A lot of fun in the sun, a lot of history, great food, great people and two majestic peaks rising out of the Caribbean Sea. That’s St. Lucia, and the iconic pitons are not only a symbol of the island but the gateway to some of the Caribbean’s best resorts and nature experiences.
There in the island’s southwest, lie the Petit Piton and the Gros Piton, a paradise for hikers. Sugar Beach and Ladera resorts are in between, and to the north you’ll find Soufrière, the French capital, and Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet resorts on the spectacular Anse Chastanet Beach. The French empress Joséphine spent much of her childhood in Soufrière, and the English took control of the island during her husband Napoleon’s wars. Before that the Dutch tried to take the island from the Caribs, who had taken it from the Arawaks.
The island gained full independence from the UK in 1979 and has built itself into a tourism powerhouse since. And what’s not to love? St. Lucia’s Creole heritage and abundant seafood make it a culinary gem, with five-star restaurants and beach barbecues in equal measure.
And boy, are those beaches spectacular. The geography of the island means there are lots of coves with tranquil beaches like those on the north end of the island, where you’ll find Cap Maison Resort & Spa and wellness pioneer BodyHoliday, which boasts, “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.”
After all the diving, yachting and hiking, you’ll surely need some relaxation. St. Lucia’s many resort spas have just the treatments — including volcanic mud baths — to calm the senses and soothe away your worries. They’re such a great option at the end of an action-packed visit, and just like those pitons, they help St. Lucia stand out among the islands of the Caribbean.
Where to stay
Reinvigorate your body, release your mind, and reignite your spirit at BodyHoliday. This all-inclusive, 155-room resort will personalize your vacation around the tenets of relaxation, restoration, exercise, and diet. You can trust BodyHoliday to design a program around your yoga practice, weight loss goal, or overcoming limitations by, say, rappelling down a river gorge. Set on a secluded, white-sand cove, BodyHoliday offers endless water sports, including sailing lessons. Ayurvedic cuisine comes from the organic garden; a daily spa treatment is included.
Cap Maison Resort & Spa
On a magnificent oceanfront bluff high above picturesque Smugglers Cove on the north end of Saint Lucia, Cap Maison Resort & Spa’s incomparable setting is a prize. The exclusive resort is unique and sophisticated, offering Caribbean elegance and stunning waterfront views all around. Many of the spacious villas offer private rooftop terraces and infinity-edge swimming pools, complete with loungers and a dining area. The resort’s private motor yacht is available exclusively for guests’ use. Imagine a spectacular sunset cruise that ends with dinner in restaurant-rich Rodney Bay or at the award-winning The Cliff at Cap.
Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort
Winner of the Travel + Leisure “World’s Best Award” and ranked among the Caribbean’s top resorts by Condé Nast Traveler, Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort has a legion of loyal fans. And rightly so for its lush rain-forest setting, shimmering white sands, and emerald gardens, not to mention its views of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons. Spread across approximately 100 acres, the resort exudes a timeless colonial charm, with four-poster beds, clawfoot baths, and butler service in its luxurious accommodations; villas feature private patios and plunge pools. Water sports are plentiful, and the spa is otherworldly.
Nestled on a volcanic ridge, Ladera Resort is the first eco-luxe resort on Saint Lucia, a romantic paradise for couples and the only resort in the Caribbean ever rated the world’s best by Condé Nast Traveler. Choose from 37 suites, all featuring open air design without a fourth wall, a private pool, and views of the world-famous Pitons and Caribbean Sea. Dasheene serves farm-to-table Saint Lucian cuisine. Schedule a relaxing treatment at the 18,000-square-foot Ladera Spa, an on-site hike, private wine tasting, or cooking class. Tours to the volcanic mud baths, beaches, and other island adventures, just minutes away, can be arranged.
Choose to arrive at the spectacular Jade Mountain by helicopter – zooming between the Piti and Gros Piton mountains in this iconic landscape. This is the only resort with its own private heli-pad and a view of both peaks on Saint Lucia. Every aspect of Jade Mountain’s organic design is equally dramatic, from the suspended sky bridge to your decadent sanctuary (one of just 29 accommodations), where your infinity-edge swimming pool seems to float in space. Guests enjoy the exclusive pleasure of dining on fresh, flavorful cuisine from award-winning chef Allen Susser and stargazing from the otherworldly Celestial Terrace.