St. Lucia Hotels
Tel: 758 459 7000
Tarzan, once he'd been reclaimed by high society and grown accustomed to the luxe life, would have felt just right at this barefoot luxury resort. Wrapped in tropical forest, Anse Chastanet is basically a series of architect's tree houses, cooled only by trade winds, with the majestic peaks of the Pitons in plain view. The best of the 49 rooms here are the Premium Hillside units: vast, open spaces with only three walls apiece, and one side completely open to the breeze and the view. No froufrou decor could possibly compete, so the furnishings are simple (and mostly made from indigenous materials): clay-tiled floors, chunky wooden furniture handmade by St. Lucians, madras-checked-cotton bedspreads, and woven-wicker lampshades. One room has the trunk of a red gommier tree growing through it; others have giant showers open to the mountains. The more modest rooms are octagonal aeries surrounded by deep-green forest, or comfy beach shacks, all with the same decor. There are no TVs, DVD players, phones, Internet connections or AC. Instead, you'll find a famous dive shop, a new yoga hut, the Kai Belté Spa, and free snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, and Sunfish sailing. There are 12 miles of private mountain-bike trails, lots of local outings, two excellent restaurants, and an art gallery. Be aware that there's lot of stair-climbing involved in a stay here. Reception and the Piton restaurant are 100 steps up from the shore; the hillside rooms are higher still. Beachside guests can be lazier, since the Trou au Diable dining room is at sea level.
Cap Estate , St. Lucia
Tel: 758 457 7800
Fax: 973 940 0551
For visitors who want more than a great tan from their St. Lucia vacation, BodyHoliday offers a daily list of activities, from waterskiing lessons, scuba diving, and sea kayaking to Zumba workouts, yoga, and personal training sessions. The 155-room all-inclusive resort is situated on a private beach north of Rodney Bay. The dark-brown and taupe rooms are understated but luxurious, with four-poster mahogany beds, plush bedspreads, and coral-limestone bathrooms with combo tub-showers and dual-basin sinks. Many of the rooms come with terraces overlooking the beach. After working up a sweat with the full-on exercise schedule, cool down in one of the hotel's two pools or with a spa treatment in the Asian-themed wellness center. Or you could opt for an afternoon mini-tournament of Ping-Pong in the game room (the only place at the resort with a TV, FYI). Of course, you're not required to do anything if you don't want to, and no one will call you out for taking full advantage of the numerous buffets. Aside from the dining pavilion with its central bar and live music stage, there's also a lovely juice bar/café for lunch at the far end of the beach and the unique Tao restaurant for Caribbean–Asian fusion cuisine and sushi in the evening. Late night, seek out the tiny piano bar, where guests croon to sing-along favorites accompanied by the resident pianist.—Douglas Wright
Smugglers Cove Drive
Gros Islet , St. Lucia
Tel: 888 765 4985 (toll-free)
Tel: 758 457 8670
At the northern tip of St Lucia, Cap Maison perches on a cliff like a small orderly village. This cluster of three-storey white buildings features a Spanish (via Caribbean) colonial architectural motif with its characteristic Moorish inflections, painted tiles, and dark wood. The 50 rooms are kitted out with local paintings and richly upholstered furniture (including an oversized chaise longue at the foot of the bed), balconies, louvered shutters, as well as lovely bathrooms with painted ceramic sinks. Some suites come with a private plunge pool but, should you prefer company, there is a small cliff-edge cascading pool as well as a larger one surrounded by chaise longues. At the bottom of a long staircase is a small protected beach for swimming and snorkeling. Resort guests also have access to a new motor yacht for sunset cruises and day-trips (lunch in Martinique, anyone?). The exceptional restaurant, which overlooks the water, expertly prepares dishes like mahi mahi with a garlic brown butter and dark greens. Staff are friendly and solicitous and will arrange meals in your suite or a car and driver, generally catering to your every whim.
Reduit Beach Avenue
Rodney Bay Village
Tel: 758 456 2800
Opened by the former St. Lucia director of tourism, Allen Chastanet, in fall 2003, Coco Kreole is a cute, 20-room self-styled boutique hotel across the road from Reduit Beachand a refreshing antidote to the nearby cluster of giant resorts. Chastanet put a lot of thought into avoiding the typical reception/check-in routine, instead employing "hosts" responsible for tending their own block of rooms. Cable TV with VCR, AC, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, and a pool are the big-ticket extras included in the very small ticket price. The Brown Sugar bar is open all day. The brand-new, pricier Coco Palm has 72 rooms, including a few where (parents of toddlers, beware) the French windows open directly over the pool. Both hotels have exuberant, splashy, island decor, with sun-bright colors, bamboo furniture, and palm-frond prints. If you're staying at Coco Creole, be sure to ask for the recently upgraded though identically priced corner rooms, with updated bathrooms and furniture.
Tel: 800 544 2883 (toll-free)
Tel: 758 456 5700
Located between St. Lucia's only 18-hole golf course and a half-mile-long sweep of virgin beach, this newly completed 74-unit resort village is the first of its kind on the pristine northeast coast of St. Lucia. Trails leading from either end of the beach wind for miles along the undisturbed coast, yet a 15-minute drive leads you to lively Rodney Bay. The best rooms are the three-bedroom private villas located on the beach, each with a private pool and an always accessible butler. So, if you've lost your way while driving around the island, or want dinner for six prepared and set in your gazebo, simply hit the speed dial button on the hotel-provided cell. In addition to the villas, there are a number of one- to three-bedroom apartment suites built around the wide-decked pool. In design and proportion, they feel more like homes than hotel rooms, with fully equipped kitchens and mahogany-floored bedrooms with four-poster beds. With two very good restaurantsone serving Mediterranean cuisine, the other a more casual beach barand one of the best-equipped spas on the island, Cotton Bay serves up a full platter for both families and urban escapees.
Tel: 758 458 5300
At first glance, the new Discovery at Marigot Bay looks incongruousbuilt directly into the steep slopes surrounding the bay, it has a ski lodge feel that could fit in Aspen. The 124 rooms are another departure from the cliché of Caribbean design: They are sleek and minimalist, with rich, dark wood furniture and cabinetry that conceals air-conditioning units, kitchen appliances, and wires. Still, the outstanding views from the large verandas, 30 of which have plunge pools (unfortunately, guests above have views of you), are unmistakably West Indian. A walk through the main lobby, decorated with Sharon Marston chandeliers and Louis Ghost chairs, leads to the famous and aptly named Hurricane Bar (the bay is a refuge in bad weather), which was kept intact during development. Recent additions cater to the always lively sailing crowd, so there is a boardwalk leading to an impressive array of clothing and gift shops, a French patisserie, and a full-service spa. Guests also have the use of the Caribbean's only solar-powered boat, which runs across the bay to the beach, restaurants, and bars.
Tel: 800 223 1108 (toll-free)
Tel: 758 459 4002
Consider Jade Mountain a tropical Mount Olympus. The avant-garde tree house summit is seemingly suspended on top of a hill overlooking the magnificent Pitons. To better help you see the 2,600-foot crags of rock and the ocean below, all 29 suites are open to the elements, essentially "missing" a wall or two. The Sun suites are so open that they reveal a sweeping 270 degrees of mountain, ocean, and sky. You can view it all from the comfort of your four-poster canopy bed, but when you step out of the covers onto the polished purple-heart floor, chances are you'll make for your private infinity pool. Each is surfaced in iridescent glass tiles and illuminated with fiber-optic lighting. There are no phones or televisions (butlers are on call from your private cell phone provided by the resort), and the lighting is mellow and diffused except for the Milky Way's great bright band above—it's so romantic that being by yourself even for a short time induces melancholy. But romantics, be forewarned: In what could be considered an overzealous attempt at openness, there are no doors to any of the bathrooms, taking intimacy to an entirely new (and, for some, uncomfortable) level.—Update by Douglas Wright
Forbidden Beach La Baie de Silence
Val des Pitons
Tel: 758 456 8000
This intimate luxury resort is nestled between the towering Pitons on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation. The 78 rooms and villas—some just built, others fully renovated under a $100-million overhaul to be completed in 2012—are spread out across lush rolling hills and totally secluded from one another. Inside, the plantation-style decor features bright white furnishings that draw your attention to the tropical paradise outdoors—luxurious four-poster beds, huge walk-in closets that double as the dressing rooms, claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms, and a private deck with chaise longues and a plunge pool. All rooms are appropriately outfitted with mod cons like AC, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, iPod docking stations, and even a personal butler who's reachable 24/7 by mobile phone. You might be tempted to stay inside, but the biggest perk is your surroundings—sea, sand, mountains, and rainforest—so get out and explore. It's best to hit the beach before breakfast if you want to snag one of the coveted chaise longues under umbrellas and reserve some shade. There's great snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming right off shore in the warm Caribbean water (or if you're splurging, why not charter the owner's yacht, the Manatee, for a lavish day at sea?) Try both of the excellent on-site restaurants—the casual on-the-beach Bayside and the swankier Great Room, where farm-to-table menus change daily—and sip sophisticated cocktails at the trendy Cane Bar. And don't leave without treating yourself to a chocolate body scrub or massage at the idyllic Rainforest Spa, where seven treehouse-like rooms stand on stilts in the jungle.— Jen Swetzoff
Forbidden Beach La Baie de Silence
Val des Pitons
Tel: 758 456 8000
This intimate luxury resort is nestled between the towering Pitons on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation. The 78 rooms and villas—some just built, others fully renovated under a $100-million overhaul to be completed in 2012—are spread out across lush rolling hills and totally secluded from one another. Inside, the plantation-style decor features bright white furnishings that draw your attention to the tropical paradise outdoors—luxurious four-poster beds, huge walk-in closets that double as the dressing rooms, claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms, and a private deck with chaise longues and a plunge pool. All rooms are appropriately outfitted with mod cons like AC, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, iPod docking stations, and even a personal butler who's reachable 24/7 by mobile phone. You might be tempted to stay inside, but the biggest perk is your surroundings—sea, sand, mountains, and rainforest—so get out and explore. It's best to hit the beach before breakfast if you want to snag one of the coveted chaise longues under umbrellas and reserve some shade. Or, if you're a late riser with a big pocketbook, book a brand-new beachfront bungalow (opened in December 2011) and you'll have your own thatched-roof cabana on the soft white sand. While you're splurging, why not charter the owner's yacht, the Manatee, for a lavish day at sea? The more budget-conscious can snorkel, kayak, and swim off shore in the warm Caribbean water (complimentary water activities are offered right from the beach). Try both of the excellent on-site restaurants—the casual on-the-beach Bayside and the swankier Great Room, where farm-to-table menus change daily—and sip sophisticated cocktails at the trendy Cane Bar. And don't leave without treating yourself to a chocolate body scrub or massage at the idyllic Rainforest Spa, where seven treehouse-like rooms stand on stilts in the jungle.— Jen Swetzoff
Tel: 758 459 7323
Tel: 866 290 0978
Around the bay from Anse Chastanet is the newer, sleeker, but otherwise somewhat similar 25-unit Ladera. Accommodations here (there are rooms, and one- and two-bedroom villas) have no phones, TVs, or AC, and, crucially, no fourth walls. Instead there are Piton panoramas, along with in-room treatments by the hotel's new spa, and private plunge pools for romantic wallowing; this place is all about moonlight and champagne and…well, you know. Children aren't allowed—but given that the resort sits on a cliff 1,000 feet above the sea, that's probably a good thing. The same local artisans who supplied Anse Chastanet seem to have been responsible for the madras linens and clay floor tiles, though this decor is a bit fancier, with its stone walls and polished, mosquito-netted, tropical-green heartwood beds and armoires. There's a big communal infinity pool, and though there's no beach, a free shuttle goes to Anse Chastanet beach as well as Soufrière town. Everyone calls the restaurant, Dasheene, the island's best.
Castries , St. Lucia
Tel: 758 458 7300
Curled up in a cove south of the Pigeon Island peninsula, The Landings St. Lucia operates like a private-gated community for yachties and country-club families on vacation. A marina divides the resort in half with a man-made harbor, making it easy for boaters to tie off and check in. Landlubber guests arrive through the gabled portico of the main house, which holds a full-service spa and The Palms formal restaurant off the atrium lobby. Lose yourself in the 19 acres of landscaped gardens of palms and tropical flowers that surround the stately collection of lemon-yellow buildings with 122 villa suites. There's also an 800-foot-long beach (don't miss the weekly family-friendly barbeque and bonfire evenings on Tuesdays). The one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites have a nautical feel, with under-the-sea art prints on the walls and a subtle blue, taupe, and dark brown palette. with four-poster beds, flat-screen TVs, and comfy couches. Decked-out kitchens and dining room tables are perfect for entertaining guests. Spacious private terraces in the upper-floor suites have views over the harbor or the cove (the lower-floor rooms compensate for the pinched outdoor space with hot tubs on small patios). Two swimming pools, tennis courts, and water sports equipment (kayaking, sailboating, and snorkeling) keep guests entertained through the day. At night, the Beach Club is a casual and lively spot for evening drinks and Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken rotis.—Douglas Wright
Tel: 758 459 7037
Owned, built, and managed by second-generation members of the Brown family, all of whom grew up here, Stonefields is not only one of the more affordable luxury properties in Soufrière, it is also one of the most private—and popular with couples. With 19 cottages overlooking the ethereal beauty of Petit Piton, you'll be tempted to spend your time lounging in the hammock by your private pool, just staring up at the view. Each of the cottages has a peaked wooden roof, four-poster beds, jalousie windows, and outdoor showers shared only by the resident hummingbirds. There are no TVs, no phones, and no air conditioners (unless you ask for one), as most guests prefer the breeze and mysterious sounds of the rain forest at night. The restaurant serves local dishes based on Mrs. Brown's St. Lucian recipes, and the menu changes every night depending on what is fresh that day. A path will soon be cut down to the rocky beach below; otherwise, it's a quick shuttle drive to Jalousie beach.
Tel: 758 456 8101
A village unto itself, this 33-room cluster of gingerbread cottages spilling down a hillside (far) south of Castries is delightful for anyone wanting peace and quiet, a good beach, a spot of diving, and a cute little home of their own for the duration. Rooms take up an entire cottage, or half of a duplex, and all have big verandas with hammocks-for-two, alfresco showers, air-conditioners (though most people just fling open the shutters) and—in the best ones fronting the beach—private plunge pools. It would be impossible to object to their whitewashed walls, white bedcovers and drapes, terracotta-tiled floors and wooden shutters. There's a scuba center headed by a native St. Lucian who knows the island's sites like the back of his hand, and a pool for the less adventurous. The two on-site restaurants (one's a casual beach bar, the other is more formal) are very good—all-important in such a remote spot.