EDITOR’S DIARY: A MEMORABLE TOUR

Today we set out on a traditional island tour of Grenada with Sunsation Tours who has operated on the island for 20 years. With six other members of my family spread across London, New York and Jamaica, we decided to choose the ‘Tutti Frutti’ tour, which included a bit of everything such as stunning views, touristic hotspots and agriculture and heritage sites.

Our tour guide Carl, also known as ‘cousin carl’ and a favorite with Grenada’s Mona monkeys has operated tours for 19 years. He was very familiar with the steep meandering roads we met on the journey from the capital St. Georges to the other 5 parishes of Grenada. Warning us about every s-shaped road he would ease the dizziness and tardiness with funny facts about Grenada that had us in fits of laughter, like churches being strategically placed opposite rum shops, so that drunkards can stumble in to repent their sins (fact).

We drove along the picturesque West Coast, which after a few minutes became obscured by the unexpected heavy rain during dry season. Nevertheless we jumped out at our first stop Concord Waterfalls situated on the edge of the forest reserve. With the rain beating down, the water ice-cold and the rocks dead slippery it was the most exciting stop we made and unbeknown to us, the only stop we were going to make.

By the time we got to Gouyave, the birth place of athlete Kirani James and home of ‘Fish Friday’s’ (vendors set up stalls and serve up the fresh catch of the day) the rivers were raging with muddy water gushing down from the mountains and turning the blue sea a murky brown. One of Sunsation Tours top tips is to bring a camera with full batteries and empty cards so we snapped and recorded away while the daring fishermen rowed their tiny wooden boats into the rough sea topped up by the raging river.

We hit the hills to avoid the minor floods and sped down the old abandoned Pearl’s Airport, but our Tutti Frutti tour soon became thrill-seeking-cascading-river-tour when we got to the 17th century plantation Belmont Estate. We stopped off and ran in to sample Grenada’s organic dark chocolate from the Grenada Chocolate Company and by the time we had a taste of the guava and passion fruit chocolate bites, the raging river was a rich brown and on the same level as the bridge we needed to pass to get back on route. Carl remained calm and continued the tour so we could get a taste of Grenadian rum at River Antoine Rum Distillery, but we turned back when we saw a large up-rooted tree floating along the wrathful river like a feather in the wind.

The first sign of rain on any Brits holiday is unfortunate, so floods spark seriousness. But to our surprise it ended up being the most exhilarating tour any of us had ever been on and an experience none of us ever had. Even though our lives were in danger when the river peaked we felt safe because our tour guide Carl never panicked and literally went with the flow.

Complexd Women and Managing Director Johanna Kostka, featured in our Island issue, prides her company on being innovative and one step ahead of the competition. She also acknowledges that the perseverance, hard work and determination of her staff have ensured the longevity of the company. Sunsation Tours offers a variety of tours on land, sea and by air but who knows what you might get!

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EDITOR’S DIARY: MACA BANA GRENADA

‘Maca Bana is for an individual, unique ‘getaway’ to just be and to enjoy life, not another hotel room’

Watching the sunset and sunrise from the comfort of your bed is a truly magical experience, but watching it from a private massaging hot tub is sensational. When owners Rebecca Thompson and Ulrich Kuhn designed the seven villas on 2 acres of hillside, their personal dream was to share the beauty of the relaxing Caribbean life and inspire their guest.

Each ‘Bana’, meaning place of dwelling is privately placed giving guest a home-away-from-home feel and untouched views of the ocean. Our Bana called Rock Fig named after an indigenous fruit in Grenada boast a beach and ocean view, our petite but fully equipped kitchen features the artwork of owner Rebecca Thompson and our French sliding doors maximize the views and welcome the cool sea breeze.

The Maca Bana staff are scarce but extremely helpful and the General Manger Nickson is always on hand and easily contactable on his mobile, but the beauty of it is  the privacy and intimacy. Having worked for the Grenada Board of Tourism for six years and twelve years in destination management Nickson had a wealth of experience and knowledge about the island, which was an asset quickly spotted by owner Rebecca.

The view is unimaginable and definitely one of the unique selling points but it’s the consciousness of the owners that sets it apart among other boutique resorts on the island. Each bana is solar powered so all electrical facilities such as the cooling air conditioning and brand name kitchen appliances are powered by solar energy. Friendly reminders are doted around the room to encourage awareness of the environment and Nickson added that the note that personally greeted us into our room will be shredded and used by the owner for her artwork.

Maca Bana villas is a small family business and the mastermind behind it is Rebecca Thompson. It has been executed so fantastically you would think there was an elite luxury hotel group behind it. The good thing about a home-grown business is that as they develop the aim is to become more environmentally friendly and preserve the paradise that is Grenada rather than destroy it.

Look out for a full feature with owner and artist Rebecca Thompson in Complexd Magazine and find out more about Maca Bana here

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COMPLEXD WOMAN: NIKI ROBERTS

Name: Niki Roberts

Age: 30

Occupation: Director/Producer

Place of birth: Washington DC

Current residence: New York

I’m a diverse mix of African-American, first nation (Black Feet Indian) and Irish. I grew up in a musical household and the arts are very important in both of my families. My eldest cousins used to play the piano at Julliard for Judy Garland before she passed and my grandfather managed screen movies and renowned musical acts in a time when African-Americans didn’t have that kind of access because of segregation. I grew up hearing those stories when I was just a little girl and it has inspired me greatly.

My business partners and I were at a bar one night somewhere in New York, and over drinks, we said, ‘hey let’s just start a company and make movies already!’ Once we began to go out and about and actually make films the company and concept started to grow and since then we have joined forces with another company based in New York that does viral media content.

Our most successful film was ‘Out of the Darkness’ staring Jessica Andres about a troubled teen fighting her own demons after the accidental death of her infant. ‘Out of the Darkness’ has been around the world and back on the festival circuit and was well received at the 64th Festival de Cannes 2011. We’ll be at Cannes again this year with another project that I had the pleasure to direct called ‘Botes al Amanecer’.

I believe that there is a season for everything, even for when you feel like you may have missed the boat. There are times when I feel like I’ve missed a great opportunity, but I remind myself to be patient because it will come back around again, or a better opportunity is on it’s way. I have had so many ‘no’s’ sometimes based on first impressions that it has made me tough. Whenever I feel a little de-motivated I zone out to some good dance music and run. Once I’m in that musical zone I can meditate.

As a woman I like that I can show my vulnerability but be a bad-ass at the same time. There are over 7 billion people and of all the women in that 7 billion we cannot label a small percentage as beautiful, its absurd! We need to break stigmas and long-standing beauty stereotypes and within my industry, that’s why I believe that advertisers, media makers and brands need to start diversifying their look.

Find out more about RocketLightFilms here

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EDITOR’S DIARY: PRICKLY BAY WATERSIDE

At 133 sq. miles, my home country Grenada is a small, but beautiful island untouched by major developments and chain hotels. This is why when Architecture and Design company Hywel Evans built Prickly Bay Waterside on one of Grenada’s many ports, it stood out as one of the most contemporary developments on the island and won multiple international property awards for best development, architecture and marina.

Original sketch

I love modern architecture and interiors so much so that I was adamant I was going to forge a career as an Architect or Interior Designer. Even though I abandoned those plans I still enjoy admiring sophisticated and innovative design, so today I met up with Sales Director Gillian Baptiste to view Prickly Bay’s luxury residential community.

A guided tour with Sales Director Gillian Baptiste 

All of the 18 properties ranging from 1-5 bedroom apartments take advantage of the breath-taking views of the ocean with an indoor/outdoor living concept. The 3 floor Spinnaker apartments, which boast a rooftop garden and infinity pool, definitely had the wow factor and judging by Gillian’s easy vibe it was clear that the apartments are not hard to sell.

The majority of the property is rented by medical students, studying at the neighbouring St Georges University who enjoy the nautical theme, open plan living and views of the bay. Judging by the students studying while lounging I was definitely convinced! Gillian moved from Toronto to Grenada six years ago and expressed it was the quality of life that sold the Caribbean lifestyle to her. There is always more time for friends and family and living on a small island means that everyone is no more than a 10-minute drive away.

Gillian strongly believes the island is progressing in terms of design and architecture and moving towards more of a modern feel. She admits that people regularly visit the property for inspiration for their own homes and it just might have the potential to change the fashion in the way people live in Grenada.

View more images of the developments here

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EDITOR’S DIARY: LE CONCH GRENADA

I’ve always wondered how I would maintain the ‘hair situation’ if I lived in the Caribbean. In colder climates women can enjoy a window of time to hibernate, re-grow or bask in their hippy hairiness before a visit to the beauty salon, but in warmer climates your body is constantly on show.

Before every holiday I undergo a list of grooming treatments to make sure I am beach and hot pants ready. Like most women I stay loyal to my threader who shapes up my eyebrows, the beauty spa and therapist who does my waxing and the nail technician who looks after my finger and toenails. It’s all about familiarity and being comfortable with the place and women who maintain the most intimate parts of your body. A large part of it is reassurance – knowing that they will do a good job makes it easier to lie down on the treatment bed and just relax.

Joanne (center)

Yesterday I desperately needed a maintenance check for the second week of beach lounging, so I was pleased to find out about Le Conch Health & Beauty Salon and even more pleased to know the owner Joanne Davison, originally from the UK, had trained in London. Looking at the treatment list added to my pleased state of mind when I came across the Vjazzel and Brazilian bikini waxes. That was the first time I had seen these kind of waxing treatments being offered in Grenada and I was curious to find out more.

The spa is popular and frequently booked up, but it wasn’t too hard to be seen, especially if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes and listening to the funny banter and girl talk between the clients and therapists.

The treatment rooms are dimly lit and air-conditioned, beauty therapist Navon applied the wax and used muslin cloth cut into strips to suit the shape and grooves of my body and for my legs she used larger cuts of cloth. It was the first time I had seen this technique and I was very impressed by how quick and pain-free the experience was.

Navon, who started out doing beauty treatments for friends and family was trained professionally by Joanne and now enjoys doing a wider range of treatments such as facials and massages and body treatments. The clientele, which consist mainly of students who enjoy preening through intervals of study gave Joanne the push to open a second spa in True Blue Bay Resort which is five minutes away from the medical school.

I am just happy that I can put my high leg H&M bikini bottoms back on and when I’m back on the island again, I have a new trusted beauty therapist to run too.

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