An island best known for the striking silhouette of the Piton Mountains, St. Lucia also has all the trappings of a traditional Caribbean getaway: endless sun, powder-white sand, and a clutch of Edenic all-inclusive resorts.
Whether you’re here for the snorkeling, the mud baths, the upscale shopping in Soufrière, or the celebrity sightings (they flock here in droves) St. Lucia has a lot to offer the warm-weather traveler, with a particularly high-end vibe. For travelers seeking an all-inclusive vacay, there are plenty of options on the island, none of which are mundane. Here are five of the best, so find your sunglasses and start planning.
A former sugar plantation, with rooms boasting dark wood and tiled baths, Cap Maison lets its stellar views and top-notch service do the talking. Known for extraordinary massages—which you can have on your terrace if you like—this isn’t a traditional all-inclusive hotel, so it tends to attract a somewhat less party-focused traveler. Book the “Cap It All” inclusive package, which takes care of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus house wines and spirits, sodas, and local rums (crucial!) by the glass. And if you’re seeking a particularly secluded stay, request an oceanview villa with a private pool.
A decidedly couples-focused resort, visitors can elbow up to a bar fittingly called the “The Trysting Place.” Rendezvous is a true all-inclusive, with taxes, tips, motorized water sports, professionally led scuba dives, and all beverages (including premium brand booze and wine by the bottle) included. Know that if your preferred getaway is all flip-flops, string bikinis, and sand in your hair, this might not be quite right for you: At dinnertime, several places have dress codes. It makes for a more elegant vibe, but packing shoes that aren’t sandals might be a non-starter for some travelers.
“Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind,” trumpets the website of this resort. It’s tough to argue when you see that each day of your stay includes a free 50-minute spa treatment—perhaps a massage, or a facial, or an aloe yogurt body wrap. At BodyHoliday, the all-inclusive package includes pro fitness training, sailing, yoga, and spinning classes, as well as health-focused meals (dairy-free, gluten-free, even nut-free options abound) at eight different bars and restaurants. All rooms come with terraces overlooking either a garden or the ocean, depending on your yen.
For those who like their romantic, tropical vacations to feel, well, romantic and tropical, Ladera is the place to go. Rooms are decked out in dark golden wood, with gauzy draperies breezily thrown over four-posters beds, though the main draw is the lack of a fourth wall. There’s nothing between you and those stunning Piton views. The resort isn’t technically an all-inclusive, but those who adore its restaurant, Dasheene, with its spectacular perch over the ocean and riffs on traditional St. Lucian dishes (sweet potato and coconut soup; roast conch; plantain gratin with coconut rum sauce) often pick the all-inclusive option. At $205 per person, per night, it includes three meals and all house-brand beverages. Be aware that there’s a dress code at dinnertime for both men and women.
Sometimes you just want a familiar, all-inclusive resort that pulls no punches, has no hidden fees, and includes scuba diving, sailing, waterskiing, meals at a dozen different restaurants, unlimited premium liquors at swim-up bars, sunbathing on a mile-long beach, and tips. Grande is the favorite Sandals resort of most St. Lucia regulars, and since it starts at less than $300 per person, per night, it’s also one of the best deals on the island. Just keep in mind that because some folks come here to really take advantage of that all-you-can-drink deal, it can get noisy. Avoid any vacation interruptions by requesting a quieter room far from the bars and main floor lobby areas (especially one with a private plunge pool).