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I just returned from a wonderful spring break at the Viceroy Sugar Beach on the island of St Lucia with my husband, our 16 year old daughter, Anna and her friend Grace.  Set in more than 100 acres of lush rainforest, the resort is located on the West side of the island and is nestled between the twin peaks Gros Piton and Petit Piton.

Everything about St. Lucia is completely and utterly magical. Sugar Beach has a setting of unparalleled beauty and tranquility. This former sugar plantation recently underwent a $100 million renovation, and no expense was spared in making guests feel pampered. Every room features butler service and a private plunge pool.

Everyone we met was friendly and incredibly proud of their stunning island. St Lucia tops my list as one of the most gorgeous islands in the Caribbean.  You will notice it’s beauty at every turn–whether you’re taking a dip in sparkling blue sea, hiking, or zip lining through the lush rainforest, or just taking in the unparalleled views with a rum cocktail in hand.

Since getting around St. Lucia can be difficult due to its mountainous terrain, it’s best to book your stay close to your main areas of interest. For instance, if you’re an active type who plans on hiking, mountain biking and exploring the rain forest, you’ll want to be based in the south.  (Top Options: Viceroy Sugar Mountain or Jade Mountain) If it’s nightlife and more of a scene you’re after, book a hotel near Rodney Bay and Castries in the northwest; many restaurants and bars are located here. (Top Options: The Body Holiday or Cap Maison)

Sugar Beach Highlights:

Relax. Take your pick of the beach, a hammock, your private plunge pool or the Rainforest Spa, where the all-natural treatments use ingredients from nearby volcanic springs and cocoa plantations.

Drink. Don’t miss a drink at The Cane Bar, which specializes in local rums and even has a “rummelier” to help you choose your new favorite concoction.

Hike. Nature trails and hikes to Gros Piton, the largest of the twin volcanic cones. Start early to avoid the heat of the day and request a guide that is knowledgeable about the flora and fauna to help divert your mind from the steep rocky trails.  It’s a strenuous hike but you’re rewarded with stunning views from the peak.

While Sugar Beach is great for both families and the romantic set, Jade Mountain, also near the west coast town of Soufriére, spells out the word ROMANCE! In fact you must be 18 years old or older to stay here.

Jade Mountain is literally built into the mountain hovering above Anse Chastanet, and its 360-degree views of the sea, the Pitons and the surrounding rain forest are simply stunning.

Each of the 29 suites is unique, but they all share impressive features: infinity pools or jacuzzis, 15-foot ceilings, and loft-like architecture. Walk into the living room and it seems as if you’ve walked into the Pitons: suites have only three walls, offering open-air, panoramic views.  Even the raised bathroom is essentially part of one huge open space.

Splurge on one of three Galaxy Sanctuaries for sunset views, sun terraces, and huge private pools. WOW!

That this lush volcanic island has stayed largely below the radar is a minor miracle. Plenty of people have heard of St. Lucia—its reputation for beauty precedes it—yet it entertains fewer visitors than many other islands.  But that is soon to change. I think it is easy to say that the mountainous island in the West Indies is transforming into one of the Caribbean’s new hot spots. Two high end resorts are about to start construction, Six Senses Freedom Bay located near the Viceroy and Capella St Lucia which will be in Marigot Bay. This Caribbean gem is an island on the upswing!

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