Room Key: Petit St. Vincent Resort
Address: Petit St. Vincent, the Grenadines, St. Vincent, West Indies
Phone: (954) 963-7401
Fax: (954) 963-7402
Reservations: (800) 654-9326
Owners: Haze and Lynn Richardson
Rates: Prices vary by season. In the high season, rates are $770 per room, per night, double; in the low season, $605. The resort is closed in September and October. Rates include all meals, afternoon tea, room service, resort facilities, a 10% service charge in lieu of tips and 10% government tax.
Getting there: The resort arranges 55-minute flights from Barbados to Union Island on Grenadine Airways. Guests are met in Barbados and escorted through immigration formalities and are then met on Union Island and driven to the launch for a 25-minute boat ride to the resort.
Facilities: Restaurant; tennis court; glass-bottom kayaks; a fitness trail; scuba and instruction; a 28-foot sport fishing boat; a 73-foot sailing yacht; a fitness trail.
As Capt. Maurice, ferrying seven new
arrivals on the Zeus II, neared the shore of Petit St. Vincent in
the Grenadines, a welcoming committee gathered on the dock -- the
owners, the manager, a quartet of front-office staff and two yellow
Everyone, save the dogs, shook hands. Introductions were made and
fruity rum drinks proffered. Then we were whisked to our cottages.
That was check-in.
It was, as I
discovered, typical of Petit St. Vincent (usually called PSV), a
113-acre private island at the southern tip of the Grenadines
The resort is the
realm of Haze Richardson, a one-time charter boat captain who
discovered the island in 1966.
subsequently helped design and build every structure on it,
including the 22 well-secluded stone-and-timber cottages.
Some cottages are
on hillsides, some on a beach, some on a bluff. None are air
conditioned but all are angled to catch the prevailing breezes
through large, louvered windows.
My cottage was on
a headland, with a staircase carved into the rock, leading down to
a private beach. Like the others, mine had a large deck, shaded
hammock and a rolling drink cart stocked with soft drinks, wine,
pint-size liquor bottles and an ice chest.
Two daybed sofas,
several tables and chairs filled the glass-walled living area. A
pair of queen beds so high they needed step stools dominated the
bedroom, which was cooled by a ceiling fan and breezes coming
through the louvered windows.
Each bed had nine
pillows and was flanked by reading lamps with individual dimmer
switches on the headboards and a bedside table with a radio and
dictionary (presumably for crossword puzzle addicts).
The dressing room
had loads of closet and storage space, a hair dryer, makeup mirror,
Molton Brown amenities, umbrellas, rain slickers, flashlight, bug
spray, Woolite, tote bags and a games box with backgammon and
featured a stone-walled shower and enough towels to affect a prison
escape. The PSV hosts did think of everything.
The cottages had
no telephones. Guests communicated with hotel staff via flags on a
bamboo pole and a mail slot by the roadside.
A raised red flag
meant do not disturb. Spotting a raised yellow flag, staff members,
who made the rounds every 15 minutes, unscrolled the guest's
written request, which could be anything from a breakfast room service order to a time to be
picked up for a ride to the dock or to dinner at the Pavilion.
Although it was
possible to have all meals by room service, I preferred the
Pavilion's bar and dining areas.
The other guests
were convivial in a house-party way and the food so good that it
seemed a shame to subject it to a journey.
communication system was Richardson's idea. He set the resort's
relaxed tone and the few rules: no room keys and no cell phones in
target market has long been North America, a number of English and
Italian visitors have discovered the resort in the past few years.
He described his client base as "successful couples in their 50s
who want a break from their stressful business lives."
account for approximately 40% of business, with a good number of
families returning each year over the Christmas
"Some of the
children have learned to swim and sail here," Richardson said.
"This is their idea of beach."
Less than half of
his current business comes through travel agents.
Activities on the
small island are unstructured and include tennis on a lighted
court, a hike up and down 275-foot Marni Hill and a stroll or jog
along the Fitness Trail, with its 20 cross-training stations.
Two guests who
arrived when I did were on a Hobie Cat 20 minutes after check-in.
They took off the next morning for a snorkeling trip to Tobago
Opting for more
sedentary pursuits, I selected a mystery novel from the gift shop's
extensive paperback library; had a swim and a snooze at one of West
End Beach's private shelters; took a
boat ride for a view of the island's two-mile, beach-rimmed
perimeter; and traveled across the half-mile channel to neighboring
Petit Martinique, which is part of Grenada.
Hitching a ride
on a Mini Moke (a gas-powered, four-seat cart) with manager Rick
Chinsley, I visited 250 egg-laying hens, a papaya grove, an herb
and vegetable garden, a rock quarry, a gas pump, a desalinization
plant and carpentry and machine shops.
I met Trevor
Douglas, the 41-year-old, British-born chef who took over the
kitchen last season.
includes stints at Brennan's in New Orleans and the Sagamore in
Lake George, N.Y., as well as a teaching post at the New England
Culinary Institute. In the off-season, he is executive chef at
Weekapaug Inn, an ocean resort in Rhode Island.
the menu daily, which pleases guests, who stay an average of 10
from the resort's former English-Caribbean fare, he has injected
some island flavor into the menu.
"I want people to
realize they're in the Caribbean, but in a subtle way," he
soup but no bull's foot soup. Guava and green fig sauce with mahi
mahi but no goatwater.
"I think we have
the best restaurant in the region right now," he said.
He may be
A cadre of
fishermen and lobstermen deliver their catches to Douglas's kitchen
each morning; meats are flown in from a well-known New York
butcher; produce comes from St. Vincent, and wine and cheese from
Martinique. And then there are those 250 busy hens.
delight, and Richardson's latest improvement, was a wood-burning
brick oven at Mr. Green's, the new lunch terrace named after one of
the owner's deceased yellow labs.
buffet table held soups, salads, cheeses and pastries, while the
oven turned out pizzas, barbecued pork sandwiches, grilled shrimp
and, on Sundays, beef Wellington.
is next on the chef's list.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
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