Honeymooning in the Caribbean: St. Lucia and Antigua
With everything we had going on, we wanted to relax on our honeymoon—not add another adventure to the mix.
As we had our move to Europe planned for approximately ten days after we returned from our honeymoon, we figured we’d stay in the same longitude as the United States. When we came back to the U.S. part of the globe from Europe, we’d probably stick to visiting family and friends over traveling around near family and friends (and not seeing them).
This left us with the Americas, by and large. I didn’t want to go somewhere either of us had visited before. And nowhere in the United States with a do-nothing profile appealed to me. (I’d love to see Big Bend in Texas and Juneau in Alaska, as two examples, and my vision of neither trip includes simply relaxing.) In Central and South America, most of the do-nothing hot spots would suffer from miserable heat in early August.
After much trial and error and frustration, we gave in and called a travel agent, gave her our criteria, reviewed the options she provided, and settled on the Caribbean. I don’t even specifically remember the other options we had or why we chose where we chose. I just remember feeling relieved to have a span of do-nothing planned away from it all.
As the Caribbean required a lot more travel to reach from Houston compared to what I’d imagined the Caribbean would require, we decided to see more than one spot and split our time between two islands, heading to the farthest one on our itinerary first. Therefore, we started at Jade Mountain in St. Lucia and ended at Hermitage Bay in Antigua.
St. Lucia and Jade Mountain
Jade Mountain rests a bit higher on the hill than its family-friendly sister property, Anse Chastanet. Clearly designed for couples on honeymoons or taking romantic escapes from the world, the rooms at Jade Mountain (which the resort calls “sanctuaries”) could host you contentedly for your entire stay: They have spacious living spaces, a patio in the sun, and infinity pools that begin inside the room and extend out into the sunlight and over the greenery below.
As you can have all meals and snacks delivered and all needs met by your Jade Mountain butler, you don’t have to see another soul during your stay unless you want to venture beyond your room’s front door. From the inside, the rooms hide all evidence of the resort and the people around you. Feeling perched in a treehouse in the sky, you can lounge in your private pool, gaze at the breathtaking Pitons in the distance and the azure ocean below, and think of nothing more than whether to page your butler for something to eat or drink.
As we saw almost no one other than the resort staff when we left our room—other than for dinner—most people clearly took the opportunity to hole up and snuggle up. If we hadn’t wanted to see the beach, we wouldn’t have left our sanctuary, either.
To reach the beach, you need to get into a resort golf cart or traipse down the mountain, through the Anse Chastanet sister resort, to the beach the two resorts share. Given the sharp increase in people—Anse Chastanet has a much larger guest population—the beach felt noisy and crowded in comparison to Jade Mountain’s secluded rooms and intimate restaurant (with its amazing gourmet food).
The two resorts’ shared beach has unquestionable visual drama, with piles of white sand steeply sloping to a cove with water deep and blue. A few short steps from the main beach area, the resort staff can dip you into a coral reef, for which they provide snorkeling masks. (Arnaud likes snorkeling a lot more than I do, yet even I had to try it in such a perfect place.)
Antigua and Hermitage Bay
Hermitage Bay in Antigua felt less exclusive than Jade Mountain in St. Lucia—and I mean that in a positive way. The staff at Hermitage Bay came across as relaxed, chatty and warm, and happy. (In contrast, the staff at Jade Mountain seemed stressed and tense.)
Our set-up in Hermitage Bay, which the resort called a “hillside pool suite,” felt like a cottage on a hill. We had a small all-outdoor pool and an enclosed bedroom with an en suite bathroom.
At Hermitage Bay, you don’t feel suspended from the world and in your own universe, as we did at Jade Mountain. From our cottage, we could see other parts of the resort, including other rooms and their swimming pools. The golf-cart transportation whizzing by our cottage had a few vantage points into our pool and patio area. Further, the all-inclusive package didn’t include room service, thereby encouraging visitors to come to the resort restaurant on the beach for delicious, multicourse meals.
The beach at Hermitage Bay had a small coral reef for snorkeling, yet it didn’t have the depth and the drama of the reef in St. Lucia. However, the resort gave us a speedboat ride around the coast to snorkel among a shipwreck and in some deeper water (where we swam with a sea turtle!).
I preferred the beach experience at Hermitage Bay to what we experienced at Jade Mountain. Hermitage Bay’s beach presents white and level sand with a gentle slope to warm, clear, and shallow water. (You can get to deeper water not far from the shore, yet farther from shore than I had any interest in swimming.) It didn’t take much persuasion for ocean-shy me to venture out with Arnaud on the resort’s available boats and kayaks.
Further, the Hermitage Bay stretch of beach didn’t have nearly as many people as what we experienced at the Jade Mountain–Anse Chastanet combo beach. If you want to relax, swim, read, and breathe, Hermitage Bay provides the better option.
Would We Go Back?
If we lived along the east coast of the United States, from which point you can beeline to the Caribbean without nearly as much effort as we needed to get there from Houston (or from Europe, where we now live), we would go back to the Caribbean and visit Hermitage Bay again (and probably other parts of the Caribbean as well).
While the room and the pool at Hermitage Bay didn’t have the same level of luxury as we found at Jade Mountain, the resort overall felt more relaxed and provided the ideal beach-side experience: Clear water, white sand, and shallow, clear water close to the shore.