The Hottest New-Old Resort In The Caribbean: Sugar Beach In St. Lucia


4/15/2013 @ 9:31AM |1,603 views
The Hottest New-Old Resort In The Caribbean: Sugar Beach In St. Lucia

The resort that used to be called Jalousie Plantation was blessed to occupy one of the sexiest, most scenic spots in all of the Caribbean: a crescent of sand between St. Lucia’s famous Piton mountains. The site of an 18th-century sugar planation, the palm-dotted 100-acre property became a resort in the late 1990s with a name meant “jealousy” in creole. I have to side with the many St. Lucians who told me they liked the old name better: It’s evocative, seductive—and accurate, because anyone who got wind you were headed there was likely to be very envious indeed.

But when the resort emerged from a three-year, $100 million-plus renovation last November, the old Jalousie name gave way to Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. While it’s saying something that Viceroy finally felt ready to put its name on it after five years of involvement, the moniker could describe any development in the Caribbean. But to be fair, the sand is awfully white and powdery, and the service is genuinely sweet.

In any case, the ho-hum name hasn’t seemed to dim its stars at all. Gwyneth Paltrow spent New Year’s at the resort, and liked it enough to post family photos taken there on When I visited earlier this month, Matt Damon’s planned takeover of the place to renew his wedding vows was the hot topic of island gossip. (Admirably discreet, the resort declined to comment.)

Post-renovation, the resort comprises 59 villas, eight beachfront bungalows, and 11 sugar mill rooms (from $350) that spread up the hillside, each with a private plunge pool and walled garden. Inside, they’re peaceful seas of white, from the Egyptian cotton linens on the four-poster beds to the tubs that have pride of place in the oversize bathrooms. The beachfront bungalows (from $1,100), unsurprisingly, are the most luxurious, with abundant space, doors that open straight onto the sand, and unusually proactive butler service—bonus points for showing me into my room (I was a guest of the hotel) and coming back five minutes later to give me the orientation, a welcome acknowledgment that when you get to your hotel there are sometimes more urgent matters than learning how to use the remote.

Sugar Beach also offers terrific water sports, including a unique-to-St. Lucia hybrid called Snuba, in which swimmers dip up to 20 feet below the surface with a long hose connected to an air supply—and the unencumbered agility of a snorkeler—as well as actual diving. On land, there are serious morning walks, and the staff can arrange excursions to climb Gros Piton. There’s a seriously beautiful tree-house-style spa, and a very good gym.

That’s useful considering the abundance of tasty food and drink. The Bayside Restaurant serves the sort of simple seafood that seems so right at a place like this, while the more formal Palm Court creates more ambitious tasting menus. One bar specializes in mojitos and caipirinhas, while another is focused enough on upscale concoctions using the national beverage that it employs a “rummelier.”

Take it easy, though. You wouldn’t want to sleep through breakfast outside on the Terrace, drinking in that incredible view of the Pitons and the sea.

The Hottest New-Old Resort In The Caribbean: Sugar Beach In St. Lucia - Forbes