Hetty Lintell discovers Cap Maison, a timeless place to stay on the Caribbean Island of St Lucia.
What makes boutique hotels so special? They seem to have a stronger individual essence, tastes tend towards local suppliers and cuisine, and the atmosphere is usually more sympathetic to the local culture — something often forgotten at the more mammoth resorts. Giant hotels often have so many restaurants and activities that you almost feel guilty not trying it all, and guilt is not an emotion for holidays; given the option, smaller set-ups will always be my first choice.
Cap Maison, an iconic boutique hotel on the North of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, is a perfect example. Quietly understated with staff so full of joy, it was hard not to be swept along with the wonderful atmosphere, as you soak up jaw-dropping views out to sea and bask in the sound of waves that are audible — and visible — from the vast beds, fitted with cloud-like bedding.
Family owned and managed, Cap Maison has larger private villas as well as suites and rooms, each featuring the local style wood interior, beautiful bathrooms, as well as vibrant art to add splashes of colour to the otherwise peaceful decor.
Honeymooners or families wanting privacy, and guests will happily while away a tropical rain shower in one of the dreamy chairs on the covered balconies, overlooking the pretty gardens.
Flop from an excellent breakfast (the chewy, nutty granola was irresistible, as were the zingy juices — a taste of the island) to the pool nearby for soaking up some calm, or venture down to their private beach for complimentary water sports, or zonk out in one of their hammock-on-the-rocks. Lunch at the beach restaurant, The Fisherman, is a chilled affair, serving up excellent local cuisine and fine wines. Dinner here was magical too, with twinkling lights and tiki fire torches to set the scene.
For ultimate romance there is a very special option indeed: dining at Rock Maison, an incredible private, lantern-lit spot out on the rocks, with just the sounds of the waves as your background music, and so secluded from the rest of the hotel that a zip line is in place to whizz glasses of champagne down to you.
When I asked our local driver (and chirpiest chap encountered) why everyone is so happy here the answer was easy. ‘Because it’s a simple life, but a happy one, with lots of sunshine.’
Set into an unspoilt tropical hillside above a perfect white beach and a World Heritage site, St Lucia's Anse Chastanet
Viceroy's Sugar Beach hotel sits in the gap between St Lucia's famous, UNESCO-listed peaks. Nigel Tisdall paid a visit.
Carla Passino takes a look at Cabot St Lucia, on the wild northern side of the Caribbean island.