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A hotel with its own cocoa plantation? Pretty cool. A hotel with its own cocoa plantation that organizes weekly tasting sessions of the inhouse chocolate? Even better.
A “chocolate laboratory” is the newest amenity at St Lucia’s Jade Mountain, in which you can learn how to make your own chocolate. Pretty good, and not too expensive at $45 per person for an hour-long session.
But better still are the new “chocolate sensory tastings”, held every Tuesday at 10am. You’ll get to taste all incarnations of chocolate and soon-to-be chocolate, from the cocoa bean to cocoa mass; and after you’ve put in all that hard work, they’ll reward you with Emerald Estate (the house label) chocolate bars and homemade truffles.
Oh, and the tastings are free.
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In case you didn't know, Leap Year is a big deal to lots of hotels. For some reason, that one little extra day thrown into the calendar sends them all into fits of benevolent joy, and results in all kinds of cool deals and packages. We mentioned a few last week, but here's another round for you February jetsetters to take into consideration.
Possibly one of the best deals out there is at the Inn on the Alameda in Santa Fe, which is offering complimentary one-night stays to anyone born on February 29. Sadly, that doesn't include us, but if you're one of the chosen ones, consider a longer stay with their foodie-centric packages like "Muy Sabrosa Cooking School" and the awesome-sounding chocolate sampler.
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Last night, the 14th season of 'The Bachelor' came to an appropriately romantic end amongst the dreamlike, exotic environs of the island of Saint Lucia. Since St. Lucia is known as a seriously romantic destination, we weren't too surprised that the crew hauled Jake the pilot and his final three girls down there, but we were shocked at how much they got around the island's many luxurious hotels. Let's break them down, shall we?
· Jade Mountain
This is without a doubt the most important hotel of them all, so we're starting with it. It's where Jake stayed, and it's where the pivotal decision moment happened at the end of the season. Jade Mountain is an architectural, organic masterpieces, and it's consistently ranked as the top Caribbean resort, with room rates (starting from $1,200 a night) to reflect its pedigree. Infinity pools, open-air sanctuary suites and ridiculously awesome views complete the package. It was up on it's Celestial Terrace that Jake chose his final girl.
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We don't know about you, but the ABC Show "The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love" has us falling more in love with the romantic island of St. Lucia more than the hunky pilot who stars, and his three potential mates with whom he's traveled to this tropical place. Jake Pavelka, a pilot for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, is nearing the end of his reality television search for his love, and the cast and crew of the show have flown down to St. Lucia, known as a honeymoon paradise, for the final couple episodes
Amongst all the bikinis and sunset smooching, we get glimpses of Jake's fabulous "Fantasy Suite" at Jade Mountain Resort, which we visited ourselves recently. But on tonight's episode, Jake has his last-chance with Tenley at Jalousie Plantation, and the hotel has pulled out all the stops to recreate the romantic experience for you with a "Wings of Love" package.
So the deal is, if you stay four or more nights at their property, and one of those nights happens to be the 20th of the month (valid through December 2010), that night will cost you only $20. In addition, they're offering a few other goodies:
· 20% discount on luxurious spa treatments
· 20th Birthday and 20th Anniversary candlelit dinner
· 20 hours of complimentary babysitting/nanny services
· 20% savings on a romantic sunset cruise
· 20 percent savings on food and beverage all-inclusive packages
· Sun Dollar Savings (resort credit) worth up to $200 per night per stay
Find out if it's a deal or no deal, after the jump.
We've spent a week teasing you with images of beaches and infinity pools on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, and so now let's round out the hotels with one that includes massages dailyBodyHoliday LeSPORT.
You may already know of this all-inclusive, adults-only resort from last winter's Amy Winehouse St. Lucia debacle, where she holed up on the island, crawled around on the floor, snatching guests' drinks, and generally wreaked havoc until Le SPORT gave her a talking to. We may have even been sleeping in the same bed as her, but shudder at the thought. LeSPORT is far too good for Le Winehouse.
Have you been digging our recent tours of St. Lucia's Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts, but perhaps the prices or beachside locations aren't up your alley? Well, while we were on the island and jumping from active volcano to scuba diving, we came across Fond Doux Estate, a working cocoa plantation that also functions as a boutique hotel comprised of several individual villas scattered around the lush grounds.
It was a complete surprise to be walking through foliage just short of a junglewith starfruit, cocoa pods, banana bunches and ginger lilies all aroundand then to emerge into a clearing with the cheery yellow cottage, Angelina Villa, you see above. This house, over 200 years old, is one of the ten cottages available for your stay, but sadly it's the only one we saw since the grounds are so sprawling. Fond Doux is not on a beach, so families or couples who elect to stay here will get a decidely non-touristy look at St. Lucia. And for nightly rates beginning from only $100 and cocoa tea with breakfast, the deal is literally sweetened.
Forget Disney Worldwhen you wish upon a star, this is where you hope you are. Following our visit to the uber-luxe Jade Mountain resort on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia last week, we headed down the hill a bit to peek behind the doors at Anse Chastanet, owned by the same folks and with the same impressive views of the Pitons, but a tad older a property with thankfully less expensive nightly rates.
Just outside the town of Soufrière on the southwest coast of the island, Anse Chastanet is a tribute to the indigenous charm and pride of the island, since much of the staff and property itself is of St. Lucian origin, and it's been hopping since it opened its doors in the late 1960sdon't worry, it was freshly renovated in 2004. It's now known as the premier St. Lucian resort for scuba diving (with the first scuba center on the island), bird watching, and jungle mountain biking (they have their own 12 miles of trails).
And of course, it's quite the honeymoon and destination wedding hotspot, having been voted one of the "Top 25 Resorts: Americas & The Caribbean" for 2009 in CN Traveler, and #1 of the Top Five Places To See In Your Lifetime by good old Oprah.
Yesterday we tempted you with a stack of infinity pools so delicious yet so mysterious, since it starred as a "Guess the Hotel." Well, the tropical paradise resort is none other than Travel + Leisure's Best Caribbean Resort 2009, Jade Mountain on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. We stopped by for a tour of the famous property, where The Girls Next Door's Kendra Wilkinson spent her honeymoon and where many rich and famous hide away when they need an exotic break.
Run by the same couple who own the beloved Anse Chastanet Resort further down the hill, Jade Mountain is one of those rare properties where it is damn near impossible to take a bad picture; the rooms all claim unparalleled views of St. Lucia's Piton mountains, they all have infinity pools, and the entire compound is focused on the indigenous, organic and natural charm of the island.
While the Hotel Bel-Air is definitely out as a venue for brides looking to get married before 2011, the Ladera Resort in St. Lucia is in. Coming in December, the hotel will step up their romance factor, allowing couples to say "I do" inside its new Paradise Pavilion. Okay, so the name is kinda hokey, but we’re grooving on the visual, even if we’re not quite ready to walk down the aisle.
Perched 1,100 above the sea, the open-air wedding venue sits along the property’s rainforest ridge. Sounds lush and lovely, right?
It’s crafted in Ladera's signature rainforest style, with terracotta flooring, columns milled and richly polished from tropical greenheart wood, as well as cut stone and tile work crafted by local St. Lucian masons.
Surely you've been following Season 14 of "The Amazing Race." But if your Sunday evenings are spent watching or doing other things, then surely you've been following Jaunted's extensive, detailed and on-the-money coverage of the series, right?
Surely. Then you know that the “pit stop prize” that (spoiler alert!) Margie and Luke snagged on last night's episode of the 'round-the-world competition was a five night vacay at the swanky Landings at St. Lucia.
Lucky them. But you don't have to be an Amazing Race contestant to get the same sort of experience: today, the hotel has introduced the "One Amazing Adventure" package to coincide with the airing of last night's eppy, which offers major savings and cool activities during your stay.
Amy Winehouse has checked into a hotel in St. Lucia and amazingly, she is not holed up in the room doing drugs with her cracked-out husband. (Not that we know of anyways.) But she still is acting very Wino-like, surprising guests with a topless jiggle dance on the balcony of her hotel room.
The Sun has all the classy info on the jiggly dance EXCEPT the name of the hotel. So we're turning this latest Amy Winehouse hotel episode into a Guess the Hotel game for you. Consider it a Christmas present. Here are some hints:
· The Sun says: "Amy’s balcony is over a quiet part of the resort that’s popular with older guests."
· It's on the beach.
· Amy is chillaxing at the resort with her family including a 12-year-old goddaughter which must mean the resort is family-friendly.
Not so familiar with the St. Lucia hotel scene? Browse through our St. Lucia Hotels page for some ideas.