Recommend May 2014 - (Page 80)
S E P T E M B E R 2 0 13
ordered a highball following our own oddball recipe, the waitress
listened attentively and returned with exactly what I wanted. On
another day we misplaced our electric plug adapter, so we asked
someone at the front desk if he had any spares. Alas, he'd loaned
out his last. An hour later, there was a knock on our door. He had
driven into town and bought one. And he wouldn't accept a tip.
For this combination of mega-resort-sized activities and
boutique-hotel service, rack rates start at $900 per night per
couple. Our room, described above, is $964.
A room with a stunning view at Jade Mountain.
If Saint Lucia hosts any more weddings and honeymoons and
such, expect an invasion by threatened bachelors hoping to shut
the island down. The effort wouldn't last, though, because even
a diehard single guy would soon see that Saint Lucia is not just
hearts and ﬂowers. It also has some of the most unique and
upscale hotels in the Caribbean, UNESCO-recognized terrain
(e.g. those Pitons), thriving marine life, enough adventure activities to host an X-games tourney, and a singular culture that mixes
French-Catholic roots with British notions about how to brew tea.
On a recent visit, we stayed at Rendezvous: the Boutique
Hotel for Couples and Jade Mountain Resort. Rendezvous is
an all-inclusive in the relatively ﬂatter, more populous north, while
the designer hideaway Jade is located in the primeval,
Still owned by the family that created it in 1966, Rendezvous
has one of the nicest, white-sand beaches on Saint Lucia. The
guestrooms are in low-rise buildings with Spanish-tiled roof; ours
was a Luxury Beachfront room with a four-poster, a desk and easy
chair, a stylish bath with a glass brick wall, and a hammock on the
patio (we do admit to never having tested ours. After all, the ﬁrst
rule of travel journalism is, "Thou shalt not rest").
This 100-room resort has two restaurants-the outdoor Terrace
and the more formal Trysting Place, three bars, and waiters who
patrol the (three) pool areas and the beach. Some guests worked it
off in the ﬁtness center or took classes in Pilates, yoga, tai chi, etc.
Some went Hobie-Cat sailing, windsurﬁng, or waterskiing; others
played tennis or even learned archery or scuba diving. Still others
enjoyed treatments at the Spa in the Water Garden or cuddled in a
beach cabana; after all, this is a couples resort.
Now, you might have gleaned some of this from the website,
but the site can't really convey the quality of the staff. When we
80 may 2014
Caribbean Journal and Travel + Leisure have just named Jade
Mountain the best resort in the Caribbean. No surprise, because
its list of accolades is already longer than "War and Peace."
Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that
Jade Mountain sits atop a rock-a mountain whose vista includes
the blue Caribbean and the iconic Pitons. With fewer than
one-third the total accommodations of boutique-size Rendezvous,
Jade Mountain has 29 suites, 25 of which are labeled Sanctuaries
rather than mere "suites." And like a few of the units in sister resort
Anse Chastanet and, to the south, Ladera resort, they feature a
missing fourth wall that frames the view.
All the units have open-ﬂoor designs with hard-to-leave seating
arrangements, four-poster kings featuring mosquito netting, and
breezes that make air-conditioning superﬂuous. No two units are
identical, and the one that's 1,400 sq. ft. is the smallest. In
addition, all 24 Sanctuaries have plunge pools.
Now for some details you may not know: The tubs offer underwater lighting for chromatherapy. Guests get beepers for
summoning a ride, Champagne, an en-suite meal, or maybe a
staffer to peel a grape. Not only does Jade have access to Anse
Chastanet's beaches, directly downhill, but the waterfront facilities
include a crackerjack dive operation, snorkeling and non-motorized
watersports, a swell beach bar/restaurant, sunset sails, and more.
The resort also offers mountain biking, tennis, guided walks and
hikes, a ﬁtness center, and yoga/ﬁtness classes in a designer spa.
Finally, you may have heard that consulting chef Allen Susser has
won a James Beard Award, the Pulitzer of gastronomy. His locally
sourced fusion creations are sublime, whether the setting is the
open-air (of course) Jade Mountain Club, a table for two up on
the aptly named Celestial Terrace, or one's Sanctuary. If his
tarragon-roasted wahoo with chorizo- and crab-stuffed hearts of
palm and shrimp bisque or passion fruit mousse cake made this
visitor despair, that's only because we knew we'd never experience
them until the next trip to Jade. Sky Suites (1,650 sq. ft.) start at
$1,025 EP; MAP costs $90 pp. ●
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/
Soaring to New Heights in Saint Lucia (July 2013)
Jade Mountain: (800) 223-1108; jademountain.com
Rendezvous: (800) 544-2883; theromanticholiday.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend May 2014
Hotel Desk: Le Meridien
Tour Talk: Contiki Vacations
Tee Off in Spain
Tee Off in Scotland
Jerusalem & Tel Aviv: A (Short) Tale of Two Cities
AmaWaterways Sails into Myanmar
American Cruise Lines is on a Roll
Venturing Through Bordeaux With Viking
Martinique Travel Planner
Ecuador Goes Luxe
Mexico Destination Weddings & Honeymoons
Salamander Resort & Spa, Virginia
PGA National Resort & Spa, Florida
Recommend May 2014