On an old, once inhabited island, Palm Beach successfully maintains the line between minimal impact and full facilities.
There are no groynes or sea walls here, the wide and wonderful beaches are allowed to shift with the seasons. In the long run this is the best idea, but it does mean that, seasonally, some rooms have just a small amount of beach outside. This is particularly the case with the 20, more expensive, two-storey, Villa rooms. On the other hand, these rooms are built in the shady, palm and flower-studded end of the island, near to the main buildings and the delightful, specialist restaurant.
The opposite half of the island is more or less open to the skies and here we find the 25 Deluxe Superior rooms and 55 Deluxe rooms. The advantage of these rooms is as one moves further away from the public area everything becomes even more quiet and the beaches even more untouched. The rooms themselves are large and pleasant enough, though, like all the buildings here, rather ‘blocky’. Textiles, patterned on the traditional mat designs, bring a welcome warmth. All the rooms have piped music, televisions with many satellite channels and in-house movies. The prime rooms are the 4 Presidential Suites.
It is in the nature of this place that everything is laid on but nothing is pushed. All water sports, apart from diving, are free for the asking. As is tennis, squash, table tennis and pool. All excursions and fishing trips are also free. The guest relations people and the tour reps quietly move through the restaurant in the evenings chatting and informing guests about what is happening at any time. It is noticeable that the resort is very well managed and that the staff are friendly and enthusiastic.
The intimate atmosphere engendered by drinks and live music in the pool bar dissipates a little as guests move into the vast restaurant. This, the main bar, the coffee shop and reception were built for a resort with many more rooms than were finally built, so it takes a full complement of amicable Italian guests to fill the places out.
All guests come on full board basis and the food, it must be said, is faultless. An Italian bias to a continental cuisine, it is all fresh, varied and sure to satisfy. The salads and deserts are unusually good, as is the sizzling meat and fish grill outside. Although almost everyone is on full board, there is a temptation at some point to check out the small, classy à la carte restaurant, beautifully sited beside the beach, beneath the palms.
Italians are a little over half the population here and the ambience is moulded by them. The large minority is made up of Germans, French, Swiss and Japanese, who also seem to thoroughly enjoy what the resort has to offer. Essentially what it offers is good food, large rooms, lots of facilities and a varied, pretty island.
Reviewed by Adrian Neville