Last week, I went on the most magical trip to the island of St. Lucia. I made the journey with three of my closest friends. This is a group of girls I have had the pleasure of traveling with to many memorable places - Palm Springs, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Curacao.
I can say with 100 percent certainty that St. Lucia is the most naturally beautiful place I have ever seen in real life.
We had been researching and planning for this trip for nearly a year. We had a false start back in October 2021 when we decided to postpone our travel due to the new COVID variant. In January of this year, we dialed up our optimism and decided to book our flights and accommodations.
One of the girls in the group suggested Sugar Beach, which is a Viceroy property. We all fell in love immediately and started following the resort on Instagram, @sugarbeachviceroy. After six months of fawning over their daily photo updates, we were giddy to get to experience it ourselves.
We flew from Boston to New York (JFK), and then New York to St. Lucia. That second flight was four and a half hours long. Long enough to watch Along for the Ride (Netflix) and Crazy Rich Asians.
When you land in St. Lucia, you walk off the plane directly onto a ramp (not a covered jet bridge) so you feel the sun on your skin with that very first step. Vacation mode: activated.
Currently, you walk into the airport and the first step is to show your proof of vaccination. Once they've seen your vaccine card, they give you a white bracelet (that you wear the entire trip) to show your vaccination status. Then, you head to passport control. We got through in three minutes (a miracle!).
Sugar Beach has a dedicated podium outside the baggage claim area. You arrange your transport through Sugar Beach a few days before your arrival and they have a driver waiting for you. We had a private van with a lovely driver who was eager to tell us all about the island. He also provided a cooler with water and Piton beer (named for the local Piton mountains).
The drive from the airport to Sugar Beach is one hour long. The landscape is stunning and your jaw will be hanging down the entire time. Our driver opened the sun roof of the van in case we wanted to poke our heads out to take any photos or videos.
One warning: the roads in St. Lucia are very narrow, winding, and steep. If you are a person who gets motion sickness while in the car, this is not the destination for you.
Our taxi driver for the rest of the trip (more on him in upcoming posts) told us that he replaces his break pads every two months. These hills are no joke!
As we drove through the gate to Sugar Beach, we encountered the steepest hill yet. We started singing the Jurassic Park theme song because the views around us felt straight out of the movie - mountains, lush green trees, sounds of the rainforest.
When you finally reach the bottom, this is the view awaiting you.
The beach is nestled in the valley between two of the Piton mountains. So in addition to the white sand and the blue waters, you also have a constant view of these two majestic mountains.
For maximum enjoyment, Sugar Beach has set up floats in the ocean. They are anchored to the bottom, so you can hop on and float stress-free.
My favorite were these circles that looked like trampolines. You would hoist yourself in, lay down in the center of the ring, and then rest your head or your arms on the firm ring surrounding the edge.
One of the girls said, "If I could have my drink and my book out here, I would float on this all day!"
Guests of Sugar Beach have access to stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear for free. If you're a person who needs an activity, it's a huge perk that these are included.
Let's talk about the lounge chair situation. Sugar Beach has an incredible set up. All of the beach chairs are wicker day beds with luxurious cushions. Each chair has a towel with a hood on it, so you can place the hood over the top of the cushion, ensuring your towel doesn't fall down in the wind or as you get up and down throughout the day. It's the little things.
The chairs are positioned under huge, thatched roof umbrellas that provide fantastic shade.
We developed a routine where we'd head to breakfast, intentionally walking a route that would take us to the beach so that we could claim chairs. We'd put our books down, then head to breakfast. After the meal, we knew our lounge chairs were waiting for us!
Every morning I loved walking by this chalkboard sign that reads, "Medicine heals the body, but the ocean heals the soul."
Most days, we spent the full day at the beach. The Sugar Beach team has thought of everything to keep your comfortable. Mid-morning they walk around with cold, lavender-scented towels to help you cool down. In the late afternoon, they bring popsicles. Some days it was frozen fruit (I tried the strawberry) and on our last day, they were offering chocolate-covered banana popsicles, which were a huge hit in our crew.
From your lounge chair you can order food and drinks. We sampled pretty much everything on the menu over the course of five days. Our top recommendations include:
- The passion fruit daiquiri
- Any of the margaritas (they do a heavy pour on the tequila!)
- The Mediterranean salad
- Any of the pizzas (they also offer gluten-free crust)
- The chicken tinga or tofu tacos
- The French fries! If your meal comes with a side, you can choose fries or salad. The Sugar Beach fries are McDonalds level good
Sugar Beach is a cashless resort, so you don't have to worry about bringing money to the beach. Just provide your room number and you're all set.
In addition to the main beach area, the resort has several other spaces where you can hang outdoors. There is a large swimming pool (mostly frequented by young families) and there's also a sunset pier.
The sunset pier has big day beds and at the end of the dock, two hammocks that are floating over the ocean.
From the pier, you get a really nice view of the villas.
Speaking of villas, let me give you a tour of ours! Sugar Beach has villas of varying sizes. They have options for individuals, and groups as large as 8-10 people.
We were in villa 110. We were in the second row of villas back from the beach. As you walked from the sand up toward our entrance, you did have to hoof up a pretty steep hill.
Here is the entrance to our home sweet home for the week! We took many photos on this bench (or standing right in front of it).
We had a very cute set of stairs that led down to our front door. To the right of the door was a pretty water feature.
When you opened the door, you entered the kitchen. Though we had zero intentions of cooking during our stay, Sugar Beach offers everything you could need to make a full meal.
We were greeted by a platter of fresh fruit, all the fixings to make St. Lucia's signature rum punch, and a "welcome" message spelled out with flowers and individual blades of grass.
The fridge was stocked with complimentary bottled water and soda. Having cold water on hand was a major plus.
Our living room had a large, comfy couch and two very cozy sitting chairs.
The best part of the living room is the view to the outside. More on our private patio in a minute.
On the right side of the villa is the master bedroom. It has doors that open up to the patio.
It has a king size bed. The beds in both rooms were incredibly comfortable. We talked about it every morning!
The master has an enormous bathroom, including a tub. The tub has a view to the outdoors. Basically, a dream.
This bathroom has double sinks.
The Sugar Beach team takes great care to make each element of the room feel special, including decorating the bathroom with fresh flowers.
The shower has two options. A regular, indoor shower, and then a glass partition that leads to an outdoor shower.
Not pictured: the toilet, which is in its own room (behind a door) opposite a bidet.
I stayed in the second bedroom, which is on the opposite side of the villa. We also had a king size bed.
Both rooms had hidden televisions. During the day, we would use this chest to lay out our beach stuff or toiletries and at night, we'd remove everything and use the remote to lift the TV.
Our room also had the only full-length mirrors in the villa, so all the girls would pop in to check their outfits.
I forgot to snap a photo of our bathroom, which was about one fourth the size of the one in the master. We had everything in one room - a single sink / vanity, the toilet, and a shower (no outdoor option). The shower did have a shaving shelf, which I very much appreciated!
I think my favorite thing about our room was that we had ocean views out every window / door. You could be sitting in bed in the morning and looking at the water and the Piton mountains.
Now let's talk about the best part of the villa: the private patio.
We had our own infinity pool that overlooked the ocean and had spectacular views of the mountains.
Our pool deck had two lounge chairs (under an umbrella), a day bed, and a sitting area (under an overhang). Sugar Beach provides bug spray and a citronella candle, so you can enjoy the space in the evening too.
Each patio has its own grill and a table and chairs for enjoying meals outside. We didn't wind up using the grill, but we did order room service one morning and had our breakfast at this table.
As an added bonus, each night the sun would set directly behind our patio. I honestly think our villa had the best view in the entire resort.
One major thing that sets Sugar Beach apart is its service. Each villa has a dedicated concierge who does everything they can to make your stay as easy as possible. Our concierge, Gus, was a true gem. He helped us coordinate everything from restaurant reservations to taxi rides to room service orders and even securing our COVID tests (a requirement to re-enter the US).
When we arrived, Gus suggested we set up a WhatsApp group so that we could text him at anytime. He was incredibly responsive, helpful, and always had a big smile on his face. Our trip was extra fantastic because of everything he did to make it so!
I also want to thank him for all of the photos he took of us! As the trip went on, when we would arrange pick up times for activities, he would say, "Let me do it 10 minutes earlier so we have time to take our pictures." I mean, come on!
We also experienced incredible thoughtfulness from the housekeeping team. Each day while we were at the beach, they would come in to make the beds, replenish the towels, and spruce up every common space. In the evenings, they would come in to do turn down, laying out cozy rugs next to our beds, a pair of slippers for each of us, and they would lower all of our blinds. We felt like royalty.
Over the coming days, I am going to be sharing dedicated blog posts about several of the Sugar Beach restaurants, but I wanted to share a bit more about the resort's amenities here.
For grab and go food options, there's an adorable cafe called Boopa's. You can get coffee, pastries, smoothies, ice cream, and baked goods.
Our favorite item was the blueberry, oat and peanut butter smoothie.
Boopa's also sells souvenirs, so if you're looking to bring something home to a family member, friend or neighbor, you'll be able to find something lovely here.
Of all of the on-site activities, the one you absolutely must do is a treatment at the Rainforest Spa. This is a shady haven at the crest of the hill.
When you arrive, you walk down a long hallway. With each step you feel your shoulders lower, your body relax, and your breath slow.
There is a tranquil waiting area. Once you're checked in, you are given a key to a locker and escorted to the changing room.
There are separate rooms for women and men. Here's a look at the lockers and the vanity area. There's also a restroom inside this area.
Inside your locker is a robe and a pair of flip flops.
Ahead of our treatments, we spent a few minutes in the steam room. At this spa, the steam room is inside a stone hut. It's a very small and dark space, so if you get claustrophobic, this is not for you.
When it's time for your session, you're guided to a private tree house.
I know. Is this real life?
Each of us decided to get the same treatment, the Himalayan salt stone massage. It's described as, "This highly relaxing and remineralizing body massage uses warm, hand-carved salt stones from Himalayan Mountains to balance the central nervous system and nourish depleted cells, leaving the body in deep relaxation. Stimulation of specific meridians on the body allows for improved sleep, reduces inflammation, detoxifies and gives an immediate sense of improved well-being."
My massage therapist was wonderful and had me feeling completely blissed out by the end. It was a 50-minute session.
I know you must be wondering about price. This treatment was $192.50, not including tip. This is definitely a "treat yourself" moment.
What's funny is, despite all of us booking the same style of massage, we all had very different experiences. Some of us had stones that we incredibly hot, some warm, some nearly cold. Some of us had long periods of time where the therapist focused on our back, others had more of a focus on arms and legs. If you know you want the therapist to spend more time on a specific area, definitely express that before they begin.
When you check out at the very end, you have the option to purchase any of the products that were used. I was heavily considering a bottle of the "rainforest mist" which is a mix of mango and coconut scents.
The last activity I want to put on your radar is the sunset cruise with Mystic Man Tours. Because Sugar Beach is such a popular resort, the boat picks you up right at the Sugar Beach dock.
You board at 4:15pm and the boat cruises around until the sun sets around 6:30pm. It's a large catamaran and we snagged seats on a bench at the back of the boat, offering unobstructed views.
We were greeted with a glass of spiked punch. Wine and beer is also included. Ahead of the sunset, they pass out sparkling wine for a toast (we convinced the first mate to give the four of us an entire bottle).
The crew is warm, friendly and played excellent music the entire time - Usher, Bruno Mars, Bob Marley.
They serve small bites throughout the two hours, including fruit skewers, bruschetta, grilled chicken skewers, and cucumbers with herb cream cheese.
Our boat captain pointed out several landmarks, including the Jade Mountain Resort, where a few episodes of Juan Pablo's season of The Bachelor was filmed.
My favorite part of the boat cruise was getting to see the city of Soufriere from the water.
On the evening we did the cruise, there wasn't a dramatic sunset. A partly cloudy sky meant it wasn't very photo-worthy, but it didn't matter. We had an absolute blast.
The cruise was $70 dollars per person and worth every penny.
There are dozens of excursions you can book while in St. Lucia. Everything from ATV rides to zip lining to touring a cacao plantation. If you decide to stay at Sugar Beach, your concierge will help you arrange everything.
If it isn't clear from this novel of a post, we fell deeply in love with Sugar Beach. The natural landscape is stunning, the private villas are luxurious, the beach is peaceful, the food and drinks are great (much more to come on that), and the concierge service makes everything a cinch. We always felt well cared for and very safe.
I will say, if you are thinking about doing this trip with your significant other, friends, or family members, everyone who comes on this trip needs to be able bodied. St. Lucia is very hilly, and that includes the property of the resort. Even just walking to breakfast or walking to the beach takes muscle. You have to be able to walk up and down hills. Huffing and puffing is ok, but be prepared to do that a few times each day.
If you have any questions about Sugar Beach or St. Lucia in general, I would be thrilled to answer them. You can leave a comment here or reach out to me privately.
*All photography by Molly Galler.