14 Jan - 27 January 2008: Bluebay Lodge, Mount Nesbit, Gouyave, St John, Grenada, West Indies.
"Gouyave", the name of the small town grown from a fishing village, nearest to the charming string of dwellings that is Mount Nesbit, is derived from the French word, "goyave" meaning guava, the fruit. No doubt for years in abundance in the locality, as well as a centre for the nutmeg industry, the countryside abounds with fruits and spices growing wild and cultivated.
Bluebay Lodge is just 10 minutes walk from the sea and a further five minutes from Gouyave - where there is a bank and ATM, shops for everything one would wish for, including a pharmacy - local buses go everywhere - for pennies! Importantly, Gouyave is the location for the famous Fish Friday weekly feast in the streets, hosted by local chefs and rum distilleries, offering music too and happy welcoming faces...
Arriving on a Sunday as most visitors do - but on other days also, Lisette Davis usually presents a barbecue around the Bluebay Lodge pool, often featuring a steel drum band or other musical entertainment. If one needed an ice-breaker that would certainly do the job, but the truth is that one is immediately so welcome and made to feel at home - from the moment one emerges from the airport to be transported by the kind and supportive driver Lisette has sent to collect you... ...to the welcome she gives you herself with her wonderful staff.
Having introduced a personal concoction to the list of cocktails, it is also true that the local rum and beers extend that welcome very pleasantly - although I saw no drunkenness throughout my two weeks stay - and almost not a swearword heard, having travelled all over the island and met dozens of delightful people who were so hospitable and helpful.
Grenada is a very special place, quite unlike the most popular Caribbean island venues, unspoiled and determined to maintain that charm by resisting the worst that touristic hordes can bring...
Even having thoroughly checked out the excellent Bluebay Lodge website (www.bluebaylodge.net), I was unprepared for the delightful surprise of the facilities, the rooms, the hospitality provided by Lisette and her team. Scrupulously clean, bright and airy (with air-conditioning in each room), en suite bathrooms and a breakfast view across the Caribbean Sea to die for - this is a Lodge-cum-B&B-cum-3-Star+ by many measures 4-Star even: within a delightful family atmosphere...
...with these pleasures accentuated by meals combining the best of local dishes and flavours, fresh-picked fruits followed by familiar breakfast stuff like scrambled eggs - a la Mnt. Nesbit - or ham, or fish, more, and always with fresh baked coconut bread... ...months later the aroma of which lingers with me still in chilly, grey and snowy March London...
Lisette asked me by email whether I sought a beach holiday, a relaxing lie about, an energetic hiking time, an exhaustive exploration of the island and all things Caribbean - we even arranged an overnight stay at neighbouring Carriacou, one the three islands of the island state of Grenada group, crossing easily by ferry, or you can fly.
In truth, one can do all of these holidays with ease based at Bluebay Lodge and more: I'm not yet a scuba diver, but that's to be had, see sea-horses, turtles, barracuda, sting rays, shark, dolphins, flying fish and many, many more - and snorkelling too of course. On land there are monkeys to amuse too - elusive though they can be...
Enterprising to a fault, Lisette has collaborated on a new Grenada treks guide to be launched later this year - watch this space...! A day-long trek up the Concorde river, to two of the three beautiful waterfalls, the first, Concorde itself flanked by unobtrusive artisan's craft shops and a walkway constructed to enable bathing in the cooling pool as the falls crash around one, only impressed me more of the beauty of the place - and once again the friendliness and helpfulness of everyone I met: guides, artisans, refreshments vendors, spice- and rum-shop proprietors, and neighbours and farmers...
...Ascending into the rainforest, the vegetation becomes an exotic mix of deciduous and tropical vegetation, soaring hillsides and (extinct) volcanic peaks, dramatic cliffs as rivers cut through from distant sources in the hills, giant trees, butterflies, hummingbirds, herons and grackles, fresh water streams to drink from, edible fruits, delicious and refreshing, unknown in Europe... ...walk to the lip of an ancient summit to find a perfectly circular lake cradled in the volcanic mouth, cloud-mist drifting through the trees, white egrets fishing at the waters edge.
...even returning seven hours later I was exhilarated, excited and enthralled, soaked in a hot bath and was ready to go again for the evening's entertainment: relaxing locally or 20 minutes bus ride in to the capital, St Georges to eat at one of many restaurants, check out the bars, wander about the charming town.
Impossible to fault, I was ready to return before I left! Since I returned to London, Lisette has kept me posted on improvements she's introducing, work done about the grounds, and within the already comfortable house. And I continue to share that same experience reported by many others: I'm one of the family!
Perhaps I'll return this July/August for Carnival - climaxing early August. Certainly I'll be back early next year, looking for cricket to watch - maybe play - and dozens of other pastimes offered from Bluebay Lodge.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Rumboat retreat . Our modern intimate inn is situated on a picturesque hillside in Gouyave, home to Fish Friday. All rooms are en-suite, come complete with cable television and full air-conditioning. Our small eatery has gained popularity for serving some of the tastiest organic Caribbean dishes. Local bus service operates very close to our lodge so commuting is easy! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bluebay Hotel St John
- Rumboat Retreat Grenada/Saint John Parish