Many of our guests ask about how long we’ve been living here in Grenada and what brought us here in the first place. Although some of you may have already heard our story, we thought we’d post it up here for everybody to see.
So here is the story of our beginning at Petite Anse Hotel.
Here’s our story
If you’ve already checked out our About Us page, you may already know that we started our journey in 2000, when we decided it was time for us to make a change from hop, arable and animal stock farming in Worcestershire in the UK. Annie was in full time Psychiatric Nursing.
After very little dithering, we sold up, bought a boat that we loved (an Oyster 55 for those of you who are boat-ish) and sailed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. This rather epic journey took us 17 days, 11 hours and 47 minutes to be exact!
We spent sometime adjusting to life on a boat but managed to attend many Boat Shows where we sought information on how to plan and be able to book Charters. We soon got started and over the next several years sailed up and down the islands with our wide variety of yachting guests from far and wide around the world.
Anybody who has lived on a boat knows that living on one full time, is far different from staying for a few days. Although our boat was very spacious and we had all mod cons such as a standard sized washing machine, a bread maker and even had electric sails, we reached a point where we were hankering to live on solid land again.
It was at this point that we realised it would be very hard for us to return to the UK and it’s cold winters. We also didn’t relish the thought of the daily commute and traffic and looking for new and different jobs where we were not in charge anymore!
We also realised that we really didn’t want to leave the Caribbean anyway!
Where should we live?
So now we had the decision of where we wanted to live. Our sailing up and down the island chain had given us a good understanding of which island offered what. They each have their own culture, geography and environment. Calling on our experience and knowledge of each one, we had a good idea of which ones we thought would offer a good living environment.
There were two islands that stood head and shoulders above the rest for us when considering where we might like to settle. Although we do of course have other favourites (Bequia for one), they just didn’t feature in the list for us to move to and live on.
We had both Dominica (a Caribbean island further up the Caribbean island chain) and Grenada firmly in our sights.
Both islands were very natural and they had the added interest of being fertile for growing food. They also had truly fascinating cultures and hadn’t changed much over the years in terms of food and cultural practices. They both offered rainforest and verdant tropical flora and greenery.
It was hard to choose, but choosing was essential for us to be able to move forward to living our dream. So we finally made up our mind…….
We opted for the Spice Island of Grenada. It was more developed for visitors which made it easier to buy things. Dominica is a stunning place but it isn’t as far in development and also doesn’t have the same level of amenities.
So with Grenada at the top of the list, we were faced with the challenge of looking around at where we might like to live, and what was available to us that was away from the bustle and heat of St George, the capital, in the south.
The piece of land was found
Fortunately, we already had friends on Grenada and whilst visiting them, Philip and his yachting mate, Maudy, went for a hike and came across the beach just below the land where Petite Anse is now built. At the moment of looking up from the beach Philip immediately thought what a great potential site for a home or some sort of exciting construction. Fortunately the friends were able to introduce the owners of the land and to begin a lengthy but eventually, successful deal.
Although we started out thinking that we would just live on the island, it was when we found our piece of land that we realised that was not where our future lay. We are very good at keeping ourselves busy and active in the home, the garden and in the community (particularly Annie when it comes to community), we weren’t looking to retire at this time of our lives. Not to mention that with that amazing view overlooking the Caribbean Sea to the Grenadines, we knew that we’d love to share it with people and inspire them in the same way that it inspired us.
As you might imagine, the general character and atmosphere of this part of the island featured in our making our final decision of where to live. The people are warm, friendly and laid back. The perfect archetype of the wonderful spirit of the West Indian people. Full of good humour, cheer and naturally equipped with the ability to brighten the spirits of everybody they meet.
Some of our reasons for living in Grenada
• The NATURE
• The BEAUTY EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK.
• The SPIRIT OF THE ISLAND THROUGH ITS PEOPLE
• The CLIMATE
• The SPICES
• The FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
• The PURENESS
What happened next?
After some discussions with the owner of the land, we committed to buy it. It took a while, and it took some time to work through the paperwork involved but it was so worth it. We fell deeper in love with our dream every day.
Now that we had decided to build a hotel, we had to find somewhere to live. As with the land, the heavens were smiling down at us, and we came across a beautiful property not too far away. Again, it had wonderful views and enough space for visiting friends and family to stay.
As an old plantation house, the gardens were outstanding and already planted with fruits and that we could harvest for use in the hotel restaurant. Philip set about planting seeds for tomatoes and seasoning herbs. He then set about tidying up the grounds so that we could make the best of what we had.
The building work
Hiring local people to work on the design of our hotel and to advise us on the building regulations, we soon had a team digging the foundations of the hotel. The hotel was seriously hard work to put into place.
We had ups and downs. Some days we were far ahead on our building schedule, whereas other days we’d be beset with problems. Like when we had dug all the foundations, and then it rained for two weeks. Every time we emptied the foundations of water, it would fill it again. We were stuck in a place of no go and no advancement.
Whilst the building took place, Annie and her friend Lynn worked on ordering all the supplies that we’d need. The sheets, the soaps, the cutlery, tables cloths and cooking equipment. It’s amazing how many things you need to run a hotel. The list appeared to be endless, and so did the receipts!
Tropical hardwood from Guyana
Philip took a trip over to Guyana to purchase hardwood that was not only environmentally friendly as it had to travel less distance to reach us, but it would offer strong material that our local carpenters would craft into our cottages in addition to floor boards, furniture and our fittings such as our reception area and bar area.
Our talented local carpenters set about making the cottages and furniture such as the beds, desks and the chairs and table sets on each verandah. The wood that we chose resists fungi and termites whilst providing good weathering properties. Building and preparing to open seemed to take forever, but finally we were ready.
The opening of Petite Anse Hotel
To cut a long story short, the Hotel opened in March 2005 by our, then, Prime Minister, Mr Tilman Thomas. We held a Grand Opening Party for all those who were involved in the build, other Hoteliers on Grenada and friends and family. After over 2 years of building work, we were not only relieved to have completed the buildings successfully, but we were raring to get started with welcoming people to the Hotel.
With marketing already under way, our first guests were from home, all friends of Philip’s from The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester!
We warmly welcomed The 72 Club! They were our guinea pigs and our real first guests.
From the day that we decided to build a hotel, we knew that it would bring a much-needed new place of employment to invigorate the local economy. We’d be buying local produce to feed ourselves, our staff and our guests and that would include locally grown fruits and vegetables in addition to fresh fish.
We hired mostly from the local area and our team have made a success of Petite Anse (as our TripAdvisor reviews can tell you) . They are warm, friendly and have been committed to giving outstanding service whilst still allowing our guests to enjoy the hotel and it’s space.
Weddings in Grenada
Part of our dream was to offer the pinnacle of romantic moments, which is the ceremony of marriage, the wedding. With the amazing view as the backdrop, and all the facilities required to celebrate in style, our hotel is ideal for those tying the knot.
Annie took over the task of planning weddings as she has a natural talent for not only helping people feel supported and cared for, but she is the right person when it comes with anything to do with artistic touches and putting together a social occasion of which the memories will be treasured for years to come.
You can find out more about weddings at Petite Anse Hotel here.
Our story continues..
We have loved living in Grenada for these past years and have no plans to leave. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, we will continue welcoming people to Grenada, sharing our love of the island, good food and helping people to enjoy their lives.
If you haven’t been to Grenada yet, do come and visit. We’d love to show you this piece of paradise. Check our availability here.