The St Lucian landscape, especially around the south-west coast on its Caribbean edge, is a tapestry of twisty hilly roads laced with lush valleys, banana palms, hillside forests and white sandy beaches. When it comes to luxuriant beauty, this island has it in abundance.
Following one of those twisty hills leads to the five-star Marigot Bay Resort and Marina. It’s carved into the hills around the natural harbour of Marigot bay and the first approach is to the hotel’s reception on the hilltop. You are greeted by a flurry of team members who take your bags, offer cold towels and a drink and generally make a fuss. From there, a path leads to 127 rooms that cascade downwards towards the undulating and lush landscape of the resort, the pools, restaurants, marina and shops.
The property is now on its third incarnation. It had its first heyday in the 1950s when its bar, the celebrated Hurricane Hole, was the place to be seen, and stars including Ava Gardner were regulars. Then it became a Discovery resort but six years later, it was rebranded and newly refurbished by the expanding Capella hotel group for luxury seekers.
The sprawling nature of the resort means you could get lost. Staff follow the motto “to take the guest to their point of comfort” which means not just pointing them in the right direction but actually taking them to their destination, regardless of what they might be doing.
Affluent holiday-makers, most likely couples, looking for some St Lucian sunshine amid beautiful scenery. Families too, but currently there is no kids’ club.
The air-conditioned rooms are spacious, cool and shady to escape the tropical sun with lashings of teak wood floors, doors and shutters and a balcony. Four poster king-size beds have mosquito nets, and the large, black-tiled bathrooms generally come with wet rooms with oversized shower heads and fine toiletries. A few have baths too.
Some rooms come with their own outdoor Jacuzzi built into wide verandas, and many have views over the bay and the large open-air kidney-shaped pool. There are coffee and tea-making facilities, a large TV, a minibar and a safe.
The Spa Village, has a sensational menu of massages, wraps and beauty treatments. There’s a modern gym too and a beauty salon.
On hot days, a dip in the infinity pool or being perched by the pool bar sipping blessedly cool cocktails is just the tonic. Both are surrounded by stylish cabanas or shaded day beds and egg chairs.
Food and drink
The Rum Cave, has a design reminiscent of a cellar. Its name reflects its extensive range of rums, including locally distilled rums such as the Chairman’s Reserve, Admiral Rodney and 1931 – the best rum you can get. This is a small cosy space and tables are made from barrels and diners sit on high stools. The ambience is informal, and the menu includes a selection of small plates (nine tapas style options) created for sharing.
Their signature restaurant is The Grill at 14⁰61⁰. Its location at the resort’s highest point means you get to enjoy the stunning views and watch the yachts as they moor or leave the harbour while dining al fresco or choose to sit indoors.
The Hurrican Hole and Bar is the place to go for light bites, lunchtime snacks, and refreshing drinks whilst watching yachts float in and out of the Marina.
There is a pool bar with stools so you can snack and drink whilst still in the water.
A short walk along the marina is the al fresco Bayside Cafe which is ideal for informal dining. Though not owned by the hotel, other restaurants are offering a variety of cuisines.
Prices from $550 (£355.00) per room, per night in a ‘Resort View’ room, based on two adults sharing.
A short stroll across a bridge and a walkway that passes the sometimes extravagant yachts moored in the marina leads to a quaint development of shops and restaurants. In the evening, the marina is lit up, and as the colours shimmer in the harbour water, it’s easy to get lost in the romance of the scene.
There’s no doubt that the harbour and marina are beautiful, and there is a tiny beach opposite. Better still there is a 15-minute speedboat shuttle that can take you to Anse Cochon beach as part of the Capella experience. They throw in the towels too. You can snorkel there to get a gorgeous eyeful of the coral reef.
Marigot Bay is located between Castries and Soufriere, each less than an hour drive away. Or ask the hotel to arrange a guided tour to catch a boat to Soufriere and visit the Maranatha Botanical Gardens to view tropical and native plants and learn about their therapeutic properties. Then visit Tet Paul Nature Trail where after a brief hike to the summit, a stunning view of the island’s majestic twin peaks, the Piton unfolds before you.
Also read: Top Five Things to do in Saint Lucia