London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
One week into our Buccament Bay St Vincent holiday, all of us are content and relaxed – Grenadines with kids makes a true Chrismas treat for all parties. St Vincent Caribbean is one unspoilt place compared to its neighbours: especially Barbados – which is great for white sand beaches and crystal blue waters Caribbean side but far too built up and US like for my taste.
Buccament Bay St Vincent was great from many perspectives and certainly one of the best we’ve seen in the Caribbean. It’s all past tense as unfortunately Harlequin Hotels and Resorts missmanaged and frauded over 2,500 UK investors. The hotel soft-opened when part built in 2010, closing in December 2016. Hundreds of local workers were sacked without pay and have received no compensation. The hotel remains closed, despite a bid by a local consortium to take over the property from bankruptcy trustees last year.
We see a huge potential in this place, here were the things that we loved and stand for St Vincent, hoping it will all be turned around soon.
Our garden villa with its big veranda and own pool/ jacuzzi facing the mountains. Have spent few lovely relaxing afternoons whilst our toddler was napping or gone at the kids club, feet in the water, watching white birds, goats on the mountain, geckos, humming birds feeding from tropical flowers and clouds. Can’t get enough of this.
The layout of the garden villa, very high ceiling in the living and huge bathroom; the pebbles in the shower cubicle were a great distraction for our toddler and made it to the bath as guests of honour every evening.
The food at the main restaurant and steak house, pretty exceptional most of the time. Great rib eye steaks, seafood risotto, duck in fig jus, lobster bisque, scallops and prawns. The setting also beautiful, the main restaurant by the sea and swimming pool – it hardly gets better than this.
The beach is beautiful and snorkelling is great. Huge quantities of cornet fish, very curious schools of silver fish willing to swim with you, parrot fish munching rocks, butterfly fish, schools of baby fish, occasionally lobsters and crocodile fish. Given the volcanic origin of the island, the white sand has been brought from Tobago, leaving the shores (when you snorkel) with a very interesting mix of black and white. The locals come to bathe and you could observe the fisherman in their boats with nets early in the morning and sometimes in the evening – charming and authentic old ways.
The rain is abundant but in very short spells and funny ways; on one beach there’s is sun and blue skies, the mountain sides there could be a shower misty like; we’ve seen few beautiful rainbows and the green mountains surrounding the bay have wonderful jungle vegetation. Grenadines with kids is enchanting!
The set up of the Buccament Bay villas also very pretty and village like, charming houses by the ponds, river and sea. The spa in the middle and by the pond; kids club next to our villa, nice outdoor area with a big tree by the river with a slide, swings and picnic area.
The sky at night is beautiful, little light pollution around. One evening we’ve seen a surreal circle around the moon; investigated it turned out to be a haze phenomenon with the ring always 40 times bigger than the moon.
The cons/ not so lovely of the Grenadines with kids:
The Caribbean pace of staff could be quite puzzling /read nerve-wrecking for anybody recently arrived from UK or US; whilst most are well intended, the pace is very slow and efficiency non-existent. Most of them are very sweet though and take a genuine interest in conversations, which is very nice. Some frictions between various teams are quite obvious, one detail none is keen to experience on holidays. Occasionally the service could be so slow that it becomes hilarious (if you manage to keep a sense of humour): beers arriving 5 hours late to the room, towels arriving after 5 phone calls to reception and guest relations.
Some facilities could use some upgrading and improvements: some sun beds maybe damaged, beach towels may be in poor state and difficult to get. Buggy service to travel around also sporadic, could be quite an inconvenience for tired tiny feet and parents not in their best to carry one more time a cheeky monkey (but guilty of not caring the pushchair around).
Mosquitoes could be quite vicious given the neighbour jungle vegetation and humidity. There are creams and coils at the reception but one tends to experience their voracious appetite before being offered solutions.
St Vincent is rather poor and undeveloped, which on one hand is great for preserving its charm and authenticity; the other hand may be problematic for a luxury resort. Security needs to keep on their toes and we have heard of guests being burgled; iPhones and cameras stolen are not great memories of a holiday. Of course all relative and if we compare it to stories of Dominica (stories of rape on the most beautiful Batibou beach and the owner & investor of the best hotel chain being shot in his own room) – burglary is relatively harmless ; but still not great. Authenticity and luxury may come at an unwanted price in such beautiful but poor and corrupted parts of the world.
The lovely Buccament Bay is now closed – a fascinating story of fraud and insolvency; a pity, given the world class location and lovely local community for which this hotel was a life changer.
This has been our second time in St Vincent Caribbean, for a taster of the capital, Botanical gardens, the neighbouring lovely Bequia, Tobago Quays, Mustique and Canouan – head here. For more about Best time for babymoon with toddler head here (Buccament Bay St Vincent was great in this respect!) . For more about the Caribbeans and which one is right for you and circumstances, head here.