Let me get to the first thing that struck me about the Caribbean, and St Lucia, when I first set foot on this wonderful tropical island: the mangoes. Now, I am crazy about mangoes; in my food, in cubes, off the tree, in a smoothie, in a daiquiri… all forms of this delicious orange fruit would probably make up the components of my “Last Meal” should that situation ever arise (hopefully not). As we walked from the beautiful reception area at Capella Resort Marigot Bay to our One Bedroom Resort View Suite, my eyes were constantly pointing upwards to the mango trees above our heads. Thousands upon thousands of these exotic fruits, all within arms reach. Heaven.
Capella itself is a magical place, even away from the mangoes. The first people to greet you are the warm and friendly staff; genuinely interested in talking to you and offering local advice, as well as providing a faultless service all with a smile. Our room, or suite, for the stay was one of the One Bedroom Resort View Suites; palatial accomodation that outsized our own flat at home. Everything was finished to an incredible high standard, with a blend of modern amenities and a distinctly wooden decor. It felt like we were within the rainforest itself, albeit with all of the mod-cons of modern life.
Around the resort, there was plenty to do and see. The main pool and pool bar at Capella seemed to be the hub for most of the guests, and we often found ourselves soaking up the intense sunlight on the cabanas before swimming across for a couple of mango daiquiris and a bite to eat to cool off. That being said, the table service around the pool was so friendly and efficient that we had to make an excuse to actually leave our seats; overexposed reddening skin being the main one.
Other options for food were equally tempting. Each morning breakfast was served al fresco on the terrace of The Grill with eggs cooked to order and the usual affair of baked goods and juices. In the evenings, we found ourselves dining here from the excellent menus or, opting for a more local experience, at the Rum Cave which was perched on the end of the boardwalk by the mangroves in the bay. Unsurprisingly, they also served an exhaustive collection of rum and we were lucky enough to have a very informative rum tasting session here on one of the evenings. Any excuse to “sample” some more of the local Chairmans Reserve Rum.
On-site, we also also had a couples massage in the Auriga Spa which was heavenly, and the whole spa complex feels very calm and tranquil; completely discreet and autonomous from Capella and the surrounding bay. We also had the opportunity to create our own body scrubs using natural ingredients which was both educational and very rewarding; it is amazing what you can put together using normal household ingredients you would find in your kitchen cupboard! Speaking of kitchens, we were also treated to a cooking class in The Grill with the very talented chefs; a real eye opener on how to cook Caribbean style with local spices and produce. Admittedly we were a little cautious with the spices as we didn’t fancy anything too hot, but the dishes were excellent; Creole chicken and rice for me and fish and rice for Katie.
Outside of the resort, we we able to explore a lot of what St Lucia has to offer as we had hired a 4X4 for the week. I would highly recommend doing this as it gives you real freedom to explore the island and the roads in St Lucia really aren’t that bad at all. Throw in a jungle backdrop and the unmistakable sound of Blazin FM (with it’s unapologetic onslaught of incredible reggae sounds) and you quickly have all of the ingredients for a great road trip.
If you’re staying at Capella then I highly recommend a trip to Castries, the island’s capital, for the local street market that pops up there every weekday. It is the most eclectic mix of sights, sounds and smells, with every fruit imaginable (and unimaginable) being sold from a plethora of stalls. You can also buy local wares, including the very tempting pre-filled spiced rum jars that contain all sorts of sweets and spices. All you need to do is fill them with rum and leave for a few weeks to blend your very own spiced rum. Unfortunately, not wanting to incur the wrath of British Customs, or the risk of broken glass, I decided against buying one.
For an introduction to the island or perhaps just a more relaxed stay, I couldn’t recommend Capella Marigot Bay enough. It truly was a home away from home, albeit a good 8,000km from my London flat, just with more sunshine, more smiles and a lot more of those juicy orange mangoes…