March 28th, 2013
With its black sand beaches, lush rainforest and natural hot springs, it’s no wonder we’re crushing on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. We took a trip to the “sleepy south” and found laid back resorts, natural beauty, and plenty of local flavour.
At Anse Chastanet no two rooms are alike but all include local art and a breezy Caribbean vibe. Ask for 14B, which has a tree growing through the rainfall shower (pictured). The hotel has four restaurants - including one that’s exclusively vegetarian - and two beaches with oceanside service. Make the trek over to Anse Mamin, the hotel’s more remote beach, for a Caribbean spice burger tucked between a Jonny Cake, a local bread grilled fresh to order. www.ansechastanet.com
Hotel Chocolat grows 10 per cent of the island’s cocoa. Tour the hotel’s Rabot Estate cocoa groves, pluck a pod, and craft your own dark bar with the Tree to Bar experience. Afterwards, reward yourself with a fresh cacao martini in the hotel bar. http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/home
Locals swear by the healing power of the sulphur springs, part of your entrance fee the Caribbean’s only “drive-in” volcano. Bring a dark swimsuit, cover yourself in volcanic mud, then dip into the natural (45 degree!) hot springs. http://soufrierefoundation.org
Guests at Jade Mountain benefit from more than just in-suite infinity pools and unobstructed views of the Pitons. At the Kai en Cielis spa the chocolate body wrap is good enough to eat but it’s the hotel’s own handmade chocolates, given at the end of the treatment, that really sweeten the experience. www.jademountain.com
Every Friday the town of Anse La Raye plays host to a fish fry dance party. Choose from snapper, mahi mahi, shrimp, box fish or spiny lobster then watch as your plate is piled high with homemade rice and peas, mac and cheese and coleslaw. (Sorry about the lack of photo, but were were too busy eating!)—Shannon Heth Vergette
October 8th, 2009
The sand is tinged with specks of pink coral and the houses are painted lilac, yellow and aquamarine. With its lush green vegetation and crystal blue waters, colour reigns on the island of Bermuda.
The new Tucker’s Point Resort oozes colonial charm. Large, airy rooms are decorated in bold florals, soft stripes and pastel ginghams. Sip Rum Swizzles poolside, play crocket or have your fingers and toes painted pink at the spa. From US$300 a night, 60 Tucker’s Point Dr., Hamilton Parish, Bermuda, 441-298-4000, www.tuckerspoint.com
Rent a scooter and explore the island’s glorious beaches; Horseshoe Bay, Elbow Beach and John Smith’s Bay are the best along South Shore for powder-soft sand and stunning waters. Tobacco Bay near St George’s is good for snorkelling.
The Lobster Pot (6 Bermudiana Rd., 441-292-6898) is a local institution with a nautical décor and some of the best seafood in town, while the elegant Seahorse Grill at Elbow Beach (441-239-9303, www.mandarinoriental.com) is perfect for a romantic dinner à deux. Tip: Bermuda is pure old-world charm and locals love to get dressed up when they go out. Some restaurants have a dress code so pack a pretty frock or two.
December 18th, 2008
In a country where street signs point you to the nearest jewellery store (all of which serve complimentary cocktails), it’s no wonder lovers of the ultra-luxe head to St. Maartens. Divided into Dutch and French areas, the 39 beaches have white sand, crystal blue water, and very few tan lines.
While sunburned tourists bunk down in hotels, we tried a slice of local life in a secluded villa on the French residential side of the island. Private pool, daily maid service, ocean view…just like home. From USD$500/night, www.islandhideaways.com
When you’re this close to decadence, it would be a crime not to hop on a ferry for a day trip to St. Barths. A chair rental on the beach is US$30, but it’s the $13 Diet Cokes and $26 Bikinitini cocktails (coconut rum and pineapple juice) that gave us sticker-shock giggles. Packed with the finest Euro trash in the world and enough designer boutiques to make you dizzy (Hermes, Dior et al.), it’s a true slice of how the other, overly-tanned half lives.
With an abundance of fresh ingredients and gourmet restos, you can have Lai Lai barbeque chicken on the beach by day and a five-course dinner every night. Temptation certainly lived up to its name—the French onion soup ($18) topped with Gruyère is simply the best we’ve ever tasted. www.nouveaucaribbean.com
Getting to the beach may not always be easy (you’ll need a car—and an excellent sense of direction—to make it down the twisty, dirt roads) but the journey is worth it. Most beaches are clothing optional, including the busy and very popular Orient Beach and the quiet and secluded Cupecoy Beach. Pinel Island (a 5–minute boat ride from the coast) is must-see for its natural, untouched beauty. No electricity, no cars, no roads—so leave the BlackBerry at home.