Perfect Weekend: 48-Hours in St. LuciaBy Angelica Malin
Let’s just start with saying: 48-hours is not long enough in St. Lucia. Not by a long way. A nine-hour hop on a plane from the UK, and you’ll find yourself in absolute paradise. This island will steal your heart; with its stunning blue waters, soaring lush Pitons, delicious cuisine, incredible beach-side resorts and charming local life, St. Lucia is everything you’ve been dreaming of in a Caribbean adventure and more. If you’re stretched for time on the island – and fancy a whirlwind tour – you can make memories in a weekend on the island which will stay with you for life. Here how to do a weekend in St. Lucia, About Time style:
St. Lucia: Where to Stay
This beautiful tropical islands boats some amazing resorts, from quiet family-friendly resorts on the beach, to romantic, adult-only resorts tucked away in the mountain-side. The biggest decision you’ll face is whether to base yourself on the North or South of the island. If you’re flying into Castries airport – the smaller of the island’s two airports – then you might want to base yourself nearby, on the North coast, which has wonderful resorts, the best beaches and Rodney Bay Village, with many bars and restaurants. The island’s larger airport is on South coast, a two-hour drive away, which is less developed, with more rugged, untouched beauty, with black volcanic sand on the beaches, more tranquil places to stay and the most incredible scenery. Here’s our pick of the best of both:
The Lowdown: Located 20-minutes from Castries airport, on the North coast, The Body Holiday is the perfect resort for the active holidaymaker. Designed for a health-conscious traveller, The Body Holiday is an all-inclusive wellness destination for your mind and body, with beautiful rooms and suites, delicious, bountiful healthy food, a stunning spa and activities every hour of the day. Whether it’s treehouse yoga, beach volleyball, tubing, water skiing, pilates or just sipping a cocktail at the beach, The Body Holiday has something for everyone, all included in one price (which includes a daily spa treatment, for some extra pampering). For a relaxed, healthy holiday, there’s nowhere in St. Lucia quite like it.
Unmissable Experience: The resort hosts its yoga classes in its very own ‘Zen’ treehouse studio, which overlooks the lush, verdant greenery of the North coast. A yoga class here is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before – a must-try.
Our Verdict: We were totally wowed by the concept – it’s such a fun, young resort, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and, with the huge range of activities and entertainment, a stay at The Body Holiday allows you to be a kid again. The resort boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in all of St. Lucia – perfect for a spot on sunrise beach yoga, breakfast with a view and relaxing with a good book. The food, by the by, was some of the best we had in St. Lucia – the most incredible, healthy breakfast buffet spread, with fresh fruit, homemade whole wheat pastries, warm, seeded bread, smoked salmon and the best juices. Take my word for it: The Body Holiday is one place you won’t want to miss.
The Lowdown: On the other side of the island, on the South coast, something very good is going down at the Viceroy Sugar Beach. This resort, set within 100 acres of forest, is vast and impressive in scale (you’ll need a buggy to get around), boasting 86 rooms in their own ‘hamlets’, two restaurants, an incredible pool and probably one of the most stunning beaches in the world. It’s perfect for snorkelers and divers, as the resort is surrounded by a marine reserve, towered over by the UNESCO World Heritage Site Pitons, which is a very popular spot for admiring the local marine life. With some incredible beach-side bedrooms, private suites located in the treetops, with their own decks, plunge pools and living rooms, and a delicious beach resort, the Viceroy is one of the most popular resorts in St Lucia – for very good reason.
Unmissable Experience: A beach-side lunch at their Bayside restaurant is something that cannot be beaten. The hotel’s food is so fresh and delicious – enjoy spicy tuna tartare, watermelon and feta salad and the most incredible seared tuna salad, all enjoyed with a glass of Provence rose whilst admiring the view. Heaven.
Our Verdict: It’s rare to find a hotel that excels in both size and personality – whilst the Viceroy Sugar Beach is grand in scale, it still has a distinctly personal touch. The resort’s offerings are unbeatable – fantastic restaurants, great diving, the perfect beach on the South coast and amazing suites, there’s really nothing to fault in the resort. And the breakfast? Probably one of the best in St. Lucia. Try the Creole Eggs with their homemade bread, and thank me later.
The Lowdown: A short drive from the Viceroy Sugar Beach, discover a piece of paradise at Anse Chastanet – an unusual, visually stunning resort like nowhere else in the world. This romantic 600-acre hillside hideaway is perfect for couples, looking for romantic seclusion, and with no TVs or radio, it’s a fantastic place to switch off from the world. Anse Chastanet is a design-lover’s dream; the hotel has a beautiful, exotic feel, with open-walled bedroom suites, fantastic views of the Pitons and a totally relaxed island feel. For a back-to-basics feel, with two incredible beaches, there’s something very special about this resort.
Our Verdict: The colourful, beautifully designed bedrooms, with a totally open third wall, allowing you to sleep amongst nature, is one of the most amazing experiences you could have in St. Lucia.
Unmissable Experience: For something truly once-in-a-lifetime, book yourself in for dinner at Jade Mountain, located just above Anse, with sunset cocktails on their terrace before. The slightly more refined, elegant dinner affair is really something very special – the kind of meal you’ll remember for years to come.
The Lowdown: Rising majestically above the 600 acre beach front resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating St. Lucia’s stunning scenic beauty. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain St. Lucia one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences.
Our Verdict: Staying at Jade Mountain really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hotel’s bold, unusual architecture give it something truly special – the individual sanctuaries each have their own private infinity pool, and the service is truly 5*.
Unmissable Experience: Try a private breakfast in your own sanctuary overlooking the Pitons at Jade Mountain. Pancakes in the comfort of your own bedroom, with a private pool? We’ll take that. The food at Jade Mountain is truly sublime, supplied by their own Emerald Estate farm, where everything from cacao to fruit, herbs and spices are grown.
St. Lucia: Where to Eat
The Lowdown: This is one restaurant you won’t want to miss in St. Lucia. The Cliff at Cap Restaurant is one of the most highly sought after tables on the island – for good reason. Located on the northwest coast in one of the Caribbean’s most dramatic settings, overlooking the surging Caribbean Sea, the food here is a mix of French-inspired, West Indian cuisine. Welsh-born Executive Chef Craig Jones uses the bounty of St Lucia’s fresh local farm produce and seafood readily to prepare truly special food – come here for the best views of the sunset on all the island.
Why Visit: For food that you literally couldn’t taste anywhere else on the island. The creativity of the kitchen here is unsurpassed – using the best fresh fish, seafood and local vegetables, the dishes are beautifully presented, and full of flavour. A dinner at the private terrace is a must for romantics; with uninterrupted views of the ocean below and lit only by candlelight, it’s an experience like none other.
Must Order: They make an incredible good risotto at The Cliff, I’ll tell you that for free. Try the risotto of roast market vegetables with crispy Parmesan, it’s amazing. The island Dorado with cherry tomato vinaigrette with fennel shavings is also sensational, and you can’t miss their crispy goat’s cheese ravioli with oven-roast tomatoes. It would be criminal to leave without dessert – the passion fruit soufflé with vanilla ice cream is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Hands down.
The Lowdown: This is the place to come for views. Travellers flock to Dasheene to enjoy the spectacular views of the Pitons and the starry-sky above them. Best known for eclectic and innovative menu items, Dasheene sets itself apart by focusing on sustainable cooking sourced from locally harvested ingredients. Executive Chef Nigel Mitchel uses only the best produce on the island for his food – and they do a fantastic Sunday brunch.
Why Visit: Dasheene sets itself apart by focusing on sustainable cooking sourced from locally harvested ingredients. There’s also live music in the bar most nights, so you can dance the night away with your loved one’s under the stars. Heaven.
Must Order: The traditional blackened fish at Dasheene is a real highlight; on the night we visit, we indulge in the most delicious Mahi Mahi, which is full of spices and real flavour. For something unusual, try the roast conch with pickled vegetables served in a yam basket.
The Lowdown: The setting of the Rabot Estate cocoa plantation is jaw-droppingly beautiful. In front of you the twin Piton peaks emerge symmetrically from the Caribbean Sea. Behind you the rainforest stretches into the distance, studded with the gigantic peaks of Mount Gimie and plunging valleys. Right behind you is the Soufrière volcano and Sulphur Springs. The 140-acre Rabot Estate is in the South West of St Lucia, near Soufrière, and is the home to one of the best restaurants for chocolate-lovers in the world. Their Boucan restaurant is all about cacao cuisine, where everything on the menu features cacao in some context, both sweet and savory.
Why Visit: If you like chocolate, this is the restaurant for you. The creativity with which the restaurant explores cacao is truly wonderful – always in a natural, healthy and exciting harmony. You can enjoy cacao in the best fresh Cacao Bellinis in St. Lucia here, or in an amazing chocolatey dessert. Really, a chocolate lover’s dream.
Must Order: You must try one of the chocolate cocktail creations – the Chocolate Martini is seriously good. Star dishes of the restaurant include the gazpacho with cacao oil, Mahi Mahi fish roti with cacao rice and, of course, dessert. Their chocolate fondant with chocolate ice cream is one of the most decadent things you’ll ever try, and it cannot be missed.
St. Lucia: What to Do
One of the best activities in St. Lucia, there’s so many amazing marine reserves on the island, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Anse Chastanet’s 150 metres of dark, silvery sand is one of the best beaches in the south-west of the island, and is perfect for snorkelling. Anse des Pitons, the home of Viceroy Sugar Beach, also has some amazing sites for snorkelling. The sand has been imported from Guyana, but don’t let that put you off. On the southern side of Pigeon Island, there’s two lovely beaches for exploring and well-worth a day trip.
Tet Paul Nature Walk
The Tet Paul Nature Trail hike is a great option if you’d like to see some great views without too much effort, as it only takes about 45 minutes to complete. The hike itself is of easy to moderate difficulty – great for families and groups. This is a fantastic tour to see it all in St. Lucia; culture, history, exotic horticulture and spectacular landscapes can all be found a tour of the walk, see more here.
Tree to Bar at Hotel Chocolat
If you’d like to get out and explore your surroundings, the Tree to Bar experience at Hotel Chocolat is an exclusive opportunity to learn about the creation of chocolate and create your own bar! The Tree to Bar experience starts with guests walking on the estate cocoa groves selecting ripe cacao pods cut from the tree, and ends with making their own chocolate bar from beans that guests have roasted themselves. You’ll learn everything about the making of chocolate – seedling nursery, fermenting room, sun-drying station, grinding, mixing and lots of tasting. A chocolate lover’s dream – see more here.
Photo Credit: Roy Luck here
The Gros Piton Hike is one of the best you can experience in St. Lucia; Gros Piton stands a remarkable 2,619 feet above sea level, and coupled with Petit Piton, it is the hallmark of St Lucia’s western coast. A Gros Piton hike tour is the only way to see the island from this vantage point, and the experience you will have standing at the top makes it absolutely worthwhile – discover more about the hike here.