Jade Mountain Resort was just named to Travel + Leisure's newly released top 500 hotels list.
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Jade Mountain scenic views of ocean, farm and architecture
Credit: Robert Michael Poole

Since its inception in 2004, Jade Mountain Resort has always kept things local, which for the 27-mile-long Caribbean island of Saint Lucia also means keeping things sustainable. While that can often prove a difficult and expensive initiative, the property, beloved by travelers and just named to the T+L 500, outlining the top hotels of the year according to Travel + Leisure's 2021 World's Best Awards results, has long placed value in uplifting its local community and protecting the island it calls home.

When Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy, the owners and architect (Nick) of Jade Mountain, first had the idea to create the resort — a massive concrete treehouse hovering over the steep, jungled hills near Soufrière, a community on the west coast of the island — they were already operating its nearby sister property, Anse Chastanet Resort. In 2004, they hired more than 500 local Saint Lucians (roughly 6 percent of the population of Soufrière) to build the 94,000-square-foot resort, using locally sourced materials whenever possible. Having operated on the island over the past 35 years, the Troubetzkoys have built up a network of Saint Lucian seamstresses and craftspeople to handmake all of the furniture at both resorts, along with the table linens, bathrobes, and most of the art.

Jade Mountain scenic views of ocean, farm and architecture
Credit: Robert Michael Poole

"We have consistently been one of the largest employers in the southwest region of Saint Lucia for over 35 years even though we only have 78 rooms in total between Anse and Jade. Some families have three generations working with us," Karolin Troubetzkoy, executive director of marketing and operations for both Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, told T+L. "We've operated on the basis of sustainable principles since Nick bought Anse Chastanet in 1974, and long before the term had any meaning in the tourism world at large."

In the early '90s, they started an "adopt a farmer" program, to purchase as much produce locally as possible. In addition, the Troubetzkoys also run an organic farm and make their chocolate under the label Emerald Estate. Expanding on their farming efforts, the team is working hard to brew their own beer.

Jade Mountain scenic views of ocean, farm and architecture
Credit: Robert Michael Poole

Karolin's son, Yasha, Jade Mountain's assistant general manager, is spearheading the new craft microbrewery, using volcanic spring water derived from an on-site natural spring to ensure a sustainable brewing process. They are successfully experimenting with combinations that have never been tried anywhere. For example, the Bois Bandé Stout is inspired by the traditional homemade spiced rums of Saint Lucia — and uses the bark of the Bois Bandé Tree, the roots of a cinnamon tree, and a secret mix of spices from the head brewer's grandmother's kitchen.

The team is well on its way to substituting locally grown cassava, sorghum, and dasheen for the imported malt typically used in beer, which will enable Emerald Farm to grow and harvest all the produce needed for the brewing process. The result will be one of a select few "Estate Beers," in the world, and the Caribbean's first fully local beer project.

Jade Mountain scenic views of ocean, farm and architecture
Credit: Robert Michael Poole

"The long-term goal is to showcase what can be done with entirely local ingredients," Yasha shared with T+L. "We hope to inspire other resorts to see what can be made with the traditional crops of Saint Lucia, which are frequently overlooked."

Next, the resort is focused on regenerating the hard-wood forests surrounding the 600 acres of Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet. Beyond that, we're sure the Troubetzkoys will continue to make the property even more luxurious while uplifting their local community and striving to protect their beautiful home island.