A dramatic, tropical wonderland, Saint Lucia is famous for the Pitons, parties and perfect beaches, but it’s really a place of two halves.
Rodney Bay in the north of the island offers lazy days and modern comforts amid a beautiful bay, while the south is a region of old plantations, hidden beaches and the geological wonder of the Pitons. Not only can this Caribbean island be visited year-round, it can be circumnavigated by car in a day: spend your time wisely with our guide to the best places to stay, see and do.
Cap Maison Resort & Spa
Cap Maison is a Hacienda-style resort which opened 15 years ago, and where many of the lovely staff have been since day one. Each of them will make you feel right at home. Rooms reflect the hotel’s lush surroundings with palm-print wallpaper, tropical-bird artwork and quaint Mediterranean-style blue and white tiled bathrooms. Many come with garden views but the suites are the best spaces to stay, especially those with private pools or rooftop terraces.
The feeling of home is amplified at cliffside restaurant, Cliff at Cap, where you’ll dine to the sound of crashing waves and views across Pigeon Island. An à la carte breakfast is served here too, complete with fruit cones drizzled in honey and banana pancakes. Come dinnertime, pianists provide a relaxing background soundtrack for a change of atmosphere. There’s real trust in the guests here: the honesty room, for example, is an unmanned gift shop where guests can browse and let staff know if they take something away.
Follow the windy path and descend a flight of wooden steps to the hotel’s exclusive beach to indulge in a long, lazy lunch at the Naked Fisherman. If it’s a special occasion, Rock Maison – famous for its champagne zip line – is the place to book. Laze the days away at one of two communal pools, and be sure to sample the house-made rum or a range of incredible wines at the wine cellar.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Sugar Beach, located on the south-west coast of Saint Lucia, boasts a stunning setting between the iconic Pitons – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set in a former, 100-acre sugar plantation on the south west coast of Saint Lucia it’s surrounded by verdant gardens, soaring trees and a white-sand beach. The white-wood cottages have been meticulously arranged on the hillside with spectacular views, and terraces with private plunge pools provide the privacy that honeymooners and discreet VIPs crave. Overlooking the sea, rooms are decorated in a contemporary Caribbean style and include butler service (you’ll receive a mobile phone to contact them personally). The hotel’s facilities include a spa, fitness centre, tennis courts, and water sports, as well as several restaurants and bars.
BodyHoliday Saint Lucia
‘Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind’ is the tagline of this wellness-conscious resort. Ideal if you want to return from a holiday feeling relaxed and replenished; the incredible range of activities and restaurants here means you can be fit and active one minute, indulgent the next. Enjoy delectable salads and smoothies at the wellness café, tuck into pizza and pasta at the grill or attend a guest chef residency at Cariblue at Windows – all bases are covered when it comes to dining. Rooms have a chic boutique vibe, think turquoise accents, king size beds, vast bathrooms with double sinks, well-stocked mini bars and verandas ideal for watching the sunset. Come nightfall, drift into sleep to the sound of crashing waves against the chirping of crickets and tree frogs.
The wellness centre is a mecca for cutting-edge treatments and therapies such as Ayurvedic chavutti massage, hot stone massage, infrared therapy, thalassotherapy and more. Whatever your health goals or concerns, you’ll leave here on the right track for continued wellness at home. The packed activities list has classes like aquafit, yoga, beach fit and water sports but, if you prefer to kick back, the picture perfect beach as well as pool with hot tub, games room and bars await.
Jade Mountain Resort
Jade Mountain, in the shadow of the Pitons, is the only hotel on the island with a view of both the Piti and Gros Piton mountains. Known for its unique and innovative design, the hotel’s suites are open-air, with private infinity pools and sweeping views of the sea and mountains. Each room is a true sanctuary. Located and accessed – quite spectacularly – along a bridge walkway, rooms are decorated in a modern and minimalist style with natural stone floors, handcrafted furniture and colourful art, while the many restaurants focus on farm-to-table cuisine. Perhaps one of the Caribbean’s most iconic hideaways, this is a no-expense spared hotel, in bucket list or honeymoon territory.
StolenTime by Rendezvous
Opened in 1966 by the Barnard family, this boutique hotel was once the preserve of couples only, but has recently expanded its scope to cater for groups. An ideal choice for those wanting an adults-only stay, the emphasis is on escaping the stresses of life and reconnecting with loved ones. The hotel provides plenty of ways to do so and is eager to create special moments – think private beach picnics, champagne sunset cruises and film screenings under the stars.
Breakfast is served on the oceanfront terrace with a hot food station and Creole dishes. Malabar Beach Club offers sand-in-the-toes lunches and dinners with gorgeous fresh salads plus grilled fish and tacos, while the French dining restaurant Thyme has classics like onion soup, entrecôte steak and French meringue with almond sauce. The Champagne Bar is a great spot for a pre-dinner drink or to while the night away. The rule here is that the bar closes when the last guest leaves and so far the current champion has stayed put until 3pm the next day.
Rooms have open plan bathrooms with large bathtubs and walk-in showers, king size beds and front terraces. Water sports are a highlight here with excursions to the Pitons National Park for snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as boat cruises. The on-site gym and late departure room mean you can unwind or take a shower before your flight home.
Situated on a secluded beach in the south-west of Saint Lucia, this resort blends luxury and sustainability. Wake up to birdsong and views across a tropical garden from its hillside location. Each of the 49 rooms are dotted around the hillside and blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings with hand-carved wooden furniture, natural stone floors, and open-air bathrooms. Take the opportunity to explore miles of hiking trails that wind through the Anse Mamin Valley, and have your binoculars at the ready to spot colourful birdlife, including four out of five of the island’s endemic species.
Resort facilities include two bars and restaurants, the Kai Belté spa and, for the adventurous, there are mountain bike facilities with a 12 mile trail, a centre for kayaking, and a 42 ft sailing yacht. There are also boutiques, a library, an art gallery and even a cocoa plantation where you can help harvest beans before creating marvellous treats at the resort’s very own chocolate laboratory. Don’t miss the hotel experiences highlighting the island’s culture and natural beauty, these include cooking classes, yoga, meditation and jungle biking.
Rabot Hotel by Hotel Chocolat
As close as you can get to Willy Wonka in a luxury setting, this immersive hotel is adult-only and set in the heart of Saint Lucia’s cocoa plantations. Enjoy chocolate classes, tours, and plenty of samples. Rooms are decorated in a contemporary and chic style, with bright colours and bold patterns inspired by the island’s flora and fauna. Each room features a private balcony or terrace overlooking the lush gardens as well as cocoa groves. There’s a spa, fitness centre, and several restaurants and bars – including a chocolate-inspired restaurant serving innovative dishes made from cocoa. Cocoa Spa focuses on chocolate-centric treatments in open-air rooms with mountain views; staff use the plantation’s home-grown cacao beans, butter and oil, along with banana leaves, to make antioxidant-packed lotions and oils for treatments. The 50-foot infinity pool is another draw: lined in black quartz, the still water perfectly mirrors its views of the Piton Mountains and rainforest.
SEE, DO, EAT
Soak up the history of Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island is a must for history buffs and nature lovers alike. The island features a 18th-century British military fort, hiking trails, and stunning views of the ocean. Visitors can also swim in the crystal-clear waters or relax on the beach.
Bathe in the Sulphur Springs
Visit the world’s only drive-in volcano; take a guided tour to explore the geothermal activity and witness the bubbling mud pools. The nearby Sulphur Springs park is also home to several hot springs and mud baths offering a unique and relaxing experience.
Go chasing waterfalls
The island is home to several waterfalls, including the iconic Diamond Falls with its hot springs and mineral baths. Visitors can swim in the refreshing waters and take in the stunning views of the surrounding rainforest.
Trek the Pitons
The twin peaks of the Pitons are iconic landmarks of Saint Lucia and hiking to the summit offers breathtaking views of the island. The hike can be challenging, but the stunning vistas are worth the effort.
Join a rum tour
The island is home to several distilleries that offer tours and tastings of their locally-produced rums. Visitors can learn about the history of rum production on the island and sample different varieties of this Caribbean staple.
Tuck into a meal with stunning views at Ladera
Dinner at Ladera hotel is a romantic and luxurious experience. The hotel’s restaurant is located on a hillside, offering stunning views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea. The menu features a fusion of Caribbean and international cuisine, and the wine list is extensive.
Dine in the rainforest canopy
Dinner at Treetops restaurant is a memorable dining experience. The restaurant is located in the middle of the rainforest canopy, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience surrounded by nature. The menu features local ingredients and traditional Caribbean dishes, and the atmosphere is magical.