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ISLAND PARADISE: CANOUAN & BARBADOS


Unsurprisingly, the Caribbean has forever been a honeymoon destination. Canouan, however, is one of its lesser known jewels. Resting among the archipelago of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, this lush island is home to the only Mandarin Oriental property in the region. This suite-only resort offers luxurious exclusivity for a truly private stay on one of the Caribbean’s unsung secrets.

Twenty-six elegantly appointed ocean-view suites deliver the pristine azure waters of Godahl Beach directly to one’s doorstep. If these impressive suites are not enough for dicserning newlyweds, they can find even more decadence within the distinctive, awe-inspiring, multi-room villas sprinkled atop the verdant hills of the 1,200-acre estate. Each villa features its own infinity pool and private chef.

From the moment of arrival, a personal butler is at your disposal and eager to create any romantic itinerary imaginable. From sunset catamaran cruises and swimming with sea turtles, to customizing your bespoke land or sea Castaway dining adventure, these intuitive hosts will cater to your every whim. Couples looking to experience the utmost in relaxation should not overlook the renowned hallmark of the Mandarin Oriental brand—the Spa. Quietly nestled at the far end of the picturesque stretch of beach, as one sets foot into the Spa, they enter a Balinese utopia complete with Asian-inspired beauty treatments that rejuvenate both the mind and the body.

From a culinary perspective, there are a variety of on- and off-property restaurants to choose from. One option for lunch is a quick drive away—that is, via golf cart—at the ultra chic L’Ance Guyac. The ambiance here is indisputably reminiscent of an Italian or French Riviera beach club complete with private canopied sunbeds and a Mediterranean-inspired menu.

Arriving to Canouan is easier than one might think. A swift 25-minute flight from Barbados on one of the hotel’s two private jets is surely one way to begin an idyllic honeymoon. The recent completion of the island’s superyacht Glossy Bay Marina and Sandy Lane Yacht Club, and with future plans for a second Caribbean Aman Resort, Canouan is destined to become not only a newlywed couple’s private island paradise, but also the next “it” luxury playground for the billionaire jet set.

Should you instead choose to touch down on Barbados as your final honeymoon destination, rest assured you would be making an equally great choice. Located in the Lesser Antilles about 62 miles from the Windward Islands, Barbados is uniquely positioned as the easternmost island of the Caribbean region, yet it is wholly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The calm turquoise waters of its platinum west coast, however, can easily mislead even the most astute traveler into thinking they are bathing in the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Dotted along the western coastline are a host of posh resorts offering a honeymooner’s dream island getaway. The award-winning Sandy Lane is a remarkable destination for discerning couples. With a long history of impeccable service, superb accommodations, three world-class golf courses and an impressive 47,000-square-foot spa, Sandy Lane offers a truly unique experience. A long-standing playground for the rich and famous, very few properties can rival the unparalleled service offered here.

The lush enclave of the Coral Reef Club awaits just a few miles further north. Owned and operated by the O’Hara family, this exquisite 12-acre estate boasts a delightful mix of garden cottages and ocean-view suites for the newly minted couple. The most lavish of these are the five Luxury Plantation suites. Beautifully decorated in charming British Colonial style, these suites are appointed with a private covered dining terrace, sundeck and plunge pool. Couples are strongly encouraged to indulge themselves at the spa facilities, which include a luxurious Relaxation Room and an outdoor Hydro-pool with private cabanas offering secluded relaxation.

Further along the coast, the Fairmont Royal Pavilion is the only Bajan resort rooted (literally) on the beach. Its distinctive oceanfront position offers spectacular sights and sounds of the sea. The modern aesthetic of the well-proportioned first-floor Beachfront Suites provide direct access to the white sands of the resort’s half mile stretch of beach. The top-floor Signature Suites are the most private. Complimentary butler service, designed to cater to your every whim, comes standard with booking for both room types. Charter a private yacht with a full crew for the day or arrange for in-room spa treatments with the island’s finest specialists. Customized romantic itineraries are their forte.

Cobblers Cove is another magnificent gem situated along the platinum coast. Originally built as a sugar cane plantation, this 40-room boutique hotel marries classical charm with understated elegance. The engaging staff is dutifully present, but nearly invisible. The lavish gardens and quaint surroundings exude tranquility and relaxation. Poolside is even more enchanting with the coral pink and white striped umbrellas and the Hollywood Regency furnishings.
Daily afternoon tea is delicately served on bespoke fine bone china commissioned exclusively for the hotel. The two suites atop the Great House are ideal for couples wanting to pamper one another in secluded surroundings. Each suite offers a plunge pool over the ocean with captivating views. Romantic beachside dinners at the hotel’s restaurant, Camelot, are a must.

For honeymooners seeking a bit more variety, Sandals Barbados offers a couples-only option at two all-inclusive resorts. Among bustling surroundings, a myriad of possibilities are available, including sixteen restaurants and twelve bars that offer a host of international cuisines. Experiences and activities are more of a theme here, with a comprehensive scuba program for both new and certified divers, five pools and 280 rooms offering swim-out access into a river-style pool. Butler Elite service is included in all top-tier level suites offering the utmost standard of service in partnership with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.

Barbados has a number of historical and architectural treasures that make this island truly one-of-a-kind. Its culinary prowess is well-known, featuring a variety of independently-owned award-winning restaurants for the gastronomically astute. November through early May are the best times to visit, but no matter when you plan your stay, you are guaranteed crystal clear waters and amazing sunsets.

> Written by Maneli Garahan Wilson



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