It's not difficult to find luxury accommodations on the lush, green island of St. Lucia: The island has long touted itself as a high-end getaway, ideal for romance. But for those looking for a top-rated property that's incredibly private and practically hidden from view, the Marigot Bay Resort and Marina is an excellent choice.
The resort is nestled into a hillside, and the entire concave-shaped campus faces a so-called hurricane hole, a protected harbor where boaters historically anchored their ships during severe weather. Views from the well-appointed rooms — each of which takes up half a floor of multilevel townhouse-type buildings — are spectacular. During our stay, a variety of vessels, from sailboats to yachts to ships the size of small cruise ships, were anchored in the harbor, adding drama to the picture-postcard view of the hills enclosing Marigot Bay.
Traditional rooms are quite spacious at 915 square feet and feature bay or resort views. The suites, starting at 1,345 square feet, are beautifully designed, with expansive living rooms and full kitchens. Plantation shutters afford as much privacy as is desired, or you can sit on the large lanais and simply soak in the view. Ground-level rooms even feature hot tubs on the outdoor decks. Separate bedrooms have cathedral ceilings and dramatic canopies adorning the beds, while roomy bathrooms feature high-end Acqua di Parma amenities. Penthouse suites are also available, in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts. Noise from below can be an issue with the upper-level rooms, so if this is a concern, you may wish to request lower-level lodging.
The resort itself contains two infinity pools, one of which has a swim-up bar, that we found delightful. Side areas are perfect for relaxing on water-borne chaise lounges or romping through a series of water jets. The upper pool, which seemed to be frequented more by adults during our stay, is also adjacent to the Brut Bar, which is an ideal spot for lunch. There, you can sit in the sun or under one of the large fabric shades and enjoy sandwiches, salads, ceviche and an extensive selection of sushi.
The Grill at 14°60° (representing the resort's latitude) features wonderful steaks and seafood, and its view of the water and the harbor can't be beat. It also serves a delightful selection of cocktails, tropical and otherwise, and the wine list had many nice options at a variety of price points. The Grill is also open for breakfast, and the buffet was a nice option, with many hot and cold choices. We loved the house-made tropical juice, with different fruit flavors each day.
A Marigot Bay resort-view room. Rooms measure 913 square feet, while suites start at 1,345 square feet.
Perhaps my favorite place in the entire resort was the Rum Cave, which has a cozy cellar design that will transport you back in time; you can easily imagine being on the grounds of an old Caribbean rum distillery. Expert bartender Andre conducts rum classes for $35; many St. Lucian rums are featured, along with a selection of international favorites. The beautiful design of the space and the creative lighting kept me coming back, although the tasty spirits probably had something to do with it, as well!
Marigot Bay Resort offers a "free to roam" all-inclusive dining plan, and we found it very convenient and reasonably priced. Guests on the plan choose from select menus at each of the resort's restaurants as well as several local restaurants located near the property: Masala Bay, Julietta's and Pirate Bay. The package also includes a variety of drinks throughout the day at the resort's multiple bars: soft drinks, beer, wine, house Champagne, sparkling wine and spirits by the glass.
The property's Auriga Spa truly feels woven into the landscape, with treatment rooms flowing into the tropical foliage and surrounding gardens. We enjoyed the facial class (complimentary for all guests), which taught us how to do simple, effective skin care at home with everyday materials you'll find in the kitchen, such as tea bags, ground coffee, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. While a professional facial is suggested every two weeks, this home treatment can safely be done each day. The class is held in the "tree house," a large elevated gazebo amid the canopy; here, it's incredibly easy to feel at one with nature, surrounded by impossibly large tropical leaves on every side.
The four signature treatments at Auriga, which prides itself on using 100% organic products, are oriented toward the moon. Each of these combination massage/wrap sessions is dedicated to one of the four standard lunar phases — new, full, waxing and waning — and is only offered during that particular portion of the month, to "ensure the most profound experience for the guest."
Because of the geography here, the resort doesn't have direct beach access, but a free boat ride across the narrow part of the bay (it's probably less than 1,000 feet and certainly swimmable for some) leads to a shared beach that's a picture-perfect tropical stretch of sand.
The attached marina area has some larger watercraft that you can rent by the day or half day, and smaller watercraft can be rented at the beach from independent operators. The new Marina Village has a nice selection of shops and eateries just steps from the water. There is also a village store that sells groceries and alcohol, and occasional farmers markets are held in the courtyard area.
If you're looking to burn off some of the food and drink, a free daily guided hike to the top of the ridge opposite the resort is led by one of the hotel employees. The trail is rather strenuous: parts utilize ropes permanently affixed to trees, and it can be muddy after it rains. But the scenery at the top is worth the trek, with views of St. Lucia's tallest peak in the distance, Marigot Bay below and the Caribbean Sea all around.
The starting room rate at the Marigot Bay Resort is $363, including taxes (low season) and $585 (high season). The all-inclusive meal plan is $240 per day.