Mucha Lucia

Forming the easternmost reaches of the Caribbean Sea, the speckles of paradise that make up the Lesser Antilles, are, each and every one of them, anyone’s idea of a tropical island getaway.


And that’s the problem.


Calabash Cove is a step back in time,” says Konrad Wagner, of a resort on the island nation of St. Lucia, “to when hotels had more lounge chairs than guests, when a fruit punch was made from real fruits and syrup was a maple product, when the chef had no need for a can opener and the fridge and freezer was a small kitchen appliance.”


As Calabash Cove’s managing director, Wagner may be a teensy bit biased, but he does have a point: Mass tourism hysteria has more than just St. Lucia in its deathgrip, and finding a fab, but not pre-fab, escape is easier said than done. Indeed, “tropical island paradise” is so over-used a phrase to describe so under-par a herd of locations that it has become a loaded term. Hear it, and, well, caveat emptor.


Located on the western, Caribbean-facing coast north of the capital of Castries, Calabash Cove goes out of its way to mean it when it calls itself a paradise. One of the newest of St. Lucia’s resorts, and thus attuned to more enlightened ideas of luxury, Calabash Cove offers 26 rustic oceanfront suites (“no stacked towers,” Wagner notes) open to the air and awash in living greenery (“no silk flowers, either”), each with Jacuzzis, as well as a full-service spa and fitness center, infinity-edge designer swimming pool, restaurant, cocktail bar, library, and game room. And while the cynic will raise an eyebrow anytime “unparalleled” is used in a sentence, the views of the beach, ocean, and the island of Martinique rising in the distance is truly hard to beat.


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“Every guest is unique and special to all the employees; they will always remember your name,” beams Wagner. “Calabash Cove is about watching a sunset from the Windsong Restaurant, sipping a glass of champagne in a private plunge pool that is only a skip and a hop away from the waters’ edge at full moon, late breakfast on a private patio or balcony, the smell and the taste of their freshly prepared meal while looking down on the lights of Castries.”


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But there is “unparalleled” and “unparalleled.” At the very top of Calabash Cove’s oceanfront bliss are the Water’s Edge Cottages, nine masterpieces of Balinese teak and mahogany with private plunge pools for late night dips, outdoor rain showers, private Jacuzzis and patio hammocks surrounded by tropical flora where the only disturbance—if you can call it that—is the frequent visits from St. Lucia’s jewel-like hummingbirds. With the azure expanse of the Caribbean on one side and the emerald mountain-majesty of the Pitons (two verdant extinct volcanoes that are St. Lucia’s signifying landmarks) on the other, and sun, moon, and stars above, one can understand when Wagner says, “We believe space and time are luxuries like marble and gold.”


That is what a “tropical island paradise” should be.