back, you can grow more in love with the persons and places that have grown alongside you.
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- Also Known As:
- Young Island Hotel St. Vincent
- Young Island Resort St. Vincent, St. Vincent And The Grenadines