It was 10 years ago when I first saw a photo of Jade Mountain. I was sitting in my cubicle when one of the very first press releases of my writing career came across my desk. Opening the email, my eyes were drawn instantly to a view of two towering, verdant peaks reflected seamlessly in the glassy face of an infinity pool. And while a picture might be worth a thousand words, I knew that that simply wouldn't be enough. I had to get to Jade Mountain.
All I can say is the photos didn't do the resort justice. Nearly a decade after making it my mission to get to St. Lucia, I found myself staring at the iconic Piton mountains from the privacy and seclusion of my very own infinity pool. Arms dangling over the edge, a Piton beer in hand, I had uninterrupted views across the small bay, over to the emerald-green pinnacles and out to endless Caribbean Sea.
The resort sits like a secret, tucked on a hillside, up a purposefully rugged, windy mountain road. Emerging from the porte-cochere onto the property is like stumbling into an M.C. Escher-meets-"Jurassic Park" scene, with slate-gray stones draped with lush, hanging greenery and pops of colorful blown glass, zig-zagging staircases, footbridge overpasses, babbling waterfalls and open-air spaces that offer 180- or 360-degree views of Soufriere Bay, the Caribbean Sea and, of course, the Pitons.
Each of the 29 rooms at the resort are known as Sanctuaries, and for very good reason. If inclined, there's very little reason to ever leave your room. (I was told by a staff member that a couple once spent a record seven days inside their Sanctuary without exiting.) And why would you want to? Each room has an open design, with only three walls and one side open to nature.
The Sanctuaries (or suites) at the Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia are open to nature, and each features a private infinity pool.
The obvious draw to the Sanctuaries, aside from the 15-foot-high ceilings, is the private infinity pools, which range from 400 to more than 900 square feet. Each pool is 4-and-a-half feet deep, with different colored-glass tiles that are illuminated at night with fiber optic lights, causing each Sanctuary to glow like an ethereal jewel.
Room categories include Star, Moon and Sun Sanctuaries. The Star suites are 1,400 to 1,800 square feet and face the Pitons directly. Moon Sanctuaries are corner suites of 1,600 to 1,950 square feet, and the Sun suites offer 270-degree views from a space of 2,000 square feet.
Each Sanctuary has a private butler, who acts as a personal concierge to plan meals, activities and anything else a guest might need.
But beyond a place for sunning on a lounger and frequent dips in the private pool, the Sanctuaries become elegant dining rooms, with decadent room service breakfast menus, late-night menus and even the option to hire a private chef to prepare a meal in the suite. Spa treatments can also be taken in the privacy of a Sanctuary. There truly is no reason you need to leave.
That said, it wouldn't be the worst thing to do, because the rest of the resort is equally as magical. Jade Mountain sits atop its sister resort property, the Anse Chastanet, and guests of Jade Mountain have access to the restaurants and beaches of the lower property. A black-sand beach is shrouded in mountainous jungle, giving off an almost Hawaiian vibe. The resort offers on-site activities like snorkeling and diving, and there is wonderfully tasty Indian/Caribbean fusion served beachside, with coconut milk ceviche and savory chicken satay.
A 10-minute walk north from the Anse Chastanet opens up to the even more secluded Anse Mamin beach. While all beaches in St. Lucia are open to the public, Jade Mountain has done a good job making it as secluded as possible. There, a beachside, pop-up burger restaurant serves a gourmet burger that nearly everyone I came into contact with mentioned with a smile.
The dining jewel at Jade Mountain is the top-level Jade Mountain Club, which centers around a large, communal infinity pool bedecked with multicolored glass tiles. The Club is a dining gem with a nightly rotating menu serving seasonal, local produce, fish and meat. It's also a quiet, romantic spot to sip an evening cocktail and watch the sky fade to inky black behind the Pitons.
I've stayed in my share of awe-inspiring resorts around the world. I don't say that as a humblebrag, only to point out that my bar is set high when it comes to expectations for resorts that have been showered with accolades in glossy magazines. But every now and then there comes a resort that lives up to the hype. After spending the past 10 years dreaming up those thousand words from a picture I saw in a press release, I am happy to say that seeing Jade Mountain with my own eyes has rendered me speechless.
Rates at Jade Mountain begin at $1,165 per night. See www.jademountain.com.