Viceroy's Sugar Beach hotel sits in the gap between St Lucia's famous, UNESCO-listed peaks. Nigel Tisdall paid a visit.
It was Colin Tennant, the flamboyant Scottish lord responsible for Mustique, who, back in the 1980s, had the brilliant idea of opening a hideaway beach resort beside St Lucia’s iconic twin peaks. He ran a restaurant here called Bang Between the Pitons, because that’s exactly where it sat and, today, this hallowed spot — part of a World Heritage Site — is home to what is arguably the finest hotel on the island, the 96-room Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort.
‘You’re right in the cleavage,’ my taxi driver explains graphically as we descend to a forested valley culminating in an immaculate white beach. Its sands have been imported, but, elsewhere, the mood is sweetly St Lucian.
Tropical gardens frame a vast pool, an engaging collection of contemporary art adorns the walls and white wooden cottages decorated with fretwork climb the hillsides. All have a four-poster bed, butler and plunge pool and a cute little tuk-tuk whizzes guests around.
At nightfall, when the day-tripping boats depart, my woes fell away like a coconut drops from a palm. Then, the lucky traveller is alone with the warm breezes and imperious mountains, the star-showered sky mirrored by the dazzle of superyachts twinkling in the bay like fruit machines.
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Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights from £2,040 per person, including return flights from London Gatwick, breakfast and all transfers — www.abercrombiekent.co.uk
Food and drink
The superlative cuisine of executive chef Jacques Chretien is one of the highlights of the resort, in particular the tasting menu that thoughtfully lets you pick four dishes from a choice of 12, with paired wines.
The traditional Creole breakfast served in the Great House is a daily joy, while for something a little different stop off for lunch at Boucan, Hotel Chocolat’s innovative hillside restaurant that specialises in organic ‘cacao cuisine’.
Things to do
- Climb the 2,619ft peak of Gros Piton — the guided hike takes about four hours, with magnificent views from the summit.
- Cruise the majestic coastline in the resort’s sleek black speedboats, which are called Sugar Rush and Sugar Daddy.
- Rent a car to enjoy scenic mountain drives on winding roads framed by emerald forests rich with birdlife.
- Snorkel or dive in the nearby Soufrierea Marine Park, where the warm, clear waters are bright with fish and coral
- Relax in Sugar Beach’s Rainforest Spa, where luxurious treatments using local fruits and herbs are given in tranquil treehouse cabañas.