We were staying on nearby Mustique and then Bequia and decided to visit Canouan for the day, thinking that we could come to the hotel for lunch. (We knew of others who had done this before). In short, this turned out to be a mistake and a pretty depressing experience.
Upon arrival at the main gate, we were greeted by staff who informed us that the resort was partly closed and undergoing major renovations and, as such, was not welcoming non-residents. Anywhere else in the world, this wouldn't have been a major issue. We would have gone elsewhere but there really didn't seem anywhere else to go as the resort occupies a huge chunk of the island: there is little else.
Given that the hotel was at least partly open, I failed to see where else we were supposed to go or why they couldn't find us some lunch. Nevertheless, I was spoken to rudely by a number of staff members.
There then followed a farcical half an hour or so in the baking heat when I insisted upon speaking to a manager and one refused to make themselves available. In the end, we were begrudgingly granted entry on the basis of a $150 US pp fee. Fine, but this set the tone for day.
After the ludicrous stand-off, the staff were generally pleasant but something is obviously badly wrong at management level. The staff seem poorly motivated and there is a terrible atmosphere around the resort. At one point in the empty restaurant a manager screamed so unpleasantly and unnecessarily at the poor waitress that we were made to feel very uncomfortable. He had not noticed that we were there but looked sheepish when he saw us. Frankly, nobody should be spoken to in the workplace like this. If this is an example of how the management of this hotel regard their staff, it is hardly surprising that the atmosphere is so poor.
Upon being driven around the resort, it was evident that this is a hotel on the slide. Many of the villas were boarded up and the entire place had a deserted feel. We were told that the hotel was far from full even in the week before Christmas.
There exists a glimmer of hope for the hotel and the island in the form of new investment and development. I hope that this is a success but, for now, it means a good deal of building work and a hotel that is half shut and soulless.
As we returned to the dock to wait for our boat we could not find one of the local people who had a good word to say about the hotel, which apparently is renowned for treating the local people and staff poorly.
Raw natural beauty is in abundance in Canouan. What is lacking is good old fashioned hospitality and a well cared for, motivated work force. A huge shame.
In spite of the fabulous weather and the beauty of this island, the Canouan Resort left us cold.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Canouan Estate showcases a unique collection of stand alone villas and residences on a 1200 acre estate. The collection currently includes 14 Canouan Estate Residences which feature similar styles and views of the lagoon and vary from 2 - 8 Bedrooms, and 3 Canouan Estate Villas, which are larger homes and all feature unique designs. Located on Canouan Island in heart of The Grenadines, it is surrounded by one of the world's largest coral reefs. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Canouan Resort At Carenage Bay - The Grenadines Hotel Canouan
- Raffles Resort Canouan
- Raffles Hotel Canouan Island
- Canouan Estate Villas & Residences St. Vincent And The Grenadines