If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to include a visit to Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia on your bucket list. If I might describe it as such—it’s a perfect piece of heaven on earth. And I’m certain celebrities like R&B songstress Beyonce and rapper Ludacris share my sentiment as Jade Mountain was their choice for a Caribbean getaway.
Located high on Morne Chastanet on the island’s south-western Caribbean coast, the "9th wonder of the world" (which I believe it should be), overlooks the 242-hectare beachfront of its sister resort Anse Chastanet and offers a picturesque view of the island’s distinguished mountain peaks—Gros Piton and Petit Piton.
Imagine waking up in a bedroom where your eyes can immediately meet with nature instead of a ceiling or window and there’s access to your very own infinity pool stationed mere meters from your bed. There is also a jacuzzi and an open air-type designed toilet and bath area that oddly still offers complete privacy.
There are no electronics; you are at peace with the only noise being that of the breaking waves of the 242-hectare beachfront over yonder and the chirping of birds landing at the foot of your bed, which is draped in scarlet red and white, and protected by insecticide bed nets. As a colleague put it, a stay at this haven guarantees an offspring or two.
At its restaurant, you can have breakfast while watching the sun rise or dinner while watching it set, all the while, enjoying the prominent view of the ocean as its permanent backdrop.
The food courtesy its house chef, Allen Susser, was divine. From salads to the "Catch of the Day," to his signature Soufriere market-inspired cheesecake, I lapped it up all and quite delightfully so.
It was to my great surprise that Susser had no formal training in culinary arts and was actually a self-taught chef. Nonetheless, he had gifted hands.
A tour of the stone-styled structure, designed by Russian-Canadian architect, Nick Troubetzkoy also took me to its in-house chocolate lab where I experienced mouthfuls of joy, with its speciality bonbon chocolates made with various fillings including mango, salted caramel, and cappuccino. These chocolates held my tongue hostage for the few minutes spent at the lab.
Troubetzkoy came to Saint Lucia in the early 70s when he was asked to design vacation villas on the island. He soon fell in love with the island and what was supposed to be a fleeting stay, turned into a life-long devotion.
The Sunday Guardian was afforded this experience when we visited the island to cover its recently concluded jazz festival. Apart from the highly regarded annual event, part of our visit included a day touring some of the island’s natural attractions, inclusive of the Jade Mountain Resort, which concluded the tour.
Our tour began with a near two-hour boat ride—24 miles down to the south of the island to Sulphur Springs in the town of Soufriere which hosts the world’s only “drive-in” volcano—an amazing sight to behold.
Upon entering the town of Soufriere on our way to Sulphur Springs, one immediately recognises the most prominent piece of modern architecture is Rubis Gas Station, standing to the left, on the opposite hand there are aged colonial-type buildings, these buildings continue along Church Street, a stretch, highly reminiscent of "around the bridge" in Port-of-Spain.
Going to the Sulphur Springs volcano is apparently a big deal. After all, it’s been visited, by some of the world’s most affluent and leading people like Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey, among others.
A notable feature of the volcano is its "mud pools" which provide natural healing mud baths and is patronised by tourists and locals alike. It is said people come from all over the world to take a dive in its "miracle-working" offering, which detoxifies the body and helps heal sunburns, eczema, arthritis, sore joints, and more.
Our next visit was to the enticing Toraille Waterfalls and Garden. Surround by a scene of green, the popular waterfall which spurts out and down 50 feet over a cliff settling into a thigh-high pool. This "natural beauty" was being enjoyed by tourists upon our visit. Needless to say, our team "took one for the road".
If you’re not in good shape, prepare to be whipped into shape with the Tet Paul Nature Trail climb. Located in the south-western town of Soufriere, the trek offers a breath-taking view of the island’s famous mountains—Petit Piton, a rock climbing attraction in Chateau Belaire Soufriere and Gros Piton, which takes four hours in total to hike up and down.
Toward the end of our tour, it was an agreed decision, we would definitely be returning to Saint Lucia in the not too distant future.