Mandarin Oriental, Canouan

Carenage Bay, Canouan Island, St. Vincent VC0450, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Mandarin Oriental’s first Caribbean resort has all the amenities you’d expect from the luxury brand—with the price tag to match. Nestled within lush greenery overlooking the white sands of Godahl Beach, the 26 suites and villas, which sit on the grounds of a 1,200-acre estate on the island of Canouan, are elegantly appointed with modern furnishings, marble baths, and rosy accents befitting the hotel’s name. Here, though, it’s all about the public spaces, including a Jim Fazio–designed golf course overlooking sparkling blue waters, a hilltop spa specializing in island-themed treatments, and four elegant restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, from pan-Asian to Italian. At Turtles, a cocktail lounge straight out of the Hamptons, opt for the Pepper Bliss, made with rum, bell pepper syrup, and pineapple juice.

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So Hard to Leave this Private Paradise

In 20 years of writing about Luxury travel this is my new high water mark. Your Private Island at Pink Sands Club Slipping awake I was irresistibly drawn to the music of the barrier reef that had soothed me to sleep. Barefoot and barely dressed I crossed the living room, screen porch and small grass yard onto the sand where I merged with the warm ocean. Venus on her shell. The gloaming was soft and low leaving shadows long and gentle. Further down the beach a young man was slowly raking the beach to ensure that it would feel as if mine were the very first footprints to cross that virgin sand. Such is life on a your private island. I crossed the graceful wide stone path wandering along the edge of the beach which forms a handsome transition from turquoise water and creamy sand to the lush gardens and trees that give access to my suite. It has very high ceilings and dark wood doors with marble trim, that continue the handsome designs in the patterned marble floors. This is Pink Sands Club, and pink is the color, a lovely deep rose like the hidden secret inside of a seashell. Striking against the dark wood and marble floors, somehow soothing the glittering insistence of the turquoise sea, and the raging brilliance of the sun. This rich mix of organic linens and natural marble are actually camouflage to a tech marvel interior. The whole suite is operated by computer tablets in each room. Lights dimmed or shut off, fan speed, sheers and curtains all open and close at the touch of any tablet. The dividing wall between the bedroom and living room has a huge frameless television wall in its center, which is retractable, sliding away to give a view of the sun or moon rising out of the sea from the bed. Breakfast is found at the beach side Lagoon Cafe. Inside the Lagoon Cafe is a cool quiet white interior, with blue linen table service where you can watch the chefs at work. Outside perfectly poached eggs over avocado and crusty toast on a bed of spinach drizzled with thick lemony hollandaise under the shade of trees, surrounded by bright yellow cotton blossoms, the glistening sea, the restless tones of the surf, priceless. Pink Sands Club offers excursions to other islands, so we went snorkeling at the Tobago Cay Preserve, famous for its clear water and shallow protected coral reefs. A comfortable 48’ catamaran greeted us at the dock, introductions were made as gourmet lunches were stowed. We had a glorious passage, with reefs sliding under the hulls and then justly famous snorkeling. Evidently the chef thought that we were aboard The Minnow with Gilligan as he had packed more than enough delicacies for a long stay on a deserted island! I am always compelled to take the outside route to places here. Dinner tonight is at the Pool Bar Restaurant and the path leads me up wide curved stone steps that seem to glow from the gentle hidden lighting. The gracefully curved infinity pool glows in the dark, creating an ethereal atmosphere. Dinner is served on white linen, candle lighted tables under the equatorial stars overlooking the sea. The offerings on the menu change frequently at each of the five restaurants at the Pink Sands Club. The chefs are inventive and have a broad palate of fresh materials to stimulate a new language of food. After another delicious breakfast by the sea, I took the golf cart that Pink Sands Club assigns to each suite for guests’ use to explore. The golf cart roads are paved and easy to navigate. There are 1200 acres on this half of the island which encompass private villas, the golf course, a church that was brought over from Scotland 150 years ago, a Kids Club that is tailored to several age groups of guests and Shell Beach restaurant with its shaggy palapas visible across the bay. Then off to the Jim Fazio Championship 18 hole golf course. Magnificent mountain and ocean views from every spot I visited, textured by flowering cactus, cotton blossoms and palm trees. Sand traps and water hazards follow the path around, shared with native wild life. Birds, Iguanas and turtles seem happy to wander grazing on the fine grass oblivious to golfers. The course has varied terrain, handsome at every turn and always with a long site line to the sea. The highest green on the golf course gives a commanding view of Canouan as a whole, and to the chain of islands beckoning from the south. It is from this spot that you can really appreciate the new jet port. Built for the convenience of those who fly themselves in, or are picked up in Barbados with the C3 jet Pink Sands Club sends to collect guests. It is the longest runway in the entire region. Soon there will be a new marina next to this jet port, with several superyacht slips as well as a village of shops for yachts wanting to provision while visiting. I stopped in to explore Grenadine Estates, the resort real estate office on Canouan. There are a few large elegant villas within Pink Sands Club that could be purchased,

The Balanese Spa at Pink Sands Club, Canouan Island

Spread out over 1200 acres, with a possible on site population of only 300 guests, the arrangement of villas allows one to feel like the exclusive owner in paradise. And so convenient that Pink Sands Club has five distinct restaurants, 8 Balinese style Spa villas (2 over the water pictured here), and seemingly miles of glorious beaches which are only a golf cart ride away. Pink Sands Club is at the very top of my list for elegant, personalized and discrete destinations which is not a small statement for someone who has been visiting luxury yachts and destinations for 19 years. I am pretty hard to impress. Still I have absolute confidence in my personal guarantee that if you are lucky enough to find your way here, you will agree with my “Five WOW” rating!

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