St Lucia has been on my to visit list for so long. Ever since I visited Antigua in 2011, I’ve seen the Caribbean islands as something of a checklist – I plan to tick off seeing each and every one. You could say I’ve got a taste for the islands. In terms of minimalistic slow travel, it doesn’t get much slower than the Caribbean and St Lucia is no exception. One lady I met put it perfectly when she said ‘time moves slowly on the island’ – it sure does, and there’s nothing else to do but slow down with it. It’s a good job slow lazy days are my idea of heaven.
We decided to go for a week, because less is more right? Right! I refuse to succumb to the status quo of having to stay away for longer than a week because the flight is long haul. I want to leave a place having something to return for, not counting down the days until I go home. Never feel you can’t go somewhere for just a week because it’s more than 5 hours on a plane, you absolutely can.
St Lucia is quite a large island by Caribbean standards. To ensure we saw more of it without spending our entire week in minibuses, we opted to stay at two hotels. We started with 4 nights by the beach at Ti Kaye, a 33 room boutique hillside haven followed by 3 nights in the jungle, 1000ft above sea level, at the island’s oldest cocoa plantation – now a 14 room boutique hotel owned by Hotel Chocolat.
Where I stay when I’m away is important to me, not in terms of 5 star luxury but the atmosphere a hotel creates. Ugly hotels get me down! It isn’t about having beach butler service, an extensive cocktail menu or all the awards the place may have won, I want to feel completely immersed in the magic of where I am – pure escapism. Well located, small boutique hotels have the ability to do this better than the big brands and are worth seeking out. Sites like iescape and design hotels are a great directory and always my first port of call when I start planning a trip.
You’ve got to be OK with nature in order to love St Lucia and especially Hotel Chocolat. As harmless as they are, it isn’t unusual to find a gecko or tree frog in your room / wanting to take a shower with you. The tree frogs are really loud at night too.
Hotel Chocolat wasn’t seaside like Ti Kaye. As a sea lover I worried it might bother me, but that wasn’t the case. As if the black quartz infinity pool didn’t make up for it, they also shuttled us down to the main dock in Soufriere, where the Hotel Chocolat boat was waiting to whisk us off to Sugar Beach – one of the best beaches on the island.
(This isn’t us, but they looked like they were having such an interesting conversation on the edge of the mud baths – worthy of a snap)
-The hotel room at Ti Kaye and the sea view that came with it. I felt like I was living my dream of living by the sea every morning when I woke up
-Freebies at Hotel Chocolat! Free chocolate mini bites in our fridge, free homemade crisps, chocolate cookies and chocolate muffins by the pool. The list goes on…
-Walking into a collapsed volcano crater aka Sulphur Springs
-That time of day just before the sun starts to go down, when the sun loses its sting and everything turns to gold
-The mosquitos are hungry in St Lucia
-The lack of air con at Hotel Chocolat takes some getting used to
-The long bumpy drive down to Ti Kaye kind of puts you off wanting to tackle it again so we didn’t leave the hotel
-The aforementioned volcano smelled like rotten eggs
-Having to leave the land where chocolate comes with everything – even breakfast!
Lessons learned on this trip…
- Getting a free upgrade to business class is not a myth! I’ve still no idea how or why it happened, but if I ever figure it out I’ll be sure to let you know
- Never to go away anywhere tropical without Jungle Formula and Afterbite
- There’s no point taking fragrance into the jungle with you, it only attracts the bugs
You can find my carry on only packing list for St Lucia here
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