Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain

by Leesa Raab

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Saint Lucia with my fiancé—which was a welcomed treat as the winter weather in New York continued to linger well in to March. It was our first time on the island, and its beauty immediately captivated me; the blue waters and lush green mountains were enough to quickly make it my new favorite place in the Caribbean. And that was before I was even introduced to the resort I’d be staying in, Anse Chastanet.

Before arriving at Anse Chastante, I honestly didn’t know much beyond the little I read on the website, other than that it was founded by Nick Troubetzkoy, along with its sister resort Jade Mountain, which was on the same property. And that they were two of the highest rated places to stay on the island.

A bumpy ride up what our driver called the “holy road” had me curious what awaited at the top of the mountain. Initially as I looked out at the dirt road and the rain forest landscape, I felt it may be a bit more rugged than I was used to; and while that still remains true, I mean it in only the most positive way. Upon arrival we were greeted with welcomed drinks and invited to freshen up with a cool towel as we were given details about the resort and directions to our little “bungalow”.

After a quick hike up the mountain, and a few flights of stairs, we were welcomed to what would be our home for the next few days. And we were more than impressed. The room had a luxurious outdoorsy feel to it. The walls were wooden paneled blinds, so there was always a breeze coming through and the constant sound of the birds chirping. We had an amazing balcony that on one side gave a great view of the beach and to the other side the Piton Mountains. The room had a full living room area, as well as king size bed surrounded by a mosquito net. There were no clocks, televisions or phones in the room — which I found to be a welcomed break (although there is Wi-Fi throughout the property for guests).

We explored the grounds a bit and learned that to stay at Anse Chastanet is to have a hiking vacation (note: I do not hike, so those who do probably wouldn’t agree; but there were a lot of hills and stairs involved!). To go from the beach to our room meant climbing four flights of stairs built in to the mountain that go through the resort lobby/restaurant and then up a hill, followed by another two flights of stairs. Or you could call a shuttle. Those who aren’t feeling up to the trek can always call a shuttle to take them anywhere on the grounds at any time—but we actually enjoyed the journey. It felt like I was in the Caribbean version of Swiss Family Robinson as I maneuvered throughout the resort. And it always made me feel just a bit better about having that extra pina colada on the beach knowing I would get a little physical activity soon after.

Sitting on the beach and splashing in the ocean were two of my preferred activities, but for those looking to venture out a bit more, the island offers many different options to keep you busy during your stay. We enjoyed a drive through the volcano, including a dip in the mineral pool, a tour of the botanical gardens, a visit to Emerald Estates, a tour of the chocolate lab, a sailboat and snorkeling trip, jungle biking, as well as our favorite, the Jazzy Sunset Cruise. There we many other options, including hiking the Pitons, which seems to be a priority for many, but the 6:30am leave time was less than appealing for this trip—maybe the next time!

Also, three days in to our trip, we no longer were in search of activities, as we were invited to spend our last two nights at Jade Mountain—we always heard that many of the guests of Jade Mountain rarely leave their room, and once there we could understand why. We could also understand why it has been named the number one resort in the Caribbean.

Jade Mountain has rooms, or sanctuaries rather, where having four walls is completely overrated. Once we arrived, our Major Dojo (butler) welcomed us to with a refreshing beverage and gave us a tour of our sanctuary, which included a large Jacuzzi tub, open shower, king bed with mosquito netting, private sunning area, and best of all, our own in-room personal infinity pool. And to top it off, a view of the Pitons that almost put the view from our room at Anse Chastanet to shame. I could now understand why once in this room, one would not want to leave – especially with the on-call butler, in-room dining and spa options that were available. But once you do leave, you can’t help but feel James Bond may be coming around the corner at any moment, as you walk across the sky bridges.

The dining was at the Jade Mountain Club was top notch, from the view, to the nightly live music, and the daily menu that is selected and picked fresh that same day. The food was some of the best and freshest we have had.

Especially since Caribbean dining, in our previous experiences, can sometimes bit hit or miss, I have to say that the meals at all restaurants between Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain were some of the best we have had during trips. The fish was always freshly caught that day, and the vegetables freshly picked.

As someone who is always paying attention to the eco-friendly aspects of any place I travel to, I have to say I was continually impressed – every day I was pleasantly surprised with something else I learned. For example, the entire resort is almost completely self-sustained – from the water supply that is self-enclosed, to Emerald Estates, which is their organic farm that provides almost all of the foods that is served throughout both Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain. Even the chocolate that they make that is even better than fair trade as it is NO trade, with over 1,000 cocoa trees on the premises that are used to make the chocolate in their very own chocolate lab. The furniture in Anse Chastanet is completely made on grounds, and at Jade Mountain, approximately 20% of it is. And if all of that isn’t good enough, they are installing solar panels to assist the energy source soon, as well as other ongoing efforts.

One of my favorite aspects about Jade Mountain was a little something I learned about the design – at the top of each column along walkway or sky bridges there were color panels and steel rods sticking out. The rods may look like they were working on the piece still or that they were unfinished, but what we learned is that Mr. Troubetzkoy follows an architectural thought process that once a structure is fully complete, you stop thinking about it or envisioning how to improve or change it – so this was his way of keeping the ideas flowing and the possibilities for Jade Mountain endless.

Both Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain were more than accommodating, and all of the staff were extremely helpful and friendly. I also found it nice that Mr. and Mrs. Troubetzkoy were so hands on, both interacting with guests regularly and very involved with all day-to-day happenings.

When planning your next vacation, I would highly recommend Saint Lucia, and most importantly, both Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain. The two resorts both offer luxury at different levels, and will make you feel right at home.

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