Absolutely visits St Lucia’s Marigot Bay Resort on a restful and slightly rainy escape to the Caribbean’s most verdant island
Words Helen Brown
It’s April and it’s sweltering in the UK. An unexpected, headline-making, sweat-breaking heatwave is causing havoc on London’s public transport and sales of Calippo are skyrocketing. So you can imagine my dismay to touch down in St Lucia beneath a thunderous sky and drizzle. Well, you win some, you lose some. So as my jet-lag addled brain navigates the puddles on the concourse, I focus on the positives. 1. A relatively short transfer to base-camp for the week which, 2. is the exceedingly luxurious Marigot Bay Resort. Such is the first benefit that in under two hours I have a Marigot signature rum cocktail in hand. Welcome to the Caribbean.
Almost every inch of St Lucia is covered with rainforest: large prehistoric-looking fern trees, sturdy vines and gangly palms line the roads, which – I might add – are tortuous. It takes one hell of a confident driver to manoeuvre the twists, turns and gradients of the coastal road. But it does afford spectacular views across the sea. Our driver very thoughtfully makes a number of stops along the way so that we can get out and snap particularly beautiful vistas. St Lucia certainly is blessed by nature.
Five miles south of the capital Castries, Marigot Bay is an uber-chic—yet laid-back—villa resort climbing the hillside above one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful bays. It also overlooks a marina filled with fabulous megayachts. So the view is incomparable. Add unbeatable accommodation, excellent dining, personalised service, a fabulous spa, two pools and…well, you’ll be hooked. You might even consider chartering your own yacht in the marina.
But why do that when the rooms here are an utter delight? Each is finished beautifully with dark wood furniture, creamy upholstery accented with colorful cushions, a comfy bed with pillow-top mattress and hardwood flooring. Suites have a separate living and dining room with a sofa bed, Bose sound system and open-plan kitchen that comes fully equipped with anything and everything you could possibly need—there’s even a washer and dryer.
Foodies will be in raptures over Marigot’s culinary offering which compiles a variety of dining options, overseen by Executive Head Chef Billy Boyle. The Grill at 14°61° showcases modern Caribbean fare at its finest with a menu of seasonal dishes and quality local ingredients. Here is where guests can go all out with a private dining experience – highly recommended. Our first meal is served in a private room just off the main restaurant where we are free to be our raucous and rowdy selves, we are spoiled with a magical al fresco table on the terrace for our would-be last meal at Marigot, and settle into the main restaurant of 14°61° for an unanticipated final feast when our flight home is delayed. Each is a triumph. Access to one of the Caribbean’s toniest marinas means you’re likely to rub shoulders with some pretty world-class mariners; don’t forget to pack a few pieces of finery for dinner.
The pool bar and Brut Bar soon become favourites for al fresco drinking and dining. Sushi, Caesar salad, cocktails and fresh coconut water (served in the coconut shell, naturally) become daily occurrences. The pool bar also serves as a very convenient shelter from the occasional monsoon and so we while away many an afternoon slurping rum cocktails and spoiling in the hospitality of the charming bar staff.
When all that pool-lounging gets too much, an hour-or-so’s drive back along those twisting roads (a light breakfast is advised) will take you to Rainforest Adventures where you can throw yourself from the treetops in a white-knuckle zip-lining experience. It’s not actually that terrifying, but it is a brilliant way to explore St Lucia’s densely packed green spaces. After a quick tutorial I am strapped into an especially unflattering harness, (complete with helmet and hairnet), before joining a queue of nervous-looking punters. There is a series of lines to complete and I’m relieved to make it down the first without snapping the line or getting struck in the face by a wayward gecko. By the end, even the most acrophobic will have eased in and will enjoy soaring through the canopies.
Back at the resort, a night at The Rum Cave is just what the doctor ordered to settle any remaining tree-top jitters. At this hidden delight, guests get an education in, you guessed it, rum – Caribbean and otherwise – from Marigot’s cheeky and charming head barman. From the sugar cane plantations to the exotic bottles it’s served in, we spend an evening discovering the ins and outs of making this most essential of island spirits. And of course, there is plenty of opportunity to sample. A variety of rum tasters are served alongside a selection of nibbles to keep those sailor’s legs steady.
With resplendent views and unmatched hospitality, Marigot Bay Resort is a dream destination for anyone looking for a little R&R and a luxurious taste of St Lucian living. The view across the bay is the stuff of postcards, especially when the glorious Caribbean sun is shining, which, more often than not, it is. Unfortunate as I was not to bring the British sunshine away with me, my stay at Marigot Bay Resort is idyllic. Come rain or shine, this venue delivers in bucketloads.
MARIGOT BAY RESORT & MARINA
Marigot Bay Resort & Marina offers a bay view 1 bedroom suite for 2 from £696 on a room only basis. Flights from London to St Lucia are available direct with British Airways. For more information on St Lucia visit stlucia.org. Lounge access provided by dragonpass.com and No1 Lounges.