AS THE LIAT plane touched down on the runway in the Spice Isle, I did what I usually do when I travel. I thanked God for a safe journey there.
While waiting in a short queue, at the Maurice Bishop International Airport, my eyes began to wander. I first spotted a huge picture of Olympic champion Kirani James.
It makes for a perfect showcase of Grenadian national pride. Fixated on the image and not paying attention to what was going on, I heard in the distance: “You’re next ma’am.”
I quickly grabbed hold of my luggage and made my way to the immigration official. After the usual questions, he joked about me taking him back to “the land of flying fish and cou cou” and made me promise to bring him a serving on my next visit there.
I walked away smiling and thinking what a warm reception that was. I left the airport totally unaware that the service I was greeted with there was just the beginning of four days of supreme service, sunshine and smiles.
I boarded a taxi and made my way to Sandals LaSource Grenada – which is no more than seven minutes away – from the airport. The resort is the newest in the Sandals chain of hotels.
I checked in and was briskly offered breakfast until my room was ready. I was given a cell phone and was told that I was responsible for it until the end of the trip. Minutes later after having breakfast the cell phone rang and I was told my room was ready.
“Hello, I am Kent, the butler and I will be with you for the next few hours as your assigned butler is not on duty till later tonight.”
We then made our way the plush suite overlooking a perfect sea view. Joined to the bedroom, was a balcony with a private pool.
It would be very easy to remain on the all-inclusive property. It lacks for nothing. The excellent service, the fine cuisine, the first class facilities, the interesting activities, the relaxing ambience and the warm company; everything was great.
I made some new friends too.
My resident butler Marcus Moore with whom I was so impressed, I wrote an email to the general manager about his professional approach and efficiency. I was also very pleased with Robert Greaves – another Butler who was on duty when Marcus was off –and of course our first butler Kent Philip. Housekeeper Sharifta also went about her daily duties in a cheerful way. Then there was Chef Rudy who admitted he just “loves to come to Barbados for Crop Over”.
A few Barbadians were also at Sandals LaSource Grenada on a training programme ahead of the opening of our own Sandals brand here.
The Saturday morning I was determined to go “exploring”. Out of curiosity, I left the hotel by foot and was lucky to catch a route taxi to town.
As I walked the city streets of St George’s, I saw street vendors plying their trade, taxi driver’s hustling, merchants outside “broadcasting” their bargains and the occasional sirens blazing.
In the words of Mighty Gabby, St George’s was as busy as Bridgetown early Saturday morning.
As I continued walking, an imposing clock caught my attention.
I gazed up the hill with more focus and saw Fort George (formerly Fort Rupert) the historic location where a bloody part of the Grenada revolution happened. That deadly spot where Maurice Bishop and seven others were executed.
Many stores caught my attention and I bought a couple knick-knacks. But one store that made a lasting impression was one operated by “Captain Cliff”. On finding out I was a Bajan he told me of his links to our island. The pilot said he had lived in Barbados for many years while flying and had made some very special friends there, including former President of the Senate Sir Fred Gollop and his wife Lady Gollop.
He recalled fond memories of his time in what he described as “beautiful Barbados”.
So impressed with his knowledge of my island and his warm personality I made my way back there the morning of my departure – the Monday.
We hugged, he wished me safe travels and insisted I return to his homeland of nutmeg and mace.
I’ll confess he didn’t have much convincing to do.
*Toni Yarde is the Nation’s Operations Editor.