Holiday Destinations - Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
PUBLISHED: 09:32 26 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:32 26 June 2014
(c)JOE MCNALLY 2008
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia, was formed on a volcanic eruption millions of years ago but it offers a rare type of tranquillity
St. Lucia is not your typical Caribbean hideaway. Here the sand is not caster sugar white and the water is not aquamarine blue. Formed from a volcanic eruption millions of years ago, the island’s explosive history is everywhere you look - it’s in the sparkly black and coffee-coloured sand, it’s in the dramatic rock formations that dominate St. Lucia’s skyline and its postcards, and it’s alive and well in the politely bubbling La Soufriere volcano in the south-western part of the island.
St. Lucia is home to the Pitons - two majestic peaks formed from magma in pre-historic times. Today they are a UNESCO World Heritage treasure. Rising up sharply from the deep green waters of the Caribbean sea, the Pitons are the most distinctive landmark of the island. They are also the money-shot view for which the spectacular five-star resort Jade Mountain was built in devotion to just eight years ago.
Landscaped into the slopes above the bay of Chastanet, Jade Mountain is a resort like no other in the world. Firstly, it has no fourth wall looking out at sea (that is correct, dear reader). Russian-Canadian architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy designed Jade Mountain himself and where any other hotel would have built floor to ceiling glass for the sea-view, he chose to build, well nothing. Troubetzkoy, for one, is clearly mesmerised by the Pitons - every spot in the resort is dedicated to this showstopper of a view: the restaurant, the panoramic terrace, even the beds all openly face this mecca of mountain vistas.
At Jade Mountain your room is known as a ‘sanctuary’, because it is essentially a luxury cave you need never leave. Typically the sanctuaries boast an infinity plunge pool, a jacuzzi bath, a plump-cushioned lounging area and a four-poster bed. The interior design pays homage to the lush forest of the island - green ferns and emerald glass tiles in the plunge pools work well against the polished tropical hardwood. Any concerns we had about a lack of a fourth wall quickly dissolved - the nights are mild (though pack earplugs as the tree frogs are loud). Waking on the first morning we sit bolt upright in bed, stunned by how deeply we slept and the delicate light creeping across the bay from the sunrise behind the Pitons.
While you could endlessly loll around your sanctuary ordering room service and massages, the temptation to float in the warm Caribbean sea is too strong. The resort shares its private beach with its more affordable sister resort Anse Chastanet. At Jade Mountain you can be as active or as idle as you like - there is a dive centre if you fancy scuba diving or snorkelling, you can paddle board and you can even go zip-lining in the forest. The best thing we did was a sunset champagne cruise of the bay where we made friends with a school of dolphins. Magical.
Sunrise yoga on the celestial terrace is a gentle way to start the day and made us feel less guilty about breakfast afterwards, where we found it hard to resist the fluffy American-style pancakes with banana, cocoa nibs and maple syrup. The food here is worth the flight over alone - the resort has its own organic fruit and veg farm, the produce of which also ends up on the plates of the vegetarian restaurant at its sister resort, on the slopes just beneath Jade Mountain.
But it was the Jade Mountain beach restaurant that became our regular hangout. At lunch it dealt just the right notes as a Caribbean fish burger bar. By night it became an entirely different experience, with soft red lighting and an incredible Indian-Caribbean fusion menu (we oohed and ahhed over the king prawns in a coconut and chick-pea batter, freshly caught Mahi Mahi fish marinated in ginger and chilli and tandoori baked pineapple with cardamom crème brûlée).
Once we’d indulged in all the above there was only one thing left to do - call our personal butler to drive us back to the top of Jade Mountain. After all, why sweat the waddle back to your sanctuary after dinner when you’re on holiday in paradise?
RESORT - Jade Mountain
DURATION - Five nights bed and breakfast
PRICE - Approx £2399 per person
OFFERS - Includes One FREE Night + $250pp Resort Credit
AIRLINE - British Airways
AIRPORT - London Gatwick
TRANSFERS - Private Transfers Included
WEBSITE - www.luxuryworldwidecollection.com
TELEPHONE - 020 8421 7090
Nightly rates at Anse Chastanet start from US $330 per night in a Standard Room based on two sharing. www.ansechastanet.com Nightly rates at Jade Mountain start at US$ 1,275 per Sanctuary. Price is based on two persons sharing a Sky, Star, Moon, Sun or Galaxy Jacuzzi Suite. All rates are subject to 8% tax and 10% service charges. www.jademountain.com