Once one arrives, the little isle delivers on every front, from the bottom of its white sandy beaches to the tops of its lush emerald green peaks. With its unsurpassed resorts, experiences and dining coupled with its private island mystique, this little-known sanctuary is poised to unseat Mustique as the discerning traveler’s tropical hideaway of choice.
Canouan is the Arawakan word for “turtle,” and it wasn’t so long ago that the reptilian creatures were the island’s primary residents. The handful of human inhabitants were mostly fishermen, and running water was considered a luxury. The arrival of an Italian developer with a vision, in the early 1990s, changed everything. He created an infrastructure that lured similarly resourced jet-setters to the small island, and five years ago the destination received the ultimate stamp of approval when the Mandarin Oriental chose to open its first Caribbean outpost here.
The Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is a breathtaking property with 26 suites and 13 villas nestled into the hillside, each one with expansive ocean views and indulgent marble baths. At 5,400 square feet the white-marble-laden Lagoon Villa is the largest on the property, with four en suite bedrooms, an infinity pool and a full service kitchen—where, for an extra fee, you can have a private chef cater to your every culinary need. For everything else, there is an attentive butler at your service. If your aesthetic tastes veer to the more minimal, the chic two- and three-bedroom villas with their private infinity pools and organic ethos are an elegant, equally stunning alternative.