(June 23-30, 2008). After landing in Barbados, we started filing into the terminal with the rest of the passengers. Before we had gone very far, we were met be the Raffles greeters and whisked into the private aviation area. While we filled out forms, staff gathered our luggage and we were soon airborne in a six-passenger “shared charter” to Canouan. Just the two of us plus pilot and co-pilot.
Such is the pleasure of staying at the Raffles Resort here. The staff is friendly, thoughtful and dedicated to making your stay wonderful. We even had the New York Times delivered daily, or at least the fax copy of the entire paper. The island is a small one, with no real village; and the resort occupies about half of it, spread over several hundred acres. There is nothing within walking distance of the villa, except the other Quintess villa next door, making the two gasoline-powered golf carts a necessity to get to any restaurant, beach or athletic facility.
Because this is definitely low season, we virtually had the place to ourselves. No worry about reservations for meals, tennis or golf. The villa is typically well-equipped, furnished in chic, island style, with several locally crafted pieces.
Raffles, as a true luxury resort, several restaurants, and we set out to eat in each of them once during our stay.
Jambu’s has fusion cuisine, plus pizza, mezzes and a kids menu thrown in. Our mixed mezze platter, split in the kitchen for us, contained hummus, chicken kebab, tabbouleh, olives, artichokes, feta and babaganoush ($15.85). Gary’s fried seafood with basil was similar to those found at typical New York Chinese restaurants, and Varian’s glazed Chilean sea bass had one taste as the Korean BBQ sauce had merged so with the kimchee that neither one was distinguishable from the other.
One night off campus at Raffles’ down-market sister hotel, we ate dinner at Tamarind, located right on the beach and topped with a towering woven roof.
The chicken and sweet corn soup ($12) was tasty as was the pumpkin ravioli with butter and sage ($23). The catch of the day, king-fish with red pepper sauce, was garnished with mashed potato and some bland boiled cabbage, carrots and green peppers ($23). We were driven by there and back because it is too far for the golf carts.
Dinner at Bellini’s, back on campus, was a little more elegant with grilled barracuda and a cilantro line salsa, white asparagus and grilled sliced potato ($36.98).
Up the hill from our villa but quite far from the rest of the resort is Villa Monte Carlo, with a casino and la Varenne, the high-end restaurant on the resort. While we listened to the delightful Dee who moves from restaurant to restaurant within Raffles during the week, we enjoyed tuna slices, seared lightly on both sides with a crunchy crust but nicely “blue” inside ($30.57) and red snapper with a basil potato puree, sauced with a citrus vin blanc ($44.15). They started us off with a tuna and pineapple mix in a black sesame seed coronet and then an amuse bouche of cold pumpkin soup with Parmesan sorbet. An extensive tasting menu was available for $132 for those with bigger appetities than ours that night. We never did get to la Piazza, the fairly up-scale Italian restaurant, where there was a three-course set menu ($75) and a five-course menu ($123) in addition to the extensive á la carte offerings.