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Jade Mountain, St Lucia: a stay at the Caribbean's most iconic hotel

The Galaxy Suite at Jade Mountain (Handout)
The Galaxy Suite at Jade Mountain (Handout)

With its picture-perfect views, it’s easy to see why the Jade Mountain resort in St Lucia has just been nominated one of the world’s best hotels multiple times — most recently receiving a nod for the prestigious 2024 Travel and Leisure World's Best Award. It's also be featured on the BBC’s Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby as an architectural masterpiece.

Built in 2006, Jade Mountain is perfectly nestled next to its little sister, Anse Chastanet, and boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the Pitons, the twin peaks which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.

The hotel was designed and built by world-famous architect Nick Troubetzkoy, whose presence is evident in every hand-built feature. It was named after his collection of exquisitely-carved jade sculptures — the largest in the world. Outside there is stunning artwork by local artist Sakey, who holds art classes at the resort.

Set within 600 lush acres of Caribbean Forest, the hotel blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. The exquisite beauty and sounds of nature seep into every corner of the design, making it difficult to distinguish where one ends and the other begins.

Where?

Proudly flexing its architectural muscles, Jade Mountain sits high on the hillside on the southern tip of St Lucia and on the south-western Caribbean coastline, opposite the Pitons. The position means it wouldn't wouldn't look out of place as a James Bond lair.

On arrival your eyes are greeted by the resort and towering palm trees that appear to almost touch the sky from the opposite side of the bay.

Sharing a 600-acre beach front with its sister hotel and set amid lush tropical vegetation, you’re transported directly into the cacophony of a jungle chorus 24 hours a day. Troubetzkoy once said, “It was my ambition from the beginning to create an environment to fully capture the island’s beauty”.

Style

Features such as interconnected infinity pools over six floors, joined by a series of pipes and troughs that are ingeniously disguised within the hillside, and all with their own unique design, mean the modern architecture really is a site to behold.

The hotel has 79 rooms in total, with 29 of them connected by a bridge that leads to your 'sanctuary'. As Peter, our unofficial tour guide — and the hotel manager-cum resident joker for sister hotel Anse Chastanet — tells us, “The moment you cross the bridge, you step into your room." Who’d have thought you could have your own private bridge when staying at a mountain-side hotel?

All rooms are intimately designed with open showers, baths and even the toilets have little or no privacy, so make sure you’re happy to have your partner or roommate witness every act before booking. It's a unique feature that Jade Mountain boasts of, and rightly so.

Each sanctuary is a place of tranquility, where elegance meets comfort. Each has been meticulously designed, from the 10,000 infinity pool tiles handpicked by Karoline Troubetzkoy. Down to the locally sourced and designed furniture in all the rooms, this whole resort has the local community at its heart.

Jade Mountain Resort in St Lucia (Jade Mountain)
Jade Mountain Resort in St Lucia (Jade Mountain)

Which room?

With 24 open-air infinity pool rooms and five sky jacuzzi suites (known as the aforementioned sanctuaries), you’re spoilt for choice with an unparalleled view of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea — but it comes at a small price. With no fourth wall in your room, you are completely open to the elements, whether in bed, in the shower or otherwise engaged. It also means guests have the unique opportunity to be at one with the St Lucian skyline.

The infinity pool sanctuaries have all been created to reflect the square footage of the accommodation: all have 15-foot ceilings and are an average of 200 square foot each —  and are named either Star, Moon, Sun or Galaxy.

All sanctuaries also come complete with a four-poster bed with a mosquito net, anti-bug sprays and coils, and yoga mats for those yogis ready to practice on their beautifully named Celestial Terrace while the sun rises over the Island

Each sanctuary has its very own attentive private butler, or Major Domo, which means principle of the house in Latin, who will tend to your every need, 24 hours a day. Contactable by mobile phone (given to you when you arrive) or by the iPad in your room, they’ll help you with in-room dining service, a Pina Colada, if you wish, or even a water pistol to get rid of the pesky birds that try to steal your room condiments.

If you want to live like a rock star for a few days, push the boat out (you might have to book a year in advance) then request JC1. The jaw-dropping Galaxy Sanctuary and the highest category of room at Jade Mountain has the best panoramic views in the hotel that stretch right out across the Caribbean Sea. The floor space is around 2,000 square feet and an infinity pool of 900 square feet.

Sanctuary JC5 at Jade Mountain (Elliot Wagland)
Sanctuary JC5 at Jade Mountain (Elliot Wagland)

Food & Drink

You’re spoilt for choice for where to dine across the Jade Mountain and the Anse Chastanat resort. The 600-acre property includes the old colonial plantation of Anse Mamin which used to be used for sugarcane back in the 18th Century, though nowadays serves as a coconut plantation as well as a wonderful organic resource for the numerous restaurants that guest have access to. It is used to grow everything from turmeric to cashews, tamarind, mango and avocado to breadfruit, yams, and sweet potatoes, with all ingredients ending up on plates.

From a six-course meal in your sanctuary to private dining at their romantic Celestial Terrace, you can enjoy the finest food St Lucia has to offer under the milky way (on a clear night).

Sister resort Anse Chastenet has the unforgettable option of a Lion Fish seafront dinner, with every course paired with a bottle of wine chosen by their sommelier, which you can enjoy while watching the sun set on a beach only accessible by boat. it makes for an unforgettable evening.

Part of the beach at Anse Chastanet is only accessible by boat (Elliot Wagland)
Part of the beach at Anse Chastanet is only accessible by boat (Elliot Wagland)

Jade Mountain’s head chef Elijah is visible most nights and greets his diners like old friends. The desserts were also a real treat as the hotel has its very own on-site chocolate factory.

The Troubetzkoy family have also set up their own organic farm on the Island's Emerald Estate — that produces 40% of the food served at the resort. Based in the Soufriere hills just 30 mins from the resort, it plays another major role in their farm to table approach.

Along with the farm, the resort is now bottling its own locally sourced drinking water from a recently discovered well on the site in recycled bottles. Currently only available in your accommodation, Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain intend to be 100% self-sustainable with their bottled water in the not-too-distant future.  Both resorts have introduced Travel With IMPACT, where guests can instantly calculate and offset their stays through verified carbon offset projects.

The resort has an almost obsessive interest in sustainability.

Extracurricular

After navigating the vibrant streets of Soufriere, a single long road winds its way to paradise, or, if your pockets are deep, you could splash out on short helicopter ride that drops right on top of a helipad within the resort (previously used by Prince Harry).

There is plenty to do on this small island. A must is the Diamond Botanical Gardens, Waterfall and Mineral Baths. Set within the historic Soufriere Estate, the six-acre site was granted to three brothers by King Louis XIV of France in 1713, which now offer a “peaceful natural retreat from the outside world”. Botanical guide Alex, a real character, claims to have climbed both Pitons in a single day (there’s no reason not to believe him) and proudly boasts that National Geographic named him Alexander the Great for his super-athletic feat.

Guide 'Alexander the Great' at the Botanical gardens (Elliot Wagland)
Guide 'Alexander the Great' at the Botanical gardens (Elliot Wagland)

Close by is another must-see while you’re on the tourist trail. The Sulphur Springs is a geothermal field (also known as a collapsed crater) billed as the world’s only drive-in volcano in the southwest district of Soufriere.

There’s no need to panic as the last volcanic eruption in the area was recorded in 1776, but it is still in the most active geothermal spot in the area. The smell that invades your nose, often likened to rotten eggs, might be a turnoff for some, but you’re only there for an hour or so.

Whether you’re a diving enthusiast or not, the award-winning reefs just 10 yards from the shoreline at Anse Chastanet are not to be missed. The reef is home to more than 150 different species of fish and makes for an amazing dive day or night (yes, you can chose to dive under the stars). Divers travel from all over the US to don their masks and snorkels here.

Anse Chastanet's coral reef (Handout)
Anse Chastanet's coral reef (Handout)

Staff at the dive school also offer a “turtle lesson” that helps you identify all the local species in the nearby waters. If you’re lucky you might even get to see a turtle hatch and amble off to the water’s edge to start its new adventure. The resort also offers divers the chance to participate in coral planting at their two new coral nurseries.

Nightly rates at Jade Mountain start at £865 in a Sky Sanctuary based on double occupancy. jademountain.com