Let nature envelop you at St Lucia’s Jade Mountain, and stargaze, snorkel or scuba your day.
Words: Jonathan Whiley
Such is the cinematic quality of Jade Mountain, your imagination has a tendency to go AWOL. One day I’m in a throwback Bond villain lair (“vee have been expecting you Mr Bond – and have prepared a vairy nice rum punch”), the next I’m Dickie Attenborough surveying Jurassic Park from the plushest visitor centre imaginable.
This other-worldly adults-only retreat in St Lucia is unquestionably one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels. But don’t just take my word for it – it featured in the globetrotting BBC series, Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby (booking enquiries soared).
With the fourth wall missing from each of the 24 infinity pool ‘sanctuaries’ (they range in size – the ‘Galaxy’ is the biggest with the most panoramic views), you have uninterrupted and breathtaking views of the Pitons. Each of thesprawling sanctuaries have their own majordomo; simply message via a “firefly” mobile when the Piña Colada craving kicks in.
At the blissful mercy of nature (with no TVs or radios and Wi-Fi only available in your sanctuary), there are clever touches to ensure comfort. Total privacy is guaranteed by the design, and tropical wood frames with moveable jalousie louvers provide a welcome breeze in lieu of air conditioning.
This brutalist ocean liner of a hotel was founded and is run by husband and wife, Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy. Karolin is director of marketing and operations, while it was architect Nick’s vision that led to its creation in 2006. Most remarkable is that this unique hilltop hideaway – a maze of ‘sky bridge’ walkways resembling the Aztec Zone from hit 90s’ TV show, The Crystal Maze – was built entirely without a plan. It took more than three years to do so; employing 500 St Lucians in the process.
Then, as now, there was a commitment to regenerative tourism and the desire to leave a positive legacy behind. They remain the largest employer in the community (some 560 staff – 97 per cent local – across Jade and sister hotel, Anse Chastanet) and were carrying out sustainable practices long before it was a savvy PR move. The construction of Jade saw the creation of their own mining and rock-crushing sites, their own carpentry shop made all the furniture, and the restoration of an 18th-century reservoir ensures their own water supply to both hotels.
This is sustainability at its most subtle and sexy; allowing you to enjoy this seductive honeymoon favourite – with its Instagram friendly recycled glass pool tiles – without any of the guilt. Beyond your sanctuary, facilities include a spa, gym and chocolate laboratory where you can make your own bar of organic chocolate from more than 2,000 cocoa trees on the resort’s estate. As night falls, there is an opportunity for stargazing on the Celestial Terrace.
The Jade Mountain Club has an excellent bar and restaurant which uses many of the organic ingredients from the hotel’s own Emerald Farm in the Soufrière hills. Á la carte breakfast options include classics with a twist (avocado toast with vanilla vinaigrette, chocolate crêpes with Emerald’s cherry jam), while lunch includes the likes of 12-hour braised wagyu beef tacos or catch of the day.
Dinner is a more decadent menu of grilled lobster tail with green fig salad or a classic New York strip steak.
Set below Jade Mountain is sister resort Anse Chastanet, which Nick became sole owner of in 2000. Now a 49-room resort – surrounded by a 600-acre estate – while it may not have the A-list appeal of Jade Mountain, it does have a wealth of facilities and two beautiful palmtree lined beaches.
Much like Jade, staff have bags of personality, rooms are spacious and the colourful local artwork and a welcome of St Lucian rum and banana bread provide a real sense of place.
Activities on offer are endless; art classes, jungle biking, a guided trek to the Pitons, a sunset cruise and excellent snorkelling and scuba facilities with a coral reef (home to more than 150 species of fish) just 10 yards beyond the water’s edge at Anse Chastanet beach.
Plans are afoot for the third property in the Troubetzkoy St Lucian portfolio; Jade Sea – located near Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet – and its design looks every inch as mesmerising.
For now though, the ever popular Jade Mountain – one couple having stayed three times a year for the past decade – remains the gold standard for luxury hotels in the Caribbean. Take the six-minute helicopter journey to this filmic hideaway and let your imagination run wild.
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