Spice Island classy choice

GRAND ANSE BEACH, Grenada -- Spice Island Beach Resort, arguably the best-known property on Grenada and a AAA Four Diamond Award winner, is not a resort to rest on its laurels.

Owner Royston Hopkin, a hotelier with 38 years of experience under his belt, makes sure of that.

In 1987, when Hopkin acquired the resort, it had 28 suites. Since then, he has carefully expanded the property to its current roster of 66 suites -- but never at the expense of service or intimacy.

The resort's 150 staff members leave no stone unturned. Service is understated, competent and, well, just classy.

Also classy is Hopkin's take on the all-inclusive concept. "The word 'all-inclusive' isn't in keeping with Spice Island," he said. Rather, Hopkin, who is a former Caribbean Hotel Association chairman, prefers the term "fully inclusive."

Royston has a point. Clients will not find standard all-inclusive fare at Spice Island. Rather, they will be treated to sit-down meals that are impeccably prepared.

Menus at Oliver's restaurant change weekly, and even the offerings at the Friday night buffet are way above typical buffet fare.

Spice Island's accommodations also are first-rate. The 10 pool suites, which are the highest room category, feature private gardens and are ideal for honeymooners because of the privacy they afford.

The resort's location on Grenada's premier, two-mile-long Grand Anse Beach truly sets it off.

Many suites and public areas, including the restaurant, open onto the water. Facilities include a tennis court, a beachfront bar and a variety of water sports. -- C.C.

Room Key: Spice Island Beach Resort
Grande Anse Beach, St. George's, Grenada
Phone: (800) 223-9815; (212) 476-9444 in New York state
No. of Rooms: 66 suites
Opened: 1961
Location: Southwest coast on Grand Anse Beach, three miles south of Point Salines International Airport.
Rates: Include meals, beverages, water sports. From $470 per room, per night, double in whirlpool gardenview suite to $780 in royal private pool suite, through Dec. 14.
Commission: 10%
Noteworthy: Impeccable location, food and service. Private pool accommodations are luxurious.
Not Worthy: The air-conditioning system automatically turns off when guests leave their rooms. It takes a while for the rooms to cool off when the system is turned back on.

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