After spending the past year traveling to a handful of destinations in the Caribbean, as soon as I touched down in St. Lucia I knew that I was in for a different kind of island experience altogether. Through the window of our airport van, I saw verdant mountains and lush rain forest, punctuated with brightly colored houses rising up from sandy beaches lining the deep turquoise sea. I tried to take it in despite feeling slightly delirious.
By the time I reached the The Landings Resort and Spa (my home for the next four days), the early morning JetBlue flight out of New York City and the winding topography of the island roads had caught up with me. I was travel weary and “hangry.” Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.
Within minutes of greeting me, the Landings staff handed me a refreshing tropical drink and arranged to have food sent to my room (a delicious spread of barbecue chicken and steamed veggies) so that I’d be able to nosh before my spa appointment. By the time I returned to the lobby to meet my group for dinner, I felt deeply relaxed — proof that there’s very little that can’t be fixed with an ice cold glass of rum punch and a relaxing massage.
That’s the thing about St Lucia — the hospitality is amazing. Because the island has only been open to tourism for 20 years, there’s an overall feeling of warmhearted friendliness that you may not find on larger islands
Located in the Eastern Caribbean, the island nation is known for its tranquil atmosphere and pair of dramatically tapered mountains, the Pitons. St Lucia is also home to an active volcano, reef-diving sites, hiking trails, luxury resorts and fishing villages, making it the perfect destination for anyone who is looking for true island getaway that blends authenticity and adventure with classic luxury.
Where to stay.
Tucked on the shores of Rodney Bay with Insta-worthy volcano views at every turn, The Landings Resort and Spa provides the perfect home base while you enjoy everything St. Lucia has to offer. Exquisitely decorated villas are bespoke retreats overlooking the resort’s luxury yacht marina or the Caribbean’s shimmering turquoise waters. For the beach bums at heart, you can cozy up beneath an umbrella, pool-hop around the resort’s three swimming pools and even have a romantic dinner (or wedding reception) on the sand.
Where to eat.
The Palms: If you’re staying at The Landings Resort and Spa, dinner at The Palms is not to be missed. The hotel makes a point of growing its own herbs and tapping into the amazing selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood available on the island. The inventive “East Meets West” menu changes seasonally and features a selection of meats, fresh fish and seafood cooked on a lava stone grill. I’m still thinking about the rich coconut broth of their seafood curry.
Tapas on the Bay: What does a Lucian take on tapas taste like? Delicious. Located along the waterfront of Rodney Bay (a bustling little pocket of restaurants, bars and shops near the The Landings Resort and Spa), Tapas on the Bay serves small bites inspired by cuisine from around the world. Must tries include the lobster and the Braised Lamb Taco.
What to do.
Get out on the water and take a chartered yacht tour around the island for unparalleled views of the Pitons. For more stunning views and an invigorating hike, head to Tet Paul Nature Trail before heading over to Morne Coubaril Estate for a zip-lining adventure.
No visit to St. Lucia is complete without a visit to Sulphur Springs, which is known as the “world’s only drive in volcano.” After witnessing the natural wonder of volcanic steam rising from the ground, head over to the hot springs for a therapeutic mud bath that will leave your skin feeling soft and rejuvenated.
How to get married
Whether you’re envisioning a small barefoot ceremony on the sand, quaint nuptials in an island chapel (followed by a beach side reception) or a lavish celebration surrounded by friends and family, The Landings Resort and Spa offers a selection of packages to create the wedding of your dreams.
With an onsite personal wedding planner, The Landings’ team will ensure that your special day is anything but stressful.
Simone Paget is a food, travel and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast of Canada. She’s a nationally syndicated sex and relationship columnist for the Toronto Sun and the author of the blog SkinnyDip.ca. Her work has appeared in/on publications such as the Washington Post, Elle Canada, and The Toronto Star.