I’ve said this before but I get these legitimate, write-its-name-on-my-notebook, wonder what we would look like together, school-girl crushes on certain hotels. Every guest I send I get a little bit jealous of, but I just can’t keep my mouth shut about how great it is so I tell them all about it…and I haven’t even been there! Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Hotel, was at the very top of my crush list – and how appropriate that I got to meet it just in time for Valentine’s Day.
They say never meet your heroes – I’ve had a couple of experiences in the travel business where I regretted seeing a hotel and experiencing my change of heart toward it – but this was far from the case at Sugar Beach. I had toured the property before its rebrand and renovation, while it was still Jalousie Plantation (during a drought, no less – the poor hotel needed some paint AND some water!) but thought there was a certain charm that could be captivated.
Lucky for us, Viceroy thought the same thing and after a multi-million dollar renovation and rebranding two and a half years ago, this property has become one of our most sought after destinations in the Caribbean. It is consistently the one property that, when my clients get back, they contact me before I have a chance to welcome them home – and usually they contact me with a full, seven paragraph write up of how magical it was and, with names, which staff members made such an impression on them that they are now Facebook friends.
Some hotels take a little getting used to, a certain amount of time to settle in to work their charm, but Sugar Beach’s charm sizzles from the moment you drive to the property, swerving through the winding rainforest setting until boom – there it sits, nestled in between those two glorious Piton Mountains like an oasis that might just disappear at any moment. Regardless of the time of day, from the rising of the sun to the pitch black darkness of night, when just their shadows are visible from behind a star-lit sky, looking up at those Piton Mountains never gets old.
The very first night we met with Andre, the general manager, who pointed out the silhouette of Gros Piton and how it looks like King Kong. We met up in the Cane Room, the hippest little bar that I’ve been to in the Caribbean with amazing Asian-inspired treats served as if on beat with the thump thump thump of the light techno music in the background.
Afterwards, we walked to the Great Room, where white glove service only added to the appeal of this Caribbean feast, instead of taking away by feeling stuffy. It was just the right amount of attention to detail – white or black napkins chosen based on your outfit, the servers keenly one step ahead of guests to pull out their chairs at the table – paired with the best meal we had during our time in St. Lucia, in my opinion. Andre treated us to a wine pairing meal with chef’s choice of fresh seafood served course after course until we could barely take another bite. You know we’re full when Jamo and I refuse dessert at the end of the meal (granted, we only refused the second round of desserts).
With the live saxophone player sending sultry notes into the air and the black-and-white tiled floor leading across the dining room, I genuinely felt as if I’d stepped back in time while in the Great Room Restaurant. The memory of it gives me chills – it was an experience in itself and will please any discerning guest.
Healthy Beth chose to run on the treadmill and skip breakfast the next morning, but Jamo and I had other plans for breakfast (which we had to get to via tuk tuk because walking was NOT an option for us, ever).
Since we hadn’t eaten enough the night before, we ordered a spread for breakfast, which featured the best French Toast either of us have ever had in our entire lives. I don’t even want to order French Toast again, it will never live up to the sugarcoated confection that Sugar Beach serves, complete with blueberries and plantains (previously, my award for #1 French Toast in the world had gone to the US Grant for their Citrus French Toast, which is still a top contender, but nothing will ever compare to what Sugar Beach has to offer).
Aside from gorging ourselves on meal after meal of delectable cuisine, the three of us went on a site inspection with Shantal, our new favorite person on the entire island of St. Lucia (because she brought us Creole Bread on the day we left!!), before shading our sunburned selves under palapas on the beach. On the site inspection we saw everything from the Sugar Mill rooms, which I had previously considered too small for guests (they are not at all – beautiful rooms with private plunge pools, butler service, and just steps away from the main resort area), to the expansive residences (anyone looking for a villa/home rental experience in the Caribbean needs to contact us about these – they are some of the best I’ve seen in terms of architecture, decor, and spaciousness).
We were each staying in hillside villas and, I have to say, every single morning that I woke up from the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in to the gauzy, white decor before throwing open the plantation shutter doors to reveal the breathtaking view of the Piton Mountains…I thought I had actually died and gone to heaven.
The private plunge pools with views of both Pitons and the ocean certainly didn’t hurt either – nor did the butler service.
The Sugar Beach team was kind enough to treat us to spa treatments in the rainforest spas, one of the coolest spa setups I’ve ever seen. Each of the treatment rooms are individual bungalows set throughout the rainforest right on property – an amazing experience that makes guests feel as though they’re transported into another world (there is also a rainforest walk on property!).
Before our short trip to Sugar Beach ended, we had time to venture on a 15 minute drive up to Ladera, where we watched the sunset behind the Piton Mountains before enjoying a phenomenal dinner at Dasheen, often honored as the best restaurant in all of St. Lucia.
After seeing two amazing new properties and enjoying all this beautiful island has to offer, from the meals to the experiences, I can easily say St. Lucia is one of the best destinations in the Caribbean! To begin planning your own trip, email email@example.com – be sure to ask us about our extra perks that we get for clients at both Sugar Beach & Ladera!