Raffles Canouan opened its doors on November 1 2004 and since then the resort has been firing on all cylinders. Raffles Resort Canouan Island is located on Canouan Island in the heart of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean. The resort is set on 300 acres of a 1,200 acre private estate featuring three secluded white sand beaches, all surrounded by one of the world’s largest coral reefs. The new Raffles Resort is amphitheatrically set around the protected bay with each of the 156 single and double-storey luxury villas offering breathtaking views.
This year Raffles Canouan is nominated in the World Travel Awards categories of Caribbeans Leading Golf Resort, Caribbeans Leading Resort, Grenadines Leading Resort and Grenadines Leading Hotel.
High on a hill overlooking the northern Grenadines, with sweeping views over the resort and the reef, is the exclusive Villa Monte Carlo. Located here will be the European-style casino - Trump Club Privee, La Varenne - a European gourmet restaurant, as well as an elegant ballroom for private functions.
Brad Beaty Director of Sales and Marketing said of the grand opening;
“The grand opening weekend was a huge success - it went very well. We were sold out over Christmas and New Year. We have had two huge weddings so far and there are more planned for the winter period. The ten-page editorial that we received from Travel & Leisure gave us a jump-start. We have been accepted into the Fine Hotel and Resorts programme and we are of course one of the Leading Hotels of the World as well as part of Virtuoso (largest consortium of luxury travel agents in the US). In the UK we are featured by such luxury agents as Elegant Resorts, ITC and Azure.”
One of the resorts most important components is its spa.
“Raffles operate the largest spa in Asia and they have brought this philosophy to the Caribbean. Amrita is a new concept spa for the Caribbean. Typically spas in the Caribbean have a much larger emphasis on amenities and not much emphasis on treatments usually expatriates and locals facilitating these treatments. Raffles Canouan is clearly the best spa in the Caribbean - not only in setting but also in intensity of the treatments. All spa treatment rooms face the sea. The rooms were lifted in so not to damage the wildlife and native flora. We have wonderful massage beds with glass bottom treatment tables. The setting is not one large building but instead nine separate rooms.”
“Our treatments are sold on time slots rather then just as a treatment. That gives guests time to unwind afterwards and enjoy the Jacuzzi etc. The spa is accessible three ways. Via the boardwalk, boat (canoe) or by jungle vernacular. You arrive to the resort via a boat - you can see the resort but it is not notable as it blends in with the vegetation and natural surroundings. We have an excellent spa director in the form of Shirley Meerson who has worked all over the world in leading resorts. We are in the process of developing indigenous local treatments.”
How did the Raffles Canouan come to be?
“Canouan is the vision of Swiss-Italian banker Antonio Saladino - (the resort stretches 300 acres including the golf course) - initially he planned to develop on Mustique but as fate would have it he looked over and saw Canouan and saw more potential here. He had to construct the entire infrastructure, there was no electricity or water - everything had to be shipped and sanitation facilities built (some 640,000 gallons of water a day are produced on Canouan). The resort opened for the first time in 1999 under the name of Carenage Bay and stayed open for two years. After 9/11 came along things became difficult and things were not functional at the property - airlift was a problem, there simply was not enough. Rooms were not being filled.”
“We have reduced the number of rooms and there is now a new management company. Jim Fazzio was brought into redevelop the golf course - we scrapped what was there before and built a course with some of the best views in the world, it is also one of the most challenging in the world,” added Beaty.
Raffles was chosen to operate the resort following visiting two resorts in Cambodia.
For further information on the Raffles resort visit www.raffles.com