By Anastasia Mills Healy
One of only seven Relais & Chateaux properties in the Caribbean, the serene Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel encircles a perfect little cove in Grenada with 30 suites. Two-story buildings arranged in a semi-circle face an emerald green lawn that leads to a white-sand beach. Compact, easy going, and graceful, Calabash is a true Caribbean gem.
There’s so much to love about Calabash. It’s a family-run business, most employees are from Grenada, it’s a leader in sustainability, and it supports local nonprofit organizations.
In the mid-1980s, Englishman Leo Garbutt stayed at Calabash. He fell in love with the resort, the island, and a Grenadian, and bought the property. Now his wife and daughters help him operate Calabash, which has grown and flourished, earning him the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s 2020 Hotelier of the Year award and landing the property at the top of TripAdvisor’s 2019 list of Caribbean luxury hotels.
Thoughtful touches include a daily afternoon tea, canapés served en suite at 6 p.m., a cocktail party once a week followed by a grill night, live musical entertainment most evenings, and the option to have breakfast on your private terrace or at the beachside restaurant.
Two tennis courts, a fitness room, and dive center are on premises; kayaks, Hobie Cats, paddleboards, paddleboats, and snorkeling equipment are available at no extra cost. Several times a week yoga classes are offered, and a small spa adjoins a pool whose white lounge chairs are submerged in clear blue water.
Leo Garbutt has been addressing environmental and social issues for years. He was instrumental in the island-wide ban on Styrofoam and single use plastics. The hotel has long dedicated resources to community programs supporting early childhood education and various homes for residents in need, such as orphans and the disabled, through a program called Pack for a Purpose, which encourages travelers to bring needed donations with them from home.
Accommodations are all suites, either on the ground level or top floor. Most rooms were designed for two guests; some have a pullout couch and others connect to accommodate children. On upper floors, Junior Suites have an open-floor plan and measure approximately 560 square feet. Found on both upper and lower floors, Superior Suites have a separate bedroom, are close to the beach, and are the only category without a tub. Deluxe Suites measure 678 square feet, and Pool Suites 1,076 square feet. The latter’s private plunge pool and bath tub on the pool deck set this category apart. The largest of the suites, the Penthouse measures 1,991 square feet and includes a private pool, dining room, and two-person sunken tub.
Cribs are available but note that from January 15 to March 15, no children under 12 are allowed. Also good to know, the hotel closes for six-eight weeks–August and most of September—to address construction needs. There’s a very welcome guarantee that there will not be construction at other times unless it’s an emergency.
As for dining, there are two restaurants: the casual Beach Club, with a bar and tables at the beach; and the more formal Rhodes, which has a dress code and elevated cuisine that is heavy on locally sourced seafood and vegetables. A tip: Don’t leave Calabash without trying its justly famous banana crumble dessert.
Why haven’t many of us heard about this gem? Seventy percent of its clientele are from the United Kingdom. But now you know.