By Melanie Reffes

 sgsgd5665St Lucia Tourist Board

Simply defined, guilty pleasures are those indulgences that we really like but think twice about getting like that pricey pair of shoes, a brand new car and yes, a luxury vacation in the Caribbean. West of Barbados and south of Martinique, St. Lucia is that kind of guilty pleasure vacation that is worth the splurge with a bevy of swanky resorts, sublime spas and gourmet eateries that rival the best in the world.Within the past year St. Lucia has become the preferred vacation choice for Canadians as shown by our increase in arrivals from that market,” said Louis Lewis, tourism director, “Canadians like to indulge in our golden sandy beaches, explore the wonders of the Piton Mountains and engage in heart-pumping activities like a zip-line through the unspoiled rainforest.”



654Morgan Bay Beach Resort

Five minutes from the town square in Soufriere,the mineral baths at the Diamond Botanical Gardens have healing powers similar to the famous Aix-les-Bains in France where Josephine Bonaparte, wife of the famous French emperor, bathed as a young girl and Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner slid down the falls during that pulse-quickening scene in Romancing The Stone. The three open-air baths are a favourite of locals as well as visitors looking for a uniquely therapeutic experience.

Revered as the island’s premier health and wellness resort, The BodyHoliday boasts a bonanza of rejuvenating options like spin classes in the new tree-top studio and the cleverly named package ‘Feeling Blue?’ that offers stress-reducing classes on the beach. For the supreme vacation chill-out, Oasis Spa high atop Cariblue Beach tempts with reflective pools that shimmer in the sunlight. We allow guests to personalize their vacations down to the last detail before they leave home,” said Mark Lyttleton-Frances, general manager. “Nothing is prescribed, but rather we await feedback on the needs of our guests before suggesting activities that will help them to achieve the goals they set for their precious vacation time.”

Described by novelist James Michener as ‘the most beautiful in the Caribbean’, Discovery Hotel overlooking Marigot Bay does justice to his high compliment. Paying homage to Dr. Doolittle film diehards who come to see where the Oscar-winning movie was made more than four decades ago, The Pink Snail champagne bar is crowned by two mammoth pink glass chandeliers and outfitted with translucent Philippe Starck Ghost chairs. A soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi and an afternoon in the Zen Garden are the stuff of vacay bragging rights.

Fresh from a pricey facelift, The Jalousie Plantation was rebranded Sugar Beach, AViceroy Resort on November 30 following renovations that bought 59 swanky villas, bungalows on the beach and the Rainforest Spa with tree house cabanas and an earthen steam room. Raised in Vancouver, general manager Andre Boersma followed his dream and settled on the island “I left Canada on a typical winter day looking for a tropical lifestyle full of sun, friendly people and those special times one has heard about and never looked back,” he said.


High Sea

34897Jade Mountain Resort


Between the Gros and Petit Piton peaks, Jalousie Beach impresses with water as clear as high-octane rum and although the Atlantic side is tricky to reach, the sheltered coves render the journey worthwhile for privacy-seekers looking to take five under the sunny sky. The hub for the finest water adventures in the region, yachts, sailboats and skippers can be chartered at the popular marinas in Marigot Bay and Rodney Bay.

On the waterfront at Vigie Marina, dinner at the Coal Pot is culinary magic under the watchful eye of Chef Xavier who has made the island home after honing his recipes in the French Alps. Stand-out specialties include perfectly grilled calamari and divinely delicious crab backs and for dessert, Crème Brule is ooh-la-la fabulous.


Pampering Is Paramount

88787The BodyHoliday

An Elite Island Resort, Morgan Bay Beach Resort sits amid pretty gardens on the north end of the island. A short hop from the Cap Restate Golf Course, the friendly resort has something for everyone. “We are excited that more than $2.5 million has been spent on recent renovations, ensuring the property is in excellent condition to welcome Canadians this fall and winter,” said Joanne Lundy, director sales, Discover the World Marketing which represents Elite Island Resorts in Canada. Superior ocean view rooms are delightful with expansive views of the lights of Castries as the sun goes down. High tea is elegant every afternoon in The Palms Restaurant; and for the energetic, tennis courts and banana boats are guaranteed crowd pleasers.

The Kai Belte Spa, or “house of beauty” in Creole, is seaside perfection at the Anse Chastanet resort. Expanded to meet demand, a must-try massage includes the ‘Wosh Ho’ that marries hot stones with shiatsu. A complimentary treatment on arrival is the perfect kick-off to a week away from the nine-to-five.

You can stay at one and play at all three of the Sandals Resorts on the island. Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa, Sandals Halcyon Beach and Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort all extend exchange privileges to guests that include golf, dining, sports activities and visits to the renowned Red Lane Spas, as well as their signature “luxury included” service.


Top Shelf

90khhklhDiscovery Hotel

Sinfully sweet, Hotel Chocolat is built in the sun-dappled cocoa groves of the historic Rabot Estate. With to-die-for views of the Pitons, Boucan restaurant is among the finest on the island dishing up a chocolate-inspired specialties from cocoa gazpacho and duck confit with orange cacao and white chocolate mash to the sinful salute to the Big View aptly called the ‘Magnificent Piton‘, a soft meringue peak caressed by chocolate from the Estate. For the ultimate getaway, the “Romance and Rest” package is a six-night winter windfall for travel through April.

A stunning sight to behold, Jade Mountain was built by Russian-Canadian visionary architect Nick Troubetzkoy who designed the iconic resort to honour the Piton Mountains. With the signature ‘no fourth wall‘ in each suite, Jade scales the heights of luxury with infinity pools that are illuminated at night and two-person whirlpool tubs mounted on a pedestal for mesmerizing views of the Pitons. For travel through April with bookings confirmed before the end of the year, “Take Five “ package tempts with a fifth night gratis in a Sky Jacuzzi Suite.