St. Lucia, referred to by some as the Hawaii of the Caribbean, is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Home of the Piton Mountains, St. Lucia offers breathtaking views, delicious local food, and crystal clear water. From the bottom of the beach to the top of Jade Mountain, every step on the island is another ‘Kodak’ moment. This past June VIP Vacations Inc. was awarded for being a top US account in terms of sales to the island and was selected to attend St Lucia’s 2016 Piton awards. This prestigious award came with the opportunity to visit some of the island’s most highly rated resorts, experience local excursions and tours, and most importantly, learn about the culture of the island as a whole.
Jade Mountain is St. Lucia’s top of the line travel destination. The designer of this resort, Nick Troubetzkoy, is known all around the island for his magnificent work on both the Jade Mountain resort and its neighboring property, the Anse Chastenet. These resorts are private, with an almost contradictory open-style setting. There are no air conditioners or televisions, just ceiling fans and an open view to the ocean, mountains and all that surrounds. Fret not, the ‘open’ rooms offer a perfect breeze so the lack of AC goes unnoticed!
Anse Chastenet, the neighboring sister property to Jade Mountain, has a natural feel and eco-based concept. Once again, built into the mountain, rather than tearing down all of the trees to build a resort, the property is built amongst the trees. Some of the rooms dawn a massive a tree trunk right through the middle of the room, with the same amazing views previously touched upon.
I was lucky enough to stay at another property, The Landings. A villa style hotel with modern rooms overlooking both a beautiful Marina on one side, and the Caribbean Sea on the other, this property bodes a Caribbean getaway with MASSIVE rooms for the biggest families. Our room category was the Two Bedroom Villa: two master bedrooms, two full balconies that could double as dining and living rooms (one in front of villa and one in back), a full kitchen, and spacious living room. The back patio provided views of yachts and speedboats coming in and out of the inlet where the front balcony provides views of the beach and the beautiful mountains I’ve already raved about. I highly recommend getting some fresh caught fish at “The Beach Club” restaurant, a Creole inspired Caribbean choice catch.
Off any hotel property, a must experience while in St. Lucia would be attending the festivities of a Gros Islet Street Party located just five minutes from Rodney Bay. Every Friday night the people of St. Lucia hold a giant block party (extending about a mile), offering dancing, local food and drink, and the opportunity to meet and relax with local islanders/resort guests alike. You will not go hungry while dancing the night away with your friends and family.
When it comes to the food, organic isn’t even a term in St. Lucia. All of the food is truly farm to table. Have you ever sliced down a mango or banana from the tree in which they grow on, open it up, and eat it on the spot? Most of us in the United States have only paid an upgraded price for a piece of “organic fruit” at the grocery store. if you don’t like the idea of cutting fruit down yourself, you can stop at one of the hundreds of side stands they have on the island and get the fruit from a local seller.
Finally, St. Lucia also offers many excursions and experiences that would be new to the everyday traveler. The adventurous type can hike the Pitons, while foodies can tour local farms and pick fresh fruit and vegetables. Do you like chocolate? There is a tour which explains the entire whole process starting from the cocoa pod to the package ready to sell. MOST importantly the biggest memory I draw from St Lucia is not the mountains, the food, the Villa, but THE PEOPLE who call St. Lucia their home. They are the respectful, fun, attentive, and caring. Upon arriving to the destination without luggage (thanks American Airlines), the manager made all the phone calls to confirm pick up and delivery, while also supplying me some toiletries and a clean shirt from the gift shop! Thank you to the lovely Hortensia Joseph of the St. Lucia tourism board, for a wonderful itinerary and amazing learning experience.
Written by Ryan Doncsecz