From the peaks of the Piton mountains to the golden sands beneath, a look at how discovering the wild side of Saint Lucia might change luxury travel forever
Words Elysia Agnew
The Caribbean is best known for its turquoise waters, golden sands and its swooping palm trees; a place where you can kick off your flip-flops and relax under the striking sunlight. But this idea of luxury lounging might not sit well with all travellers. Unwinding in a sand-between-the-toes beach bar with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other might be the epitome of pure bliss for some, but for others, a wellness holiday or an action-packed, sight-seeing trip might be more appealing. Like me, you might be surprised to discover that Saint Lucia has the perfect combination of laid-back luxury and adventure. This exotic isle caters to all, accommodating everything from beach breaks and foodie feasts to rainforest adventures and mountain climbing expeditions. There’s much more to the beauty that meets the eye on this Caribbean island – it might be a magnet for honeymooners, but it also deserves its newfound status as an all-rounder.
Saint Lucia has become the go-to Caribbean island for adventure seekers and gastronomic diners as much as it is for luxury travellers who wish to flop on the beach. The lush volcanic isle is former British territory, gaining its independence back in 1979 and has a staggering variety of stunning landscapes from jungle-draped peaks to luxurious marinas and sleepy Creole fishing villages. Whether it’s the beautiful beaches and the five star resorts, the unbeatable beauty of the coastline or the lush mountains, Saint Lucia is the perfect destination for a holiday that has it all.
At the northern tip of the island, along the palm-fringed beaches and the sun drenched shores where the Caribbean Ocean meets the Atlantic Sea, Cap Maison is perched on a cliff, taking in the entirety of the region’s tropical beauty. Cap Maison is an intimate boutique hotel located minutes from the nightlife, dining and shopping of Rodney Bay. This five star boutique hotel offers an experience steeped in luxury where authentic Saint Lucian culture, cuisine and traditions blend effortlessly. The hacienda-style accommodation boasts fresh, whitewashed interiors with splashes of colourful decoration, high ceilings, curved archways, and luxe dark woods. Set atop the grounds of a former sugar plantation, this waterfront resort invites guests to enjoy stunning views over Martinique and Cap Maison’s own secluded beach cove. Location, décor, service and the mere quality of the place strikes me in an instant, and after sampling the French-Caribbean cuisine and the dazzling wine selection, I’m totally hooked.
There’s a series of stunning, Spanish-Caribbean-style suites and villas scattered across the grounds; surrounded by beautiful wildlife, greenery and a selection of both private and communal pools. The villas range from one to three bedrooms and come with an open-plan living area, veranda and pool with a view of either the crystal waters over the cliff or the lush, tropical gardens. Inside, I find perfection at every touch point: from the intricate, exotically coloured tiles and the Acqua di Parma toiletries in the bathroom, to the beach flip-flops and the hotel’s house rum punch provided in the suites.
Cap Maison has three main restaurants under its umbrella, headed up by Craig Jones (a dreadlocked Welshman) because that’s just how things roll in the Caribbean. Cap Maison is a culinary journey in itself, with award-winning eateries and bespoke dining options – if the staff can put a table there, guests can dine there. The most popular, and possibly the most romantic table on the island is Rock Maison, an exclusive wooden deck lapped by the gentle waves of the Caribbean Ocean. Dine by candlelight as the burnt orange hues of the sun set around you. We enjoy tapas Creole style; available once a week in the hotel’s signature restaurant: The Cliff at Cap. Rock Maison shares its menu with The Cliff at Cap, but comes complete with personal waiter and champagne zip wire, bringing the hotel’s speciality sparkly offering straight to your table.Afternoons can be spent swimming, snorkelling, sailing or relaxing on the hotel’s private beach. My happy place is found sipping rum punch in a cliff-top hammock as the sea crashes against the rocks and the smells of the beach grill breeze by. Laid-back lunch is served at The Naked Fisherman, a beach-front grill where you can sample the catch of the day and a selection of rum cocktails.
The food and wine here is phenomenal. And as good food and wine tastes better when shared, we book up an evening in the majestic Cellar Maison (the island’s best kept secret), for wine and deli pairing. The hotel’s sommelier takes us from Bordeaux to South Africa, California and back, sampling a collection of biodynamic and vintage wines and innovative flavours. The wines are playfully paired with an array of cold cut meats, charcuterie and artisanal cheeses. It’s safe to say you’re in for a foodie treat at Cap Maison, with ever-changing menus, cookery classes and bespoke culinary experiences. For guests who want to seek out something a little more traditional, the hotel chef’s will take you to Castries’ local Sunday morning market to sample some of the islands best loved fruits, vegetables, spices, meats and fish. The chef’s can help guests select ingredients for a cookery demonstration in the comfort of your own villa.
Reflective of the laid-back, Caribbean culture, if you’re here for a relaxing beach break you don’t have to lift a finger. Sitting by the pool, I’m greeted with a drinks menu and a small hamper filled with ice cold water, snacks and chilled towels to refresh. It’s these small touches that make Cap Maison such a unique, bespoke retreat. But it’s not just about luxury here – it’s about personality too. It’s about the staff getting to know their guests, providing a professional and personalised service.If you’ve had your fix of lazy days, Saint Lucia has a wild side too. There’s plenty of island to explore, so why not make the most of it. Julian Toussaint, the hotel’s Head Therapist offers yoga classes, running clubs and trail runs around Pigeon Island and along the untouched east coast. The island’s climate means the mountains are covered with lush greenery, perfect for picture-postcard trekking. A ziplining experience at Rainforest Adventure is another must for adrenaline seekers. Hanging hundreds of metres above ground, you’ll fly through the incredibly peaceful and truly exotic rainforest. If you fancy a day trip, book onto the Mount Pimard Segway Tour, LucianStyle! You’ll glide the historical nature trail, enjoying breathtaking views and scenic stop-offs along the way. Seeing the west coast in a new light, we stop off at Pebble Beach, the Morne Pimant viewing point and the StoneFace Fish Pond.
Saint Lucia has a fascinating cultural heritage: “no pressure, no problem” is the motto picked up by locals. To experience true Saint Lucian living and to enjoy a bit of out-of-resort evening entertainment, head to the Friday night Fish Fry in Gros Islet. We soak up the atmosphere as locals mix with tourists and this bustling street party comes to life.
Whether ziplining through the rainforest, browsing the local markets or soaking up the sun by your rooftop pool, Cap Maison is the most exclusive, truly divine Saint Lucian destination that will tick all the boxes for a relaxing, romantic or rejuvenating adventure holiday. A breathtaking location, fine food and the perfect blend of tranquility and adventure. Every guest is a friend here, and you’ll leave feeling truly spoilt. With paradise coves, glittering beaches and idyllic hideaways, there are very few places more beautiful and thrilling than Saint Lucia.A garden view room at Cap Maison starts from £275 per night on a B&B basis (two sharing) A garden view room at Cap Maison starts from £552 per night on a Cap It All basis (two sharing). For more information visit capmaison.com or call 020 8977 6099
The ziplining at Rainforest Adventure costs from £75 per person (including hotel pick up and drop off); rainforestadventure.com/st-lucia
For more information on the island of Saint Lucia, please visit; saintluciauk.org