Jade Mountain Resort
An architect’s love for jade and passion for his craft combined to create a one-of-a-kind paradise that will have you fall in love with Saint Lucia.
The scenery is beautiful, the view is unbelievable but the three-kilometre drive from the town of Soufriere feels like a straight vertical climb up the side of a mountain.
Paradise might be around the next bumpy, hairpin turn and the route makes it feels like you are part of a Dr. Seuss cartoon in transit to the Grinch’s lair.
But it’s worth the chaos to get to this magical piece of St. Lucia.
Once summited, there’s no doubt that you are in anything less than heaven on earth.
It all began with architect Nick Troubetzkoy’s love for intricately carved jade mountains: an art form that has existed in China for more than 8,000 years.
Before picking up their tools, carvers of jade mountains study the stone’s clarity, patterns and colour to ensure that the precious material is used to its maximum benefit.
It’s obvious that Troubetzkoy did exactly this when he began work on his own Jade Mountain (Resort). Part art, part architecture, the resort is a fantastical five-star destination that appears to be the result of a partnership between Tarzan, artist A.E. Escher and environmentalist David Suzuki.
Devoid of hallways and balconies, a winding staircase takes you up and individual “bridges to infinity” takes you across to private sanctuaries.
Open the door and your jaw will drop.
The space is open-concept with a view across the bay to the twin Pitons that is spectacular. With no fourth wall, you become part of the scenery.
It’s instantly rejuvenating.
Each of the 29 sanctuaries is open to the Caribbean Sea on one side and clad in louvered shutters on the other.
Forget the instant freeze feeling and the incessant hum air conditioners can bring. Instead, this mountaintop resort is cooled by the trade winds and the many ceiling fans that keep things moving when Mother Nature doesn’t.
Without televisions, radios or phones, the only noise you hear is the chirping of birds, the trickling of water from your personal infinity pool and the distant sounds of party boats sailing past the bay . . . idyllic.
On arrival, each guest is teamed with a private butler and provided with a personal “firefly” cell phone. One call and your butler will arrange anything for you.
From the choice of construction materials, energy and waste efficiency to the reusing of wood scraps and the shuttle transportation for staff, Jade Mountain Resort was constructed to operate in complete harmony with its surroundings. It is a sustainably designed, high-performance, LEED Gold certified resort.
It is no wonder that the resort has won more awards than can be listed.
Sitting high on Morne Chastanet above the 600-acre sister resort of Anse Chastanet*, Jade Mountain Resort offers resort shuttle service down to the beach and the PADI 5 Star, full-service scuba centre where you can choose from multiple daily boat or beach dives.
While on the beach, take advantage of complimentary snorkeling, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing – or just lounge under one of the kontiki-style beach umbrellas.
Anse Chastanet is a snorkeling destination which draws boat traffic from other parts of the island, but the beachfront loungers are reserved for guests.
A second, more secluded beach, Anse Mamin, is short walk down the coast. It is also accessible by the resort water shuttle.
The sugar plantation ruins of Anse Mamin are worth exploring.
The jungle with its many lush green hews is reclaiming the structures but the water from the aqueduct built to serve the plantation now fill the pools in each of the hotel’s sanctuaries.
If water sports aren’t your thing head to the jungle for a complimentary guided walk with Meno, the resort’s omniscient naturalist.
Aside from knowing everyone on the island, Meno will also introduce you to the varied plant species and their homeopathic qualities.
Back at the beach bar nursing a cold Piton, you’ll wonder if there is a need to do any off-resort activities. Kayaking, deep-sea fishing, sailing, zip lining, jungle biking, Piton climbing and other excursions are available for an additional fee.
Choose to stay on the resort? Take part in morning or evening yoga, play some tennis or get out of the sun and enjoy a spa treatment, take a cooking class or visit the chocolate lab.
Chocolate! A quick call to the butler and I was visiting resort’s chocolate lab.
Coco trees can be seen everywhere on the property.
Peter, the lab supervisor and self-proclaimed happiest employee, tells me that there was never much interest in processing the precious beans.
Referred to as ‘jungle M&Ms’ the locals would eat the fleshy pulp and spit out the nut at the centre.
St. Lucia is a small island where the banana was once referred to as green gold.
Today, tourism is the biggest industry and Jade Mountain Resort’s commitment to excellence continues the island’s theme of green gold.
Over-the-top beauty, it is refreshing to be able to take advantage of sparkling nature without it being at the expense of local sustainability.