Having read a couple of negative reviews before we travelled I had some concerns but did not share them with my wife and teenage son beforehand. I need not have worried! This despite the absence of any other "families" at the resort and the departure of Chris, the manager, on day 1 of our stay, for his own vacation.
We arrived at Barbados on time and were diverted from the main route to the terminal building to a transit area by a rep holding a Palm Island sign. It was explained that we didn't have to worry about our luggage; we were asked to describe it and it was duly identified and transferred to our onward flight. We then had 2 hours to kill at Barbados airport before the flight down to Union Island. These are scheduled flights though so it's just as well there is bit of leeway in case of delays. Having arrived at Union you are collected by a buggy that take you the short distance to the harbour. It's then just a 10-15 minute boat ride across to Palm. The staff really look after you well on this part of the trip which is just as well at around 5pm local time, 10 pm in the UK! On arrival at Palm we were met by Chris and some very attentive members of his team who gave us some welcome drinks and escorted us straight to our room. We stayed in one of the standard Palm View rooms which was about a minute's walk from the main restaurant and bar and also had a sea view!! Hadn't expected that. The room was spacious with a lovely bathroom and walk- in shower. Air conditioning was perfect; effective, not noisy, in our experience nothing to worry about. Past complaints about this would seem to have been addressed. One complaint about the room as previously noted by others; it was gloomy. Chris, who was returning from his holiday as we were leaving asked if there's anything that could be improved on. So Chris, my wife recommends a bright light or two and a mirror in the room!
There are two restaurants, the Royal Palm and the Sunset. Both have extensive set menus for lunch and also offer specials at lunchtime, typically a soup or other starter, a fish course and a local course, usually meat. The fixed menus offer plenty of choice and not just local fare. For example, the Sunset offers Tortellini and/or pizzas to die for. We noticed a lot of Italian couples at the resort so there is a discerning clientele! We got into a routine of eating lunch at the Sunset and evening meals at the Royal Palm, which apart from buffet/barbecue night on Saturdays offers a la carte dining. Five courses, have as much or as little as you like. On the a la carte we never saw the same menu or the same dish twice! We like our food and this was as good as anything we've experienced in the Caribbean on all of the main islands. We cannot compliment the chefs too highly. Against this high standard the buffets were a slight disappointment, but even then there was always some beautifully cooked fish or meat to enjoy. If you enjoy cooked breakfast it will be cooked for you in the kitchen. It was always impeccably cooked and served and in our experience, no hanging about.
The beach is outstanding; it shelves quite steeply so not ideal for young children but the swimming pool doesn't exceed 4 feet in depth at any point. We preferred the beach and there is plenty of space. The bar staff bring cold drinks onto the beach but it's not far to walk if you can't wait. The bar area is a delight at any time, but especially if you enjoy a pre- lunch/dinner aperitif!
If this doesn't sound good enough, final praise is reserved for the staff. Although Chris was away, his role was taken on by Marsha (phonetic!) from St. James's Club, Antigua, an experienced manager with previous management experience at Palm Island. The staff, without exception, fall over backwards for you. Management in the restaurants ( Grafton and Noreen while we were there) was first rate. Service in the restaurants and bars was friendly, prompt and nothing was too much trouble. It would be invidious to name names for fear of leaving somebody out.
Don't go to Palm for great entertainment; a singer and a steel band come in on separate nights once a week but you can hear better in other parts of the West Indies. This said, some of the staff are very talented singers! But these were one off occasions which didn't get in the way of their main role.
If you are into water sports it could be a bit disappointing. The water sports staff are not high profile; this didn't bother us greatly but our son would have appreciated some more. Another point for improvement Chris.
Excursions; if you've come this far Tobago Cays is a must and of course is more cost effective travelling from Palm than St. Lucia, Grenada (both of which we'd done before) or Barbados..talking to someone on the flight back he said that a family of four had been quoted $1500 for the trip from Barbados. Scaramouche is good; we went on Yannis this time . wouldn't put you off either but do the trip - just one of those don't miss experiences, great value for $95 for 5+ hours with a nice lunch included.
Our son enjoyed the holiday but as said earlier there were no other families there when we stayed and it seems an ideal place for couples/ honeymooners or weddings. But he enjoyed the swimming and the food, the excellent pool room and there is plenty of scope for exploring the island, a well worth it complimentary tour with "Tash" the resident groundsman, gardener and environmentalist. Cycles are available for the more energetic!
We would recommend Palm Island to anyone who enjoys their food and drink, relaxation, good service and idyllic surroundings. Would we go again, no question. And we met some lovely people. Shame about the few who seem to think the dress code does not apply to them -" hey, I forgot the pants! " Say no more. Enjoy!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Palm Island Resort & Spa is a spectacular 135-acre private island resort in the heart of the Grenadines. All-Inclusive. Perfect for couples, honeymooners, and weddings. Incredible white sand beaches surrounded by brilliant turquoise waters. This dreamy, romantic resort offers a true escape from everyday life. Freshwater swimming pool with waterfall, relaxing spa offering massage and beauty treatments, wide array of water sports, Scuba diving, beachfront dining, and so much more! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Palm Island Hotel St. Vincent And The Grenadines
- Palm Island Grenadines
- Palm Island Resort & Spa St. Vincent And The Grenadines/Union Island