Palm Island was originally known as Prune Island and, despite the allure of its sandy beaches, was uninhabited and contained quite a lot of swampland in its low-lying interior.
In 1966 the island was leased by Americans John and Mary Caldwell for 99 years from the St. Vincent & the Grenadines government for one US dollar per year, but it was on the condition that they would build a hotel to provide local employment. They reclaimed much of the sodden interior by planting coconut palms, a habit John had developed on many of his previous voyages, earning him the nickname Johnny Coconuts. Fittingly, Prune Island became Palm Island and the couple began constructing a 10-room hotel called the Palm Island Beach Club which they ran for the next 30 years. They raised money for initial construction by subleasing plots of the island for the building of private homes.
In 1999 the hotel was sold to the current owners (partners James Lane an Englishman and Rob Barrett an American). Most of the existing structures were torn down as they were falling apart and replaced with new facilities including 41 beautiful rooms and suites, a modern Spa, expansive warehousing, an all weather tennis court and a terrific swimming pool among others. Two of the private homes were purchased afterwards and converted into spectacular Villas which are ideal for families and groups of friends. A nursery was developed to produce and care for the potted plants for interior spaces and a greenhouse created to grow produce and herbs for the daily menus.
Palm Island has had its setbacks – from the occasional storm, a fire or two – but each time the damaged facility was replaced by something even better. A kitchen fire gave it a brand new and modern main kitchen and the recent fiery destruction of the generators resulted in a state of the art generator room and engineering facility.
Palm Island is the perfect blend of casualness and elegance, ideal for the sophisticated traveler who wants an unstuffy vacation. One of the most endearing features of Palm Island is the staff - some are characters but all are courteous and caring and will go out of their way to ensure that the guests have an unforgettable time.
There are many reasons why our staff is excellent. We recruit the best candidates, train them well and continuously motivate them by way of staff recognition programmes and recreational activities to give them a respite from their week of hard work.
Apart from the 2000 plus coconut (palm) trees, there are fan palms, croton, hibiscus, exora and other flowering plants, many bird species, ground lizards and the ubiquitous iguanas, most famous of which is George who lives in a tree near the Royal Palm Restaurant and loves posing for pictures.