When Belinda Carlisle sang ‘Ooh heaven is a place on earth’, there’s a good chance she was singing about Sugar Beach St Lucia
When the former accountant of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Black Sabbath moved to St Lucia in 2005, he claimed he wanted to “drink rum and do nothing”. Roger Myers, who is also the founder and chairman of the Pelican Group, a hugely successful chain of restaurants in the UK, which includes Café Rouge, didn’t stick to his word.
He went on to create the five-star hotel Sugar Beach, now a Viceroy Resort, on the south west coast of the island. The 180-acre plot he chose for his hotel is nestled between the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Pitons, the volcanic peaks that rise from the sea. To say the topography is dramatic is an understatement.
Sugar Beach was formerly known as Jalousie – a Creole word translating as ‘jealousy’ in English – and when the opportunity arose to purchase the lacklustre development, Myers jumped at the chance. He reportedly spent more than $100million rebuilding it before it officially opened in 2012.
The landscape at Sugar Beach is hard to rival. With a white sand beach, water so clear you can see the precise shade of nail varnish on your toes, and gentle waves, it’s an idyllic spot to unwind. It’s also a safe haven for children. The only thing comparable to its natural beauty, is the attractiveness of the colonial-style resort itself. There are three types of accommodation: Luxury Beachfront Bungalows; Luxury Villas; and Luxury Sugar Mill Rooms. The first is the most opulent.
As the name suggests, the Luxury Beachfront Bungalow gives guests their own private slice of the beach. Entering the room, I’m blown away by the brightness of the space. The all-white bungalow, from the Egyptian cotton linens and Victorian-style bath, the outside Jacuzzi and the soft towels, acts as a beautiful contrast to the colour of the ocean that you can see from the four-poster bed. It’s like waking up in a paradisiacal Windows desktop background. Each bungalow also comes with butler service; ours welcomes us on arrival, unpacks our luggage, prepares our dinner reservations and offers to organise other activities for the duration of our stay, such as snuba (a hybrid of snorkelling and scuba).
There are three restaurants to choose from. The Terrace Restaurant is where you can take breakfast with views of the lily pond and the twinkling Caribbean Sea. A traditional Creole breakfast comes with local cocoa tea, stewed saltfish, smoked herring, Johnny cakes (cornmeal flatbreads), and is served with pickle, avocado and fried plantain. It’s fresh, salty, light, and sets you up for a day of lying in the sun. More conventional breakfasts are also available.
Elsewhere, the Bayside Restaurant serves up simple yet finely executed seafood, such as octopus tostada with chipotle mayo – which I could easily eat every single day. The Great Room is the more formal dining option, with ever-changing seasonal menus. The velvet-like diver sea scallop carpaccio with oyster sorbet is the star of the show. The Cane Bar is, unsurprisingly, rum-focused and even has its own ‘rummelier’ to talk and advise you on what to drink, be it a fruit punch, or straight-up rum over ice.
It’s quite possible that you might never want to leave Sugar Beach. In which case, why not invest in a slice of paradise? Sugar Beach is currently offering the chance to buy a home from its Beachfront Collection. Five private villas are up for sale, each designed by London-based Michaelis Boyd Associates. They range in size, from an 8,000 sq ft, seven-bedroom residence for $15million to a (only slightly) smaller four-bedroom home for $8.75million. With clean lines, Scandinavian furnishings, floor-to-ceiling glass, an infinity pool, as well as the use of all hotel facilities (including the treehouse spa), heaven is a place on Earth – and it’s now possible to buy a piece.