Known for its urban clubs for creative professionals, Soho House has branched out with its first hotel in the Caribbean, on the secluded island of Canouan in St Vincent and the Grenadines. But it’s only for members. Jenny Southan reports
Soho Beach House Canouan is positioned on the island’s Grand Bay, and has 40 bedrooms, plus restaurants, bars, a deli, a boutique and a gym.
However, bedroom bookings are only open to Soho House members and Soho Friends; a new membership type that gives access to Soho House bedrooms, Studios and events, as well as benefits at the spas, restaurants and cinemas. (Soho Friends members do not have access to the clubs.)
Soho Beach House Canouan occupies a former hotel that has been reimagined by Soho House Design. A press release states that it has taken inspiration from its surroundings and uses locally sourced materials.
For example, throughout, there are rustic heavy linens and grass rugs woven on nearby St Vincent by men in prison as part of the “Grow in Time” rehabilitation programme, as well as some of the baskets, doormats and wall hangings used in the hotel.
Just a short walk from the sea, Soho Beach House Canouan is set across three existing buildings and converted palapas that form a central area for eating and drinking.Guests arrive by boat to the original wooden jetty, which is a short distance on foot to reception in a palapa made from chiqui chiqui grass, with high ceilings and a woven roof.
The space is open on all sides, housing a lounge area with sofas, hanging ceiling lights, and a mixture of rustic, vintage wooden and cane furniture all in a simple, fresh palette with neutral fabrics. Antique accessories collected from all over the world decorate the space.
The main bar, housed in a large palapa, has open sides and a pergola roof over the seating area. There is a central square bar clad in hand-painted tiles in Caribbean blue, a crazy paving stone floor – a local design on the islands – linen and rattan furniture, vintage cane pieces, woven hanging lights and handmade ceramic lamps.
The dining palapa, also connected to the main bar, is open sided with more crazy paving, wooden chairs, tiled wooden tables and vintage armchairs. The same materials are used throughout the connecting areas, creating a laid-back flow through the spaces.The terrace bar has a mix of vintage lounge seating and a long banquette set against a wall lined with decorative baskets collected from around the world. Just in front, there is a lounge area on the beach, dotted with small pergolas for shade, with hanging rattan festoon lighting and built-in timber sunbeds.
There are hammock chairs to relax in, low seating and cushions on the sand, with palm trees and landscaped planting that surround the space. There is also a DJ palapa, which is a permanent fixture on the beach terrace with large speakers and a DJ deck.
The Store and Deli, painted in white and a pale Caribbean blue, sells men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.
The deli counter, made from reclaimed timber from the island, faces the beach and serves snacks and drinks.
At the end of the beach terrace there is also a studio, which can be hired out for events, private dining, meetings, or as a multifunctional space for an artist in residence. In the same tones as the Deli and Store, inside it has a large table and lounge seating with views directly out to the sea.
A two-floored gym building includes one large studio and equipment room, two yoga studios with views out to the Caribbean Sea, changing rooms, and an outdoor yoga terrace.
Designed to give a fresh Caribbean feel with an open-air staircase, timber walls and floors have been used throughout, and there are blue windows covered with bamboo blinds and hanging rattan pendants.
Further down the shoreline, the hotel’s 40 bedrooms are housed in white painted wooden buildings with traditional Caribbean-blue tin roofs. Each room sits directly in front of the beach, with a sea-facing balcony. Rates start from US$245.The design is simple and relaxed, with solid painted wooden walls, timber emperor beds, ceramic bedside lamps with woven shades, timber minibars with scallop-edge detail – which was inspired by old Caribbean houses on the island – wooden shutter windows and tapestries on the walls.
Natural finishes are used in the bathrooms with travertine tiles, rustic oak vanities, and woven cane mirrors. There are no TVs in the bedrooms, offering a quiet escape for members and guests.
The Big and Large bedrooms each have a vintage wardrobe and seating area, with four-poster beds draped with mosquito nets and vintage rattan furniture and accessories, including a small desk and sideboard, cane bookshelves, and a sunbed on the balcony.On the beach in front of the rooms, striped sun loungers sit under palapa umbrellas dotted around the seafront, alongside a beach bar in a timber shack with a shuttered front. Water sports are available from a wooden-clad shack on the beach, with surfboards and sports equipment for guests to use.
To get to Canouan, guests can fly into either St Vincent or Barbados and then catch a small charter plane, which can be arranged through the hotel. If arriving by large boat, there is a big marina on Canouan for guests to moor and then travel to the property’s jetty by tender.