Tour the Caribbean's Newest Resort: Sandals La Source Grenada | Islands

Tour the Caribbean's Newest Resort: Sandals La Source Grenada

My assignment: Experience everything the brand-new Sandals La Source Grenada has to offer and see if an all-inclusive resort can deliver a full vacation experience ... without ever leaving the resort's front gates. Four days, nine restaurants and too many plunges into my private infinity pool to count, here's how it all turned out.

Best All-Inclusive Resorts | Most Romantic Getaways | Best of the Caribbean

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After a three-hour flight from Miami, I arrive in Grenada, where a van whisks me to Sandals La Source. The glow from the many public and private swimming pools lights up the resort just after sunset. Select suites at La Source feature swim-up pools, so slipping right into the water off the porch is a no-brainer.

Sandals La Source

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In the morning, the expanse of the property is visible — now I know where I am. Sandals La Source Grenada features 225 rooms and suites. I'm lucky enough to have a butler suite in the Italian Village section of the resort, which features luxurious "Skypool" suites with infinity pools on the balconies for private plunges.

Sandals La Source

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As the concierge leads me through my suite, it's a series of jaw-dropping moments. The wet bar, stocked with top-shelf liquors. A plush living room and dining area with a monster flat-screen TV. But the ultimate jaw-hit-the-floor, call-my-dentist event at Sandals La Source? Seeing my private infinity pool for the first time. The concierge saved it for last, just grinning at my reaction. This particular pool, on the fourth floor of the Italian Village, overlooks the entire resort and could easily fit five people. But it's designed for two. For the next four nights, it's just for me.

Steve Spears

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Transferring from the airport to an island resort can often involve a long, bumpy ride. I'm relieved when I discover that Sandals La Source is just a five-minute drive from Grenada's Maurice Bishop International Airport. Yet, despite having an airport as a next-door neighbor, I rarely hear the sound of jet engines.

Steve Spears

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The main gathering spot during evenings at Sandals La Source Grenada is dubbed the "Living Room." Don't let the name fool you into thinking it's for couch potatoes. I wandered through on my first night as a singer belted out a killer version of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" for an appreciative crowd. Later, as I fell asleep above all the action, I heard a larger band kick into Santana's "Smooth." In the Living Room, everyone's on their feet and a full bar slings drinks till 2 a.m.

Sandals La Source

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Butch's Chophouse is Sandals' inaugural steakhouse, but they seemed like old pros. I opted for the filet mignon with peppercorn sauce instead of my usual New York strip, along with a bowl of lobster mac 'n' cheese. And I'd do it again. Later that day, I hear stories about a smoked duck salad and grilled Caribbean lobster. The restaurant carries the name of Sandals' chairman, Gordon "Butch" Stewart, and it does him proud. Eating my way through every restaurant on the property in just four days is not going to be a problem.

Sandals La Source

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My king-size bed in the Italian Village sits so high off the floor that the butler has left a wooden set of steps to use. Rooms are decked out with mahogany furnishings, travertine floors and wet bars, but it's that view that makes me never want to leave.

Sandals La Source

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During turn-down service each night, the housekeeper set the radio to play a few hours of soothing music, which could've easily set the mood for a romantic evening ... or just an exceptional night's sleep immersed in that soft-as-a-cloud bed.

Sandals La Source

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Grenada is also known as the Spice Island, which I'm reminded of at Spices restaurant, which offers a quick spice tutorial at its front entrance. Grenada is one of the world's sole producers of nutmeg but also produces ginger, mace and cocoa. At Spices, I discover a local green known as callaloo, which is offered on the buffet, usually alongside some salted fish. I rave about the smoky flavor of the callaloo so much that the housekeeper brings me some to take home.

Steve Spears

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Sandals La Source Grenada sits on 17 waterfront acres, and it took the all-inc giant 10 months to renovate the former resort and transform it into Sandals La Source. (Watch a time-lapse video.) A grand-opening ceremony attracts not only the Sandals brass, but also the island nation's prime minister, governor-general (along with plenty of sunglass-wearing security staff) and tourism dignitaries from around the Caribbean. "Grenada, we will not let you down," Sandals CEO Adam Stewart tells the assembled crowd.

Sandals La Source

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Sandals La Source has two main pools: a quiet one near my suite in the Italian Village and the noisy pool on the other side. The big advantage to the noisy one? Getting this Fruitti Del Mar pizza from Dino's delivered to me poolside while I sip on a Purple Rain cocktail (vodka, pineapple juice, Blue Curaçao) at the swim-up bar. Dino's is one of the resort's nine restaurants ... soon to become 10 with the addition of a pub.

Steve Spears

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Private pools converge and form waterfalls between the buildings. On my second-to-last night, I pour a cool rum drink from my in-room bar and just wander the grounds in search of more soothing discoveries. New friends, gathered at the fire-pit lounges that stretch out into the larger pools, wave me over. We spend the next hour sipping mojitos and pointing out which glowing blue lights on the neighboring buildings are our suites' individual plunge pools. Life is good.

Steve Spears

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Two things I can never resist in a sushi restaurant: tuna and octopus. At Soy, both items are there for the taking. I savor the cool flesh of each treat with an ice-cold Carib beer, a worthy substitute for the Kirin Ichiban brew that I'd normally order. Rolls featuring seared tuna and spicy shrimp follow. I make a silent toast to the editor who insisted I sample everything that Sandals has to offer.

Steve Spears

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With frosted-glass doors and impossibly large sink basins, the bathrooms at Sandals La Source are in a class all their own. I haven't willingly taken a bath since ... well, ever. But after a day spent largely enjoying restaurant excesses and massages, a shower seems too harsh. I lay the Sandals terry-cloth robe within grabbing distance, find the right combination of bath gels and fill the tub with hot water.

Sandals La Source

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My mission to experience all nine restaurants at La Source continues with Le Jardinier, a classic French eatery tucked away next to Spices. Earlier in the day, my Butch's dining mates from Canada raved about the salmon. I'm skeptical ... but, hey, it's about trying everything. The fish arrives encrusted with horseradish and crab, with a lemon buerre blanc on top of sour-cream mashed potatoes and root vegetables with a sweet mustard drizzle. An appetizer of escargot, swimming in rich butter and garlic, is so superior to anything I've tried before that I briefly contemplate bribing my butler to bring me the makings of an "escargot hoagie" around midnight. But an almond-flour chocolate cupcake, with salted caramel sauce, takes up the last remaining corner of my stomach. No snail sub tonight.

Steve Spears

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"You must try it," says pretty much everyone I meet at La Source about the nutmeg ice cream. I'm not a sweets kind of guy, but I can't resist when I find Cafe de Paris, a French pastry shop in the Pink Gin Village. I browse the espresso, gelato and pastries, but I'm not allowed to leave without a spoonful of nutmeg ice cream. The spoonful quickly turns into a full serving, and I briefly contemplate giving up my day job to start my own nutmeg ice-cream distributorship.

Steve Spears

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Sandals La Source is located on the south end of the island on Pink Gin Beach. I time my sandy strolls for each evening after dinner in a noble attempt to work off my meal. On my last night, I meet other guests with the same idea who tell tales of an underwater sculpture park that you can snorkel through, but sadly I'm out of time. Four days isn't enough anymore.

Sandals La Source

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