Casaurina Pool Suite at Anse Chastanet, Soufrière, Saint Lucia

Anse Chastanet
Soufrière, Saint Lucia


The closer you get to Anse Chastanet, the beachside hotel that was the first to spring up on Saint Lucia’s dramatic southwestern coast, the bumpier the ride gets: with the island’s iconic Pitons in sight for most of the journey, you’d have to be fast asleep not to be gripped by excitement about approaching this wonderfully remote resort, which proposes a return to a classic Caribbean vacation that’s become hard to find elsewhere.

If bumpy roads aren’t your thing, you could always opt for a helicopter transfer from the airport, which will conveniently drop you off at a designated helipad on the 600-acre estate that forms the grounds of Anse Chastanet and its adjoining sister hotel, the architecturally unique Jade Mountain. It’s those grounds – their sheer expanse and their setting across seaside hills covered in rainforest – that make the experience of staying at either property so special, for guests feel entirely shielded from the world beyond. While this is obviously relaxing, we occasionally struggled to decide just what natural environment to immerse ourselves in… the dense jungle with all its vidid shades of green, the two perfect crescents of silky sand that form the bays of Chastanet and Mamin, or the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea (tough life, we know).

One thing you’ll notice immediately during your stay is that nothing ever feels rehearsed, and there seems a real aversion towards ‘corporate hospitality’. Anse Chastanet, in fact, is privately owned by Russian-Canadian architect Nick Troubetzkoy and his German-born wife Karolin, and their desire to write their own rules (and a certain penchant for eccentricity) come though in just about every aspect of a stay here. When Nick first arrived in Saint Lucia in 1970, he found a mere eight buildings set back in the jungle. Since then, Anse Chastanet has grown into a fully-fledged destination resort with 49 rooms. The rainforest experience is still the ‘go-to’ option for most guests, with 37 accommodation options in a lush jungle embrace. Water babies, however, might want to opt for one of the twelve beach villas instead, where the sea is within constant ‘hearing distance’.

We chose to stay in a 65 sqm/700 sqft Hill Deluxe Room, which featured an open layout, a generously sized wardrobe and storage space, a desk as well as both indoor and outdoor seating areas – the latter on our private terrace, which itself offered forest and sea views. What stood out to us immediately was our bathroom. Its scale, roughly that of our living area, was impressive and we certainly appreciated the rainfall shower and double basins (although we were a little puzzled as to why there wasn’t a bathtub, given the amount of space available). Other things you won’t find here are TVs and air-conditioning, which the Troubetzkoys consciously avoided in their goal to fully immerse guests in the tropical environment. We really loved this, not least because some rooms are entirely open, missing a wall at one end, while others feature louvre walls that swing open, letting the outside in.

It’s these ‘walls’, paired with ceiling fans, that also provide constant ventilation, and with yellow lights in place and a mosquito net shielding our kingsize bed from bugs, we never once worried about critters either. Instead, we could appreciate all the lovely features that made our room so special: individually designed and handmade furniture crafted from local woods like greenheart and breadfruit trees, bedspreads and bathrobes that showcase Saint Lucia’s national cloth ‘madras’, colourful birds traipsing around our terrace in the mornings, brief notes and thoughtful poems left on our beds at turn-down and the kind of island soundscape we all too often find ourselves streaming on Spotify back in a much less tropical London (though in all fairness, the UK does see a fair share of monsoon rain). The most magical memory of our room is perhaps going to bed on our first night, having arrived late, with the view lost entirely to the night, yet the jungle buzzing all around us. Tropix and chill.

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While you’re Out There
There’s a lot to do on the property itself, from beachside art classes with local muralist Naja Misaki Simeon to diving with Scuba St Lucia (ask the lovely Reef Life and Renewal Ambassador Carmen Toanchina about a chance to partake in the hotel’s coral replanting programme!). Should you want to explore more of the island, visiting Saint Lucia’s famous volcanic sulphur springs and the nearby botanical gardens is a classic experience. For something a little different, Anse Chastanet is also involved with the local animal shelter Helpaws, where we were welcomed by a huge number of perfectly lovable dogs looking for a forever home – perhaps it could be yours?

Even more ‘chill’ is to be had in the property’s Kai Belté Spa. Although we didn’t get to try this, we hear the wellness area features five treatment rooms alongside an open-air hair and nail salon as well as a private cabana overlooking the sea. When we wanted to relax, we opted for one of several holistic experiences, instead: exploring the stunning coral reef fronting the resort on a dive, going for extended walks around the estate’s private jungle trails, or simply kicking back on a sun lounger at the serene Anse Mamin beach, where lazy lunches and colourful concoctions are served in the shade of palm trees. If you were looking for a pool to relax by, you’ll be disappointed, though, as there’s only one on the entire property: a private plunge pool part of the ‘Casuarina’ Piton Pool Suite.

It’s not the only thing to differentiate the hotel from ‘big brand’ places to stay in the Caribbean. We found the staff at Anse Chastanet consistently nice, and downright charming at times. However, the service here isn’t as polished as you might be used to, or, for that matter, expect from a tropical island resort. There were moments when we thought more could’ve been done to elevate our stay, like when we enquired about alternative breakfast items and found the staff just wasn’t as proactive as they could’ve been. We really only became aware of this later, when staying at Jade Mountain, where the team create an experience that’s a lot more aligned with the service standards modern-day luxury travellers will be used to. Mind you, this isn’t to say that service at Anse Chastanet is bad… But it certainly lacks the ambition and refinement of its sister property.

In all fairness, there wasn’t much we had to go out of our way to enquire about. At lunch and dinner, we certainly felt well looked after, and even our dietary requirements were met with creativity and an air of excitement about having a plant-based guest. Amazingly, Anse Chastanet is home to Saint Lucia’s first vegan dining experience, Emeralds at the Piti Piton Lounge, where we savoured truly phenomenal ‘Ital’ coconut pot stew, roasted cauliflower tacos, Malabar and bok choy gyoza with island salsa and homemade kimchi (and much more, still). We felt equally well catered to at the hotel’s other eateries, from Treehouse to the Trou Au Diable beach restaurant or the Jungle Grill at Anse Mamin. Each of the property’s gastronomic outlets features special menus, that practically transform them into ‘two-in-one’ restaurants: convenient, not least because even those who stay for longer periods will always find something they haven’t already tried.

It’s another facet of just what makes Anse Chastanet the wonderful hideaway it is. Many visitors have stayed here multiple times over the decades, returning each year, in hopes of reconnecting with the hotel’s spectacular natural setting, or experiencing the seemingly never-ending stream of new activities brought to life by the property’s hands-on owners, who regard this place their personal, little jewel. Their dedication towards the resort – and towards Saint Lucian culture – comes through in the rich displays of locally made sculptures, paintings and furniture, as well as in the insistence on the near ‘outdoor-sleeping’-like experience rendered possible through louvred shutters in place of walls. You’d rightfully call Anse Chastanet a little rustic, but we didn’t mind this at all. From the specially made bathrobes to innovative and inclusive dining options, this resort is a stark opponent to the cookie-cutter-ism of an increasingly corporate Caribbean. That, to us, is invaluable.

Photography courtesy of Anse Chastanet

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