If you were, say, holder of the 100m freestyle world record, you’d be looking at pulling off a length of Silversands’ pool in 47 seconds, give or take the odd fraction. If you’ve had a delicious and nutritious glass or seven of, say, Ruinart or small-batch caramelised rum the colour of money, it might take a little longer. And by the time you get to the end of the longest pool in the Caribbean you’ll want to perch your arms on the edge – lifting yourself, ever so, out of the water to make those deltoids pop – and look out over Grand Anse Beach and the doffed parasols and the sea that carries on all the way to Mexico, and you’ll think, yeah, this is a bit of alright.
Silversands is magnificent, and it’s not often you can use that word without cringing. Conjured up by the imagination and deep, deep pockets of an Egyptian billionaire who’s totally in love with Grenada but was a bit nonplussed with its hotels, it’s what is known in the business as a game-changer, and there goes another word that in other circumstances would be a matter for the police. Silversands is insanely gorgeous, the most polished Caribbean resort you’ve probably/almost definitely ever laid eyes on, with an infinity pool you can see from the moon on an island that is still just about recherché enough that you won’t be clocking the veneers of a Housewife of Cheshire lolloping on a limited edition Moschino paddle-board.
Opening just before ye olde Lockdown, Silversands is to all intents and let’s-not-count-these-last-18-months brand new. So new you can smell it, and that’s a great smell, right? Tom Ford or Byredo or Le Labo should mark it up and sell it on. They’re not parsimonious – tight, in old money – here, which is a relief. The cash has flowed and flowed and flowed and every square centimetre sparkles and shimmers and glows. Which is what happens when you’re staying at a billionare’s whim. Normal people splurge on a Vespa or a Chunky KitKat, Naguib Sawiris creates the most extraordinary hotel Grenada has ever seen, right here on a beach that is often called the world’s best. So that’s your win-win right there.
I stayed in one of the five Beachfront Villas, at which point I refer you to that ‘bit of alright’ line. Single-storey beauties wrapped around their own private infinity pools with a main living space at their core and four bedrooms, two either side, that are basically mini-villas, all drenched in marble and natural walnut with diaphanous floor-to-ceiling white chiffon that slow dances to the air con. The furniture’s all bespoke, by Molteni&C, B&B Italia, Artespazio, Bruno Moinard, names, names, names, the indoor and outdoor showers are Hansgrohe, which is like the Gucci of showers, and the kitchen is fit to bursting with Poggenpohl cabinets and gadgetry by Gaggenue and Miele. The cutlery alone would’ve set me back my entire student loan – and I was greedy and did a Masters. If you’re taking notes, your outdoor deck is 2,215 sq. ft., there are two heated plunge pools on top of that infinity pool of yours because why not?, and you have direct access to Great Anse. You can wave at people walking by as they mouth ‘What the actual *@%#?’ right back at you. So far, so superstar.
The central resort hub uses that scene-stealing pool as its focus. Peppered around it are the four drinking and eating options that range from the Beach Lounge (lounge, beach, you get it) right up to fine-dining at Asiatique – where Asian flavours get all chummy with Grenadian spices – via the Grill, which does laidback and ceviche very, very well, all rounded off nicely by Puro, the cigar and rum bar where you’ll find the sexiest nightcaps this side of Havana. We were knocking back just as a helicopter was dropping off one of the world’s most expensive bottles of rum, £24k a gulp. I know, right? This is the crowd we’re dealing with here, not that there’s any of that pretentious nonsense going on. This brand of superrich is ebullient and gregarious and wants a whole load of fun in their lives, only in slightly better shoes than everyone else. They’ll even speak to you down the spa!
Should you choose to leave Silversands – you’d be daft not to, in spite of all of the above – Grenada ain’t half lovely. If we can come over all National Geographic, it’s right down at the bottom of the Caribbean chain, closer to Venezuela than Miami, volcanic of the non-erupting kind and covered in undulating tropical forests that glide down to beaches people go bonkers over. St George’s is your capital, it’s only ten minutes from Silversands, and it ain’t half pretty. Hills behind, a horseshoe harbour up front and the 18th century Fort George lording it over everything, it’s colonial-sweet with a plucky vibe owing to the renowned medical school and all that cosmopolitanism a clever student population brings. And when its moniker is the Spice Isle, you’re obliged to stock up on crazy-cheap indigenous flavours down at the boisterous Spice Market where pushy traders who soften their hard sell with ‘darlin’’ have been doing their thing since 1763. Nutmeg’s the major booty round here, with cacao and vanilla vying for top sweet spot.
Which makes chocolate a big deal, ditto the chocolatiers. We ate and Blue Peter-ed over a candy-scented morning down Tri Island Chocolate Café in St George’s, run by Aaron. Aaron’s a proper London boy from Hackney (just down the road from where I live, actually. Take a left at that 24-hour shop that still sells Mateus Rosé) with the football shirt to match and his top-of-the-38-bus accent that’s just as warmly familiar as any Caribbean lilt is in my neck of the woods. The crux of his fable is that he inherited a plot of land on Grenada from his grandparents, thought ‘why the hell not’, fast forward toil and all that trouble and hello one of the cutest tree-to-bar chocolate boutiques on the island. There’s a lot of purple and green and ochre – official colours of fancy chocolatiers – and arty depictions of cacao beans, which makes you know he knows his beans. There are also other bars of lovely artisanal chocolate from friends/rivals on the shelves by the counter, because Aaron is nice like that and Grenada is good at giving a leg-up to others when it can.
The traffic can be a right bugger in St George’s, mind, especially if you take Kirani James Boulevard (named after the homespun 400m Olympic gold medallist) – though the horse & cart pace does give you time to make firm friends with passers-by, who’ll lean through your car window offering fresh-off-the-lips gossip or just-scalped coconuts. So walk if you can. But, spoiler, it also has the steepest roads in the Caribbean. We schlepped all the way to the top of Richmond Hill for bums, tums and views. All the blue sea you can think of, inlets and outlets covered in green, boats bobbing and glistening – some real fancy, others barely hanging on for life – and little wooden houses on stilts in every colour popping up out of the thick palms like Skittles. Her Majesty’s Prison (current population 210) is just here, too, to your left, which is poignant and pretty damn churlish if you really want to go there (welcome to the best view in town, miscreants! Now eat your Ready Brek).
The food, too. Boy, the food. By default it’s very kind to vegans, seeing as the Rastafarian diet, Ital – prevalent here – is plant-based. I knew I liked those people. Coconut is in everything, or adjacent to it. I got hooked on callaloo soup, and rum seeing as you ask. Seafood too is up there, meat-meat less so as it has to be imported, though curried goat is a thing. There’s a tick-it-off cute waterfront restaurant you should swing by if you can, BB’s Crabback, run by local celebrity chef and usually-there Brian Benjamin, overlooking Port Louis, where punters leave gushing ‘I was ‘eres’ on the cerulean walls with neon pens. Try bagging a table outside on the deck for all the kudos. Then get a cab back to Silversands, because Calabash cocktails. Oh, who am I kidding. Holler for one of the resort’s Teslas.
Maybe it’s the rum talking, maybe it’s the 3.5/1 ratio of staff to guests, maybe it’s the private sunsets over Great Anse, maybe it’s trying to get from one end of the Caribbean’s longest pool to the other in a single breath (you can’t. Crazy much?), maybe it’s just because it’s one of the most catch-your-breath beautiful resorts on the planet, but Silversands ain’t half got it right.
Rates at Silversands Grenada start from $880 based on two sharing a Garden View King on a B&B basis.
Silversands has also created its Working From Hotel package, based on stays of 14 days or longer in a suite or villa. It includes breakfast, a 45-minute daily personal workout session, a bi-weekly Silversands Signature Massage, a one-course lunch with fresh juice each day and daily coffee, tea and cookies. Rates start from $1,540 (currently approx. £1,109) per night based on two sharing an Ocean View Junior Suite.