Breathtaking St. Lucia Getaway with Dallas Mavericks Manager Erin Finegold White

I am a lot of things; but an outdoor enthusiast, I am not. Yet on a recent trip to the island nation of St. Lucia, I slept outside (sort of), ziplined through the rainforest, hiked snorkeling in majestic reefs and bathing in sulfuric mud. And I loved every minute of it.

For the first half of my getaway, I stayed at the Ladera Resort. Rising high above the Caribbean with sweeping views of Saint Lucia’s Piton Mountains, the 37-room eco-friendly luxury estate offers open-air suites. Not having a fourth wall places guests directly in the middle of Heaven; the suites also feature a private plunge pool, locally sourced artwork, and furniture handcrafted by on-site artisans.

Despite its relatively small footprint, Ladera doesn’t lack in amenities. Offerings include a state-of-the-art gym, award-winning farm-to-table restaurant (Dasheene), bar with spectacular views, new spa (opening later this year), fitness classes and more.

Sourced from local farmers, Executive Chef Nigel Mitchel’s cuisine takes a modern take on classic St. Lucia dishes. From grilled catch of the day to Caribbean lamb salad, dining at Dasheene is not to be missed. Selections from the restaurant’s extensive wine and cocktail list make meals even more enjoyable.

Ditch your meals as you enjoy the resort’s hiking trail, and ask Eustace, a 30-year Ladera veteran, to guide you along the way. The approximately 40-minute hike will give you incredible views of the surrounding area and an assortment of plants and flowers to admire.

If you’re more adventurous and fancy ziplining through the rainforest, mountain biking to a secluded waterfall, or swimming in the sulfur springs of St. Lucia (the only volcano accessible by car in the world) , the Island Routes adventure company is here for you. . I opted for several excursions, including an exhilarating ride on a 17ft speedboat named Miss Erin. I also took a cruise on the west coast of the island, wearing a motorized snorkel in one of the many protected reefs. During our trip, the second, Cherry, pointed out the different villages, bays, monuments and places where locals like to have a bite to eat.

Rooms at Sugar Beach have luxurious linens and offer views of the tropical garden.

Courtesy of Sugar Beach

Villa Ladera at Paradise Ridge lets in the warm Caribbean air.

Courtesy of Ladera

After a few days in the rainforest, I made my way down the mountain to Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. Formerly the Jalousie Sugar Plantation, it offers 96 rooms, three restaurants, three bars, a world-class spa, 25 private residences and a plethora of on-site activities. The perfectly styled rooms are equipped with a walk-in shower, a free-standing bath, a four-poster bed (with the most luxurious linens) and a private plunge pool. Or splurge in a luxury beachfront bungalow and patio doors open to the white sands of Sugar Beach and breathtaking views of the Caribbean. (This also allows for a quick dip, with the sea just steps away.)

The resort’s restaurants offer a variety of experiences. If you are looking for fine dining, head to the Great Room. The candlelit venue serves plenty of elevated dishes, from grilled octopus to Wagyu fillet in a port reduction. For a more relaxed setting, head to the Bayside Restaurant. But don’t let the ambiance fool you; with options like burrata cheese with fire-roasted peppers, eggplant dip and half a charred jerk chicken, the food goes beyond typical beach dishes.

Rainforest Spa Saint Lucia

Quiet escape Rainforest Spa offers treatments in unique private “cabanas”.

Courtesy of Sugar Beach

Before leaving the resort, be sure to set aside time at the Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach, which offers a range of services performed in private rooms in the trees. (Coconut bliss, for example, is a combination of a coconut body scrub and a coconut milk body massage.) After your treatment, take some time to relax in the gazebo. outdoors or in a steam bath in the Temazcal. You are on vacation, after all.

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