Anse Chastanet's scenic simplicity

The Casuarina Pool Suite has a 160- square-foot pool surrounded by a 135- square-foot deck.
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Nestled among 600 acres of tropical treetops and a stone's throw from the stunning Piton Mountains, Anse Chastanet is one of St. Lucia's most romantic luxury resorts.

Created in 1974 by architect Nick Troubetzkoy and his wife, Karolin, Anse Chastanet focuses heavily on the exquisite local environment, providing high-class yet simple accommodations that place guests in the heart of the surrounding paradise.

Most of the rooms are not air conditioned. There isn't really a need for the artificial breeze; the Caribbean trade winds are thoroughly cooling, thin sheets adorn the beds and overhead fans combat any extra-warm nights. There are even mosquito nets to keep out unwanted visitors.

The resort forgoes TVs, radios and phones. Cellphone reception and a limited number of WiFi hot spots are available for those who need to connect, though the idea of the resort is that one should be connecting to nature.

With two beautiful beaches as its base, the resort extends upward; 12 garden-enclosed guestrooms line the beach, and 37 additional rooms are scattered up a hill. With each room set a little higher than the last, every guest is provided with an unobstructed, gorgeous view, whether of gardens, treetops, the sea or the mountains. The most marvelous vantage point belongs to those who stay in the Casuarina Suite, which boasts a private infinity pool directly facing both the ocean and the Pitons.

Encouraging guests to walk up and down the hill from the rooms to the beach is one of the ways Anse Chastanet subtly promotes wellness. (Fear not: Shuttles are available, and you will not be shamed for calling one.)

The resort also offers yoga classes by the beach twice a day, and nonmotorized items for watersports such as standup paddleboarding and windsurfing. It also has adventure opportunities on-site with Bike St. Lucia, Kayak St. Lucia and Scuba St. Lucia.

As a scuba diver, I was excited to explore Anse Chastanet's reef, which starts a mere 10 yards out from the beach. It was my expectation that a reef this close to land and accessible by so many visitors might be quite dead, but I was immediately proven wrong.

The reef is bursting with colorful coral and is home to more than 150 species of fish; I was tickled pink by the variety and volume of friendly fish that swam past and the marine life that lounged seemingly within arm's reach.

Steps away from the reef, the beach sand is tinted an exquisite shade of silver. One of Anse Chastanet's premier activities is the act of doing nothing, and the beach is the best place for it. Stand still in the water for long enough, you are sure to be visited by some of the reef's inhabitants. I planted myself ankle-deep and soon had a dozen small, yellow tropical fish swimming over my toes. It was nothing short of magical.

Rates start at $375 per night for a standard hillside room and $920 per night for the Casuarina Suite.

Visit www.ansechastanet.com.

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