From swim-up bars and rum tasting to sea kayaking, stay in these hotels in St Lucia to experience the best of the Caribbean.
Known for the distinctive conical peaks of the Pitons, calm currents, steaming volcanoes, protected bays, and luminous clear waters, St Lucia is a postcard pin-up that attracts many to make the journey to the Caribbean each year. But to visit is to be embraced by the nation’s Creole culture; a fusion of its African, French, and English heritage.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, Labrelotte Bay
Courtesy of Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort / Expedia
The key to successful coconut bowling is passion, not skill. Lob that nut and hope for the best. Though if your athletic prowess is lacking, you can always retreat to an over-sea hammock and spectate. The private beach at the family-focused Windjammer Landing is a place to relax or join in with the fun and games as you see fit; windsurfing and kayaking are free to all guests. If eating is more your sport, five restaurants and four bars are covered under the all-inclusive package. Rooms and villas (which can sleep up to 12) are comfortable with large balconies and decks that climb the hillside.
People-watching is fun at the best of times. But when your sun lounger is within view of a superyacht, it becomes compelling viewing. With its deep blue waters and sheltered cove, this resort’s marina is the stop of choice for some of the world’s most affluent mariners. The bay is home to a number of villas and inns, but with dense forest lining the hillsides, you’ll feel secluded. Rooms and villas – with shutters, and dark wood features – climb the steep hills surrounding the cove offering great views. Book a cabana beside one of the infinity pools – one has a swim-up bar, but if that sounds like too much hassle, you can always hire a personal assistant or butler to fetch your drinks.
Something of a mega-resort with its cluster of modern towers surrounding four pools, cosmetically, the Royalton could be anywhere. But its location on the island’s northern tip, just 20-minutes from capital Castries, and five-minutes from Gros Islet with its Friday-night street party, it’s well-placed to enjoy the best of this Caribbean nation. This is one for those who love the perks of a large resort. There’s the largest spa on the island, butler serviced cabanas, 24-hour room service, Bluetooth speakers in-room, and nine restaurants and 13 bars. Book early for a coveted swim-out room.
You might feel you’ve found yourself on your own private island at Anse Chastanet. Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy designed the dozen rooms of this resort to be absorbed by foliage, perfumes and peaks of this hillside forest, which looks out over soaring peaks and curving bays, with not another building in sight. To make the most of the trade winds and views towards the Piti and Gros Piton mountains, each octagonal, whitewashed cottage has wraparound, flower-draped balconies and louvered windows. One suite is even built around a red gommier tree. Be sure to book a private candlelit dinner in the treehouse.
Wake up with the sunrise to join one of the three-weekly yoga sessions at Bay Gardens, or else book a private session. The wellness focus continues, with Ayurvedic therapies that combine massage, herbal treatments and yogic breathing. Rooms in shades of sea foam are comfortable, and tend towards the more traditional. Catch the free shuttle bus to the hotel’s four other properties.
Just four magic words might be enough to convince some this is the hotel for them – all-inclusive and adults-only. For the rest, this four-star property isn’t by the beach, but its hillside spot includes a pretty freshwater pool and gardens, and rooftop terrace perfect for a cocktail. Away from the big resorts, and with many long-serving members of staff, the feeling is one of community.
With some of the best snorkelling and diving to be found in the blue waters below this cliffside retreat, those with amphibious inclinations may have found their spot on St Lucia. Steps from the gingerbread cottages pass through dense jungle to reach Anse Cochon beach. Ti Kaye is pretty remote, but in a romantic rather than a troublesome way. That said, car hire is a good idea, especially to reach the village of Anse La Raye, 20minutes away, for its weekly street party. All rooms have an outdoor shower, plunge pool, and a double hammock on the balcony.
One for foodies, Cap Maison has not one, but two great restaurants, both in beautiful settings. Another clifftop hotel located above its own little cove and beach, Cap Maison feels secluded and private, but is only a short drive from some of the island’s largest resorts. Restaurant the Cliff at Cap has views across to Pigeon Island and Martinique on a clear day, and serves Caribbean-French fusion food from award winning chef Craig Jones. Try the roast Caribbean bouillabaisse. For some fresh seafood, head down to the more relaxed Naked Fisherman, directly on the beach.
With a marina by the property, the Harbor Club offers a useful stop for those taking to the waters. In fact, there’s a ferry service direct from the Harbor Club to the living museum that is Pigeon Island, with its military ruins, beaches, restaurant and pub. The Miami-esque exterior and decor intended to bring the outside in – think curved walls, sea blue tones – keeps the nautical theme going. Rooms are simply furnished but include mini-refrigerators and espresso machines.
Forget the beach. Situated on the ridge of La Soufrière volcano, 1,000ft (305m) above the Caribbean Sea, Ladera Resort embraces St Lucia’s other natural wonder: the Pitons. Once part of the Rabot Estate, one of Soufrière’s oldest and most famous cocoa plantations, the resort is situated on a UNESCO World Heritage site. Special touches include rooms constructed with St Lucian tropical hardwoods and furniture made on-site by local artisans. Inside and outside merge in each suite, with an open-wall to a private plunge pool where you can watch the sun etch out the crevices of the Pitons. Butler service, airport transfers and shuttles to the beach are included.