Our stay at the Rum Boat Retreat was simply fabulous! I honestly could not have asked for more out of a holiday! Breathtaking views, delectable food, warm hospitality, a unique experience.....the list goes on and on!!!
I think what really struck me about our stay here is that I really felt as though it had that personal touch! As hosts, Lisette and Jimmy (and little Nial) were simply fabulous! I cannot sing their praises highly enough! Really friendly and genuine people, hilarious, very knowledgeable and GREAT cooks! The very first night we arrived tired and a bit spaced out from the long journey, pulled up to the house and felt instantly welcomed....like we were family- and from the good side! :-D We had a delicious dinner of local jerk fish with salad and rice and plantain and more tasty trimmings! Super tasty and a nice introduction to local cuisine! The rooms are all en suite which suited us perfectly (even though as sisters obviously we were running around between each other’s rooms!) and the beds are very comfy!
The house itself is brand new and the guest accommodation is upstairs so you really do get the benefit of the view....which is picture postcard perfect! All rooms are doubles and the two at the front that open out onto the veranda look out across jungle straight out to sea! We usually ate on the veranda as well as they have a lovely dining table out there as well as lots of comfy seating so you really felt like you were in a little paradise! Just wonderful! The rooms are shady and cool – a welcome relief from the sticky heat of the day and very sizeable with plenty of room to unpack and spread out. Being in the tropics, obviously there is going to be the odd bit of invading wildlife like the odd spider or gecko that comes along but housekeeping is top notch - Lisette and Jimmy are fastidiously clean!
Being sort of half way up the island as well it’s a really good location to set up a base for exploring the entire island. You’re only about 25 minutes from St Georges and the famous diving spots and fancy beaches like Grande Anse, and 5 minutes from Gouyave... so far out enough to feel as though you’re in a little wilderness but close enough to know you’re not far from local amenities or bars and restaurants. It’s really easy to explore the island from here with short drives to the northern beaches, volcanic landscapes in the heart of the island and waterfalls; and if you’re driving and get lost everyone is so friendly and happy to help! There’s also a quiet little beach within walking distance of the house (only a 2 minute drive if you’re feeling lazy) so something to suit everyone! Grenada itself is really friendly and quite a chilled out little world though sometimes you get the feeling it might take ages (for someone coming from a busy metropolis) to get something done! But Lisette has got the balance right for holiday goers! She’s very well connected to people in Gouyave and further afield on the island so if you need to get anything done or if you need a guide or anything then she is definitely your “go to girl”!
Lisette definitely took us under her wing as well which was so lovely and yet another example of that personal touch. She lent us books to read about the island and to give us ideas of what sights and events were not to be missed. She also took us out into Gouyave on the first day, showed us round and everyone seems to know everyone (and Lisette knows EVERYONE) so it was nice to properly meet people and have a good potter. She took us for a tour of the nutmeg factory and also took us up to the cocoa plantation, which had that morbid curiosity that anything related to the slave trade has, but saying that it was fascinating and still in use producing super tasty chocolate which was good to see. I have to say I was very impressed with Lisette’s knowledge of local history – she definitely has a lot of wisdom to share (especially on rum!) and we really enjoyed the time spent out and about with her. We did go on a tour of the River Antoine rum distillery (The rum itself is ridiculous! So strong!!! Recommended if you need to clear your sinuses!), and I wish Lisette had come with! I’m sure she did mention that as Rum Boat Retreat evolves she is hoping to take guests out on rum tours so definitely ask her about it because she has a big brain to pick on the subject! She’s a member of a few recognised international bodies that actually get together to talk about and taste rum so she really does know her stuff! She taught me quite a lot about the science behind how it's made, the difference when it’s made from molasses or sugar cane (like the River Antoine rum), its distillation and tasting it! I sampled some of her own rum collection...one was a honey rum and another was a new blend with a really cool label that looked like old newspaper...both were super tasty! I think had I not already had too much rum punch earlier in the evening I could have happily “accidentally” finished the bottle! :-/ hahaha!!
Also, Gouyave is buzzing!! Maybe it was because we arrived at the same time as 400m gold medal winner Kirani James (who is actually from there) for whom they were having a massive welcome home party (picture massive speakers stacked about 8ft high on the back of a pickup truck), but we went out partying a few nights including Fish Friday( which is not to be missed) and had a blast! Be careful with the rum punch though – it is lethal!!! Also...speaking of partying...nothing cures a hangover better than Jimmy and Lisette’s breakfast of coconut bread, fried jacks, fresh fruit and cocoa tea! They may argue over who is the best cook between them but they are a team machine in that kitchen! I have never shovelled food into myself with such abandon (I’m a UK size 8 by the way so usually eat like a normal person)! Everything is just so fresh and flavoursome and really excites your taste buds! They grow a lot of fruit and vegetables in the gardens as well so we had mangoes, avocados, and herbs from plant to plate in minutes! Generally speaking, every single meal was just tastetastic! Amazing!
Overall, I cannot recommend the Rum Boat enough! I think staying here really made our trip and without Lisette and Jimmy our holiday would have been lacking slightly-certainly with respect to their faultless hospitality, knowledge of the islands history and places to go (and the odd bit of harmless island gossip)! Haha! I really appreciated coming back to a clean, friendly environment at the end of the day and even though we were waited on as guests to the retreat, I feel like I left having made some true friends. I really recommend you try Rum Boat - I'm positive you will have a thoroughly enjoyable stay here as we had! It’s just fab!
- 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