St. Lucia was once nicknamed the “Helen of the West Indies.” Like the legendary beauty who ignited an epic war between the ancient Greeks and the Trojans, the small Eastern Caribbean island was once repeatedly fought over by the French and the British, continually changing hands from the 17th to the 19th century. An independent nation today, St. Lucia has developed into a true melting pot of French, English, African and Indian influences discernible in everything from the French Creole spoken in the markets, to the spicy curries on menus throughout the island.
While France and Britain no doubt valued the island for its strategic location where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic, St. Lucia now lures travellers to its pristine white-sand beaches, lush rainforest and dramatic volcanic peaks. It’s even been named by the World Travel Awards as the world’s leading honeymoon destination nine times since 1998, and it’s not hard to see why. Just ask Matt Damon. In 2013, the Hollywood star invited his A-list friends to the island’s luxurious Sugar Beach resort for his vow renewal with wife Luciana.
While not a budget destination by any stretch of imagination, St. Lucia is the splurge getaway of a lifetime, whether for your destination wedding or the ultimate honeymoon. For a small island, it’s dotted with sublime resorts, each with its own unique character.
The Landings St. Lucia
A comfortable home away from home, The Landings St. Lucia is located on the northern end of the island on spectacular Rodney Bay, with a private marina at its doorstep. Its spacious villa suites, all recently renovated, range from 900 to 2,300 square feet, complete with a private terrace and a full designer kitchen that the resort’s personal pantry service will stock for you. But if chopping onions isn’t your idea of a romantic getaway, let The Landings’ chefs cater to you at the Beach Club restaurant or arrange for a private dinner in your suite or on the beach. Be sure to take advantage of the resort’s own yacht service too, with a romantic sail at sunset.
If you can tear yourself away from the comforts of the resort, a few minutes’ drive brings you to the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Rodney Bay Village. Or, head a short way north to the lively fishing village of Gros Islet, where every Friday night is devoted to the island’s biggest street party: “Jump Up.” It’s a weekly ritual not to be missed, bringing both locals and tourists out on the streets for beer, roti and dancing to island rhythms late into the night.
Anse Chastanet Resort
On the southwest side of the island, get back to nature at Anse Chastanet Resort. Rated by Condé Nast Traveller among the world’s top 10 romantic resorts, the property boasts unbeatable views of Gros Piton and Petit Piton, St. Lucia’s iconic twin volcanic peaks. Built by architect-owner Nick Troubetzkoy, Anse Chastanet has been carved into a lushly forested hillside with two serene beaches at its feet. Each room is unique, and some offer no fourth wall, allowing you to truly commune with nature – you may find yourself sharing breakfast with tiny birds that flock to your table, or showering next to the occasional tree frog. Thankfully, every bed is well wrapped in mosquito netting!
Aside from blissing out at the spa or lazing with a cocktail on a comfy beach cabana, Anse Chastanet offers plenty to do, from scuba diving and sailing to mountain biking. You can even hike to the ruins of an 18th-century plantation on the estate. All that activity will leave you even more appreciative of the resort’s dining delights, offered by its three open-air restaurants, all featuring fresh organic produce from the estate’s own farm.
Jade Mountain Resort
Rising on the hill above Anse Chastanet is newer sister property Jade Mountain Resort. Rated by Travel & Leisure readers as the Caribbean’s No. 1 resort, Jade Mountain is Anse Chastanet’s glamorous younger sister. The boldly designed property would be perfectly at home in a futuristic movie, crafted with individual bridges leading to each room, transforming every suite into a truly private sanctuary. Fourth walls are entirely missing in each grand, open-concept room, providing mesmerizing views of the Pitons and the Caribbean that you can savour from your own private infinity pool. Guests at Jade Mountain can also enjoy all the amenities at Anse Chastanet, although the former boasts an unrivalled view of the Pitons from its Jade Cuisine restaurant and the Celestial Terrace above it, perfect for a sunset wedding ceremony.
Whether you prefer modern comforts or communing with nature, St. Lucia provides no shortage of luxury experiences and unforgettable memories in a spectacular setting. And isn’t that what your honeymoon should be all about?
If You Go
- No direct flights to St. Lucia are available from Vancouver, but the next-best option is a direct flight from Toronto via Air Transat, WestJet or other carriers.
- Be warned: Roads around the island can be twisty and turny, as well as unpaved in parts – don’t forget to pack the Gravol.
- For a truly invigorating “spa” experience, visit the mud baths at Sulphur Springs near the community of Soufrière. It’s billed as the world’s only “drive-in volcano,” since vehicles can drive right up to the springs area. A short distance away are hot mineral baths where you can slather yourself in sulphurous mud and wash it away to reveal glowingly smooth skin.
- Pirates of the Caribbean fan? Take a cruise on The Pearl, a replica of an 18th-century Far East pirate ship that offers sunset cruises, nightclub cruises as well as wedding bookings.
The St. Lucia Tourist Board offers a wealth of travel info.