“Pitons, palm trees and pina coladas at St Lucia’s original beach hotel, plus 5 restaurants and a dive centre”
This is what you want St Lucia to be like - bright, jazzy rooms, magnificent views, the scent of spice, overhanging leaves the size of dinner plates, occasional raindrops hammering on your balcony like a steel band.
Top of the range (and the hill) are the treehouse-like Premium and Hillside Deluxe rooms. Painted in rubber-duck colours, each has something fun and quirky about it - a flamboyant tree poking up through the terrace, a balcony built around a red gommier tree, risque art on the walls, or a missing wall. Each is different but you can expect wooden trellises dividing a comfy living area from your bedroom, tropical hardwood floors, and flower-filled shower bathrooms big enough to really wallow in. Note you'll need plenty of insect repellent here (and bite relief for if it fails) though there are mosquito nets.
Lower down the hill are octagonal, whitewashed cottages that look like they’ve come gift-wrapped in wraparound balconies and blossoming vines. In these, the bright Standard rooms have garden views while Superiors, which are a little larger, usually have views of the Pitons and the ocean. We absolutely loved their simple charm, emphasised by the naïve art on the walls and the pretty hand-painted ceilings and friezes. And we loved the fact there was no TV - it felt like pure escapism.
At the water’s edge are the large, airy Beachside Deluxe rooms. These are the most conventional: built in a 2-storey block, you’ll find louvred doors to throw open onto a private patio, and air-conditioning for cold air enthusiasts.
When booking a Standard room, you could be located on either the hillside or at beach level - the category is based on 'run of house' principle, which may lead to a complimentary upgrade to Superior or Beachside Deluxe location, at the resort's discretion. If you get the choice, ask for a Hillside.
With 5 really good restaurants to choose from, dieting isn’t on the menu. The Treehouse restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner, is built at the top of the hill. The theme is tropical world cuisine, and puts a St Lucian spin on fine dining: think chilled Voodoo Soup (a curried red bean, peanut and chilli gazpacho), baked aubergine with a creamy mango dahl, or mahi-mahi with a ginger root sauce and crab mousse. Bag a table on the terrace to look down into the glorious gorge below and to get the best of the treefrogs’ night-time performance.
Next door at the Piti Piton Lounge is Emeralds, a completely organic, vegetarian restaurant, with a menu that’s tasty enough to turn any confirmed carnivore green: we sampled goat's cheese fondant with balsamic caramel (possibly the nicest dish on our St Lucian trip), followed by a crispy gnocchi in a peanut and apple sauce.
Apsara offers an East-meets-West Indian fusion selection every day except Tuesday, when it’s all-out St Lucian, complete with a tropical steel band and dancing on the beach by moonlight.
More casual options are the Trou au Diable and Jungle Beach Bar at Anse Mamin for laid-back grills, salads and St Lucian specialities. Trou au Diable is transformed into a party venue on Tuesday nights, with a cocktail reception, flambeaux along the beach and steel bands.
Children under 10 aren’t accepted because of the open rooms style. Over-10s are welcome and made much of by the family-friendly staff.
Teens (over 12)
Extra beds can be put in all room categories
There’s plenty to do on the estate such as biking and watersports and swimming.