Jade Mountain, The Jewel of St. Lucia

WOW is the best word to describe Nick Troubetzkoy’s Jade Mountain Resort. Located on the island of St. Lucia, Jade Mountain is a true work of art. Carved into the top of a mountain near the lush rain forest, the hotel offers spectacular views of the Piton Mountains while also giving guests a unique, peaceful experience. Staying at the hotel gives you a sense of floating in space while becoming one with the Pitons. Jade Mountain strives to create an organic spot that exist in harmony with nature. The use of materials and colors all work to help a person restore balance and peace to their life. We had no idea what an amazing experience was in store for us!

 Aerial View of Jade Mountain

Aerial View of Jade Mountain

St. Lucia, a lesser Antilles island, is characterized by lush rainforests with beautiful waterfalls in its interior. The west coast of the island is dotted with volcanic beaches and some of the best reef diving in the Caribbean. The Pitons, a UNESCO heritage site, are also located on this coast. These mountains are the most photographed spot in all of St. Lucia. They are truly beautiful! Gros Piton (2619ft) and Petit Piton (2461ft) are two volcanic plugs or spires connected by the Piton Mitan Ridge. Piton means “peak” in French alluding back to the early French rule of St. Lucia prior to its British takeover. Today, St. Lucia is independent. Gros Piton, the 2nd highest peak on the island, is easier to climb; it’s about a 2 hour trek up and about the same heading down. The views from the top are amazing. If you aren’t into a hike, some of the best snorkeling is in the bay at the base of the Pitons. Jade Mountain offers a stunning of view of these mountains we learned after we arrived.

 Aerial View of Petit Piton

Aerial View of Petit Piton

 View of Pitons from our Sun Sanctuary

View of Pitons from our Sun Sanctuary

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After an easy 4:10 hours flight from NYC, we arrived in St. Lucia. Jade Mountain is the only hotel on the island to have a helipad. We opted for a 6-minutes helicopter ride directly to the resort.  The short ride was incredible- offering us a brief tour of the island from the air. We flew over the volcanic Sulphur Springs and directly over the Pitons before arriving at Jade Mountain. What a cool view! (The drive from the airport is about 1:15. Since St. Lucia is very mountainous the roads are windy.) Arriving at the helipad was truly special; we could tell this was going to be an amazing trip. While we were on the helicopter, I informed my husband and son that this hotel was different than any we had every been too. There is no air conditioning, television or telephones in the rooms. The room is also open air, meaning it was exposed without a wall to the outdoors. Needless to say, they were a little shocked and apprehensive as we were greeted by the friendly staff.

 Aerial View of Jade Mountain- Check out "The Bridges to Infinity" on the left

Aerial View of Jade Mountain- Check out "The Bridges to Infinity" on the left

We were mesmerized by the building as our Major Domo walked us to our sanctuary. At Jade Mountain, each room has two dedicated Major Domos (or butlers) assigned to them. The service is incredible. Our Major Domos took tremendous care of us during our stay. Rooms are called “sanctuaries” which reflects the mission of the hotel. “Bridges to Infinity” allow access to the entrances of each sanctuary; some bridges are very long while others are shorter. The bridges were given this name since each sanctuary has an infinity pool (with infinite, amazing views). Walking throughout the hotel, the bridges are astounding to look at. My son felt like he was in a luxurious Jurassic Park movie (He’s 14!)

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The architecture is a marvel. Marking the entrance to many of the bridges are the “Columns to Heaven,” wire sculptures topped with hand-made, colored glass tiles. Artist David Knox of Lightstream created these sculptures which are still a work in progress. Stunning! As you walk along the suspended bridges in the sky capped by theses columns, it is hard not to be captivated by the enormous, tropical wood door providing entry to your sanctuary.  I have NEVER seen a door this big- amazing!

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My husband and son were skeptical about the rooms but as soon as we walked into our Sun Sanctuary that changed. This was one of the most gorgeous, unique rooms I have ever been in. When our Major Domo told us that the record for someone not leaving their room was seven days, I could understand why. With 15 foot ceilings, local furniture, hardwood floors, and a private pool, the rooms truly befit the name “Sanctuary.” I’m not a person who loves room service; I like to explore the area and try different restaurants. But at Jade Mountain, I really never wanted to or needed to leave our room. Between the views and the amazing service of our Major Domos, we had all that we needed and more. My husband and son were most concerned about sleeping. But sleeping in our open-air room was wonderful. At night, the room seemed to glow with dim lights and candles. Our beds were surrounded with white mosquito netting but the bugs were not a problem. What was most astounding about the room was how cool it was at night. Between the fans and clear night air, we slept soundly and comfortably.

 Enjoying the View!

Enjoying the View!

Perhaps the most incredible part of our room was our infinity pool. Each sanctuary (other than the Sky rooms) have their own pool that appears to be apart of the environment. There is no communal pool to sit at. Just as each sanctuary is unique so is each pool. Artist David Knox also created the 24-different colored, iridescent, reflective pool tiles out of recycled glass. After creating the tiles, the mold was destroyed making each of the pools a work of art themselves. Each sanctuary pool is a different color- ruby red, amber, blue, green- representing different colors in nature’s landscape. The water feels so pure and soft on the body. The hotel created a filtration system which cleans the water 6 times a day and uses no chlorine so no chlorine smell. So nice!

 Irridescent Pool Tiles in our Sun Sanctuary

Irridescent Pool Tiles in our Sun Sanctuary

 Our Pool

Our Pool

Another really cool feature of our sanctuary was the bathroom. Located toward the rear of the room, the bathroom was elevated overlooking the entire space. It had the same gorgeous views of the Pitons. The chromotherarpy tub was the best feature of the bathroom.  This type of tub is based on the idea of energy and color healing and the body’s response to the energy the colors give off. This is from Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicine belief, based on the idea that individuals are made of the five elements: earth, wind, air, fire, and space. Each person is made up of a unique combination of these things. When one element is out of balance, a person can become sick or unhappy. The color helps to restore the balance. Each color is associated with different organs and healing properties. This was one of the largest bathtubs I’ve seen. When it was full of water and lit up with the colors, it was amazing!

We decided that we shouldn’t really spend the entire trip in our sanctuary. So, every night we did ascend to the top floor of the hotel for dinner at the resort’s restaurant, The Jade Mountain Club. The food was stupendous. James Beard award winning Chef Allen Susser creates “Jade Cuisine,” a farm to table menu that’s a fusion of Caribbean cultures. Like everything at Jade Mountain, the food is all about the experience of food from the surrounding nature. Much of the food is supplied from Emerald Farm, Jade Mountain's own farm that grows organic produce. Tours can be arranged of the farm (which I was bummed we missed). Jade Mountain also has its own Chocolate Lab located on the top level of the resort. More on this experience to come but definitely one experience not to miss! If you don’t feel like trekking up to the restaurant, no problem. All the room service food comes from the same kitchen so it’s just as tasty.

 Bridge to the Jade Mountain Club

Bridge to the Jade Mountain Club

 Interior of the Jade Mountain Club

Interior of the Jade Mountain Club

 The Beach

The Beach

While Jade Mountain is located on the top of a mountain with incredible views, beach lovers need not worry. It's about a five minute walk down the mountain to the volcanic beach. Don’t feel like walking, the hotel will drive you down! Jade Mountain’s sister hotel, Anse Chastanet, is located directly below. The walk to the beach weaves through this charming hotel. The beach provides lots of amenities including a restaurant, complimentary sweet treats, snorkeling, scuba, and other non-motor sports. The hotel has a second, more private beach about a 2-minute boat ride away or a 10-minute walk. This beach borders the rainforest where we embarked on a fun mountain biking tour (more on that to come!) We enjoyed the beach one afternoon but when we returned to our sanctuary we realized we really didn’t want to leave our pool! We were at such peace and so comfortable in our Sun Sanctuary.

Jade Mountain was truly a unique and magically experience for us. Boarding our helicopter to return home was so sad. Jade Mountain is a must visit for anyone looking for a romantic, restorative trip. (Ladies, its so romantic that two episodes of "The Bachelor" were filmed here!) While some might be concerned about the open aired rooms, it was the best sleep I have ever gotten. Sanctuary is clearly the perfect name for the rooms. At the end of our visit, we all felt rested, and peaceful. Like the stone, Jade which is known for its healing properties, Jade Mountain is a dazzling jewel in the Caribbean that will leave any visitor feeling restored, balance and rejuvenated. We can’t wait to go back to this ultra-luxurious retreat.