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“Throw down a seed and it will sprout into a tree in no time” so they proudly say. This island stands out for her fertility. There’s poverty but no starvation. It’s self-sufficient with every kind of vegetation, flora, fauna and crops profiting. There’s organic produce along roadside stalls and the building of new homes begins with plantation first, construction second.
I decided to work my way up the island by road and by boat.
More than anywhere St. Lucia is best visited by being on the move. The thing to do is to change hotels every few days.
Starting from the international airport in the south I reached the Viceroy Sugar Beach (www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/sugarbeach). This American hotel has surely secured the choice location of the island. It’s between the famous twin peaks of Gros and Petit Piton These upright, precipitous mountains reach over two thousand feet in height and are the consequence of an historic earthquake balancing its neighbouring sea with equal depth. At the hotel the Guyanese imported white sand works perfectly and the ‘New English’ style of the villas’ all-white interiors reinforced a sense of light, purity and space.
Onto Capella Marigot Bay (www.capellahotels.com/saintlucia). This hotel’s location couldn’t be more idyllic as it overlooks its marina. Here I got a strong sense of the nautical character of St. Lucia as I looked around at premier yachts berthed from all over the world. The bay is known as ‘hurricane hole’ from its position on the west side of the island. It’s surrounded by mountains and experiences minimal tidal changes. Yachties tinker with their equipment and there’s a serenity in this secluded and secure haven. A serenity reflected in the philosophy of the hotel.
Capella has spacious chalet suites which are presented in a half-colonial, half-ranch style with dark wood and strong linear design. The Grill at 14⁰61⁰ has delicious fresh meat and fish seasoned with herbs and spices that are picked from the hotel’s private garden. They are paired with locally sourced ripe fruits and vegetables. The Rum Cave has a youthful vibe and wicker nest seating area overlooking the marina while the swimming pool up the top has barstools set in its water. The hotel really lives up to its expectation and it’s the personal friendly touch of its staff that makes all the difference. The service is telepathic with timely indulgent surprises offered up across the day.
A rub down massage at the hotel’s Auriga Spa involved a choice of hot stones warming, bamboo pressing and volcanic mud wrapping the body. It sent me blissfully into a deep relaxation.
I went on a trip to watch dolphins. What a blessing to be in their natural habitat, eating, leaping and playing … alone, in pairs and in groups. As I moved up the island the vegetation changes and the sand gets whiter. Next came St. James’s Morgan Bay (www.morganbayresort.com). The rooms have double balconies and it is beautifully set within the sound of lapping waves and has views of the sea offering stunning sunsets. It’s for those preferring organised entertainment. There’s a spoiling range of six restaurants and always somewhere open to eat. Le Jardin is for the fine diners while the Bamboo has fabulous seafood salads. They lent me a sailing catamaran and off I went after one lesson. How liberating! And with their rescue service how reassuring!
Next and on past Castries the capital and onto Cap Maison (www.capmaison.com). This classy boutique villa resort has a Mediterranean feel. Spanish meets Moroccan. Walking beneath crenellated roofs, past trickling fountains, under vaulted brick corridors and through inner courtyards with birds twittering, I half expected to be responding to peeling church bells. Once a private house it has been cleverly extended. It is located on the northernmost tip in Cap Estate, a highly exclusive area.
There’s dramatic cliff scenery with the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea on one side and the brisk Atlantic Ocean to the other. The grounds are tropically landscaped with carpet-mossy grass. The rooms have Manuel Canovas fabric cushions. Chef Nico for the Cliff at Cap restaurant offers a delicious seafood chowder. Champagne is delivered in a basket to diners fifty feet below via a zipwire. Very James Bond! And with zipwire excursions all across the island … very St, Lucia.
I went through a secret door that led me seductively down some stairs to a pretty, secluded “Smugglers Cove”. Here there’s a cute beach, perfect for bathing with a hammock one end and a tribal-faced rock the other. Locals use it too and the ‘Naked Fisherman’ restaurant gave me the freshest and most delightful of mahi mahi dishes.
I returned back down the Atlantic coast to the accompaniment of the brightest rainbow I had ever witnessed. A magnificent send off to such a colorful island. The calm after the Matthew storm!