Experience the ultimate in St Lucian luxury with a stay at Nick Troubetzkoy’s Jade Mountain, suggests Lorraine Crighton-Smith
A trip to Jade Mountain should come with a warning: your mind will be blown away by a phenomenal piece of architecture in one of the world’s most beautiful spots. It’s an incredibly tough act to follow (will anything ever compare?) but don’t let that stop you experiencing the ultimate in St Lucian luxury.
If you’re feeling especially extravagant request the helicopter transfer. We travelled in a land taxi, driven by chatty Cuthbert who talked us through St Lucia’s history – pointing out the sights – as we went. The road to Jade Mountain had been described to us as ‘rock n roll’ and, after around an hour of driving, we found ourselves heading up a steep and winding dirt track.
We arrived at Anse Chastanet, the big sister resort to Jade Mountain, where we spent our first night. Both resorts are owned and designed by Russian-Canadian architect Nick Troubetzkoy; the former came first (in the 1970s) while Jade boldly followed in December 2006. Anse Chastanet has recently been given a spruce up. Its interior décor is traditional; Madras fabrics (St Lucia’s national dress, a colourful plaid that resembles Scottish tartan) add splashes of colour to the back-to-basics wood-heavy design. I stayed in a Premium Hillside room, its wow factor was, without a doubt, the panorama of the Pitons from my vast balcony (Premium Hillside rooms 1,200-1,400 sq ft). I let out another excited squeal when I saw the bathroom – it was ginormous, with twin sinks (mirrors framed with Hollywood dressing table-style bulbs) and a rain-shower privy to THE view.
Anse Chastanet has three restaurants, two bars as well as access to a beach bar/ grill on the second beach of Anse Mamin. We dined in the Treehouse Restaurant, it our first taste of the fine dining available here – and the bar was raised. We later visited the Emerald Estate with Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden and were treated to a tour of the farm where all the resort’s fruit and vegetables are grown. The Emerald Estate even has its own brand of chocolate.
The following day we took a walking tour through the forest, really feeling the Caribbean climate. Wear light linens and don’t forget to bring insect repellent. The views from the top were spectacular and well worth the walk.
From here we headed to the drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs in Soufriere. Watch out for the smell of sulphur here but it’s certainly a sight to behold.
On return to the resort we were dropped off at the entrance to JadeMountain, our luggage had already been moved and we were introduced to our butlers. To get to your ‘sanctuary’ you’ll be led down your own bridged walkway. It’s difficult to eloquently describe the sensation of walking into your Jade Mountain sanctuary but it was truly unforgettable. The fourth wall has been removed to optimise that all-important view.
The only thing between the four-posted bed and the great outdoors was a stunning infinity pool that I couldn’t get in fast enough. Each of the 24 infinity pool sanctuaries have been individually designed and there are four categories, which vary in size. The biggest and the best are the Galaxy sanctuaries. I stayed in a Sun sanctuary, JC3, which Karolin Güler Troubetzkoy (the delightful Executive Director, head of marketing and operations, and wife of Nick) told me was, in fact, one of her favourites. Smack in the middle, rising high, I can see why.
Tempting as it is to hide away in your sanctuary (rumour has it the longest a guest has stayed in their sanctuary without leaving is two weeks) there are beaches below with waters so clear and warm it’s ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving, or try your hand at paddle boarding and other water sports if feeling energetic. Past the second beach, Anse Mamin, you’ll find the ruins of an old plantation, which makes for a fascinating walk. Feeling adventurous? Try jungle biking instead of walking.
Take time out to experience the resorts spas (Spa Kai Belte at Anse Chastanet and Kai en Ciel Spa at JadeMountain) – or book a treatment in your sanctuary. I had an exfoliating body scrub made of chocolate, which left my skin feeling super soft but the real showstealer was the hour and a half I spent having an Ayurvedic treatment with Theo.
Before we left we took a sunset cruise out to sea and were lucky enough to see dolphins jumping in and out of the water. Whales have been sighted in these parts too, April’s the best month apparently for any keen whale watchers considering at trip to St Lucia.
Five nights’ bed and breakfast at Jade Mountain start from £1,999. Seven nights’ bed and breakfast at Anse Chastanet start from £1,599 per person. Fly from London Gatwick with British Airways (private transfers included). 020 8421 7090; luxuryworldwidecollection.com