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Palm Island Resort & Spa
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Reviewed September 25, 2005

Okay, we have been to Palm Island, operated by Elite Island Resorts, twice now in the last two years. We were there a year ago during Hurricane Ivan for our Honeymoon (September 1-9, 2004) and again this year (September 3-10, 2005).

I am trying to recall exactly how we discovered Palm Island last year when deciding where to spend our Honeymoon. Frankly, The Grenadines are not very well advertised here in the United States. But, if you have found this review, you too have found a diamond in the rough! The Grenadines are a Caribbean wonder to behold, and Palm Island is an absolute gem.

I'm a busy person and so I don't want to sit here and write a book about this place, but I do want to provide some information that will be helpful to those trying to decide whether to visit or those preparing for such. So, let's begin by dropping a few websites:

1. Elite Island Resorts - Palm Island Homepage [--]

2. Dr. Patrick Chevailler's Palm Island Website [--]

3. St. Vincent & The Grenadines Tourism Website [--]

At the moment, there are really only four good sources of information on the Web about Palm Island. Three are listed above and the fourth are the patron reviews on this website, TripAdvisor. Dr. Patrick Chevailler ("Doc") is the only permanent resident of Palm Island and has lived there for ten years now. His website is very informative and nobody knows more about the Island and its history than him. If necessary, you can contact him via his website listed above.

Having visited Palm Island twice in the last two years, my wife and I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing the resort through good times and bad. Although the resort did not suffer tremendous structural damage resulting from Hurricane Ivan, the landscape of the island was pretty trashed. It is amazing how well they have recovered, and it is almost as if it had never even happened.

I make the point of having seen the resort through good and bad because even even the bad is first class. Palm Island is small, never accomodating more than about 40-60 people at any given time. So, when we were there during the Hurricane, I almost felt a sense of duty to help cleanup the next morning. Again, the resort is so small and personable that is almost like a little family. And although I had paid alot of money to be there, if they had told me after the Hurricane that their top priority was repairing the resort, I would have totally understood. But their top priority was the customer, and that mentality continues today.

Although the Hurricane was a bad thing, I really believe it was a blessing in disguise for the resort. I say that because they have had to pump money into the place and make certain repairs and changes that have dramatically improved the overall quality of the resort and the resort experience. This is not to say that Palm was not a spectacular resort before Hurricane Ivan, it was, but now it is an absolute treasure!

In conclusion, a few things of note ... The pool has been repainted and is in excellent shape. They have replaced the old computer with a new Dell that has a much faster always-on wireless Internet connection. I suppose that if you have a laptop with a wireless card installed, you could probably access the Internet from such in the computer room. The pathways that had been washed into the ocean have all been repaired and replaced. Small touches of class in the hospitality work have been added and the new GM seems to be a beneficial addition.

My pictures from both visits to Palm Island are available online:

http://photos.yahoo.com/b3ndas

The pictures of Palm Island with Union Island in the background were taken atop the Iguana Nature Trail on Palm. If you visit the resort, it's worth your time to make the 5-minute hike. Although I didn't get the opportunity to, it would be a beautiful picture to capture the sunset from atop there.

Anyway, I hope this review helps someone. I could probably go on about this place forever. If you have any questions about Palm Island or are just trying to find out more information, please feel free to contact me directly. I have posted my email with this review.

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
30  Thank bpbenda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2005

My wife and I stayed at Palm Island resort from August 21-August 28, 2005. I will preface this review by stating that we are not travelers, we have not seen all the world has to offer, and have never been outside of the United States before. If this makes you any more/less inclined to believe any parts of this review, so be it, but just figured I'd level the playing field first.

This resort is EXACTLY what we were looking for in a honeymoon destination. Small, private, all-inclusive, not a lot of loud nightlife, relaxing, etc. Even though below you'll hear both the good and the bad of our stay, there was nothing there that turned us off so much as to give a negative review. In fact, we give it a 5 out of 5 - it's really an amazing place to take a vacation or honeymoon.

Getting there: We left Philadelphia at 6am, had a layover in Miami, flew next to Barbados, small layover there, flew on a small plane to Union Island, and then took a boat to Palm Island. We got there at 6pm. On the way home we changed to a non-stop flight to Philly from Barbados, and I would advise doing the same if that's an available option. The small plane ride from Barbados to Union Island was hot, stuffy, and full of people that did not bathe. It did however provide some GREAT scenery and the landing on Union Island is pretty thrilling!

Grounds/scenery: The resort itself is beautiful, and very well maintained - the staff there works hard daily to keep this image intact. Taking a walk around the rest of the island shows you a bit more of the 'natural' side - some of the beaches are a little wrecked, most likely from past hurricane damage. Some of the island looks like a swamp, and some of the private homes look a little bit dilapidated - however the view from the top of the Iguana Nature Trail on a sunny day can't be beat. Speaking of iguanas, they are everywhere around the resort, and some of the older ones are quite cute and will pose for pictures in the sun for you :) There are palm trees everywhere (duh), but watch out for falling coconuts! The oceans are beautiful, and there are plenty of beach chairs and hammocks at the resort to relax on.

Weather: Hot, humid - was told August is the worst month to go because of the heat and humidity - it was somewhat bothersome, but not too bad. Was also told August was during the rainy season. It rained maybe 5-10 minutes a few mornings, and then for about 30 minutes one afternoon. Otherwise, no rain.

Rooms: We stayed in an island loft, and it was great. It is the largest room on the resort, with plenty of space to unwind and a HUGE bathroom complete with stall shower and large tub for 2. We stayed in room 44, and if you're staying in an island loft, do yourself a favor and request room 43 or 44 (they are connected, but fear not, sound does not travel through the walls as the bathrooms are what shares a common wall, for those of you honeymooners :)) -- these rooms are located away from the rest of the rooms, on their own section of private beach. The other island lofts are nowhere near the ocean, and situated in the middle of the resort and right near a lot of the common walkways. Rooms 43 and 44 are located at the end of the common walkways, and no one will ever be walking by your room or using your beach, most people dont even bother to walk all the way down there as there's no reason for them to. Anyway, back to the rooms - it's true, there's really nothing in terms of air conditioning - the time we were there, it was very very hot and very humid each day. There are quite a few ceiling fans in each room that are somewhat helpful, and a very small air conditioner located next to the couch. They could have put the AC unit next to the beds to make it more effective for the guests, but ohwell - once you're cooled off the fans are fine - also the rooms have slats on all of the windows that open creating a very nice crossbreeze. Another advantage of these two particular loft rooms - showering with the slats open and the breeze coming off the ocean....fantastic! There were no mosquito nets on our bed, and we did not really see any bugs in our room or anywhere, for that matter. They fog the island twice a week (trust me, you'll know when they do it), so that seems to keep a lot of them away. The beachfront rooms appear to be pretty small, the view from them is pretty nice although a bit muddied up by big fat Union Island right in front of you. The plantation and palm view rooms are definitely nothing to write home about. Spend the little bit of extra money, stay in an island loft, and request 43 or 44, or you're just going to go there and feel like you got jerked.

Food: I thought the food was average to above average. In the Royal Palm restaurant, the food menu stays the same for breakfast and lunch, and changes every night for dinner. I do not eat seafood, so I missed out on a lot of the good stuff, but my wife enjoyed the wahoo, barracuda, swordfish, mahi-mahi, etc. The food is presented well, if not in smallish portions, but a meal complete with appetizer, dessert and bread is enough to fill you up. When you dine at breakfast, you get to eat with the birds! My wife and I fell in love with a few of the little guys, including one of them with one leg - they fly right up to the table looking for food, and we fed them very well -- I suppose if you're a real stick in the mud you can just shoo them away, but to us they just added to the charm of the place. The flies buzzing around at breakfast, now that we found annoying and gross. The Sunset Grill features a static menu, which is fine if you happen to like one of their dishes....I went there a few times when I wanted a steak, and it was good - that restaurant is not that nice looking in terms of decor though, if that matters to you. The Royal Palm bar has drinks I would never think of drinking back home like the heavenly banana colada, and even though it's all inclusive, Jason Vince and Dwayne dont mess around when it comes to alcohol - these guys are awesome bartenders, very very nice and entertaining. Speaking of good people, Orian is hands down the best of the restaurant staff - he is very nice, always makes time to chat whether you're eating or just passing through, and is a real asset to their organization. Also, we reccommend eating dinner at the heart-shaped tree one night - it's no extra cost, and it's very romantic to eat dinner on the quiet beach in front of the heart.

People: Overall everyone who worked there was very nice and pleasant - Gary, the new GM who just took over, greeted us in the pouring rain at the dock with rum punches which is a trademark of Palm Island. Gary used to manage a resort in Flordai, and I can already tell that he's going to be successful managing Palm Island - the individual care he takes with each guest throughout the week to make conversation and tend to one's needs is spectacular. I would have to say that throughout the week, staff seemed to be less and less 'genuine' nice and kind of just 'going through the motions' nice, with a few exceptions. Still though, no one was ever rude, and everyone always said hello with a smile (forced or not). The guests were mostly foreign. In fact, the only Americans we met were the first night we met a couple from Ohio, but they were leaving the next day, which sucked because they were also the last good looking people we saw for the rest of the week. A lot of people from the UK - apparently they don't like Americans too much, as most them were very stuffy and standoffish. We did meet a couple of very nice guests there however. It could have also had something to do with the fact that we were the youngest people there by 10+ years, and my wife is ridiculously good looking and wore skimpy outfits every night.... come to think of it, that may have been exactly what it was - ohwell :)

Things to do: There's no nightlife. That was perfect for us. In fact, we were usually in bed by 10 every night at the latest. The most nightlife you'll experience is during the weekly beach BBQ which features a steel drum band. It's a very quiet, relaxing atmosphere where a few drinks and at the bar and some conversation with other guests is the most you'll end up doing for a 'night out'. Day trips are plentiful, however - we took Captain Yannis boat to Mayreau and the Tobago Cays for swimming and snorkeling - I highly reccommend this day trip, for $60 it's so worth it - not only do you get to snorkel or swim in some of the most beautiful waters in the Atlantic, but the lunch they provide on the boat is huge. You'll meet a lot of people on that trip who flew in from a neighboring island just to take the trip, so it's fun to talk to others about their vacations, etc. during that time. There are other day trips, fishing, sailing around the islands, etc. We didn't go on any others because I caught a wicked case of sun poisoning on the one trip we took which grounded my sun exposure for the rest of the trip (local tip: if you get sunburn or sun poisoning, there's an aloe plant next to the pool, in front of the plantation suites....use it liberally! i was shown this plant 2 days after i got burnt and in 2 days everything was all cleared up after heavy daily applications of the aloe plant) -- Back to the island itself, there is a tennis court, a gym (which we used daily), and a ping pong table (which we used more than daily), as well as a library and a well air-conditioned tv/internet room. The pool is also nice and refreshing, but no alcoholic drinks are kept in the minibar next to the pool, you'll have to walk to the bar and back if you want a beer or cocktail.

I think that about covers everything I can think of. Again this island may not be for everyone, but if you're looking to relax, read a few good books, get some sun, swim in a beautiful ocean, and eat and get drunk for free every night, this is probably the place for you :) If anyone has any questions about the island, you can contact me at: ccox511534 NOSPAM at NOSPAM comcast NOSPAM dot net (remove the NOSPAM's) - Also if anyone from Palm Island staff reads this, good luck with the resort Gary, and hello to Orian, Jason, Vince and our one-legged bird friend from Chris and Liz :)

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
25  Thank RoosterMcGooster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
London, UK
277
Reviewed August 26, 2005

I am aged 14 and I was very fortunate to have spent 7 days on Palm Island with my brother and my parents. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience of Palm Island. We arrived a week after hurricane 'Emily' passed through the island. On the night we arrived the hotel manager and his staff were still busy cleaning up after 'Emily.' Despite some obvious damage to palm trees and to part of some of the beaches, the island and the hotel was clean and well tended. Everything functioned properly.

The journey from London Gatwick to Palm Island was an ardous one. This was mainly because of a delay at Barbados Intl. Airport and unplanned island-hopping from Barbados to St. Vincent, to Bequia, and then finally on to Union Island. The friendly welcome by the hotel manager and his staff on Palm Island certainly made the trek well worth it.

There was plenty to do on the island. I especially enjoyed the Hobie cat sailing, the swimming in both the sea and the pool, snorkeling, kayaking and tennis.

Mealtimes were fascinating since the whole family had to protect their food from a family of one-legged birds. Apparently these birds are born with one leg due to a genetic defect. It was amazing to watch them hopping on one leg and coping admirably with their disadvantage. They had overcome their disabilty and become expert at stealing food off your plate if you were not careful. Since the food on Palm Island during our stay was so good the whole family spent a lot of time fending off these one-legged dive-bombers.

The only problem I could find with Palm Island is the presence of tiny sandflies (called no-see-ums). They were everywhere and attacked us all, especially my mother.

A one day excursion to the Tobago Cays on the 'Pink Lady' (a small sailing boat manned by hotel staff) was thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family. The snorkeling was superb. A second day trip to the Island of Mustique also proved a memorable one. We hired a power boat for the day, and despite the rough seas and the long 3 hour journey, the beauty of Mustique made it all worth while. The highlight of the trip to Mustique for me was watching the local taxi driver feeding a stray cat on 'Macaroni beach.' To my amazement he chewed the cat food to a pulp before feeding the cat. The lunch at the 'Beach bar' of the newly refurbished 'Cotton House Hotel' was superb.

All in all I can highly recommend a stay on Palm Island. It was superb. I am looking foward to returning.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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57  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Providence, R.I.
114
Reviewed August 25, 2005

Greetings from Providence, RI! My partner and I just returned from a 1 week stay on Palm Island. We loved the resort, it is incredibly beautiful.

About the air conditioning in the rooms…the units do little more than remind you how warm it is! However, by keeping the window louvers open and not bothering to turn the unit on, we were able to fall asleep listening to the whispering palms and the lapping waves….I think that beats being in a hermetically sealed room listening to an AC unit….even if it is cool! The staff….they are top notch. Tricia’s smile brightened each breakfast, and Zillah…..well, she is there ALL THE TIME and always seems to be in a good mood and ready to make your visit a memorable one. David kept us entertained, and Noreen is charming and delightful to speak with. Take time on your trip to talk to them….you’ll be glad you did!

We spent the daytime hours snorkeling, swimming, exploring the island (okay, at 135 acres that doesn’t take too long!), checking out the “nature” trails (the view from the top of the Iguana trail is breathtaking) reading, playing a little ping-pong and just hanging out by the pool…..having the stocked mini-fridge by the pool is a great idea….we usually went for drinks around 6:00 and dinner around 8:00. By the time we were finished with the meal (always exceptional) we were ready to turn in. No, there aren’t any late night activities on Palm, but we’re not late night folks anyway.

The Wednesday evening manager’s cocktail party was a great chance to meet other guests and the islands only permanent residents, Doc and his wife. They are great folks to speak with as they are so familiar with island and its history….and they have some great stories. The Friday night beach BBQ is a lot of fun, and the steel drum band was fantastic.

We found Palm Island to be a very unique place. No TV’s or phones in the guest rooms. No cars on the island. No litter. No noise….it seems like Palm is a snapshot of what the Caribbean islands must have been before so much of it was “modernized” and overrun by tourists. Don’t get me wrong, it has its quirks….but it charms far out weigh them.

My partner and I never felt anything but welcomed and comfortable during our stay, and look forward to another visit.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2005

Greetings to all: I write this review the day after my wife and I returned back from our honeymoon. We had spent one week on Palm Island and did not know what to fully expect. Some reviews were just horrible and other praised the resort for everything. My report will list the good, bad and average points to the resort.

First the good: This is one beautiful resort. The water around the beach areas are almost clear all day, which allows for great swimming and snorkeling. The food that was served for the meals was also fabulous. Each night the menu changed, but it consistently had seafood, poultry and some sort of red meat. Lastly the staff is amazing (Tricia, Zillah and Asha)

Now the bad: The rooms are not air-conditioned. While each room does have a unit, it does no good. These rooms are not sealed and the air instantly escaped. This made for our nights to be rather steamy with the high humidity. I doubt it if the temperature made is below 80 in the room. Secondly, the food is great, but the atmosphere for breakfast and lunch is not that great. During these meals, flies and birds would constantly land on your table, food, yourself and anything else around you. To us, this was a bit disgusting, but the owners claimed it to be "Caribbean Charm". I can do without that charm anyday. Lastly, the grounds away from the beach are in need of some landscaping. This is mainly due in part to Hurrican Ivan of 2004 tearing apart much of the island. They are making some progress, but more needs to be done.

Now the neutral: There is no nightlife to this island. Please do not expect to be up past 11pm (The staff leaves at 10:30). While this is great of rest and relaxtion, it is not that appealing to return to your hot, hot room that early in the night. On Friday night, they did have a band play and beach bbq, which was great. Every other night was dead. At this resort there are 3 things to do: lay on the beach, lay by the pool or drink. The golf is not golf, so do not even think it is. The rest of the island is not that attractive to walk around. Many of the private homes look deserted and are not maintained at all. Our recommendation is to stay close to the main resort. Lastly, the other visitors that travel to the island: I love to talk with other people from around the world and find out what their stories are, but on our visit there was a group of 6 extremely loud and annoying people from Italy. Just keep this in mind, as the resort is a blend of every nationality around the world, so come prepared.

One last word of advice: The staff are possibly the nicest people around. Talk and joke around with them, you will hear some funny and amazing stories. Our favorites were Asha, Zillah and Tricia. If anyone is going to Palm Island in November, please ask if Tricia and the new baby are doing well. Tell her the couple from Ohio says HI!

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank brndnclarke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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