A $4K Mini-Moon in St. Lucia
My Best Trip is an anonymous, vacation-in-the-life diary that provides a real-world look (including cost!) at exceptional trips.
*Tropical cocktails, mountainous backdrops and a great beach.
MEET OUR TRAVELER
Your job: Executive Recruiter
Your age: 30
Where you’re based: NYC
The month you traveled: September
Trip Goal: “Mini-moon” - we got married on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and our actual honeymoon wasn’t until February. We wanted to make sure we had some time to celebrate by ourselves and also couldn’t imagine going straight back to work right after our wedding! It was 100 percent necessary, and I highly recommend the mini-moon for anybody considering a honeymoon a few months after the wedding!
Your Go-To Trip Planning Tools:
Jetblue: Especially when looking at the Caribbean, I always optimize for direct flights and flight times that allow for the most time at the location (i.e. land early a.m., depart late afternoon). I fly from NYC to San Francisco all the time for work and try and collect as many miles as possible. I also use a JetBlue credit card. For this trip, JetBlue provided direct flights from JFK to St. Lucia at great times. (We landed around 1p.m. and departed around 5:30p.m.) We also always book our hotel reservations through a travel agent, Sarah Halpern, at Smartflyer.
Destination visited: Viceroy, Sugar Beach, St Lucia
Length of trip: Mon - Fri (four nights)
Vibe: Caribbean but with a gorgeous mountainous backdrop. Feels like you are in a movie. Ultimate relaxation, tropical cocktails, great beach, more to do than other Caribbean islands we have stayed at
Cost of Trip: We used JetBlue points to book our flights. They were great flights, though! We used Sarah Halpern at SmartFlyers to book our hotel. I always go through Sarah or a travel agent to ensure the best rate and have been very successful getting upgrades upon arrival! Here is the package we booked through Sarah: Luxury Cottage: $548.25 per night | $3,289.45 total, including tax and service. Virtuoso amenities will apply, including: upgrade on arrival, subject to availability. Daily full breakfast, for up to two in-room guests. $100 USD Equivalent resort or hotel credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full. $100.00 per bedroom; IE - 2 bedroom Residence = $200.00) Credit per stay). Early check-in or late check-out subject to availability. Complimentary Wi-Fi
THE QUICK & DIRTY
The room was amazing - spacious, private pool, HUGE bathroom and massive closet, plus a living area. The style was my favorite...coastal, bright, cottagy. I think they have the best beach on the island (since it’s a mountain, many properties don’t have a beach front), and the views of the Grand Pitons (mountains) gives it a jungle but beachy vibe...a bit more interesting to look at than other Carribbean islands.
THE NOT SO GREAT
Because the island is mountainous, getting from most hotel rooms down to the beach and restaurant area and lobby requires a ride in one of the hotel’s vans. You have to call in advance and sometimes have to wait (but no more than 15 or 20 mins). Walking is doable but it’s a very hilly walk and the roads are narrow, so watch out for cars!
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
Dinner at Jade Mountain. The sunset was breathtaking.
Arrival around 2:30p.m. Every cottage is a home typically split into two suites. We got an amazing room with a private pool and living area. Upon arrival they had a congrats sign made of flowers and champagne on ice. Our friends gifted us a sunset cocktail cruise for a wedding gift and had booked it for the first day, which ended up being perfect. We set sail around 5 p.m. and were back on land by 7, and had dinner at the beach restaurant.
Went to the beach around 10a.m.. Stopped at breakfast on the way there. Stayed there under an umbrella all day, reading and drinking. Had lunch at our beach chairs. For dinner we went to Jade Mountain, which was truly breathtaking. The views were incredible. We went there by boat (going by car takes three times as long given all the mountains), and took a boat back at night in the dark. The sunset alone was worth it. I can’t hype this place up enough- views were like Jurassic Park meets Game of Thrones meets Carribbean dream.
Woke up early to take a half-day fishing trip, chartered by the hotel. I am not usually one for fishing excursions, but my husband convinced me and this was one of the very few fishing excursions that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was from about 7 a.m. -1 p.m., and given the unique volcanic makeup of the island, you hardly need to go off shore to get to the deep waters where you are able to catch great fish. Within the first hour, we both caught a mahi-mahi. Our captain had a cooler of waters and Pitons (the island’s beer), and the boat ride was perfect...nice boat, nice breeze, and not too rocky. :)
When we got back we were greeted by the restaurant staff who offered to cook our fish for us for lunch. We, of course, could not turn them down and asked for something simple...like fish tacos. Big mistake. They proceeded to cook us a three-course meal...it started with fish soup. It was 90 degrees - and let’s just say it was way too much. I would skip this part next time.
We spent the rest of the day in a lovely food coma relaxing on the beach. Went up to shower and had a cocktail at sunset on our private porch, and had a light dinner at the beach restaurant, and were in bed fast asleep by 9p.m. :)
Woke up around 9:30 and went to the beach - stopped at the buffet breakfast on the way (included in our rate). We got a beach umbrella, and then I went to the spa around 11a.m. for a massage, which was peaceful and lovely. We had a light lunch at our chairs at the beach, and after a full day of lounging, went up to our room around 4 p.m. This night, our “butler” made us a reservation at the Ladera Resort for dinner. It was about a 15-minute drive and a beautiful setting. We watched the sunset between the Grand Pitons (the two mountains) and had a wonderful dinner.
Woke up and went to breakfast and the beach. Did nothing except read, per usual, and had lunch around 12:30 before heading back to our room and going to the airport at 2 p.m. I love a good last day where you feel like you can at least get in a half day!
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is the PERFECT place to go from NYC for a five-day trip or a long weekend. Easy, direct flights at great times via JetBlue, and the perfect mix of doing nothing plus a few activities.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Super casual, no real need to bring heels for any of the restaurants (unless you want the outfit for a photo!)