Soufrière, St. Lucia

The hillside cottage only has three walls. The space where the fourth should be is open to the trade winds and the jaw-dropping views. To the left: emerald-green peaks full of palms, mosses, and ferns cascading down to warm, turquoise water. Straight ahead: the sun dipping below the horizon, turning the sky bright pink. A glass of Chairman’s Reserve rum sits untouched on the balcony. St. Lucia has already cast you under its spell.

Photo: Anse Chastanet
Photo: Anse Chastanet

The ride to Anse Chastanet is long and bumpy. But all is forgiven when you finally reach the resort. It was worth it. Given the view, you probably failed to notice your perfectly simple room. Acrylic paintings and wood sculptures by local artists. Teak and red cedar furniture. Madras linens. Flowers and vines climbing over the wraparound deck. It’s a shame you won’t spend much time here.

But why stay cooped up in your cottage in paradise? Hike through the Anse Mamin valley–there are 12 miles of trails. Bike through the jungle to the ruins of a French Colonial sugar mill. Or go birdwatching. Try to spot the green and orange St. Lucia Pewee, the livid and bright yellow St. Lucia Warbler, and the yellow and black St. Lucia Oriole. Return to the Jungle Grill on Anse Mamin for Creole burgers and Piton Lagers.

Photo: Anse Chastanet
Photo: Anse Chastanet

And then park yourself under a palm-thatched hut on the beach. Or in a hammock amid the coconut palms lining the sand. Either way, cold lemongrass towels and fresh fruit popsicles circulate during the hottest part of the day. Grab snorkel gear to search for moray eels, parrot fish, and the elusive seahorse among the coral. Or stay above the water–in a kayak–and watch turtles swim below you. Just return to the shore in time to board the Serendipity for a jazz and champagne sail as the sun sets. Dolphins cruise alongside the boat to the sound of the saxophone. Try to decide if the view of the Pitons is better from your room or the water. It will be the toughest decision of the week.

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