Whether or not you were impacted by the recent bomb cyclone polar vortex of doom (scientific title pending), you’ve probably reached the stage of winter where you’re more than ready for a little sunshine. For an under-the-radar seaside escape that’s anything but the cliché resort experience, book your plane ticket and head to the Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Although, if it’s a luxury resort retreat you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. Situated in the pristine Marigot Bay, the property may not be your average tourist resort—it’s not directly on a massive beach, instead actively incorporating more traditional elements of the country’s culture into its offerings—but it’s certainly not lacking in sumptuous touches.
Following a multimillion dollar renovation in 2014 and smaller updates in 2017—which included adding a brand new restaurant, the resort’s fourth formal dining option—architect Michelle Leotaud of OBMI gave the place a whole new look. The design, which Leotaud describes as “tropical modern,” is full of clean lines, nautical influences, and natural elements that are an extension of the island’s greenery.
“I believe that boutique hotels make their name by having a keen sense of place,” explains Leotaud. “The key inspiration for this job was the mangroves, and the flora and fauna of St. Lucia—[the island] is gifted with lush greenery, and so is Marigot Bay. We tried as much as possible to not only keep but enhance the beautiful gardens.”
Translating the tropical surroundings into luxury relaxation, the Marigot Bay Resort has 124 guest rooms, a spa, a fitness center, a full supermarket, multiple on-resort dining options in addition to the formal restaurants, and three (three!) swimming pools. While this list of amenities is impressive enough, the hotel’s offering of local-driven activities is what really makes this resort special.
Take a stroll with the resort’s gardener to gain in-depth insight into the natural beauty of St. Lucia. Book a rum-tasting session in the Rum Cave, which comes complete with a history lesson and a sampling of some of that world-famous St. Lucian rum. Go on a “nature walk” through the surrounding mountainous rainforest for breathtaking views (just be forewarned that this is less of a leisurely jaunt through the woods and more of a climb that adrenaline junkies and hiking fanatics will love). Stop by the kitchen and learn to make cocoa tea, a St. Lucian specialty.
Or spend a day being carted around by boat to the island’s landmarks, such as the stunning botanical garden or natural Volcanic sulphur springs, to see more of St. Lucia than just the resort. Some are complimentary, some are not, but be sure to take advantage of something beyond hanging poolside (though we understand the temptation) to get the full St. Lucian experience.
After all, the island and the people who inhabit it are at the heart of the Marigot Bay Resort. “We approached the project by making certain the guests knew they were in St. Lucia; each aspect of the project kept circling back to this,” says Leotaud. “We tried as much as possible to use local suppliers, Caribbean artists, island-inspired accessories… but truthfully I didn’t need to do too much as the staff are the nicest people around and exude Lucian hospitality.”
Lisa Samuel, the Caribbean Sales Manager at the resort, also emphasizes the local angle. “One of the big things about our activities that’s unique is that we make connections to our culture. We bring in elements that you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” she says.
One such amenity? The Auriga spa. Not only does it offer some of the coolest and most intriguing-sounding menu items ever (you can get a treatment inspired by the lunar cycle or partake in something called “Volcanic Energy Therapy” that uses pure minerals from the sulphuric springs), but you get a taste for local customs and at-home remedies.
“If I fell off my bike when I was a child, my grandmother would come up with this potion of coconut oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mix it up, and use it to massage my body to help with any bruising. We use those same traditional potions in our spa—it’s called ‘Fikyson Fwote’ and it’s a Creole word,” says Samuel. “You wouldn’t be able to find something like this anywhere else because it’s what our great-grandmothers did. We’ve incorporated it into our treatments at the resort.”
It’s personal touches like this that make the Marigot Bay Resort the perfect luxury oasis-meets-boutique hotel destination. Attention to detail shines in everything from personal assistants who take care of your every need (and may even write you a handwritten note) down to the welcome cocktail received upon arrival.
And speaking of cocktails, there’s one in particular you need to order when you get to the resort.
“Everybody must try ‘Follow the Rhyme’!” says Samuel. “You wouldn’t get an ordinary rum punch at our resort. This is made with our local Chairman’s Reserve Rum and comes with a little bit of orange juice, lime, and fresh cinnamon sticks.”
You can’t go to St. Lucia without trying the rum, obviously.
Check out more about the Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina at marigotbayresort.com and book your winter getaway today.
See more travel stories:
For more stories like this, sign up here for your daily dose of Domino.