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Mandarin Oriental Canouan: The Caribbean's Well-Kept Secret

Known for its white-sand beaches and off-the-radar status, Canouan Island is located in the heart of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the southern Antilles. In 2016, the Pink Sands Club opened and Indagare was among the first to visit what became one of the  Caribbean’s unsung heroes. A year later, the extravagant resort, which just joined the Mandarin Oriental portfolio as Mandarin Oriental Canouan, has come into its own. Intrigued, we returned to the pristine island to check back in, and to celebrate an exciting development coming from the Caribbean following its devastating hurricane season. Indagare’s Sarah Levine reports.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to the Mandarin Oriental Canouan on Canouan Island. Our specialists can customize your itinerary to include great meals, excursions and special activities.

Set amongst lush greenery and colorful manicured gardens, Mandarin Oriental Canouan is more akin to a private estate than a hotel, boasting an exclusive atmosphere and chic, nautical design. This ambiance is central to the resort's appeal; visitors get to experience a well-kept secret and may even feel like they have the island to themselves.

The resort's 26 suites and 12 villas are decorated in an elegant, colonial-inspired style, with white marble floors, dark wood furnishings and pops of color. Rooms feature the latest technology: sliding doors double as mirrors embedded with televisions, and the lights, temperature and blinds are controlled by an iPad that can also be used to make dinner reservations. Guests have a choice between palatial one- and two-bedroom suites, each with a spacious balcony or terrace overlooking the ocean; one-bedroom villa ‘penthouses’ complete with large living areas and kitchens; and three- and four-bedroom villas, which vary in style from traditional to minimalist. Many of the accommodations also feature infinity pools and Jacuzzis.

The most difficult decision to make during a day at Mandarin Oriental Canouan  is how to spend it, as guests are spoiled with an array of on- and off-property activities. Visitors can play the Jim Fazio–designed golf course, which is framed by dramatic ocean views; charter a yacht to the pristine Tobago Cays and snorkel with sea turtles; or simply enjoy the beach or 30-foot infinity pool with its sweeping ocean views and swim-up bar. At the hillside spa, expert treatments are offered in open-air cabanas or in overwater bungalows to the soundtrack of ocean waves.

"The service  was great, and the managers were keeping good eye on us." ~ An Indagare member

Related: Caribbean Islands: Which Is Right for Me?

While Mandarin Oriental Canouan maintains a serene and romantic atmosphere, the resort is also family-friendly. The massive kid’s club is a destination in itself, with a trampoline, jungle gym, two pools and several thematically decorated areas, including a pirate- and mermaid-themed room. Programming includes snorkeling trips, cooking classes, arts and crafts and treasure hunts, and the club is run by the resort’s warm staff—all of whom are eager to go above and beyond to accommodate guest requests. In fact, the most significant update since the Mandarin Oriental took over has been a new standard of service. The staff strikes a perfect balance between being discreet and exceptionally attentive.

"We had an amazing time at Pink Sands Club [now the Mandarin Oriental Canouan]. One of the resort's best features is its gracious staff, who is welcoming and helpful. Overall, the trip was great, our villa was stunning, the service was perfect and the island's natural beauty is hard to beat." ~ Leigh Johnson, Indagare member since 2016

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Despite its small size, Mandarin Oriental Canouan offers a breadth of dining options. For lunch, the poolside restaurant serves inventive Peruvian cuisine (don’t skip the lobster ceviche), while the beachside Lagoon Café specializes in fresh seafood and Italian dishes. In the evening, guests may opt for a sophisticated meal at Juliet, which offers dishes such as roasted chateaubriand and steak tartare along with an impressive wine list; or Romeo, an Asian-inspired eatery where guests can peer into the open kitchen. Plus, Turtles Bar boasts live jazz and yacht club–inspired décor.

Fast Facts

Getting There: 

Guests must take a one-hour flight from Barbados (unless they are flying privately).

Who Should Stay: Couples, families and golfers looking for a luxurious, off-the-grid beach vacation, with myriad activity offerings and a great kid's club. Ideal Length of Stay: 3-5 nights. Visitors could easily while away several days enjoying the property's spa, beach and restaurants.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to Canouan Island. Our specialists can customize your itinerary to include great meals, excursions and special activities.

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