Just before I visited St Lucia, I’m ashamed to say the extent of my understanding of the island was what I had study in Heat magazine quite a few moons ago, when Amy Winehouse jetted off to its tropical climes. Her cause for going to – as if any one truly wants an excuse to decamp to a lovely Caribbean idyll – was to seek tranquility, far from the London media circus. She chose effectively.
When I arrived to the wall of heat at tiny Hewanorra Airport, minus a beehive and paparazzi entourage, I was a comprehensive Caribbean dilettante. My international gallivanting up to that point had been restricted to Europe and North America. The height of my exposure to the Caribbean life-style has been advertisements on telly for Oasis and Malibu. In truth, absolutely nothing will truly prepare you for the beauty of the area, or its quite distinctive groove. St Lucia is a distinctive kettle of (tropical) fish altogether.
There’s excellent cause why these islands are utilized as shorthand imagery for paradise. St Lucia is spectacular – sun-soaked, modest but ruggedly mountainous and thickly covered in exotic, lush plantlife, with clear, warm-water beaches.
A lot more cynical readers could place this down to the free of charge flowing rum cocktails, but there’s a relaxing atmosphere in St Lucia that is entirely exclusive: it is entertaining, infectious and tends to make you really feel satisfied. We all know the effectively-worn Caribbean stereotypes about excellent vibes, laid-back beach shacks, jerk spice, and Calypso as it turns out, they’re all fairly a great deal on the nose.
This was also my initial time holidaying alone, anything I had by no means worked up the nerve to do prior to. My digs for the week in St Lucia was the newly-opened Serenity hotel at Coconut Beach, a secluded luxury spot favoured by couples celebrating anniversaries, weddings and engagements. So, not only was I solo, but I was spending the week in a honeymooners’ paradise.
Group of devoted butlers
Just like absolutely nothing can prepared you for the initial time you touch down in the Caribbean, absolutely nothing can prepare you for becoming handed a cold towel off a silver tray by your personal private butler named Angus. The promoting points of these premium resorts is not just the all-inclusive hooch, but also the service, which consists of a group of devoted butlers out there any time of the day or evening by means of a private phone.
Every single St Lucian I meet throughout my keep is an absolute treasure, and inside the tranquil suites of Serenity is no distinctive – the locals look genuinely pleased to see you, and enthusiastic about you enjoying your time on the island as a great deal as attainable. I’m not certain Irish individuals are reduce out for this sort of pampering and consideration, but if any nation was going to sell it to you, it would be St Lucia.
Passing employees ask how your day is going, or supply to bring you a single of the coconuts they’re carrying to your space. Their hospitality does not ring false everybody appears, with no pretence, to just be truly sound. It helped me get more than that distinctly Irish feeling that I’ve trespassed someplace far above my station.
In between the butler, stocked bar, 4 poster bed, in-space tub and beautiful pool, you’d be forgiven for spending all your time sunning your self in the resort, but it is effectively worth finding out of the walled garden to discover what this gorgeous gem of an island has to supply.
I decided to book a (non-inclusive, in contrast to the meals and booze) tour to see the sights, and Mr Shabee Darling King arrives to show me about. He is complete of chat, ending just about every second sentence with the mantra: “Love, like, like, a single excellent like.” He even shouts it to passing vehicles we overtake. He is a brilliant guide, providing a excellent insight into St Lucia life and the island’s chequered colonial history as we drive.
We pass winding mountain roads to hot, bubbling (and smelly) sulphur springs. A lady meets us and shows us the way, pointing out mango and cashew trees on the route up. She explains in a quite Caribbean way, in that inimitable accent, how risky the springs can be. “If you fall in there,” she says, “it’s no a lot more troubles for life! You have got no a lot more bills to spend!”
Following that, it is on to the Botanical Gardens. Shabee appears to have an encyclopedic understanding of the lovely flowers, naming them with ease, prior to we sniff our way about the adjoining herb plant garden, stopping on the way out for some nearby coconut cake sold by the roadside.
Snorkelling in open water
On the way back to Serenity, Shabee requires a detour to bring me to the sea at Laborie, exactly where a beachside hut promoting low cost Piton beer is blaring Drake. He tells me they drink Guinness hot on the island, as it is meant to raise your prowess with the ladies.
An additional tour alternative is to head out onto the open water to snorkel. The Caribbean side of the island has smoother seas than the Atlantic, generating it simpler to spot the lovely tropical fish in all their vibrant, electric colours, vivid and shockingly close. If snorkelling is not for you, just the sight of the lush, verdant Grand Piton jutting out from the vantage point on a boat is not to be missed, even for the lure of cocktails by the pool.
A quick taxi ride from Serenity is the town of Vieux Fort. It is modest, with a single primary drag, bustling street vendors and storefronts, pastel buildings and chickens roaming the path. I stick out but I’m left alone, barring what is probably the most polite street harassment I’ve ever come across: “Excuse me, I would like to marry you please, if it is attainable.”
By the finish of the week, I come to the conclusion that St Lucia is the ideal spot in the globe. The carefree, sunny Caribbean ethos has leaked into my blood. I’m not by nature a terribly relaxed individual, but the vibe is downright infectious. This is no doubt helped by the truth that as a solo traveller in paradise, the plans are totally on your personal terms. St Lucia is surely not just for cruises and honeymoons.
St Lucia is situated in the Eastern Caribbean, above St Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago. It makes use of the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (ECD). Seasoned resort travellers advise bringing along American dollars in modest bills for tipping.
British Airways flies every day year round from Gatwick. Virgin flies 5 instances a week in winter and 3 instances a week in summer season, also from Gatwick. Thomas Cook flies from Manchester in winter. Flights from €700 per individual.
Exactly where to keep
There are luxury honeymoon resorts, household-friendly hotels and then (as Shabee reliably informed me) nearby-run guesthouses. For a premium all-inclusive spot such as Serenity, rates begin from €4,300 a week for two in a plunge pool butler suite. serenityatcoconutbay.com