A Piton Pilgrimage: Luxury in Saint Lucia

Jade Mouuntain
Jade Mountain

On approach into Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in St. Lucia I realized, that the Caribbean of my mind’s eye existed in a giddiness-inducing reality. The gorgeous Pitons rising straight from the depths of the ocean made me feel that perhaps I had in fact flown to a much more far-flung destination, like Phi Phi Island, when in fact I was mere four hours and forty minutes nonstop flying time from Boston.

The Pitons on approach to UVF
The Pitons on approach to UVF

 

After about a thirty minute wait on arrival, I was greeted by a friendly immigration official who was somewhat dumbfounded that I was traveling alone to St. Lucia for eight nights. The allure of the destination for romance travel (honeymoons, anniversaries, and destination weddings) is virtually unparalleled in the Caribbean. She asked no further questions, hastily stamped my passport, and off I went to retrieve my luggage and find my driver.

My first two night hotel stay in my Piton Pilgrimage to St. Lucia was at Ladera Resort which is located near the top of the Pitons, and overlooks Sugar Beach. The views from this height were absolutely memorizing.

The view from Ladera Resort
The view from Ladera Resort

Next, I took a quick fifteen minute taxi ride down the hill to the base of the Pitons for two night stay at the aptly named Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. The beach has soft white sand, beautiful views of the Pitons on either side, and plenty of shade from thatched umbrellas.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

A boat was the preferred mode of transportation for my transfer around the base of the Petit Piton and on to my next resort for two nights, the absolutely incomparable Jade Mountain. With views like this from bed, I was almost too relaxed to bother leaving my room.

View from bed at Jade Mountain
View from bed at Jade Mountain

However, while at Jade Mountain, I could not resist the opportunity to visit their sister beach resort, Anse Chastenet, which has a great traditional Caribbean vibe, lots of dining options, and a beautiful natural sand beach.

Anse Chastenet Beach
Anse Chastenet Beach

The last stop on my trip was another boat ride away from the Pitons for a two night stay on the north end of the island at the casually elegant Cap Maison. The food was delicious, the public spaces felt both intimate and secluded, and the service at the beach was amazing. The wine cellar dinner was one of my favorite all-time meals.

Dinner in the wine cellar at Cap Maison
Dinner in the wine cellar at Cap Maison

My last transfer was the most exciting, a fifteen minute helicopter ride over the rain forest to Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) to catch my flight back to Boston.

Helicopter transfer to UVF
Helicopter transfer to UVF

I loved my experience in Saint Lucia, and I can’t wait to share my in depth trip reports with you on each hotel. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you have questions about the resorts, the complimentary Virtuoso amenities, or are ready to book your vacation to Saint Lucia, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email or phone at 508-485-3061.

I can’t wait to see where you go next!

Paradise Found: The Brando

The Brando
The Brando

 

There are some hotels that tug at your heartstrings from the very first photo. I knew from the moment that I was introduced to The Brando that I was destined to stay there. Lucky for me, my 10th Wedding Anniversary presented the perfect opportunity.

We arrived into Fa’a’a airport from our stay in Bora Bora at the St. Regis and Four Seasons. After collecting our luggage we made our way to the Air Tetiaroa terminal.

Aie Tetiaroa has their own private terminal and their planes serve one and only one destination, Tetiaroa, also known as Marlon Brando’s private island, or simply The Brando.

I am a fan of traveling, but not so much of flying, so I was a little hesitant about the small plane, but thankfully the views are gorgeous and it is a short flight.

Upon arrival at The Brando, all guests are greeted with music and dancing, have their photographs taken, and are whisked away on golf carts to their villas.

We spent seven nights in a One Bedroom Villa which is a generous 1,033-sq.-ft. (96-sq.-m). The resort also offers two and three bedroom villa options. The Brando is a new build from the ground up and the villas reflect a thoughtful and balanced design; neither to heavy on form, nor on function.

There is a media room with flat screen television, sofa, and desk. This opens into a living room with dining table, mini-fridge, and coffee / tea area. You then proceed up a short flight of stairs to the bedroom with attached dressing area and bathroom with tub outside, for baths while stargazing.

 

The best part about the villa, however, was the outside. The views were stunning, the grounds were lush and private, the plunge pool deep and cool.

It is truly an eco-friendly resort that doesn’t compromise on luxury. Cold air conditioning from sea water, plenty of hot water in your shower from the sun, rain water in the toilets.

They don’t play lip service to an environmental ethic with a stupid placard on your bed whose sole purpose is to save the hotel money, nor do they skimp on providing the quality level that guests expect.

In fact, their groundbreaking non-toxic mosquito eradication project means that you are almost guaranteed a bite free vacation. No repellent required!

If you book the all-inclusive plan then all meals and drinks are included in your rate, as well as activities and spa treatments (the number of which depends on the length of your stay). I absolutely loved having the spa treatments included as I don’t normally indulge in multiple spa visits.

View from the Varua Spa
View from the Varua Spa

There are two restaurants and two bars at The Brando, and far and away our favorite was Bob’s Bar. It truly is one of the word’s great beach bars. They have a great mixology program, and some addictive bar snacks.

Finished with your cocktail? How about a dip in the pool? There is only one on property, yet hardly anyone was ever there. On an island where everyone has their own beachfront pool, there is no shortage of swimming opportunities.

In short, it is a unique and exclusive experience that you cannot have anywhere in the world. Contact me today at 508-485-3061 or via email to discuss your next vacation at The Brando.

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016 & 2017

  • Upgrades are not applicable with this participant
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • 100 EURO Resort or Hotel credit per villa to be utilized during stay (cannot be used at Hinerava Pearl Shop, not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

St. Regis Bora Bora versus Four Seasons Bora Bora

St. Regis Bora Bora
St. Regis Bora Bora
St. Regis Bora Bora
Four Seasons Bora Bora
Four Seasons Bora Bora

There are certain destinations blessed with a luxury hotel conundrum, and Bora Bora is one of those places. Clients always want to know which hotel is the best, and the St. Regis and Four Seasons are at the tops of everyone’s list.

I knew as soon as I had secured my Air Tahiti Business Class award flights that I would stay at both properties, and settle the debate once and for all.

Which hotel is better?

OVERALL ACCOMODATIONS

Four Seasons Bora Bora
Four Seasons Bora Bora

Winner: Four Seasons Bora Bora

St. Regis Bora Bora

Pros: Larger and spacious, well laid out, especially for light sleepers, quiet.

Cons: Bathrooms are dated with low vanities, room was showing wear, you have to call for adapters.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Pros: Sofa bed in living room, more contemporary and updated décor, two US adapters provided in room, complimentary shared DIY laundry.

Cons: No dedicated table indoors for dining, no shaving platform in shower, some rooms can be noisy in the morning.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

St. Regis Bora Bora
St. Regis Bora Bora

 

Winner: Tie

St. Regis Bora Bora

Nice uninterrupted views of the mountain and a feeling of overall spaciousness. Adult’s only pool and a swim up bar at the main pool. Good lagoon for snorkeling. Our bicycles were rusty, so we did not ride them.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Gorgeous views of the mountain, but only rooms on the end of the pontoons have uninterrupted view. Resort felt more compact and easier to get around than St. Regis. Kids Club and Teen Island. Only one pool.

DECK, SWIMMING PLATFORM AND LADDER

St. Regis Bora Bora
St. Regis Bora Bora

Winner: St. Regis Bora Bora

St. Regis Bora Bora

Deck lacked some privacy on the sides. Swimming platform was large and sturdy. Ladder had flat rungs, but could have been a little longer. No dedicated chaise lounge covers.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Deck was private from side to side. Platform was large, but had some give. Ladder had round rungs, which hurt to step on, but was plenty long. Dedicated chaise lounge covers

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Four Seasons Bora Bora
Four Seasons Bora Bora

Winner: Four Seasons Bora Bora

St. Regis Bora Bora

Our dinner at Lagoon was very good and I appreciated the vegetarian menu. Breakfasts and lunch via room service were average to not good. The breakfast buffet was below average.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

All meals whether in room or in restaurant were good to very good. Breakfast buffet was small, but well stocked. Vegetarian was understood by staff and easily accommodated.

SERVICE

Four Seasons Bora Bora
Four Seasons Bora Bora

 

 

Winner: Tie

St. Regis Bora Bora

Our butler was lovely, but we didn’t need much for a two night stay. Restaurant staff were average to very good. There were some misses such as having to ask multiple times for a refill.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Staff ranged from average to great. Pool service was slow. Room service was easy to order via the Four Seasons app, and the set up was nice.

WI-FI

Winner: St. Regis Bora Bora

St. Regis Bora Bora

Wi-Fi worked well throughout the resort.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

Wi-Fi worked well in the room, but signal strength was low to nonexistent at restaurants, pool, and beach

 

Interested in knowing which one is BEST for YOU? Contact me today at 508-485-3061 or via email and receive special complimentary amenities with your booking.

 

Stay tuned for my trip report from The Brando!