Jade Mountain Review (LUSSO is Finally Allowed Back in St Lucia)
In retrospect, Jade Mountain was the perfect setting for LUSSO’s return to St Lucia. There’s a hint of Bond villain’s lair to Nick Troubetzkoy’s remarkable hotel – and, as I later discover, a sense of espionage to my visit. Because LUSSO, you see, is sort of, well, banned from St Lucia.
It’s not like they were waiting at the airport for me and the St Lucian police weren’t ransacking my room or hassling me on the streets. It’s just that St Lucia took a bit of offence at something we wrote before and made it known that we probably shouldn’t return. Whoops.
Happily I didn’t know any of this as I slipped under the radar for some non-controversial extreme coddling at what is simply one of the most remarkable hotels on the planet. Assuming that “hotel” is a word that still applies to a building with no outside wall, of course.
The biggest surprise about St Lucia – aside from why such a relaxed place threw its collective toys out of the pram over a few words or why there’s a hotel with no outside wall – is the greenery. You expect the crystal clear blue waters. You expect the Pitons. You expect the palm trees. But the lush vegetation? There are points on the drive from the airport to Jade Mountain where it’s so green and pleasant you could almost believe you’re in the UK… and then you come around a bend and see the waters and the hills of this sceptered isle seem a long way away.
You get plenty of time to ponder the greenery (answer: volcanic soil) and the more expected aspects of the view from your “sanctuary” at Jade Mountain. Yes, you see, you don’t get a room at Jade Mountain. It’s a “sanctuary” which is one of those luxury hotel bits of pretentiousness that make your eyes roll… right up to the point the door closes and it’s just you, several hundred square foot of decadent comfort, your private infinity pool that’s big enough for scuba lessons and THAT view unhindered by tall trees, buildings or, indeed, glass (and, in due course clothes, but we’ll gloss over that for reasons of decency / not inducing nausea). As you drink all of that in, in the warmth and peace of this retreat, suddenly even “sanctuary” doesn’t cover it.
Each sanctuary comes with a butler (reachable by hotel issue mobile phone) whose first task, presumably, is to help guests blink once again and to be able to close their mouths, as words and even photos barely do justice to the eye-popping, jaw-dropping space you’ve come to. Troubetzkoy’s vision was that guests should feel they can “float into space and become one” with the view and he’s succeeded. You might roll your eyes at that one too but you’d be wrong. Listen. You weren’t there, man. You weren’t there…
Should you feel like getting dressed (sorry, that’s the last reference to my ample unclothed form, I promise) and venturing from your sanctuary, Jade Mountain does, of course, have all the facilities you’d expect, from excellent spa to fine dining, care of talented executive chef Jonathan Dearden and their own 30 acre organic farm and cocoa plantation. Should you not feel like moving you can, of course, have all the facilities delivered to your sanctuary. That even includes Jonathan who’ll come and prepare you dinner. He won’t feed you though although one suspects the butlers have been asked much, much worse…
You also get free run of Jade Mountain’s sister property, Anse Chastanet. This is located down the hill, a more archetypal Caribbean beach resort but still probably the best of its ilk on the island (and for the record, its Indian-influenced restaurant Apsara is probably the best food on the estate).
Is there a downside? Those who suffer travel sickness might be better off coming in by boat than car. That sounds counter-intuitive but you’re looking at a matter of minutes across waters that are like a millpond rather than an hour or more on hill roads that don’t so much wind as lurch. That’s pretty much it though. It’s damned near perfect. Just, you know, maybe don’t say we sent you?
Virgin Atlantic fly twice a week to and from St Lucia. www.virgin-atlantic.com.
ITC Classics +44(0)1244 355 527; www.itcclassics.co.uk has prices for 7 nights bed & breakfast from £3,169 per person based on 2 adults sharing a Sky Jacuzzi Suite including return economy class flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and private transfers.