Building a health-focused hotel on a beach called Pink Gin could be seen as goading, cruel even, but those silky sands with views of soft rainforested peaks are the ideal perch for a spot of post-exercise relaxation.
La Source’s style is typically colonial: its 100 rooms have mahogany furniture, mocha marble floors and wooden shutters. They feel a little dated, but are well maintained and, to ensure some inner harmony, are lacking televisions and internet access. To go online, you have to head down to the vast open-sided pavilion-cum-common room. It’s more modern, dominated by a piano bar and dotted with cream sofas that overlook two large free-form pools and the beach beyond.
Dining options include the pretty Garden Restaurant, the more formal Great House and the beachfront Oscar’s. The Cafe Deli, the only venue where the food is noticeably spa-orientated, is open for lunch, with healthy smoothies and sushi dishes. Elsewhere, dishes are a fusion of Caribbean and international cuisine. Some are good, others less so. Thankfully, guests don’t have to wear those all-inclusive Asbo tags; and despite the extensive wine and cocktail menu, the holistic ambience means nobody seems to drink to excess.
You could get breathless just reading the daily timetable. It’s crammed with a dazzling array of possibilities, from 7am t’ai chi on the beach to evening meditation in the relaxation pavilion 12 hours later. In any given hour in between, there will be several classes running, so you can segue seamlessly from stretching to sailing, or golf tuition on the nine-hole course to kayaking, water volleyball to circuit training, or a power walk around La Source’s 40 luscious acres. Nobody is checking your class attendance or pulse rate, however, so you could simply settle poolside and feel the burn… of that West Indies sun on your skin.
It would be a shame not to enter into the spirit, though, especially when the fitness team is led by the former Olympic boxer Andy Grant — an inspirational instructor. His pilates and aquacise classes are 100% muscle-seeking missiles that guarantee maximum impact for students. Andy’s were some of the most rewarding — if demanding — workouts I’ve tried: even the trickling water feature and birdsong couldn’t distract from the sweat-inducing effort required. I also brushed up my tennis skills, tried archery (great for developing core strength), and slowed down with some chilled-out yoga.
The exercising may be optional, but the pampering is not. Every day, other than arrival and departure days, guests are given the choice of a 50-minute facial, massage, scrub, or foot and hand ritual.
The spa claims to be Moroccan, but I can’t say I particularly noticed the African influence. I found it a pretty bland space, where, although the staff were attentive, the atmosphere remained decidedly conveyor belt, thanks to the steady stream of bathrobed tourists being directed to wait for therapists in various rooms that never seemed to have enough seats. Once on the massage bed, however, the skill of the team worked away any niggles, aches and pains, and the Pevonia facials were particularly good.
A week’s stay includes three complimentary dives for each Padi-qualified guest in what are generally regarded as some of the Caribbean’s best underwater scapes. Time your trip carefully and you could also participate in masterclasses, such as The Sleep School with Dr Guy Meadows, one of the UK’s leading sleep specialists, at no extra charge (Meadows will be at La Source from June 4 to 10; by the end of his workshops, you’ll be well and truly acquainted with the land of nod). There are also zumba, yoga and pilates retreats.
Beyond the bathrobe
Grenada is one of the more authentic Caribbean destinations. Tourism tends to be confined to the southwest corner, there’s nothing remotely approaching a strip and the attitude of the local people has yet to tip over into the cynicism you encounter in places such as Barbados and Antigua.
Getting around is easy. The British influence means they drive on the left. They also drive extremely slowly — Grenadians take to heart the posters reminding motorists that undertakers love overtakers — so rent a car for the day and explore the pristine rainforests, conveniently dotted with cascading waterfalls where you can cool down between hikes.
This is the region’s spice island, and Grenadians say you can’t leave unless your suitcase smells like it’s harbouring a particularly rich fruitcake. The scents of cinnamon and nutmeg waft through the warm air enticingly and market stallholders sell bags of spices at a quarter of the price they are in Britain. The island is also known for its chocolate. At the Belmont Estate (00 1 473 442 9524, belmontestate.net), in St Patrick, you can see how cocoa is grown and turned into the delicious products of The Grenada Chocolate Company. The latter is a quirky, organic outfit that’s so ethical, it makes Willy Wonka look like Donald Trump (all staff are paid the same wage, production uses antique machines that are solar-powered and the company just shipped its first load of carbon-neutral chocolate to Britain, on a sail boat). Its chocolate is wickedly good — and recommended even for those on a spa break, as research at the University of California suggests that people who eat chocolate regularly are, on average, slimmer than those who only eat it occasionally. I don’t care what WeightWatchers says, I’ll stick with that survey, thanks.
Need to know: Virgin Holidays (0844 557 3859, virginholidays.co.uk) has a week at La Source from £1,479pp, including flights from Gatwick, transfers, all-inclusive accommodation and activities. Or try Luxury Holidays Direct (020 8774 7299, luxuryholidaysdirect.com) or Essential Escapes (020 7284 3344, essentialescapes.com).