There's one precious amenity often overlooked by some hotels -- flexibility. The front desk staff at too many places just doesn't like surprises.
When we showed up at The Flamboyant Hotel -- a party of six instead of the four they expected -- we were prepared for disappointment. This popular roosting spot on Grand Anse Beach was booked to capacity, and we were hoping to get a suite that would fit all of us. We won't let that be a problem, smiled the clerk. Housekeepers were quickly summoned to prepare a newly remodeled suite. Soon we were enjoying sundown cocktails on our balcony that boasted a fine view of one of the Caribbean's most glorious strands.
This cheerful and accommodating spirit is one reason why The Flamboyant Hotel has long been a favorite of foreign visitors, as well as Grenadians on holiday. Walking the terraced grounds of the 60-room hotel, I passed several family reunions in full swing with the kids running and laughing and the grown-ups kicking back and chatting.
The hotel takes it name from the flamboyant tree, known in the U.S. as the royal poinciana. And the tree's spectacular orange blossoms were at their most glorious during our early summer visit.
Built on a steep, verdant hillside -- guests get a rigorous workout just climbing from the beach to their rooms -- The Flamboyant's charms lie in its nooks and crannies. It's easy to find a private spot for soaking in the view or enjoying a book. And it's just as easy to wander down the hillside, past the freshwater pool and the sun deck, to play billiards in the game room.
The big draw, of course, is Grand Anse Beach. The Flamboyant anchors the west end of the three-mile stretch that, beyond the obvious delights of sun and surf, offers a little something for everyone -- windsurfing, snorkeling, diving excursions, sailing and several beachside bars and restaurants.
The Flamboyant experience starts, appropriately enough, with a big welcome. Most hotels feature a welcome cocktail party, but the weekly affair thrown by The Flamboyant is the most lively I've ever attended.
There's enough rum punch here to drown the British Navy, observed a banker from London who typified the predominantly British clientele.
Meanwhile, general manager Lawrence Lambert was making the rounds, telling stories and suggesting day trips and tours that would reveal the real Grenada.
Sooner or later I meet everyone who stays here, he said. And if they need something - it can be anything at all - then I make sure they get it.
Rates at The Flamboyant start at US$105 for a standard double and US$185 for a deluxe two-bedroom suite (November through December). Children under the age of 12 stay for free. Various packages (dive, wedding, all-inclusive) are available. For more information, call 473-444-4247 or visit www.flamboyant.com.
Posted online 10/01/00.