It's not a destination that's top of mind for most travelers, but Bequia (pronounced BECK-way or BECK-wee), at seven square miles, is the largest island in the Grenadines, the chain of 32 islands that spills south from St. Vincent.
Florinda Marshall, manager of the 4-year-old, 62-room Bequia Beach Hotel, put it this way: "Our hotel is small. Our island is small. It's not so easy to get here, and there's not too much going on. Our guests love it."
Americans currently make up 15% of her guest roster, with the bulk of business from Europe, Canada and the Caribbean, many of them repeat clients. Marshall said the hotel is hoping to increase its business this year and is talking with tour operators about packages geared to families, weddings, water sports and ecotour excursions.
The hotel has amenities usually associated with larger properties, including a four-bedroom presidential villa with an infinity pool. Separate from the main hotel, it is priced at $15,000 per week and includes a housekeeper, daily breakfast and drinks.
Sailfish boats and windsurf equipment are complimentary; the hotel has two pools; three two-bedroom villas with kitchens for families; an all-day kids' club; a 30-seat cinema; complimentary WiFi in all rooms; a beach bar; a reading lounge; and a small spa, gym and sauna.
Winter rates start at $350 per night. The beachside Bagatelle restaurant serves three meals a day; Blue Tropic is open for dinner.
Currently, there are scheduled flights from Barbados to Bequia on SVG Air as well as charter flights from smaller islands.
A new airport opening on neighboring St. Vincent this year is expected to attract more flights to the region, Marshall said. From there, a fast ferry takes 25 minutes to reach Bequia; a slower ferry takes an hour.
"We're in our busy season now, and business is good," Marshall said. "With more awareness of Bequia and our property, we hope to increase that length of stay."
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What to do on Bequia
• Take an island tour (three hours)
• Easter Regatta (April 17 to 21)
• Attend beach barbecue at Bequia Beach Hotel (every Saturday night)
• Explore Fort Hamilton
• Visit the Bequia Maritime Museum