St. Lucia's Top Hotels

St. Lucia's Top Hotels
Courtesy of Viceroy Hotel Group

The best places to stay in the "Helen of the West Indies" according to the Rich Report.

With its glorious beaches shifting gold to molten silver, dramatic piton peaks and thick rainforests offering up waterfalls and wildlife, St Lucia’s landscape is staggering, even for the Caribbean. Ribbons of protected coral skirt its shores, coves are flanked by coconut-laden palms and many of its hotels have scrambled uphill for front-row seats of those fabled Caribbean sunsets – a fleeting burst of crimson and orange.

The island’s quiet eastern shores are unsullied by tourism, courtesy of its unruly Atlantic waters. Inland, tropical rainforests heave and organic farms and cocoa plantations whisk visitors off on farm-to-fork and bean-to-bar tutorials. Drenched in rum and sunshine, St Lucia’s Rodney Bay in the north is deliciously docile, with the odd evening soiree put on by resorts.

In the South, Soufrière is a smattering of old, veranda-rimmed wooden mansions and time-warp shuttered houses under the mystic gaze of two volcanic spires. The majority of St Lucia’s swishy hotels have found their patch of sand on the South Western shores, with a calm, scuba diving-ready Caribbean Sea, other-worldly beaches and tropical backdrop. Here, old-world rhythms of tennis, silver service breakfasts and sunset gin and tonics combine with the island’s easy-going spirit. From island stalwarts with seafood platters under creamy parasols to sprawling jungle estates with organic farms and marine reserves a short pootle away, here are the best hotels in St Lucia.

Courtesy of Viceroy Hotel Group

Sugar Beach

Lodged in the rainforest, under the menacing gaze of the mighty Pitons and steps away from milky-white sand, Sugar Beach occupies one of the most privileged spots in St. Lucia. A scatter of 96 rooms and villas spill onto verandas with raised views over a calm turquoise bay – below which lies a national marine reserve teeming with iridescent life (manta rays, pufferfish, golden-spotted eels).

Above the surface, guests take windsurfing lessons or cruise the balmy waters on Schiller bikes, gazing back at the palm-framed Sugar Beach, in all its white-wooded, frangipani glory. While interiors here are infused with nostalgia, (the genteel, old-moneyed sort of polished floors and banana leaves creeping into bathrooms), a no-expense-spared renovation has swept a uniform white-washed theme through all the rooms and suites to fresh effect.

Plump for the swanky beachfront bungalows for easy access to the sea, or hillside villas for knockout views over the bay and a private plunge pool to take the edge off the heat. Louvred shutters sieve in perfect strips of sunlight and allow rooms to inhale the salty coastal breeze… a welcome addition to a long soak in the roll-top baths. Tuktuks arrive to cart guests to lantern-lit restaurants – those embarking on The Great Room’s tasting menu typically dressed in their holiday finery, and the linen-and-laid-back crowds destined for Bayside, for a toes-in-the-sand supper of the fisherman’s daily coastal plunder, washed down with rum punch.

Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar 

Cap Maison

Finely tuned Cap Maison pulls off its Mexicana, Mediterranean and Moorish blend with flair. There may be stiff competition in St. Lucia’s Cap Estate neighbourhood, on the northern tip of the island, but Cap Maison has long retained its winning edge. Strategically positioned above the staggeringly pretty Smuggler’s Cove, mahogany shuttered windows make the most of the coastal views and the surrounding tropical gardens, as do spacious verandahs. Guests float through a hillside labyrinth of soft lawns, pretty Andalusian-esque courtyards and borders ablaze with exotic flowers, before dropping beach baskets alongside one of the two photogenic pools, one with sweeping views over Pigeon Island and Martinique.

Steps edge down the cliff to Smugglers Cove where kayaks and Hobie cats await. The beauty of the cove is best viewed through a humble set of goggles, a snorkel and fins, or above the surface while wallowing in the bath-warm water and taking in the sheer intensity and contrast of the exotic colours. Owned by a local family, Cap Maison has a distinct home-from-home sensibility, with its 49 rooms, suites and villas donning Hacienda-style flourishes (tiles, terracotta terraces and white arches framing turquoise views).

The blow-the-budget Oceanview Villa Suites serve up a private pool and rooftop terrace – a stellar spot for sundowners or stargazing. But it’s in the restaurants where Cap Maison shows off – particularly The Cliff at Cap where a creative marriage of West Indies and French cuisine results in some conversation-stopping plates: smoked Kobe short rib with pumpkin and petit choux; roast Caribbean bouillabaisse with saffron brandade, bok choy and bisque. Rock Maison is the spot for pre-dinner cocktails or Champagne – which is famously zip-wired to the deck from the restaurant directly above it.

A more unbuttoned affair awaits on Smugger’s Cove at The Naked Fisherman, where sticky jerk chicken, island conch fritters and curried day boat catch are rounded off with a rum Daiquiri.

Courtesy of Sandals Resorts 

Anse Chastanet

There are no swimming pools at architect-owner Nick Troubetozky’s Anse Chastanet. Why would there be, with the calm Caribbean Sea winking seductively in the morning sunshine? Scattered across 600 acres of lush, jungle-meets-sea landscape, Anse Chastanet lines 12 of its suites along the beachfront then peppers the remaining 37 within its rainforest-covered hills, with the promise of ravishing sea views.

Buildings are cleverly stitched into the tropical landscape, most as cottages crafted from local wood, and even the parasols lining the beach mimic the soft, straw-like underbellies of palms. The design takes its cue from the splendid surroundings, edging guests closer to nature with an open-air shower and cacophony of birdsong blasting inside; forgoing a wall of the suites to permanently peel back those heart-tugging views of the Pitons and feverish sunsets, and allowing a salty breeze to fill it.

The hotel is known for its phenomenal diving offering, with a marine reserve an easy swim from the beach’s silvery sands, and non-motorised water sports equipment is there for the taking. The Kai Belté Spa is worth a trip for a deep tissue or chakra balancing massage, while jaunts to laid-back and lovely Soufriere are easily done via a 10-minute shuttle.

Though there’s little reason to leave with three delightful restaurants: Trou au Diable for cafe-style beachfront fare, Emeralds for a vegetarian menu that could persuade even the most ardent carnivore, and the one-to-dress-up-for, Treehouse Restaurant, where chefs work their wizardry on just-caught fish, vegetables plucked from the estate’s farm and meat sourced locally.

Courtesy of Jade Mountain

Jade Mountain

Just above its sister hotel, Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain cuts a more futuristic figure, one that confirms Troubetozky’s wild imagination. Various levels protrude from the cliff edge as if suspended in air and time and are interconnected by a warren of bridges. Smooth stone suites or ‘sanctuaries’ as they are known here, jut out as far as possible from the hillside for spine-tingling views of the bay and Anse Chastanet beach, and – uniquely for St Lucia – both the Petit and Gros Pitons. The villas toy with these vertigo-inducing views from private infinity pools, and even at the bottom of the rung, suites remain achingly romantic with hot tubs.

There’s no sense of ‘view hierarchy’ here. It’s the open-air element that guests wax lyrical about, with only three walls in each ‘sanctuary’ removing any degree of separation from those magnificent views, the surrounding tangle of tropical plants and the morning nature chorus. What’s more, eco-conscious travellers will relish the build’s sustainability focus, as well as Jade Mountain’s ongoing marine conservation efforts. While there’s easy access to a gym, most of the expected hotel facilities can be found at Anse Chastanet a little further down the mountain, including water sports along its private beach.

A 24/7 butler panders to guests’ whims while room service here is a focal point, particularly for honeymooners who are quite content with their jungle lair and its private pool. It is worth edging out of the sanctuaries though for Jade Mountain Club’s unbeatable views, its ever-changing seasonal Caribbean menu and occasional jazz band and classical acoustic guitarist. Climb higher still and Celestial Terrace lives up to its name, where stargazing is paired with rum cocktails and sunsets are at their most dramatic.

Courtesy of Kuoni


Ralph Hooper grew this 36-villa hillside marvel from just one house with a restaurant back in 1988. Before sustainability entered the modern lexicon, Ralph set about crafting rustic, Robinson-Crusoe-style suites from local timber and stone along a volcano ridgeline high above the old colonial town of Soufriere (a whopping 1,000 feet above sea level). The resulting adults-only hotel is something born from the mind of a novelist – with treehouse-style structures ensconced in wild tangles of banana leaves, palms and bougainvillaea, and pathways meandering through what was previously a cocoa plantation, past trickling ponds carpeted in waterlilies.

Not only do the suites’ terraces twist like theatre seats towards the jungle-clad twin peaks and the twinkling Caribbean Sea, but Jalousie shutters are forgone for an open-air wall – allowing the crimson, yolky shades of sunset inside. Ladera’s Ti Kai Posé Spa riffs on the volcanic setting with mineral pools and hot volcanic stone massages.

Sulphur Springs can be reached via a five-minute drive and the hotel runs a complimentary shuttle to the palm-flanked Sugar Beach (a mere 10 minutes away). Alongside fantastical views of the twin Pitons, Dasheene offers up clever spins on traditional St. Lucian dishes – try the Cajun Creole vegetable bakes, jerk poulet sausage or a daily catch such as red snapper. Breakfasts can lean into Creole traditions (fried pastries and salt fish) or stay in the European lane – eggs Benedict and the like.

Courtesy of Design Hotels 

Rabot Hotel

Themed hotels often struggle to win over the discerning traveller, although Rabot Hotel from Hotel Chocolat appears to be an exception. Interiors have pinched all the adjectives associated with chocolate (to a non-gimmicky end) and remoulded them into dark brown-hued cocoons. A vast infinity pool, lined in black quartz, recalls molten chocolate, particularly at dusk, while spa therapists lather on delicious cocoa-infused products for deep tissue massages and facials. While there’s no direct access to a beach, this is a lush, remarkably peaceful and private spot to recalibrate in.

Tours of the cacao groves are highly recommended (with the opportunity to craft your chocolate bar from freshly plucked beans), as are the poolside yoga sessions – inhaling the salty Caribbean air and those hair-raising views. Of the two room types (Lodges and Luxe Lodges), best opt for the latter with double the space and knockout views from the private verandahs. An open-air configuration leaves mosquito nets to do their good work and the Caribbean light and whiffs of exotic flowers from the surrounding gardens fill the room.

Freshly baked cookies and chocolate from the estate are a welcome touch and a delicious reminder of your location. The cacao theme continues to the kitchens, where the open-air Rabot Restaurant glazes plates of locally-sourced pulled pork with a cacao nib coating or kneads cacao into the dough for the hotel’s famed Cacao Cannelloni field with Soufriere’s top vegetables and pumpkin puree. What may sound like overkill is culinary wizardry of the highest order – one that allows The Rabot Restaurant to retain its perch as one of St. Lucia’s top spots for supper. Guests can slink onto the Cacao Bar for chocolate Daiquiris and a sweet calypso beat under the stars.

Courtesy of Windjammer Landing

Windjammer Landing

Windjammer Landing, a 60-acre hillside estate along St Lucia's northern coast, has finally reopened after undergoing a $10 million renovation. Families accustomed to shoring their broods up here for two weeks while they check into the spa will breathe a sigh of relief. The resort itself tips down to meet a long, secluded strip of golden sand and an inviting, protected lagoon beyond, surrounded by whitewashed villas with terracotta roofs reminiscent of Andalusian villages. This elevated take on a Caribbean resort, while not as great as Sugar Beach or Jade Mountain, is ideal if you're looking for a lot of activities or if you've got kids in tow.

There is nothing legendary about Windjammer's 4-12 Children's Club (except its 10pm closing time, providing parents with tots ample time for an extra spa treatment, or for those with children, the occasional night of sundowners and supper at Upper Deck's swanky seafood and steak joint). The beachfront restaurants serve easy-going pizzas, salads, and small Creole-inspired bites, while Papa Don's Italian restaurant is up in the hills.

Courtesy of Body Holiday 

Body Holiday

With its laid-back Caribbean vibe and spa and fitness facilities in an impressive league, Body Holiday offers cocktails and green juices alongside a laid-back Caribbean spirit. In this St Lucian resort's refreshing approach to wellness, guests over the age of 16 can ditch gym sessions and Olympian-led beach boot camps in favor of essential oil foot massages, facials, and afternoon snoozes along the beach. It's a short 10-minute drive from Rodney Bay Village, but Body Holiday feels isolated from the rest of the island because of its expanse of bone-white sand. The open-air clubhouse and large main pool attract guests who don't want to veer too far into old-world mahogany and swirly-legged fruit tables territory.

Guests who are well-exerced can reward themselves with exotic fruit smoothies, hearty salads, and sushi at the Wellness Café, or steamed mussels, Peking duck, and Thai curry at pan-Asian TAO, as well as a daily program of activities and classes, including fencing, sailing, and cycling. There are plenty of vegan options at the buffet breakfast, and afternoon tea in old-world Caribbean style takes center stage.

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