This all-inclusive luxury resort is the ideal place to soak up the rhythm of this unspoiled island in the eastern Caribbean

I adjust my snorkel mask and dive deep into the turquoise waters to reach for a sand dollar resting on ivory sand. Instead, I come face to face with the figure of a man wearing devil horns. He’s dripping with black paint and draped in chains. It’s such a surprising sight that I bob up to the surface to catch my breath.

'Coral Carnival' sculptures by Jasin deCaires

Group of ‘Coral Carnival’ sculptures by Jasin deCaires Taylor
Photo: Credit Jason deCaires Taylor

“That’s Jab Jab,” explains Stacy, our guide from Native Spirit Scuba. “He’s one of the main characters in Spicemas, Grenada’s masquerade carnival. His chains signify liberation from slavery.” The concrete statue is just one of 31 remarkable figures in ‘Coral Carnival’ a new addition to the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, a submerged art installation located near St. George’s, Grenada’s capital city.

Commissioned by the Grenada Tourism Authority and created primarily by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, the subterranean museum is both art and coral regeneration project. Jab Jab’s black “paint” is actually environmentally-safe squid ink pigment and he, along with the other statues, will serve as an artificial reef supporting the growth of coral, sea sponge.

Magazine Beach

The Royalton Grenada is located on beautiful Magazine Beach
Photo: Francisco Sanchez

My encounter with the eerie masqueraders is just the beginning to a week full of remarkable experiences in Grenada. Located at the southern tip of the Windward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, the volcanic island (along with sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique) is an adventure for the senses.

While best known as the Spice Island of the Caribbean due to its nutmeg, cinnamon and spice production, it’s fast gaining a reputation as a luxury destination rooted in Caribbean culture and unspoiled by mass tourism.

An Island Gem

Our base for island explorations is the elegant Royalton Grenada, an Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, set on Magazine Beach on the island’s southwest coast. Conveniently located minutes from the Grenada Maurice Bishop International Airport, this low-rise resort features two white sand beaches fringed by coconut palms.

With its alluring beachfront — including an offshore coral reef with shoals of blue tang, surgeonfish and sergeant majors — it’s tempting to spend one’s days exploring the resort’s natural attractions.

Royalton Grenada

Diamond Club Upgrades include preferred room locations, butler service and more
Photo: Royalton Grenada

But the Royalton Grenada Resort & Spa offers plenty of exceptional amenities to entice one to venture beyond the beach. Its 269 luxury rooms and suites, tucked into landscaped gardens dotted with three swimming pools including swim-up bars, are havens for relaxation.

Diamond Club Upgrades

For an elevated experience, the Royalton Grenada offers guests the opportunity to upgrade to the Diamond Club. In this room category guests enjoy preferred room locations with premium views as well as indulgent in-room amenities, exclusive access to dedicated areas and other upgrades.

Our Diamond Club guest room, located in Building 20, offers panoramic ocean and pool views. It’s a restful retreat with a king size bed, seating area, spacious outdoor balcony, a rain shower, his and hers sinks, plush bathrobes and slippers, in-suite coffee maker and more.

Royalton Grenada

Royalton Grenada offers guests an exclusive vacation experience with an upgrade to Diamond Club 
Photo: Royalton Grenada

The premium level of service includes butler service, nightly turndown service, complimentary early check-in and check-out, an upgraded room service menu, upgraded mini-bar, in-suite liquors and access to the Diamond Club Lounge located within our building.

This exclusive lounge is the perfect place to begin the day with a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, pastries, juices and coffee. Afternoons and evenings the lounge transforms into a hub for convivial chats with other guests over pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Another perk of a Diamond Club upgrade is the complimentary hydrotherapy session per stay. The Royal Spa features a hydrotherapy circuit along with soothing wellness treatments such as coconut or chocolate body wraps. It’s located next to Royalton Fit, a modern fitness centre with instructor-led classes.

Magazine Beach

Enjoy a range of watersports at Magazine Beach 
Photo: Francisco Sanchez

All Royalton Grenada guests can participate in yoga, aquafit, beach volleyball, non-motorized watersports, tennis and other activities as part of the all-inclusive plan. Families with children will appreciate the splash pad and the Clubhouse Kids Club for children age 4-12.

Inspired Dining

When it comes to dining, guests enjoy a diverse range of international cuisines at the Royalton Grenada. There are four main restaurants and six bars to choose from.

On our first evening, our butler escorts us to Grazie Trattoria, the resort’s Italian restaurant. We wind our way along a meandering path draped with oleander, jasmine and bougainvillea to the chorus of chirping frogs. The tiny whistling frog (eleutherodactylus johnstoni) are native to Barbados and Grenada and serve as musical backdrop on the warm evening nights.

Diamond Club Swim-up Bar

The Diamond Club Swim-up Bar is set overlooking the beach
Photo: Francisco Sanchez

In addition to thin-crust pizzas, Grazie’s menu features Mediterranean classics such as eggplant parmigiana, risotto and brodetto di pesce, a seafood soup brimming with fresh fish, shrimp and shellfish. Other à la carte dining options include Ma Maison, for fine French cuisine and Taj, featuring Indian dishes ranging from butter chicken to biryani. At the Gourmet Marché international buffet there’s a wide variety of local and international flavours.

One experience you don’t want to miss is Grenada Night. This expansive buffet is more than just a nod to local cuisine. Several Grenadian specialties are showcased including oil down (the country’s national dish) as well as saltfish souse (salt cod and veggies), and crabback (stuffed land crab).

Magazine Beach

Magazine Beach offers a serene escape fringed with with palm trees
Photo: Francisco Sanchez

For those who don’t want to venture far from the beach, there are snacks and cocktails from Nibbles, an open-air eatery. Our full days and evenings usually wrap up with a stop at Caffé for specialty coffee and artisanal ice cream in local flavours such as nutmeg, mango and coconut.

Entertainment includes live music such as steel pan orchestras and reggae bands. One evening we join an excursion offered by NexusTours for a fun night of street food and soca music at Dodgy Dock restaurant on True Blue Bay.

rum punch at Annandale Waterfall

Sip a rum punch at Annandale Waterfall set in a grotto with a pool beneath the falls
Photo: Francisco Sanchez

Island Explorations

In addition to our snorkeling adventure at the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, we also make time to explore Grenada’s inland attractions

The north-east of the island is a still-wild land of emerald hills, deep valleys and crater lakes. Our adventure begins at Annandale Falls, where a winding trail leads through the rainforest where we tuck into lunch overlooking a waterfall draped with vines.

At nearby Belmont Estate, a 17th century plantation at the edge of the Mt Hope rainforest, chocolate production is treated as high art. We tour the environmentally sustainable facilities and experience artisanal chocolate production firsthand.

Renegade Rum Distillery

Renegade Rum Distillery crafts terroir-driven single cane rum.
Photo: Francisco Sanchez

The tree-to-bar tour begins with a “cocoa walk” through the plantation where red and yellow cocoa pods grow in wild abandon. In the processing area, organic cacao beans are hand harvested, fermented and sun-dried naturally. After drying, they’re roasted and crafted into chocolate of exceptional flavour by master chocolate makers. The small-batch, fair-trade chocolate is not only delicious but it’s emblematic of Grenada’s approach to sustainable stewardship of the land.

Another local product rivals Grenada’s chocolate and spices for notoriety. And that’s rum. At River Antoine Rum Distillery, founded in 1785, a potent rum is made from sugar cane using original equipment and methods. The facility is the oldest functioning water wheel driven distillery in existence.

Rum connoisseurs will also be interested in the island’s newest large-scale distillery, Renegade Rum. Founded by Mark Reynier, who also founded Ireland’s acclaimed Waterford Distillery, this modern facility produces rums sourced from local sugar cane farms. The terroir-driven rum in its Pre-Cask Collection is unaged to highlight the unique character of the cane from the single field of land on which its grown.

Later that evening at the Royalton Grenada, we sip rum by the sea and watch sparks fly from the flaming batons of fire dancers. It’s a memorable way to wrap up a week of immersive island experiences.

Travel Planner

Royalton Grenada

Royalton Grenada

Royalton Grenada Resort & Spa:

Grenada Tourist Authority:

Renegade Rum:

Native Spirit Scuba: Located on Grand Anse Beach, this locally-owned scuba dive shop offers   snorkel trips to Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, Turtle Head Reef and Flamingo Bay.

Michele Peterson is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in food, drink and sun destinations. Her work has appeared in major magazines, guidebooks and travel anthologies. Get global recipes, travel tips and food tour discounts on her A Taste for Travel blog or contact her via Twitter/Instagram @atastefortravel.