Sensational Saint Lucia

The Caribbean has long been part of my soul food, strongly influenced in my 20’s when I was part of a marketing team tasked to ignite tourism from the UK to the key islands of Barbados, Jamaica, Antigua and Saint Lucia.

The two tapered volcanic Piton Mountains were chosen as the iconic image to entice travellers to the region, and were etched into my mind as a bucket list destination.

But whilst I have travelled to many of the stunning islands of the West Indies, Saint Lucia has eluded me for over three decades, leaving me with a slight niggle that I may have missed the moment to see her at her best.

The mango-shaped island, only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, was born from volcanic origin and is fringed with soft sandy beaches, golden in the north and dark silver in the southwest. However, the iconic beaches are merely a gentle introduction to the immense beauty of this island.

Lush rainforest covers a large swath of Saint Lucia, with waterfalls, lofty mountains and deep valleys creating a natural topography that has, in large part, been the island’s greatest asset and saviour. It has protected her from over development and allowed Mother Nature to stay truly in charge.

We arrived at the tail end of Storm Brett, a potent reminder that nature still has a firm grasp on the everyday lives of St Lucians and travellers alike, particularly at the start of hurricane season.

My first impression, after a pleasant transition through the small and intimate Hewanorra International Airport and on the one-hour transfer, is of an island that has successfully managed to embrace the hospitality industry, yet not sold her soul in the process.

World-class hospitality has been gently and sympathetically woven into the fabric of the island, with a palatable authenticity and harmony appearing still intact.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

“On earth, there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” – Jules Renard

Our first stay is at the incredibly chic Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort in the south of the island. Set in a former, 100-acre sugar plantation on the southwest coast of St Lucia, near Soufriere, this stunning resort sets the bar for luxury.

And I mean luxury. The highest echelons of opulence are present and correct across all the pillars of resort design, service, facilities, restaurant choice and standards, but perhaps most luxurious of all is its unique and breathtaking location.

Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach Resort Photography

The resort sits nestled in the rainforest valley between the UNESCO World Heritage site of the two magnificent Pitons. These twin grand masters of the island rise skywards to emerge like gentle giants, holding the heart of the resort in its grasp.

For me, arriving at this resort – having lived with the imprint of this image for over 40 years was a moment that will stay with me forever. Awe-inspiring and humbling all at once, and the ideal introduction to a stay that was long, long overdue.

The resort offers a collection of 149 guest suites, cottages, villas and newer residences, all built sympathetically into the mountain landscape and immaculately designed to ensure that every guest feels a sense of discreet personal space, tranquillity and harmony.

Sugar Beach, St.Lucia

Our beautiful one-bedroomed plantation style villa had a peaceful lounge, as well as a most impressive four-poster bed in a lofty bedroom, a shower large enough for a rugby team (sadly none in sight), a walk-in dressing room and an elegant slipper bath, all wrapped up in pristine white décor and dark wood furnishings with evocative black and white photography of the island-dotted around the villa.

However, the most exquisite moment was stepping out onto a vast marble terrace with plush sun loungers – our private plunge pool overlooking the beach below and a panoramic view of the Pitons framing the Caribbean horizon.

It’s moments like these that after 40 years in the travel industry, I remember what a privilege it is to travel and to get up close and personal with all that the world has to offer. It’s an endless source of inspiration, driving us to pack a bag with an open heart and explore and expand.

The villa comes with our very own butler, Nymaki, who takes care of us with such warmth. Be it a restaurant booking, an excursion, or recommending one of the most potent rum punches I have ever tasted from a beach boat bar that comes every day to tempt the pampered guests.

There is a genuine sense of peace and expansive space wherever you explore, be it the beautiful gardens with Calabash and Shak Shak trees, the two immaculate white sand beaches or The Rainforest Spa built of tree houses and walkways into the natural rainforest with its peaceful waterfalls and abundant birdlife. The gym also offers a grand state-of-the-art fitness suite with an outdoor yoga deck and a fitness schedule to suit most tastes… if you can drag yourself away from your sun lounger.

If you get bored of beach life, you can stumble a few yards to the peaceful pool. Here you’ll uncover gentle underwater music and a collection of cabanas that offer an even greater level of discreet space, with packages of goodies to enjoy as you relax.

Sugar Beac, St.Lucia


By night, the resort energy evolves into an elegant boujee vibe with beach fires, cocktails and live music. The restaurant choices range from the relaxed Bonte Restaurant on the beach to the elegant fine dining at Saltwood or the Asian fusion Cane Bar. The Saltwood menu was pristine and thoughtful with the highlight being a tomato gazpacho with basil oil, served with a salmon mousse and a glass of Chateau Miraval. The Cane Bar is a chic restaurant with a Southeast Asian menu, offering a variety of intensely flavoursome small plates including sushi, maki rolls and sashimi – perfect for sharing.

Leaving this beautiful resort after just a precious few days by boat to head north was a wrench that I can’t deny. To look back and see the magnificence of the Pitons with Sugar Beach nestled between these giants is soul-stirring and a hard act to follow.

I plan to return one day to experience this little piece of heaven again at the brand new residences that are currently being finished; an encounter I’m sure will deliver a whole new level of sublime.

Recommended excursions & activities at Sugar Beach

C’est La Vie

“I’ve learned that home isn’t a place it’s a feeling.” Cecelia Ahern 

Our journey to the next stay was partly by exhilarating high-speed water taxi up the Caribbean west coast to the quaint and intimate Marigot Bay, before we headed North on the interior roads through the twists and turns of the island. It was another wonderful opportunity to glimpse the raw natural beauty of this rainforest rich island.

Our home for the next few days is C’est La Vie, situated in a quiet residential area close to one of the key yachting hubs of Rodney Bay.

Arriving at C’est La Vie is like coming home with the warmest welcome and a gentle hug. This grand colonial-style plantation house offers uniquely designed and flexible accommodation, including the traditionally decorated three-bedroom Flamboyant Villa with a master suite that spills onto a beautiful veranda, a separate spacious one-bedroom apartment at garden level, and a standalone one-bedroom cottage on two floors set in the grounds.

C’est La Vie is the perfect space for large family gatherings or group bookings of up to 10 guests. The house sits elegantly in its own abundant and serene tropical garden with a large free-form swimming pool and its waterfall. The house also has access to a secluded beach and cove for snorkelling and beachcombing.

What sets this property apart on the island is the dedicated team and exceptional personal service, led by the charming Sherma. The small passionate team is attentive without being intrusive, always accessible to assist guests throughout their stay with a highly personalised service.

C'est La Vie, St.Lucia

Everything is taken care of, allowing the houseguests to completely relax with a private chef to prepare the most amazing meals and a concierge service to assist with any plans.

This property screams authentic Caribbean. Without the distractions of a resort or larger hotel, I found an inner stillness and equilibrium here in this grand house that is a rarity for me.

C’est La Vie, creates a wonderful space that allowed me to work yet still feel rested and rejuvenated at the end of our stay.


It may not have all the bells and whistles of the more contemporary properties on the island, but its romantic grandeur and attention to detail and heartfelt pride from the team is exceptional.

My favourite moments included enjoying the most stunning creole breakfast, (gluten-free versions lovingly created), and trying a variety of stunning wines from their world-class wine list of over 220 bottles hand-picked by the team’s passionate young sommelier.

Recommended excursions & places to dine close to C’est La Vie;

Cap Maison

“Luxury is in each detail.” Hubert de Givenchy

A short drive to the northernmost tip of Saint Lucia is the Cap Estate, one of the most exclusive areas on the island, where we arrived at the understated boutique resort of Cap Maison. A low-rise hacienda-style property, the estate sits in a stunning bluff location in a captivating natural cove that overlooks Pigeon Island.

The resort is a foodie paradise and a favoured destination of the celebrity set due to its exceptional service levels and its discreet yet intimate atmosphere.

With just 50 exquisite rooms and individual villas each offering the ultimate in privacy amid luxurious space and matched by exquisite attention to detail, this resort was an absolute delight.

Our distinctive Ocean View Suite with Pool and Roof Terrace reveals itself gracefully over 3000 square feet of thoughtful space; a magnificent kitchen, dining and lounge area, decorated in a mix of Caribbean and Mexican styling, that spills out onto a relaxed terrace. A vast four-poster bed sits majestically beside a second outside terrace and a stunning en-suite marble bathroom, complete with bathroom robes that felt like silk and products worthy of taking home.

Cap Maison, St.Lucia

But the ultimate sweet spot, after a short climb up an innocuous winding staircase, was a vast roof terrace with inviting sun loungers, a chic covered sitting area and perfect yoga space topped off with a large private plunge pool with a massive 270-degree uninterrupted view of the Caribbean Sea. Pure bliss.

The Cap It All Inclusive package is a definite thumbs up from me, allowing guests to graze across the culinary delights of this resort, be it at the relaxed ‘toe in the sand’ Naked Fisherman beach grill or dining at the island-renowned Cliff at The Cap.

Executive Chef Craig Jones, classically French trained but St. Lucian-inspired, is a long-time island resident who creates innovative, contemporary food within a perfect Caribbean setting with a strong emphasis on locally sourced, fresh ingredients. His signature dishes include Ceviche of Reef Conch and Ahi Tuna with a mango balsamic jus, Kurobuta pork belly with Razor Clams and squid served with coconut foam. Just exquisite.

For special occasions, I can recommend two highly personalised experiences that are real showstoppers. The first, a private chef who prepares and serves a delicious bespoke three-course meal with your favourite wines, for us it was served on the roof terrace under the stars. The second is the Cellar At Cap experience with Robbie, the resort’s charming sommelier who passionately creates the most extraordinary four-course meal served in the resort’s very own cellar, with wines paired perfectly from their collection of more than 2000 bottles. The rock shrimp risotto was a culinary masterpiece.

This particular evening we had the added delight to meet the man responsible for managing this immaculate resort. Ross Stevenson is a gently spoken man and a powerhouse of the hospitality industry, who exudes a passion for excellence that has been hard-earned from crafting some of the very best resorts around the globe including Gleneagles, The Royal Crescent, Cliveden Group and Cobblers Cove in Barbados.

His humbleness is a foil for the dedication and strong leadership that has him conducting this orchestra of understated perfection.

On our last morning, I sat looking out over the clear azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, mesmerised by the soaring birds and the intoxicating horizon. In that one moment, I felt surrender to a depth of calm and inner tranquillity that was pure bliss. A feeling that comes from the effortless delivery of excellence, wrapped up in raw natural beauty.

The resort doesn’t shout luxury, it whispers it and reveals its riches slowly and graciously, seeping into your heart where it will doubtlessly remain evermore.

Recommended excursions close to C’est La Vie;

Some interesting facts about Saint Lucia:

  • First country to be named after a woman
  • Finally gained independence from Britain in 1979
  • The only country you’ll find the Jacquot or St Lucia Parrot
  • The island has the world’s only drive-in volcano
  • Saint Lucia offers 21 different types of rum
  • You can create your very own chocolate bar on a plantation tour & plant a cocoa tree
  • The country is 70% covered in rainforest
  • Pirate Blackbeard visited St Lucia
  • there are 180 species of bird on the island including the beautiful hummingbird
  • St Lucia has its own beer
  • The island has more Nobel Prize Laureate than anywhere else in the world
  • It enjoys a year-round temperature of 27°
Sarah Morgan

An astute marketing professional with over 20 years’ travel, hospitality and leisure campaigning under her belt, Sarah is passionate about the consumer / brand experience. She now works from the other side of the table as Global Travel Editor, have pen will travel.

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