Inherently cooler and far more chilled than its neighbouring Caribbean islands, we flew to St Lucia to sleep beneath the stars and on top of the crystal clear sea at the nation’s most glamorous new opening.
You Can Sleep On The Sea
Sandals Resorts has taken island digs up a gear with their stunning over-the-water bungalows, opened just last year. Ideal for the honeymoon of a lifetime, or just a serious treat (they don’t come cheap) we had the pleasure of road testing the new suites.
Suspended over the Caribbean Sea, you’d be hard pushed to find somewhere else so tranquil. Inside, the wood panelled bungalows give way to a glass floor to make you feel like you’re literally sleeping on water, but it’s the outdoor space that really stuns – an over-water hammock, outdoor shower and huge tub complete the private patio. With just a few locals cannoning past to sell coconuts – don’t worry, the shower and tub can be covered – we switched off, and we mean properly switched off, for the first time in months.
Add to that a private butler on call 24/7 – ours was full of charm and sorted everything from spa treatments to excursions, as well as an impossibly romantic candlelit dinner barefoot on the beach and midnight room service after one too many rum cocktails.
The nine bungalows sit within the Sandals resort but are tucked away for unadulterated R&R. Guest can, however, use all of the facilities – we rate Kimonos Japanese restaurant for dinner and Soy for fresh lunchtime sushi. The resort is all-inclusive, too, so you can indulge as much or as little as you like.
The Colours Of Soufrière Will Inspire You
If Pantone shades are your thing, you’ll fall hard for the colours of Soufrière. Situated further down the west coast of the island, the pretty houses are made up of peachy tones, bubblegum pinks and cool blues, all set against lush green palms and giant banana leaves – think House of Hackney wallpaper and millennial pinks brought to life.
The Weather Is A No Brainer
Don’t be put off by the rain symbols on your weather app. St Lucia is a dense, jungle island so it does rain, but never for long. We were on the island for a week and faced with seven rain icons staring back at us – it did rain a little each day but for minutes, only to return to bright sunshine again.
Humidity is high, however, so pack decent hair products to avoid jungle frizz.
The Pitons Will Take Your Breath Away
A visit to the Pitons is a must. The easiest and most glam way to get there from our water bungalow was by boat – the hotel arrange daily excursions there and back. Speeding up to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is a view that will stay with us forever, as the two colossal peaks – Gros Piton is 771 metres high, and the Petit Piton 743 – swallow everything else in site.
Twenty minutes away, a trip to the world’s only drive-through volcano (yes, really) is another must. If you can cope with the sulphur smell, it’s definitely worth the trip and make sure you stop off for a dip in the natural waterfall on the way back.
The People Are Amongst The Most Chilled In The World
If we had a St Lucian dollar for every time the Sandals staff said “No pressure, no problem”, we’d have upped the holiday budget significantly. St Lucians are genuinely some of the most chilled people we’ve met – not hard to believe given the paradise views and year-round sunshine – and the good vibes will rub off.
The Island Has Some Of The Most Magical Views In The Caribbean
Thanks to its thick jungle – the centre of the island is pretty much winding roads through dense, lush green foliage – St Lucia has a different vibe to that of the more popular Caribbean islands like Barbados or Antigua. But it’s this that gives St Lucia its raw charm and stunning views. And, thanks to its volcanic properties, the sand on the beaches is mainly black.
We arranged a beach horseback ride through our butler along the northern coast of the island, which is far more rugged and rough due to the more turbulent Atlantic waters. With no tourists in sight and just a couple of beach huts selling local Piton lager, we cantered along the black sandy beaches and took a dip in the sea with our horse Sweetie Boy as the sun went down.
It’s A Chocolate Lover’s Dream
Chocolate lovers can indulge in the multiple plantations across the island. In fact, everyone’s favourite luxe chocolate brand Hotel Chocolat calls St Lucia home. Get your fix by booking in to one of the many tours and experiences they offer, from seeing how the chocolate is made to confectionary-infused spa treatments.
And Finally… It’s Cooler Than The Other Caribbean Islands
From Matt Damon choosing to renew his wedding vows on the island to island homeowner Oprah Winfrey and visitors Kanye and Kim, St Lucia is loved by A-list stars thanks to its understated charm, privacy and laid-back attitude.
Prices start from £5,829pp on a seven night stay in the Over the Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalows at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. Price includes Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) accommodation, return economy flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick, Butler Elite Service, 24-hour room service and private transfers. Price is subject to availability.