St. Lucia's lush, lavish tropical resort
Resting between St. Lucia’s iconic twin Piton volcanoes and surrounded by rainforest, Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort is a visually stunning retreat nestled into the hillside that overlooks its namesake white-sand beach. After a three-year, $100 million overhaul completed in late 2012, the former plantation property has been transformed into an ultra-luxe resort that plays up the past (colonial-inspired décor, personal butler service) with thoroughly modern comforts (private plunge pools, iPod docking stations). Typical guests range from honeymooners to young families to nature lovers impressed with the towering Pitons’ UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
The 96 luxurious white-on-white guest rooms come in four forms: the freestanding luxury villas and cottages scattered up and down the steep hillside, the 11 sugar mill rooms with private gardens located near the center of the resort, and the eight lavish beachfront bungalows that open directly to the sand. Each room has a private plunge pool, a four-poster bed and a furnished outdoor space with spectacular views of the ocean or Pitons. There are also 18 privately owned, one to four bedroom Residences available offering true home-away-from-home comforts including full kitchens, large sun decks and pools. Another perk? Personal butler service comes along with every reservation, meaning you can hit one of the two white sand beaches as soon as you arrive while your butler unpacks your luggage, secures dinner reservations and brings you a fresh mojito.
All around the resort you’ll find places to laze about, but The Palm Court Lounge takes relaxation to new heights with oversized swinging day beds with views of the Caribbean. More active types will want to call upon butler service to book one of the signature outings, which range from culinary tours of nearby farms to hiking up Gros Piton, one of the two imposing volcanic cones. Water sports abound, too, including scuba, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking. There’s also a kids club to keep little ones busy with treasure hunts, crafts and coconut bowling.
It’s not named the Rainforest Spa for kicks — this unique retreat is made up of seven treehouse-style treatment pavilions set in the midst of dense tropical foliage. Signature treatments include bamboo massages and hot rock therapies and incorporate local ingredients like bananas, coconuts and cocoa butter. Additional amenities include a relaxation pavilion, an earthen steam dome and a wet room with nail service facilities.
Beachside lunch and dinner can be had at the thatched-roof Bayside Restaurant, while the Bayside Bar serves daily Tapas, and the Pier Bar on Glenconner Beach (a second stretch of white sand at the southern end of the resort) serves small bites and lunchtime snacks fresh off the BBQ grill. Caribbean-influenced fare is on the menu at the Great Room, where you can have a candlelit dinner in a traditional plantation-style setting. A professional “rummelier” is on hand at The Cane Bar, a chic lounge serving aged rums and an Asian-inspired menu featuring fresh sushi and sashimi. Grab a seat in one of the charcoal-colored bar stools and order the Old Havana (rum, Prosecco, fresh mint, lime juice and bitters) and toast to your good fortune.