Crossing this one off the bucket list: Jade Mountain at Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia.
Everyone has a bucket list. I want to go to Argentina and dance tango with the locals in the streets. I want to go to see the salt flats in Bolivia. I want to Egyptian pyramids in Cairo. Bucket lists are great but when you start working in luxury travel, simply going to a destination maybe not good enough anymore. It's all about the hotel. Soon, your accommodations become the destination. And at Jade Mountain at Anse Chastanet, it was just that. I came solely for the purpose of staying at this particular hotel.
I wasn't really familiar with the Caribbean - heck, I didn't even know where St. Lucia was! I never really had an interest in the Caribbean since I'm not a huge sun destination person. But when I first heard of Jade Mountain, I knew I had to somehow make it there.
Upon arrival at Hewanorra International Airport, we were welcomed with ice-cold towels to cool off in the hot humid heat. We were then ushered into a cool, air-conditioned van and headed straight for the resort, about an hour's drive away.
I was thrilled to get double upgraded into the their Galaxy Pool Sanctuary which is their largest room category. So what exactly does that entail? Well, for starters, it includes a large in-room infinity pool, two sun beds, a telescope, canopy bed, hot tub, open shower, bottles of champagne on ice, phenomenal views of both the Petit and Gros Piton Mountains... now I understood why this was one of the top-rated "honeymoon" hotels in the world. Awkwardly for me, I was with a male friend of mine. Or should I say, "lucky" for me. But that's a story for another time.
But really, it was more than just that. Included in our stay was our very own private butler. We even got a burner phone with the butler on speed dial, accessible from anywhere on the entire island. Amazing. I never had to lift a finger at all during my stay. From packing and unpacking services, to dinner reservations, private tours, trips to town to pick up some booze to get lit, and even opening up the restaurant just for us because we slept in, the service was completely impeccable.
Even though I am not a beach person, I enjoyed my time here as it was guaranteed that everyone had their own cabana and beds. No getting up early to "reserve" beds with your towel. And if you wanted even more privacy, they have a second beach, Anse Mamin, that offers some killer dorado burgers and additional seclusion.
I can go on and on about this whirlwind of a trip to Jade Mountain! It was definitely the best hotel I've ever stayed in. If you can't afford the $2300 USD price tag on their Pool Sanctuaries, their Sky Jacuzzi Suites, located on the lower level are pretty spectacular as well (starting at a cool $1600 USD/night) and the views, just as stunning atop the canopies.
Things to do in St. Lucia:
- Sulphur Springs and Mud Baths - This is a must. The mineral-rich soil not only nourishes, exfoliates and cleans your skin, it also makes for hilarious photos as well.
- Soufriere - This is the town just down from the hill from Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet. I visited the Sunday Market which offered produce and minimal eats. I would recommend visiting the town in the evening and dining at Petit Peak to be seaside and to give the local food a go.
- Hiking - I unfortunately didn't get to do this but if you can, hike the UNESCO World Heritage Gros Piton Mountain. This is the less treacherous of the two mountains featuring a gradual slope. Takes about 4 hours when I asked the locals. I basically couldn't and didn't want to leave my resort and since I was there for a long weekend, just didn't have enough time!
Things to eat in St. Lucia:
- Fish - Dorado, a flaky white fish, mild in flavour, is what you'll find most commonly here on the island. I had this in a burger and also grilled and fried in the local restaurants. Delicious!
- Hot Sauce - If you know me at all, you'd know I am a huge hot sauce lover. There is something so strangely addicting about the hot sauces in the Caribbean. Their hot sauce is high on the pepper and spice, and low on the acidity. You won't be disappointed if you're into the heat.
- Curries - I think the best dinner I had was a West Indian dinner at one of the restaurants in the resort. There is a lot of West Indian influence in St. Lucia so naturally, it can be easy to find.
- Rum - You simply cannot go wrong with Caribbean rum! I'd recommend the Chairmen's Reserve Spiced Rum which is available locally on the rum. Make sure you get it with Ting and on ice!
St. Lucia is a perfect long weekend getaway if you're searching for the sun, some R&R, and island vibes. Like Mexico, but less busy a lot more luxury. Although flights aren't direct from Vancouver, it was well-worth it! The resort itself is more than a reason to visit.