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Destination, St. Lucia

by Camille Pepe Sperrazza 

"Commodore" Camille is a certified St. Lucia Specialist. 

When I go on Caribbean cruises, I like to personally check out resorts at the various islands. This firsthand knowledge can better advise you, and it also serves to establish connections to better serve you. 

St Lucia - On this trip, I explored one of the most exclusive resort on the island -- Jade Mountain, where each room has only three walls. The third is the incredible view of the mighty Pitons. Each open-air room contains a relaxing infinity pool, designed with running water flowing down the open side. You can control the pool's colors to set the mood. The setting is so serene and majestic, some people choose never to leave this tranquil space. You don't have to. Meals can be delivered to your room, and you have a refrigerator with snacks and beverages. The king size bed is surrounded with netting. An open bathroom has a shower area as well as a jacuzzi. There are lounge chairs and a sitting area. Each individual oasis is accessed via a private walking bridge. All rooms are stunning, but some rooms are larger than others, with the Galaxy Room being the ultimate in terms of space and view. As the resort's name indicates, it's all located in the mountains, but there is a black sand beach down the mountain, accessible by a shuttle bus, at your disposal. You can pick up a water taxi at this beach to explore other parts of the island. There's a beach restaurant, and a rooftop restaurant, with its priceless views. Opt to arrive by car, or go all out and take a helicopter to their helicopter port in the mountain, where you will be picked up via shuttle. Staying here is that once-in-a-lifetime experience you'll talk about forever. There are no televisions in the room. WiFi is available in one of the public areas. Opt to purchase your meals or get an all-inclusive plans. Certain high-end drinks are not part of the all-inclusive plan. 

Anse Chastanet - At the base of this same mountain is Anse Chastanet, the more affordable sister resort to Jade Mountain. Some of these rooms have the same open fourth wall. Both resorts share the same beach and the same beach restaurant. You will pass through Anse Chastanet to get to Jade Mountain. Like Jade Mountain, this is a "tropical" experience, where people come to get away from it all. You will be surrounded by lush greenery, a real "rainforest"-type of experience. 

St Lucian by Rex - If your budget is more modest, and if you prefer a resort that's located in the heart of Rodney Bay, where you can walk to shops and restaurants, the 3-star St Lucian is something to consider. It's located right on the beach, with beautiful sweeping ocean views. You'll notice the views as soon as you enter the main lobby where you can sit and watch the boats sail by. Rooms are basic, but adequate, each with its own balcony. Opt for garden, pool, or a beach view. All rooms are the same size, but nothing beats sitting on the balcony and looking at the ocean. There are two pools, and one has a swim-up pool bar. Opt for all-inclusive or a plan with breakfast only, allowing you to enjoy the many dining establishments, all within walking distance. There's also a casino you can walk to. 

The Royal - This is the sister property to the St Lucian, located right next door, but it's a 4-star, and more modern facility, as evidenced immediately by the striking purple and white lobby. The rooms here are larger than at the St Lucian, the bed on its own level, and the bathroom is larger as well. Both of these resorts are on flat terrain -- many St Lucia resorts are not -- so this is something to bear in mind if you are not looking to do a lot of "climbing." But you will climb stairs to access certain rooms. Both of these resorts provide a more "city/beach"-type experience as you are not surrounded by lots of greenery, as are many resorts in St Lucia. 

Le Sport Spa Resort in St. Lucia 

How about being pampered on your next vacation? 

At Le Sport Spa Resort in St. Lucia, you can expect the most relaxing 55-minute spa treatment every day of your vacation*. This includes full body massages; lime and ginger salt scrubs; ocean wraps; hand and foot massages; back and shoulder massages; facials; and more. Incredibly, a spa treatment a day is included in the cost of this all-inclusive vacation. 

There's no additional charge for daily classes such as Pilates, archery, yoga, fitness, fencing, step, golf, tennis, and trapeze swinging, to name a few. This is your opportunity to try everything you've ever wanted to learn. My 22-year-old daughter and I took advantage of them all, including the complimentary session with a personal trainer. 

The setting? Spectacular. Sometimes client ask for an "unspoiled" beach. This is it. The view is nothing but nature -- the sky, the ocean, and to the side, the peaks of the famous St. Lucia volcano. No other hotels are in view, and this beach is for guests of Le Sport only. You can relax and unwind for hours. From time to time, the staff brings a wet cloth to cool you down. Raise the flag, and they'll bring you anything you want to drink. 

Or, you can go snorkeling, tubing, learn to dive, and participate in motorized water sports. The cost? Nothing. This is truly one all-inclusive vacation. 

There are pools, Jacuzzis, an air-conditioned fitness room; a fully equipped and air-conditioned exercise room; lounge chairs; dozens of private massage rooms; and full bars. All meals and drinks are included. Now imagine this -- the famous Tao's Restaurant, the same one with branches in Manhattan and Vegas -- is located here. We dined there every night. Reservations are required. 

Accommodations: We had a deluxe garden view room. It was a nice size, with two comfortable beds, and an air conditioner that worked very well. The back door opened up to a large patio where we could sit outside and soak up the sun. The bathroom had a lovely, large sink "bowl," and a shower with several jets that extended from the tiles, allowing you to get a massage when you shower. Note there is no television in the room, but believe me you won't miss it. After a day in the sun, a few exercise classes, a relaxing spa treatment, wine with dinner, and cocktails at the piano bar, you'll fall asleep instantly. Pool view and ocean view rooms are available. 

Entertainment: There's a show every evening at the Clubhouse, and an intimate room with a piano bar where guests gather in the evening, to sing along with the piano player. Lots of fun. Amy Winehouse has been known to make appearances here. 

Food: Breakfast is a buffet. There's everything -- omelets, pancakes, and French toast, made to order; tons of fresh fruit; croissants; muffins; breads; cereal; and more. There's a lunch buffet in this same area, and a deli closer to the beach, where you can get salads, sandwiches, smoothies, cakes, cookies, cappuccino, and more. At 4 p.m., enjoy Tea Time at the Clubhouse, with sandwiches, fruit, and cakes. For dinner, choose from the buffet at the Clubhouse, a sit-down dinner at the cafe, or dinner at Tao's. Note that while all meals are included, if you are so inclined, you may also select from choices at the cafe and at Tao's that require an additional cost. Wine is included, but high-end wines are also offered for sale at Tao's. We found the included wines to be very good. 

Note that all dining establishments provide a "tropical experience." They are open-air venues. There is no air-conditioning, and with the exception of the buffet, many people dress up for dinner. 

What else do you need to know? When we were there, we saw many couples as well some people traveling alone. If you want to go solo, you should feel comfortable doing so. We had a great time, mingling with other guests at the piano bar, during dinner, and at the pool. No matter where in the world we travel, there are always some New Yorkers, and we met a fellow Brooklynite as well. The resort tends to attract a lot of European visitors as well as Canadian guests. There was one "American" outlet in the room. If you plan to bring items that need to be plugged in, consider bringing an adapter and/or power strip. 

The service at the resort is excellent; the staff is very accommodating and friendly. We felt very safe, relaxed, and happy. Note that it's not possible to walk to other hotels or shops. But you can hire a taxi, and tours that explore the island are available. In addition to the spa treatments and classes included, you may also opt to purchase a variety of unique spa treatments and activities. You will be required to climb a number of steps to get to the beautiful, outdoor spa area. A passport is required for this trip. 

Ready for a fabulous vacation? 
Contact me today to make your plans. 

*A spa treatment may not be available to you on the day of your arrival and the day of your departure. Activities and offers are always subject to change, at the discretion of the hotel. 

This article was accurate when it was written, but everything in life changes. Enjoy the journey! 

Copyright: Camille Pepe Sperrazza