To get to Mendocino, you drive through Anderson Valley with its picturesque vineyards, wineries, and farms, take a twisty road that winds around hills, and go through the Navarro Redwood Forest (a magical experience) and finally, along the Pacific coast. You are already feeling the calm sweep over you by the time you reach Brewery Gulch Inn, set on a hillside with a sweeping view of a cove and the ocean. And then you fully exhale and feel all stress and worldly concerns slip away. Time seems to slow down.
Brewery Gulch Inn
With Mendocino itself just around the bend, we head directly to the Brewery Gulch Inn, a marvelously quiet, intimate inn (just 10 rooms) which sits just above the coastal highway, nestled amid trees and lush landscaping.
We arrive just in time for the 5:30-6:30 pm wine hour – a delightful tasting that accompanies a delicious artfully prepared light dinner. There are many modifications due to COVID-consciousness – so many actually being very pleasant adaptations that have become popular with guests. So, instead of serving the inn’s signature dinner as a buffet, we are given our own bento box, accessed with our room key (late arrivals will find it in their room).
We can sit in the Great Room – a combination living room and dining room (with well spaced tables) set around a fireplace, that opens out to the outdoor patio, or we can sit outside on the patio or lawn. We opt for the outdoors, bathing in the golden light of the setting sun as it falls into the ocean, watching waves hit against rocks in the intriguingly named Smuggler’s Cove, and hummingbirds chase each other. The feeling of well-being – pure contentment – washes over us. It is perfection.
Each day, Executive Chef Stephen Smith prepares artful, imaginative dinner selections that are a feast for the eyes as well as the palette, featuring organic produce accompanied by local wines and beers (included in the stay).
This evening’s menu features Pina Colada prawns; creamy green chili and parmesan cheese polenta; chilled black bean and corn salad; chocolate-raspberry truffle tart. The menu changes daily: the night before we arrived, dinner consisted of Cajun chicken fingers with Creole remoulade and pickled zucchini; maple-whipped sweet potatoes; orange chiffon cake with cream cheese frosting and crème Anglaise. On another night: crispy duck breast with rosemary Dijon & cranberry-ginger gastrique, blue corn polenta crackers, fennel-smoked tomato stuffing, House-pickled vegetables and Gran Marnier chocolate mousse.
Every detail is carefully arranged: the dinner is served in “Mendo-style” bento boxes created by local woodworker, John Myers, from the same eco-salvaged redwood used to construct the Inn. The boxes are labeled with the name of each room (ours is Osprey and is decorated with Osprey images) so that guests can be sure the box prepared for their room will accommodate their dietary restrictions. “We are hoping the portability provided by these boxes will make it easier for you to dine outside, in our Great Room, or in the privacy of your room.”
(If you arrive after the concierge leaves, the bento box is sent into the room. They ask that you inform them by 10 am if you won’t be dining at the inn for the evening, to avoid food waste.)
Every possible guest comfort is integrated into the experience. The Great room is loaded with games (even the furniture becomes a game board) and a huge selection of DVDs (just help yourself); there are bird books and a spotter scope on the patio; fresh coffee, fresh fruit and fruit-infused iced water set out, as well as a refrigerator that we guests can use – and the sweet, patient help of the concierge.
The interior design, furnishings and art are exquisite. And the ambiance and services are also very in tune with the environment – there are several EV charging stations (you are asked to reserve time).
The effect is to be a place of serenity and peace.
We loved the personal notes from Guy Pacurar, Proprietor, Sarah Rowe, Guest Services and Manager, Laura Hockett in advance of our stay that ask about dietary restrictions, and offer driving directions with suggestions of places to stop along the route and activities to pre-book.
The inn’s website offers marvelous suggestions of what to do in the area, especially what might be pre-booked. Under Pre-Arrival Concierge, there are various services and activities, including massages, wine tours and tastings such as in Anderson Valley, horseback rides, chocolates, wines, restaurant reservations, that the inn can arrange for you prior to your arrival.
In the morning, there we find muffins and coffee laid out and we enjoy a marvelous cooked-to-order breakfast in the Great Room (we could also have asked it to be served in our guest room). I have a delectable salmon scramble.
Considering what is included in the experience – the wine tasting, light dinner accompanied by local wines and beers, lavish cooked-to-order breakfast from a seasonal menu (in the Great Room or served in your guest room), WiFi – this is an intimate inn (just 10 rooms) which provides the experience of a luxury hotel that is also a value proposition.
It is no wonder Brewery Gulch Inn consistently merits awards and accolades: named to Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice for Best Hotels-Northern California, its seventh time on Conde Nast Travelers’ list of best lodging properties in the US; Travel & Leisure’s Top 15 Resorts in California (2021) and a six-time winner of Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best Lodging Awards.
In the morning, aided by the suggestions of Brewery Gulch’s concierge (Glass Beach, Noyo Harbor for lunch, Headlands Coastal Trail for a hike), we head out to explore. First stop, the famous, historic Skunk Train and its novel “railbike” experience in Fort Bragg, just 20 minutes up the coastal road.
Brewery Gulch Inn, 9401 North Highway One, Mendocino, CA, 95460, 800-578-4454, brewerygulchinn.com.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, New York State is permitting restaurants to reopen indoor dining at 25 percent capacity, and as of March 15, will allow venues to host weddings at 50% capacity up to 150 guests. Governor Cuomo proposed that couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day and tie the knot on March 15.
Romance is by nature an intimate experience and even in a pandemic, it is possible to find romantic places and experiences. From glamping in nature, to boutique inns, to grand resorts offering specially planned, socially-distanced venues, and from romance to proposal to marriage vows, the coronavirus has certainly reshaped romance and love, but where there is a will, there is a way. Love conquers all.
Back to Nature
There is nothing more romantic than getting a camper van and following wanderlust, or renting a cabin or lodge or glamping on a lake or mountaintop, with that added spice of adventure and nature (as in, “let nature run its course” or “doing what comes naturally”). Glamping is also providing the setting for back-to-nature weddings and renewal of vows.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has a special section for glamping, cabins, and “unique camping options” (a teepee, a yurt, a train caboose, a Conestoga wagon, tree house, wall tent, a vintage airstream among them) that offer the atmosphere sure to get an “I will” or an “I do.” (See: https://koa.com/ways-to-stay/unique-accommodations/)
GlampingHub, launched in 2013 as a booking platform for distinctive accommodations, sustainable tourism and luxury camping, is where you can find glamping spots all over the world, ranging from pet-friendly hotels or eco-friendly hotels, glamping retreats & getaways. It devotes a portal to Romantic Glamping (https://glampinghub.com/portal/romantic-glamping/).
The Daniel Webster Inn in the historic village of Sandwich on Cape Cod is inviting couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Feb. 13-15 package that includes champagne, chocolates, roses; $60 toward lunch or dinner and $15 toward breakfast, and a special gift to take home. Also, a suite-deal package is a one-night escape in an elegant suite with fireplace and oversized whirlpool tub, and chocolates and massages, plus $50 toward dinner. (Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa, 149 Main Street, Sandwich, MA 02563, 800-444-3566, 833-361-4988, https://danlwebsterinn.com/)
Mountain Top Inn & Resort has all the charm, the warmth, the cozy, intimate hospitality of a country inn, and all the luxury, amenities, activities and quality dining of a resort. The setting is breathtaking – 700 acres surrounded by open fields, a 740-acre lake and mountains beyond, and the Green Mountain National Forest. In addition to a lodge, it offers separate cabins, and a barn/event space. It is no wonder Mountain Top is so popular for weddings (elopements too!) – it exudes romance. (Mountain Top Inn & Resort, 195 Mountain Top Road, Chittenden, Vermont 05737, 802-483-2311, www.MountainTopInn.com).
With a secluded island setting and the beauty of the Adirondacks as your backdrop, the grand, historic Sagamore Resort is an enchanting destination for a Lake George wedding, proposal or romantic getaway. Besides the hotel, there are separate villa-style lodges. The AAA Four-Diamond resort offers a world-class spa, a Donald Ross-designed championship golf course, swimming and tennis and the Adirondacks. (110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing, NY 12814, 518-644-9400, 866-384-1944, www.thesagamore.com)
Grand Historic Hotels Offer Special Ambiance
Historic Hotels offer ideal ambiance for a romantic proposal, a destination wedding, honeymoon, or special milestone.
The entire list of Historic Hotels of America members, in my book, are ideal for romantic getaways (historichotels.org), but here are a few of our favorites for your proposal:
Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York: Mohonk Mountain House is an enchanting Victorian Castle perched at the top of a mountain with a private lake. The hotel has 120 “summerhouses” which are rustic gazebos designed for two people to share special moments together; taking in stunning views during or after a hike on 85 miles of trails- all of which provide the perfect romantic backdrop for someone to get down on bended knee. The Sky Top Tower is a hiking destination with panoramic views of the Shawangunk Cliffs and Catskill Mountains and a popular engagement site, along with the boat dock, which provides amazing views of serene Lake Mohonk. This is a full-service grand resort with world-class spa, indoor pool.
The Otesaga Hotel and Cooper Inn (1909) Cooperstown, New York: With its majestic views, The Otesaga Resort Hotel sits on the southern shore of Lake Otsego, known as Glimmerglass in James Fenimore Cooper’s novels, which makes the lake a popular place to pop the question. The lake dock, with its quaint stillness and breathtaking views surrounded by century old oak trees is a perfect place to get down on bended knee. There are some who would rather propose in an old-fashioned boat with the resort as a backdrop and others that would prefer to be on a horse drawn carriage pulling up to the resort’s front portico. Moreover, being the home of the national pastime makes Cooperstown and the Otesaga a unique venue for a baseball themed engagement.
Basin Harbor (1886) Vergennes, Vermont: Basin Harbor is a grand yet rustic resort set on the stunning shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. Steeped in tradition, this 700-acre resort has a variety of breathtaking settings that provide a perfect backdrop for engagements and weddings. From the Orchard Garden, filled with flowers and greenery to the Lodge Lawn with panoramic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains, there are plenty of places for someone to get down on one knee. There’s just about every activity you could want, including golf course, boating, tennis. Besides hotel accommodations, there are charming cottages.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia: Built in the Queen Anne style, the Jekyll Island Club Resort is a castle surrounded by Southern charm. With sweeping Spanish moss and hundred years old live oaks, Jekyll Island is one of the most romantic spots in the South. The magic of the island will carry guests back in time to the grandeur of millionaires. From the top of the turret to quiet moments in Crane Garden, this little slice of heaven is perfect for any romantic proposal. Many couples who get engaged at the hotel have grown up coming to the Resort and wanted the destination to be a part of the proposal and eventually, the wedding. Besides the hotel accommodations, there are separate cottages. Jekyll Island also offers elopement packages.
Ledges Hotel (1890) Hawley, Pennsylvania: This hotel’s historic bluestone building and natural waterfall provide a dramatic backdrop for proposals. A life-long commitment made in the shadow of a historic landmark is symbolic of a relationship that will stand the test of time. The tiered decks overlooking Paupack High Falls are one of the most romantic spots to pop the question at Ledges Hotel. It’s a popular destination for engagements no matter the season. During winter, the frozen falls offer a stunning backdrop. Budding trees and rushing waters are a hallmark of spring. Summer by the waterfall is lush and cool, while fall foliage creates a vibrant landscape in autumn.
The Hotel Hershey (1933) Hershey, Pennsylvania: Known for its refined elegance, signature services and abundant amenities, The Hotel Hershey is a marvelous destination for a romantic getaway. The Hotel is rooted in its own romantic love story, between founder Milton S. Hershey and his wife, Catherine, and couples can spend time together in the beautiful Fountain Lobby, which was inspired by the couple’s travels and designed to look like a Spanish-style courtyard with palm trees, a beautiful fountain and a painted sky on the ceiling. The Formal Gardens behind the hotel are a popular spot for proposals. There, guests can find a quiet, romantic, picturesque area with beautiful flower beds, pergolas, fountains and reflecting pools.
Micro weddings are all the rage. It’s all about keeping your special day small, but significant.
The courtyard of the historic St Francis Inn in the heart of historic St. Augustine, Florida, is a charming place for a small wedding. The couple can plan a private elopement for two or a micro-wedding in the four-season garden with up to 10 guests, flowers, champagne, house-made wedding cake and horse-drawn carriage ride (279 St. George St., St. Augustine FL, 800-824-6062, https://stfrancisinn.com/)
Southampton Inn on Long Island has more than 20-years tradition of hosting “micro-weddings” – or the “minimony”. The inn has 3 acres of landscaped grounds, 2,300 sq. ft indoor ballroom for intimate but well-spaced wedding celebrations in a romantic setting (91 Hill Street, Southampton, NY, 11968, 631-283-6500, southamptoninn.com, [email protected])
What may be a renewed old trend: elopement – it is said to date back to the 14th century, taken on new meaning in the 17th century, and was revived in popularity during the Great Depression when resources and money was scarce. Today, elopement packages are seeing new popularity because they have the benefit of catering to small, intimate ceremonies (as few as just the couple and witnesses) and minimizing the stress that typically comes with prolonged wedding planning Hotels also let the couple take advantage of windows of opportunity, compressing the time between “I will” to “I do.”
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn offers special wedding and elopement packages that keep intimacy and romance in mind. Designed for 2 to 20 people, the Highlands Elopement Package allows couples to exchange vows on a romantic gazebo overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hyatt Carmel Highlights 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, California, 93923, events specialist, 831-622-5461, 831-620-1234, hyatt.com.
When we thought about our ideal honeymoon, all
we knew is that after extensive planning for our DIY destination wedding in New
Orleans, we (1) wanted to be on a tropical beach with beautiful scenery and
spectacular lodging in which we wouldn’t typically indulge, where we could
decompress and just be together, and (2) didn’t want to do much planning. We
had heard that Saint Lucia had some of the most unusual scenery of the
Caribbean Islands (mountains, jungle, volcanoes), and that if we were going
there, we had to stay at Anse Chastanet. We didn’t know it when we boarded the
plane in New Orleans, but we were on our way to a honeymoon that would truly
redefine our notions of a romantic luxury beach vacation.
A slow, adrenaline-pumping car ride up two miles of rocky terrain brings us to Anse Chastanet and its even more exclusive sister resort, Jade Mountain, nestled at the westernmost point of the island of Saint Lucia. The first thing we notice from the top of the mountain is the breathtaking view from every angle: the grand Pitons to our left, the Caribbean straight ahead, and lush jungle to our right. We find ourselves in a World Heritage Site anchored by the twin peaks and the resort’s two bays which are part of a designated marine reserve protecting miles of coral reefs. Both of these ultra-luxury eco-resorts are the creations of a young Nick Troubetzkoy, who straight out of architecture school discovered 600 acres of virgin jungle and had a vision for a resort designed to honor the boundless nature surrounding it.
The entire resort is seamlessly built into the
oceanside mountain. The architecture highlights the views, camouflages walls,
and celebrates natural touches of luxury like the soaring peaked ceilings in
each room, the iridescent recycled glass tiles in each private pool of Jade’s
residences, and the koi ponds dotting the layout of Jade’s open courtyard.
There is no all-encompassing “roof” to the resort. The refrain we heard from a
few of the staff there seemed to perfectly characterize Troubetzkoy’s vision:
“Above Anse Chastanet is Jade Mountain, and above Jade is the sky.”
We will remember the details of our honeymoon at Anse Chastanet forever — falling asleep and waking up to the lulling lap of the ocean and peaceful chirps of the birds, our only visible and audible neighbors; epic buffet breakfasts overlooking the blue ocean horizon; red snapper and coconut ceviche lunch on the adjacent Anse Mamin beach, and the most flavorful jerk chicken we’ve ever had. During daylight hours we mountain-biked through the jungle on the property, snorkeled around the reef whenever we felt like it, had delicious tropical cocktails on both beaches (we recommend the St. Lucian Banana Daiquiri), and got amazing massages at the resort’s Kai Belté Spa. In the evenings we sipped champagne on our wrap-around terrace before strolling down to dinner, which one night featured a private, five-course Lionfish dinner served to us under a candlelit canopy on the sand (more on that later)! We couldn’t have dreamed for a more ideal honeymoon.
The rooms at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain are masterfully designed to avoid two things: (1) artificial air conditioning and (2) the traditionally conceived concept of a roof, or more generally of an enclosed space. Each has its own unique features: one room at Anse Chastanet has a swing and a jungle tree running through it to the sky; one suite at Jade, named best room in the world by Condé Nast in 2016, is around 2000 square feet and features a lit mini-stairway to the bath area, a jacuzzi for exactly two people, and a freshwater infinity pool made of one-of-a-kind, hand-made iridescent recycled glass tiles, that overlooks the ocean and the Pitons (there are 3 Galaxy Sanctuaries with similar features at Jade Mountain).
The private infinity pools in Jade’s rooms range from 450 to over 900 square feet, with a private walkway leading up to the room (your privacy begins well outside your door). Jade’s rooms all come with a personal butler service of Major Domos trained by the British Guild of Butlers. While Jade Mountain reserves exclusive access to guests with rooms on this part of the resort, we were treated to a visit one afternoon.
There is, of course, no such thing as a room
with a bad view at either luxury resort. Some rooms at Anse Chastanet and Jade
Mountain have the fourth wall missing entirely, while others have wooden louvre
walls that open to balconies or patios. There is also the The Piton Pool Suite,
tucked away in a private hillside setting, and the Beach House, a stand-alone
house with a 1600 square foot patio, secluded amidst its own landscaped grounds
with a private gated entrance from the beach (this house is fully air conditioned).
There are no TVs, radios, or telephones in the rooms, “so that the outside
world cannot intrude”. All of the rooms have original art on the walls created
by artists who were invited to stay in the room while they made the artwork
inspired by the space itself.
Without hyperbole, “Passion Flower” at Anse Chastanet is the most spectacular “room” we have ever stayed in. Calling any suite at Anse Chastanet a “room” is misleading for so many reasons; they would be more accurately described as exquisitely crafted sanctuaries integrated into the mountain, magically extending each space for miles. Passion Flower is a particularly spectacular suite because of its prized location at the top of Anse Chastanet, offering a panorama view of the Pitons to the left and the expansive Caribbean sweeping across the center and to the right. With multiple seating areas across the wrap-around terrace, this 900ish square-foot space is one of those that lacks a fourth wall, instead letting the room open up to the views and fresh air. Sliding mahogany doors of wooden jalousie louver (slat) windows allow great cross ventilation and let you move the “walls” to enable any palatial configuration you desire, while still keeping the light out in the early morning. The ceiling fan above the bed keeps the temperature perfect while you sleep. The long, warmly-lit bathroom with Matisse-like blue figures painted on the white wall, features a double vanity and an open-floor shower the size of a New York City bedroom.
There are so many thoughtful touches in the room that make our stay even more special, from the homemade banana bread and glasses of St. Lucian rum left on our dresser to accompany the fresh lime juice waiting for us in our mini fridge, to the amazing scent of the incense (or mosquito repellent coil) to which we would return each night after dinner, to the turn-down service while we were out that left a card on our bed with a new fun fact about St. Lucia each night.
The food at Anse Chastanet is an incredible
(delectable) surprise. We travel by food, letting interesting culinary
experiences and unique tastes influence much of how we move through the world.
The chefs at Anse are on an entirely different level, each meal a culinary
sensation more impressive than the last. Part of this must be due to the
Emerald Estate farm where the resort grows its own organic produce, and to the
talent and creativity of an all-star culinary team.
Breakfast is served in the gorgeous mountain-top
veranda nestled within the treetops of the jungle below. In keeping with the
Anse way, there are no walls in any of the dining areas, so you are always
surrounded by nature–they even have cute little whale squirt guns to shoo off
the birds who visit your breakfast table, though they too are more of a treat
than a nuisance. You can opt for the buffet or choose from an impressive menu
that will please the health-conscious and the vacationing glutton alike (we
tend more towards the latter on this trip). The breakfast buffet alone could
satisfy most: cereal bar with home-made granola and all the fixings, English
muffins and other fresh baked goods with a selection of lox, ham, various
cheeses, homemade jams, seasonal fruits, a fresh juice bar, coffee, tea, and on
special occasions hot cocoa from their own estate cacao beans. You can pair the
buffet with made-to-order eggs, benedicts, or any number of brunch items from
For lunch you’d be hard-pressed to do better
than a fresh burger cooked right behind you (on the large clay coal pot
leftover from Anse Mamin Plantation) while you enjoy an island cocktail with
your feet in the sand at Anse Mamin, the smaller beach just next to Anse
Chastanet with a castaway island vibe. Take the quick complimentary boat ride
or five-minute walk to Anse Mamin for jungle to one side and water on
the other. The excellent Jungle Grill and Bar will keep you content all
day with several variations of loaded burgers and one of the best ceviches
we’ve ever had. Full disclosure: we will try ceviche whenever it’s on a menu
and its preparation is often how we rate restaurants (and of course had it at
our own wedding). This Signature Coconut Ceviche was out of this world: red
snapper with flavors of coconut, lime, chili, and lemongrass served in a
coconut bowl with fresh baked plantain chips. Laini doesn’t like to share
ceviche, but this bowl had so much fish in it she didn’t even get too anxious
when Dave tried to steal it for a few minutes. The Caribbean Slaw with Jerk
Chicken is another favorite–the chicken has a slight tandoori flavor to it,
which we love. The Green Fig and Saltfish Burger (a popular local
dish-turned-burger) is huge and all it’s cracked up to be. We also heard great
things about the Jungle Beef Burger, so we’ll have to come back to try that
next time. You can enjoy your lunch from your ocean-side chaise, picnic benches
under some shade, or bistro tables.
Each dinner we have is more spectacular than the last so it’s honestly hard to recommend one over another. Apsara is the ocean-front Indian fusion restaurant with romantic warm lighting and incredibly inventive dishes. We eat here twice during our four nights, and we have many great martinis and other cocktails here. It seems like everything they make just tastes better than anywhere else we’ve tried it before. Their fire roasted lamb chops, king prawns, and chicken tikka are unbelievable. The catch of the day marinated in ginger and chili served with pumpkin and mint crush and yogurt sauce is particularly interesting and delicious. The Sticky Toffee Pudding with cashew ice cream and caramel popcorn is so rich and flavorful it’s now become the standard off which we measure other desserts. Just thinking about Apsara’s menu makes us want to return to Anse Chastanet immediately.
Another highlight is the five-course lionfish
dinner prepared for us by the Apsara chef as a private oceanside dinner with
feet in the sand surrounded by lanterns and a romantic white canopy. An
invasive species common in the Caribbean, Anse uses this lionfish dinner as a brilliant
way to “eat them to beat them.” It would take way too many pages to
properly describe each creative course, but suffice it to say each dish is
something we have never seen before and we are amazed by how many tastes the
chef is able to incorporate into dishes that work so well together. The final
course (before a reprise of the sticky toffee pudding, of course) features a
pork belly skewer topped with baked lionfish filet, with Malabar spinach purée
and a side of lionfish egg sushi, just to give you a sense.
In addition to the special dinners all guests
are able to book (such as the lionfish menu, private oceanside dinner, sunset
celebration, and private dinner at Anse Mamin), there are also weekly culinary
events including Monday Gourmet Dinner and Wine pairing, an Emerald Estate
Cacao Plantation Tour and Chocolate Tasting, Tandoori Cooking Class, Chocolate
and Wine tasting, and the Sunday Saint Lucian Rum Mixology class.
The service throughout the meals and overall
hospitality at Anse Chastanet are exceptional. We feel we get to know each
server, who always refers to us by name, and everyone is exceedingly helpful
with everything from choosing dishes to arranging activities.
Of the many activities and “extras” available,
we experience their snorkeling, mountain biking in the Anse Mamin jungle, and a couples’
spa treatment at Kai Belté.
Snorkeling on the side of the main beach area is
very rewarding. Sign out the complimentary equipment at Scuba Center and with
such clear water you’ll immediately find tons of tropical fish even close to
the shore. We even see a little octopus! A first for us. A complimentary boat
takes guests to other snorkel and dive spots for those who want to go out a bit
further. While we are not divers, Anse Chastanet is known for their world-class
diving, as the entire region surrounding the resort’s waters is an award
winning marine reserve (SMMA) which has protected St. Lucia’s spectacular coral
reefs since 1995. Beginning just 10 yards from the water’s edge, the Anse
Chastanet reef is home to over 150 different species of fish. Scuba St.
Lucia, the resort’s PADI 5
Star Dive Operations and DAN (Divers Alert Network) partnership facility offers both beach and boat instructor-led dives, night diving,
scuba courses, and dive packages. Their state of the art compressor and
filtration system is the first and only of its kind on the island, so if you’re
a diver, Anse Chastanet is the place you want to be.
As land creatures, we opt for the mountain bike
jungle tour rather than the dive experience. The mountain bikes let us explore
more of the beautiful jungle grounds of Anse Chastanet that would have been a
shame to miss, and our friendly guide leads us around the eight miles of
exclusive trails and teaches us about the many different species of plants,
trees, and fruits that grow in the area. We ride top-of-the-line Cannondale
F800 mountain bikes, and even though it is a little scary to bike over tree roots
and rocks, between our guide and the stability of the bikes, we never feel in
Our “Romance Ritual” massage begins with an
incredible chocolate platter from Anse Chastanet’s very own Emerald Estate
Farms, followed by an aromatherapy foot soak, dry body brush to remove dead
skin, and a candle-lit 60-minute couple’s massage. The spa facility sits next
to Apsara by the shore so we are able to let our relaxing treatment continue to
soak in on the oceanside lounge chairs afterwards.
We are faced with a difficult decision to make
on our last full day at Anse Chastanet: whether to venture over to explore the
closest town of Soufriere, known as the heart and soul of St. Lucia, or to lie
on the beach at the resort and enjoy cocktails and another delicious grilled
lunch. We are fortunate to have had four nights at Anse Chastanet, and having
taken a tour the day before to the Soufriere Saint Vincent Volcano, and nearby
Diamond Falls Botanical Garden and Mineral Baths, we just crave more beach time
and opt for lavishing in leisure.
Anse Chastanet is the perfect place to treat yourself to a honeymoon paradise, even if you didn’t just get married. Our main advice once you’ve made the smart decision to visit: stay one night more than you think!
at Anse Chastanet:
* Anse Chastanet beach with beach chairs and beach towels * Complimentary use of non-motorized water sports including snorkel gear, windsurfers, sit on top kayaks, Sunfish sailing, Paddle boarding * Complimentary use of tennis court and equipment * Complimentary tennis clinic Monday and Wednesday from 9.00 – 9.30 a.m. * Resort shuttle boat, Jungle Express to beach at Anse Mamin daily for Jungle Beach Bar & Grill, beach activities, jogging and hiking * Select Guided Walks and Hikes on 600 acre estate with Meno – learn about history and botany * Yoga daily 8.30 a.m. – 9.30 a.m. and 5.00 – 6.00 p.m. in the beach yoga gazebo * Paddle board yoga demonstration in the Anse Chastanet bay every Tuesday from 12.15 p.m. * Creole History Class in the Beach Bar Friday 11.30 a.m. * Daily Live Entertainment in the Piton Bar except Tuesdays when entertainment takes place in the beach bar * Library located in the Piton Bar with WiFi internet connection and complimentary guest computer * Manager’s Cocktail Reception,Tuesdays from 6.30 – 7.30 p.m. in the beach bar * Underwater Slideshow at the Scuba center, Tuesday 6.00 p.m. * History, benefits and uses of Aromatherapy presented by Spa Manager, Tuesdays from 5.30 p.m. * Chocolate Sensory Tasting at Emerald Restaurant, Tuesdays from 10.00 – 10.30 a.m. * Saint Lucian Rum Mixology Class, Sundays 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. * Anse Mamin Plantation Walk with Meno, Monday – Saturday from 1:45 p.m.