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The Best Luxury Resorts in St. Lucia: Jade Mountain, Ladera, & More (Virtuoso)

March 2010

I’m glad I enjoy rollercoasters, because our transfer today was something akin to being on the Batman for four hours.

We just have to do site inspections at 5 hotels and one sightseeing spot over the day, nothing too bad.  Nine hours later, with one sad attempt at a nap (the head-nod one, where you wake up every time your neck gives out), I am dog tired.  I’d like to ask for my butler to somehow arrange an in-room foot massage, but something tells me that’s not included in the basic amenities.

We drive through the streets of St. Lucia for two hours to see hotels on the other side of the island. The little towns and hillside huts are about the same level of poverty as the other Caribbean islands, but I’ve never experienced it this in-depth.  As an avid cruiser, I generally see the ports-of-call (which are usually not the most wealthy of places, but they maintain a decent appearance for tourists).  The little houses are right on top of each other, people come out of the woodworks when we drive through the rainforest – are they homeless? Where are they going?

We keep asking questions about their activities, amazed by the woman carrying a load of laundry on her head and her toddler in her hands; curious at the man collecting water from a rainforest plant; freaked out by a guy who HOLDS UP A GIANT BOA CONSTRICTOR AT OUR CAR AS WE DRIVE BY.  Don’t expect me to get too sentimental on this one.  We ask Randal and he calmly replies, “Oh that’s just the snake guy.”  I mean, I’ve heard of cat ladies… He continues to tell us that “the snake guy” stands on the side of the road and sells pictures with the boa constrictor for $2.  At night, he feeds the constrictor a rat before hanging him in a tree – the snake can’t digest the rat until the next morning, when the handler returns to his job to find the constrictor right where he left him.  Genius, I guess, if you don’t want to carry your snake home with you.

A few miles down the road, Randal points out – “This is the second snake guy” as another native holds a constrictor into the air (it’ll definitely get people’s attention).

Here’s a bit from each place we went to:

Ladera –  an all open-air Virtuoso property nestled mountainside, you can take a warm bath in their volcanic hot tubs – just don’t dive off the edge of your personal plunge pool.

While touring the room, we notice a water gun – bright green, child’s toy-type (not sure if there’s another type of water gun?).  We ask about it and our guide replies, “Oh that’s for shooting the birds away from your room.”

Jalousie – for anyone who watched the Bachelor…

Sulphur Springs – the Caribbean’s only Drive-In Volcano! Also the smelliest.

smelly.

Jade Mountain – voted the #1 most romantic resort in the Caribbean, #3 in the world.  This place is like a dream – the resort itself looks like it’s straight out of someone’s imagination: ie: Pandora on Avatar. The owner/architect really knew what he was doing – each of the rooms, excuse me, “sanctuaries,” are individually furnished and colored. All but 5 of them have personal plunge pools, and they are all open air.

Anse Chastanet – Sister property to Jade Mountain – gorgeous, mostly open air, a little less ritzy.

I should note that both of these resorts (as in Jade & Anse) are not for those who are, ahem, not in shape.  It’s all steep stairs – no elevators here, no air conditioning, just you and the elements. It is by no means roughing it, but you’ve got to be the right fit for these properties.

Lindsey Epperly

My name is Lindsey Epperly and I’m a travel consultant and owner of Epperly Travel, a national affiliate of Century Travel. I’m most passionate about building lifelong relationships with my clients and suppliers, discovering the globe in a way that makes me a better agent, and celebrating with my team when we reach a new milestone. One of our core values at Epperly Travel is to create fun and celebrate constantly – and I’m fortunate to be in a career that allows me to do just that. I’m proud to announce my recent achievements: landing a spot on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List as their Caribbean expert, being nominated for Virtuoso’s Rising Star Award and receiving a place on Jezebel Magazine’s Trailblazing Ten list.

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