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Travel Councellor Visits Cap Maison

The highlight of my recent trip to St Lucia was a 30 minute powerboat ride from Sugar Beach (a Viceroy hotel where we stayed), up to Cap Maison for an overnight stay. I have always wanted to visit this gem of a hotel, in particular as clients and colleagues alike have always raved about it. I was not disappointed.

The hotel is owned by an experienced and renowned Caribbean hotel family who have so lovingly and stylishly created one of the most gorgeous boutique resorts on the site of their beautiful waterfront former home Saman House. Cap Maison is most certainly a highly personalised and sophisticated home away from home. It offers fabulous comfort and judging from the people we met and talked to who were staying there it’s a place that makes you want to return again and again. The repeat business percentage speaks volumes about the hotel.

It is situated on a cliff top high above Smugglers Cove Beach on the north-west of the island. Along with the exquisite sunset, you can even see the island of Martinique.

It has just 49 rooms and suites all with air-conditioned bedrooms, beautiful balconies or verandahs with comfortable rattan furniture, Jalousie louvre doors, handmade tiles and ceramics which all add to the beautiful Spanish-Caribbean style. We were treated to an Oceanview Villa Suite complete with private pool– sheer luxury!

After been met and greeted by the delightful Jasper Kok, Executive Assistant Manager and after we had checked into our amazing suite, we were whisked off down to the impressive Cellar Maison for our own private wine tasting before dinner – I was in my element!

The hotel has been ranked as one of the top in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards, and has been named a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award Winner for the third consecutive year. We were treated to both French and California offerings – Pouilly Fume being one of my absolute favourite wines in the world!! There were over 2,000 bottles in the temperature controlled Cellar including rare champagnes, grand cru Bordeaux, fine Burgundies and orange wines. We learned about pairing the wine with food. We loved the Sommelier, Robinson (Robbie) George, and I would certainly recommend this experience if you stay there.

We had dinner and the most exquisite BBQ at the relaxed Caribbean vibe Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill located at the pretty and secluded Smuggler’s Cove Beach just below the hotel. Rumour has it local fishermen have fished naked down at Smugglers Cove for many years in an effort to save on laundry. It was with this in mind The Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill was born!

After one of the best night’s sleep, we enjoyed breakfast in the Cliff at Cap Restaurant which has the most gorgeous unobstructed views towards Martinique to the north and Pigeon Island to the West, and surrounded by the magnificent Caribbean Sea. After a thorough hotel inspection of all room types, we spent the day on “Naked Fisherman” beach with one of the best amenities for me – your sun bed mattress becomes a floating lilo – utter bliss!!!

Before we left we spent some time at the pool relaxing on the most sumptuously comfortable sun beds I have ever laid on. We met some honeymooners from New York who told us they had literally found the hotel of their dreams! My husband was impressed that golfers can book a round at the St Lucia Country Club – the 18-hole championship golf course nearby and was sorry that he had missed out!

I was most impressed with the bar near the reception, which is run on an honesty basis. I have only ever seen this in another privately owned hotel on Majorca – so fantastic and what a great touch?

Why I would recommend Cap Maison? (Apart from it being probably one of the most stylish, hideaways in an amazing spot I have ever seen!)

• Location: complete privacy but also conveniently located for bars, restaurants and various activities: golf (3 mins), water sports, kite surfing (5 mins), horse riding (5 mins), hiking, tennis (5 mins), Gros Islet Street Party. Rodney Bay is only a 10min ride by taxi for a night out.

• Breath-taking ocean views and romantic sunsets.

• Style and architecture: a genuinely stylish boutique hotel with attention to detail in all corners and niches and a warm feel with lots of wood, colour and natural materials.

• Largest Villa Suites in the Eastern Caribbean with unique private rooftop swimming pools.

• Food and beverage: Cliff at Cap is now a restaurant in a hotel and not a hotel restaurant – definitely one of the hottest tables on the island if not the region!

• Spa Maison: branded by Sothys – an exclusive Parisian spa product company – who also train the therapists with very different, signature treatments.

• Very pretty and secluded cove with excellent house reef and snorkelling.

• Service: intimate family owned and conceptualised property with corresponding personal and individualised service and an “off the menu can do” attitude led by an experienced boutique hotel manager.

• Rock star amenities: technology better in room than anywhere else in St. Lucia (iPod stations, BOSE systems, stereos, TVs, internet), luxurious Italian bathroom amenities, private chef option, online fridge packages and gym.

• Walk in wine cellar: for private dinners and tastings.

• Cap Maison 1: resort has its own luxury 46 foot Sea Ray motor yacht available exclusively to Cap Maison guests for half, full and offshore trips (a great wedding present also!!)

• Rock Maison: made famous by the Sunday and New York Times, a rock out to sea with a champagne zip line, perfect for yoga, sunset drinks, weddings.

My Top tip – take a helicopter transfer it is well worth it after a long flight.

Getting to St Lucia From UK British Airways & Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick Flying inter-island with LIAT.

*When to go: Year-round destination. Mid-December - mid April most popular.

•high season: mid-December to early April •low season: mid-April to early December

*Weather Information: Warm climate throughout the year; Higher humidity and more rainfall is common June - December. August receives the most rain, but one of the warmest months. Hurricane season June - November. January through June the driest period, average temperature of 84 degrees generally considered the most pleasant time to visit.

*Crowd Information: St. Lucia usually doesn't get very crowded, even in the peak of high season. Annual events:St. Lucia Jazz - May, Carnival - June & July; International Billfish Tournament - September; Atlantic Rally for Cruisers transatlantic yacht race - December.

*When to Save Despite higher airfare due to fewer flights, the summers are the best time to visit on a budget. Hotels heavily discount their rates and offer reduced-rate packages due to the low visitor levels. Prices in the winter escalate to compensate for the lag in summer tourism.

*When to Book Book three months in advance for winter vacations. The best prices on airfare, hotel, and car-rentals are offered between late August and October.

*Information provided by the St. Lucia Tourist Board.

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