As we walk along the private pathway to our mini-chateau on Petit St. Vincent near Union Island in the Grenadines, two doves float down from arching branches. They crisscross in front of us like animated birds in a Disney movie -- you know the ones: those plump little bluebirds that flutter above a prince and princess as they kiss. The only thing missing is a lilting musical score -- heavy on the violins.
"Are those the same doves we saw this morning?" my husband asks. I think they are, wanting to believe these beautiful, dark-gray birds are not just connected to our cottage but somehow spiritually assigned to us. I know this is magical thinking, but at this private-island resort in the southeastern corner of the Caribbean, I don't care.
Privacy here extends well beyond the path and our discreetly shielded patio to the interior of this stunning guest house, with its soaring ceilings and open archways cut through interior stone walls. There is no television and no phone. In the silence of our cottage, a travel requirement for visiting Petit St. Vincent becomes clear: Come here only with someone you want to know better. Disconnected from the grid, we begin to connect full-on, an exper- ience quite unlike the sideways attention we often pay to each other at home. Sprawled on the bed, we read aloud from Love in the Time of Cholera, its magical realism sending us off to dreamland.
We have mastered our cottage's yellow-and-red-flag system. All we have to do is place our requests for staff atten- tion in a bamboo tube at the end of our path and then hoist a yellow flag for service. "If they see the red flag -- for privacy -- they won't come down the path," a fellow guest had explained, "even if they're bringing your breakfast."
The next morning, sunlight wakes us & breakfast arrives on the shady cedar-wood deck outside our bedroom. "Good morning!" says our elegant attendant, Marlon (yes, the yellow flag was up), as he delivers a meal of eggs Benedict garnished with mangoes and other fruit grown on the island. "I could get used to this," says my tousled-hair spouse.
But our journey into self-indulgence -- without having to leave our cottage -- has not yet reached its pinnacle. That happens when Lisa, the resort's masseuse, arrives like a ministering angel. She unknots my muscles with a delicious massage, leaving me half asleep, eyes closed, in a state of head-to-toe release. Suddenly I feel as though my body is going to levitate right off the table. My eyes pop open, and I see Lisa holding her palms a fraction of an inch from the bottom of my feet. "Wow!" I exclaim, as the most delicate sensation flows up through my legs. Every blood vessel seems to be opening wide, and the weight of my body is disappearing.
Later we walk on the Atlantic beach, trade winds in our hair, interrupted by no one. We consider one more popular activity: a kind of culinary theater. On an outlying sandbar or on the beach or in a private gazebo, the staff will direct a dinner vignette in which we are the stars. But we resist the allure of another indulgence. Romance resonates some- where deeper on this island. "We'll have dinner in the gazebo next time," my mate says as we turn down the path to our cottage. Bring up the music. Cue the doves. To read Sue's Web-exclusive full-length feature article, click here.
Plan Your Trip
- Fly from Miami (MIA) to Barbados (BGI) on American Airlines, aa.com. Then take Grenadine Airways for the connecting flight to Union Island (UNI), grenadineairways.com. The Petit St. Vincent boat ferries you to the resort.
- Stay at Petit St. Vincent Resort, a 113-acre private island with 22 cottages. Guests can choose to take their meals in the dining room or through room service. As the resort claims, "The truly hermitic guest need never meet another visitor." psvresort.com
- Cruise from Petit St. Vincent to the Tobago Cays aboard Jeff Stevens' completely handcrafted charter boat, the Jambalaya. windwardschooner.com
- Find more intimate escapes at islands.com/intimate.