With its remote beaches and lush greenery, St. Lucia is one of the Caribbean’s most naturally beautiful islands. Daniela Fischer’s stay at Calabash Cove Resort & Spa took her back to the basics – the most glorious way
A bubbling volcano, serene botanical gardens, stretches of untouched rainforest and beautiful sandy coves – St Lucia has some of the most dramatic scenery of any Caribbean island. Even though my seven day stay has long past and I’m back in London, the memory of warm air touching my skin the moment I opened my eyes, the smell of flowers in the air and tropical birds visiting my cottage porch every morning is still with me.
The north, south and west coasts are known for their calm waters, which make the shores ideal for sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming. Those looking for an adventure can head to the eastern side of the island, where the waves are perfect for surfing. Chasing the abundance of scenic waterfalls is another favourite pastime for many visitors.
One of the most immediate things that struck me about this jewel in the West Indies was its stunning, unique natural landscape. The driver that Calabash Cove sent me was chatty and eager to talk about all the beautiful places and things his country has had to offer, making suggestions of what I should see and do. We talked about banana trees, cacao ceremonies and the British Commonwealth while driving through lush rainforest and along picturesque ocean-side roads. The one-hour ride went by in no time. After arriving at Calabash Cove I was shown to my ocean view cottage.
The walk down to my home for the next seven days was breathtaking. The ocean – in all its raw beauty – lay bare before me, as to the right lush palm trees and fuchsia hibiscus bushes rocked in the warm Caribbean winds. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
When I finally made it to my cottage I was greeted by a floral bouquet and tropical fruit snack of furry lychees. The mini bar was stocked with everything you could possibly need for a perfect sunset drink, the patio offered the most stunning views and the huge outdoor shower provided the tropical feels I was after. The bed – which didn’t have to wait long for me that day – was cosy and comfortable with just enough soft pillows to make me feel like I was resting on cloud No 9.
The next morning I woke up early and took a walk around the hillside property before settling back on my patio for a delicious light breakfast with scrambled eggs, veggies and tropical fruits.
The delicious food
Dinner at the Windsong Restaurant overlooking one of the biggest infinity pools I have ever seen was a treat every night. Local musicians provided live entertainment that added to the gorgeous ambience.
The menu offered a mix of international cuisine and local fare. Much of the menu seemed to be inspired by Asian cuisine with a Caribbean touch using local, fresh ingredients, many grown in the gardens at Calabash Cove.
The waiters were all very accommodating and on my second day I found out that there was a separate vegan/vegetarian menu to choose from. As a plant-food lover you can imagine my excitement. I spent the rest of the trip eating myself through the whole veggie offering. There wasn’t one dish that did not please my tongue, which was surprising as admittedly, I am a picky eater.
Two of my favourite dishes were the stuffed baked zucchini with grilled tomato, crispy vegetables in a spinach and honey vinaigrette and the jerk tofu with a vegetable Niçoise salad and a mustard olive oil vinaigrette.
The portions were just the right size to leave room for dessert, which was divine, I especially loved the beetroot and banana ice cream and went for it more than once.
If you are a fish and meat lover you won’t leave disappointed. The grouper fillet caught in local waters, served with ginger carrot purée, glazed snow peas and grilled cherry tomatoes on beet and mango salsa is a guest favourite and so is the Saint Lucian red snapper fillet, pan-seared with a vegetable and chorizo risotto on a corn and clam sauce.
The couple sitting on the table next to mine almost every night swore that the tarragon roasted plantain chicken breast with potato gnocchi, Portobello mushrooms and sundried tomatoes was one of the best dishes they’ve ever had and that the caramelized plum and sour duck breast served on glass noodles and tempura vegetables drizzled with teriyaki and papaya sauce was a winner too.
The spa experience
The Spa deserves a special mention. Walking into the treatment facility I felt instantly relaxed by the lavender essential oil scents and my smiling therapist.
The interior sparks a mix of modern boutique style and traditional Caribbean flair and offers a wide range of treatments that combine European techniques with St. Lucia traditions; using plant and food-based ingredients.
The exfoliation products used in my scribe treatment were all organically made from local products that, in some cases came directly from the resort garden.
I mentioned I had been bitten by a mosquito and asked if they had any cream and charmingly, the therapist took me outside and cut an aloe plant, then rubbed it onto my skin to soothe it. It worked virtually instantly.
In fact, my favourite treatments were the chocolate and coffee scrubs. For the latter, ground coffee and natural sugar with a blend of essential oils were mixed together and the coffee is believed to tighten and rejuvenate the skin, the natural sugars gently exfoliate and the oil seals in the moisture leaving the skin smooth and silky.
The chocolate scrub polishes away dull dry skin with such a delicious scent I literally wanted to eat it. rich in antioxidants that help to fight free radicals off the skin, it gently exfoliates and revitalises the skin leaving it soft and silky.
Guests have a choice on where to have their massage; the spa itself, the boardwalk, the gazebo or the privacy of their room patio or cottage living room.
On my last night I chose the ocean front gazebo for a sunset deep tissue massage that left me so relaxed I felt tempted to skip dinner and spend the night on the massage table. My therapist used specially blended essential oils that sent me off to dreamland while the waves gently caressed my soul. Oh. My. God.
Old Caribbean charm meets modern luxury
In addition to the spa, there were plenty of inviting spaces alongside the property to relax and read or listen to music, gardens with beautiful walkways and the stunning Bonaire Bay just steps away from the resort. This peaceful, serene cove with the most arresting views is just a few miles away from the nightlife at Rodney Bay and the hustle and bustle of Castries – both St Lucia hotspots.
Time was flying and before I knew it, the last day of my trip had arrived. I spent it on a Catamaran sailing down the west coast of St Lucia, all the way down to the Pitons, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of St. Lucia’s main attractions.
Gros Piton and Petit Piton, the twin peaks that sit on St Lucia’s southwest coast were formed by a volcanic eruption approximately 30 million years ago. It’s possible to hike up the peaks (I passed this time around).
On the way down the coast we stopped for a little snorkel excursion, visited a former coffee plantation, where I got to try delicious fresh cacao beans (bitter); got wet under a beautiful waterfall and went bathing in a muddy and hot volcanic spring.
One of my favourite sightings on the tour was Marigot Bay; said to be the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean. I haven’t seen all the bays there but am inclined to agree; perfect to have a drink and watch the world go by – the ultimate Caribbean feeling.
Fun fact: From here a water taxi can take you the short hop over to the beach to a spot which is famous for being the film location for the 1960’s movie Dr Doolittle.
All in all, the trip to St Lucia and my stay at Calabash Cove felt like the perfect getaway and almost like a home away from home. The staff was genuinely friendly, the food absolutely delightful, the bed incredibly comfortable, the views left you speechless and the spa treatments were the cherry on top of it all.