A combination of 32 islands (only nine of which are inhabited), St Vincent & The Grenadines is the Caribbean you’ve been looking for.
The largest and northernmost island is St Vincent, a forest-covered interior dominated by an active volcano. It has outstanding natural beauty and very welcoming people. St Vincent has the full range of accommodation options - from budget guest houses offering simple bed and breakfast, to luxury high-end resorts catering to your every need.
To its south lie The Grenadines, including Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island and the amazing Petit St Vincent with its reknown outdoor calisthenic fitness trail.
They gained independence from Great Britain in 1979, but the islands' history dates much further back, including long struggles against colonialism. Their natural beauty still staggers, from St Vincent's lush tropical rainforest full of eco-adventures, to the idyllic beaches, coral reefs and turquoise lagoons of The Grenadines, a paradise for yachting, scuba diving, enjoying nature and relaxing in luxurious hideaways.
The tropical climate peaks June and September (averaging 30°C / 86°F) but the most popular months to visit are between December and May when the climate is more comfortable and dry.
We have teamed up with Essential Detail and Caribtours to focus on two wonderful holiday retreats on two of the lesser-known islands: Bequia and Mustique.
Welcome to Bequia A quick ferry ride from St Vincent brings you to Bequia (pronounced 'bek-way'). This is a relaxed and friendly Caribbean island with an international flair, tailor-made for sailing enthusiasts, beach lovers and honeymooners.
And Abbotts Travel employees too: Alexis visited recently and adored it.
Enjoy white sand beaches, sheltered bays, turquoise seas and a selection of lovely hotels, well appointed villas and apartments, and excellent restaurants and bars.
Industry was based around boat building, which continues to this day. Local artisans build everything from simple sailing vessels made from coconut husks to ornate, extremely intricate and factually accurate replicas that may take up to a year to complete. Simpler model sailing boats are also built for racing during the annual Easter Regatta when competition between rivals can be fierce, but all in great fun.
Escape to Bequia, drop anchor and unwind!
Where to Stay: Bequia Beach Hotel Lose yourself in Caribbean splendour at the Bequia Beach Hotel, a retro-chic beach hotel on a sought-after hideaway island. Nestled within the stunning Friendship Bay beach with views across the water, this is the perfect spot from which to indulge in quiet relaxation, experience unspoilt Bequian life and activities and sample some delicious Caribbean-European fusion cuisine in unrivalled surroundings.
The hotel was built from scratch by entrepreneur Bengt Mortstedt, with ideas gleaned from his extensive worldwide travels. Accommodation ranges from classic pool rooms to split-level suites on the beachfront, a penthouse suite and even an estate villa (housing up to 8 people) with a private chef on request.
Since its opening in 2011 the hotel has developed a following of repeat guests who love the modern colonial style that combines elegance, charm and flair. They also love the location, on Bequia’s best stretch of beach with views across to Mustique in the distance. It is the perfect spot from which to indulge in quiet relaxation, experience Bequian life and activities, plus a chance to sample delicious local cuisine.
Welcome to Mustique A favourite place for the Royal family and an army of celebrities, Mustique lets you rub shoulders with the rich and famous on a Caribbean island that blends elegance and luxury with natural white sands, palm trees and turquoise seas.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular past-times on Mustique with dive sites around All-Awash, Pillories, Dry Rock South and Coral Glen. For a fascinating peek into secluded bays, coves and gardens of the famous, take to the water. On a tour of our island by boat (or by taxi), you will see some of the resplendent private homes owned by the rich and famous.
To enjoy the island at your own pace, and in wonderful peace and solitude, put your walking shoes on. In addition to walking paved roads, there are a number of hiking trails around the island that take in hilly woodland as well as some of the beautiful beaches and bays.
Where to Stay: The Cotton House Iced water and a chilled towel will be your first gift after touching down; the beauty and luxury of a Mustique landmark is the second.
The Cotton House is an 18th Century stone and coral warehouse transformed into a contemporary haven set amongst thirteen expansive acres of tropical gardens leading down to Endeavour Bay.
At the heart of the estate lie The Great Room Bar and Veranda Restaurant surrounded by a collection of seventeen luxurious, garden and sea-facing villas, suites and cottages with private verandas and plunge pools.
Wherever you stay you can enjoy all the island has to offer; a gastronomic dinner at the Veranda, the renowned Tuesday night cocktail party in the Great Room or a surf fresh seafood grill at the Beach Cafe.
The bespoke treatments in The Cotton House spa are designed exclusively for the hotel by award winning organic spa range, ila. This range takes inspiration from the islands most potent natural wonders; the life giving Moringa and Baobab trees; regenerative ylgang ylganag; sweet revitalising jasmine, and seductive balancing frangipani.
For further details on these recommended hotels and properties and these wonderful islands, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, book an appointment online, call 0208 989 9445 or visit the shop at 134 George Lane, South Woodford, E18 1BA.
Images courtesy of Kay Wilson, Wilfred Dederer and Palm Island.