Fodor's Expert Review Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Val des Pitons, 2 miles (3 km) south of town, Soufrière, Soufrière, St. Lucia See on Map Fodor's Choice
Located in Val des Pitons, the steep valley between the Pitons and the most striking 192 acres in St. Lucia, Sugar Beach’s magnificent private villas are tucked into the dense tropical foliage that covers the hillside and reaches down to the sea. The accommodations are exquisite, the service is superb, the amenities are extensive, and the scenery is unparalleled.
Villas are enormous, with beautifully furnished bedrooms, walk-in closets, sitting rooms with custom-made furnishings upholstered in white fabrics, and Piton-view decks with oversize plunge pools. Eight similarly appointed beachfront bungalows are steps from the sand, while stylish Sugar Mill rooms have private walled gardens. Personal butlers tend to any request, including unpacking (if you wish), making dinner reservations, and calling the shuttle to take you up and down the hillside and around the property.
Guests have the complimentary use of an iPad during their stay.
The bathrooms are huge and opulent, with coral-stone walls, a walk-in shower big enough for a crowd, a soaking tub, vanity with his/her sinks, luxury toiletries, separate WC…even a crystal chandelier. Beachfront bungalows add an outdoor shower and hot tub.
Once the driver has traversed the long road through the mountains and down the hillside, guests are escorted into a plantation-style building with a reception area, lots of comfortable seating, a spacious garden lounge, even a small bar where welcome drinks (and other drinks during the day) are mixed. A hallway leads past a shop—beachwear, souvenirs, and sundries—toward the Palm Court, the Terrace and Great House restaurants, and the Cane Bar.
Take a refreshing dip in the large, infinity-edge pool—then sit back on a thick-cushioned sun lounger or in a shaded cabana and gaze at the incomparable Piton view with a frosty drink from the adjacent Bayside Bar.
A visit to the resort’s Rainforest Spa—with its seven treehouse–style treatment gazebos hidden away in a rain-forest setting—is nothing short of transcendent. Step inside, and you’re in another world: natural, quiet, peaceful, and private. The massages, hot rock therapies, wraps, scrubs, polishes, holistic treatments and beauty services are just as remarkable.
For something completely different, sweat out your body’s impurities in the spa’s earthen steam dome, an Amerindian ritual called temazcal.
The large, air-conditioned fitness center has all the machines you’ll need—all kinds and plenty of them—plus complimentary aerobics, yoga, and Pilates classes. In addition, there are two floodlit tennis courts and a resident tennis pro—and early morning, military-style boot camp exercises take place on the beach.
Guests can join a nature walk or hike; serious hikers can climb the Gros Piton trail (with a guide).
Breakfast—buffet (included) or a la carte—is served outdoors at the Terrace restaurant with a sweeping view of the lawn and beach. Lunch, dinner, and weekly barbecues and buffets are served at the Bayside Restaurant, steps from the beach and pool. Or guests can enjoy fine dining by candlelight in the Great Room, where the chef prepares French-Caribbean cuisine each evening.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The resort is fairly isolated and dining here is expensive, so a meal plan makes sense.
The Cane Bar, which specializes in rum drinks and tasty snacks, and the adjoining Late Night Bar are right out of Miami's South Beach in terms of décor. The Palm Court, an open-air lounge in the Great House, serves afternoon tea and before-dinner cocktails. Cold drinks are always available poolside or at the beach from Bayside Restaurant and Bar.
Years ago, a deep layer of imported white sand was spread over the dark sand that is natural to the area. The result is a lovely beach with soft, glistening sand. Swimming here is also magnificent due to the majestic Pitons that soar toward the sky on either side of the beach. Snorkeling is great, too, because of the abundant sea life just offshore at the base of Petit Piton. The use of kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats, and snorkeling equipment is complimentary. The PADI dive center offers dive trips to more than a dozen nearby dive sites, as well as instruction at all levels.
Try something unique: Cycle around the open sea on a Schiller Water Bike.
A rental car is a good idea if you want to explore on your own, as driving is not difficult between Hewanorra and the hotel and from the hotel to sites in and around Soufrière. Land and water taxis are always available, as well.
On the main road at the top of the mountain ridge, Dasheene at Ladera (5-minute drive) offers open-air dining on the terrace for lunch or dinner—get there in time to watch the sun go down between the Pitons. Across the road from Ladera, Boucan Restaurant (5-minute drive) offers “cacao cuisine,” where everything on the menu—whether sweet or savory—is either infused or spiced with cocoa in one form or another. A little farther south, Bamboo & Cocoa Pod Restaurant (5-minute drive) on historic Fond Doux plantation offers a purely local experience; come for a tour and a Creole buffet lunch or à la carte dinner.
In Soufriere, on the north side of the harbor, Orlando’s (10-minute drive) specializes in exquisite Caribbean cuisine using local, sustainable products; it’s fine dining in a casual atmosphere. Or take a water taxi to Anse Chastanet Resort, where Apsara (10-minute voyage) blends East Indian and Caribbean cuisines in a romantic candlelit atmosphere.
Each Friday evening in Anse la Raye, a small fishing village a few miles north of Soufriere, the main street is blocked off for a street festival, called Anse la Raye Seafood Friday (25-minute voyage). Residents set up barbecue grills and picnic tables and serve up grilled fish, lobster, roasted corn, boiled crayfish, and more. There’s usually live music, too. (Take a water taxi, as the winding mountain road north of Soufriere is dizzying during the day and worse at night.)
For a different perspective of the Pitons at sunset, head to the bar at Ladera (5-minute drive); stick around for the live local music every evening. And across the road at Boucan (5-minute drive), you might try a chocolate-infused martini or a cacao Bellini. It’s recommended that guests not visit local bars in Soufrière.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Sugar Beach is an upscale, full-service resort in a magnificent location. Everything here is exactly what you wish for in a Caribbean resort—and more besides. It’s perfect (and expansive enough) for romance, R&R, adventure, or family fun.