Just Say I do

Article by Nancy Atkinson, Photography courtesy Anse Chastanet Resort

The views are spectacular, no surprise since this resort is nestled into the dynamic terrain of a cascading hillside within sight of St Lucia’s most impressive landmark. Nick Troubetzkoy’s Anse Chastanet is a collage of bungalow-style buildings, unobtrusively interspersed with natural foliage as they flow from step to step along the contours of the amalgamated slopes. It is lush, serene, and enchanting. The incline ends as the tropical fringe gives way to the black, volcanic sands of one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. The waters are crystalline, a merging of aqua, turquoise and intense cobalt.

The sky expands above in softer blues, oftentimes forming a canvas for the brilliant spectrum of a rainbow, perhaps two, a common sight following those brief and delightful Caribbean showers. The blue is broken by the contrasting black of the cliff walls, one on either end of the beach, bases laced in the effervescent, white froth of crashing waves. They embrace the beach, hillside and resort, giving the illusion of a world apart. And, in the distance, those two magnificent and ominous peaks tower sheer from the surface of the sea, St Lucia’s World Heritage Site, The Pitons. You may think that all this is why the resort is noted among the Caribbean’s 12 most romantic, but there’s more.

Most rooms are literally open air, with the omission of the wall on whichever side reveals the best view without foregoing privacy. They are decorated in fresh, crisp colours of traditional St Lucian fabric, a plaid of vibrant reds, yellows and greens. Clay tiled floors are adorned with straw mats, hand-crafted furnishings, vivid paintings and wood sculptures, all locally made. The concept of the resort is St Lucian charm abiding as one with Nature. No telephones, televisions nor Internet in the rooms-and, no air conditioning, only the soft, swooshing of ceiling fans and the gently wafting breeze. It is an escape from the intrusions of the outside world. A new addition expands this beguiling premise with the addition of infinity pools, seemingly one with the stunning ocean views.

Being open to the vistas, the restaurant areas are just as captivating. The intimate Treehouse area extends to meet the sprawling branches of a nearby banyan tree, creating an entrancing, fairytale setting. The food is first class, focusing on the use of freshly-gown produce. The Piton Restaurant, with a different menu nightly, offers five-course dinners presented in the elegance of candlelight. The Trou au Diable Restaurant, located on the beach, serves lunch buffets, a more relaxed affair, featuring Creole cuisine, yet the food is equally tasty, meeting the same high standards of quality. You may think that the unique ambience of the resort with such chic cuisine is special and romantic enough for any wedding, but ahh… there is still more.

The “essence of Anse Chastanet,” a term coined by the staff, is truly what distinguishes this resort from any other. Every staff member is on a specific mission to ensure that you feel “special” every minute of your stay. Whether you’re one of those celebrities who tends to stay here frequently, or just plain “Joe and Jane”, you’ll be wrapped in an aura that only constant pampering can create. And, now the true secret to the exceptionality of a wedding at Anse Chastanet—they only book one wedding on any given day. From dawn to deep night, the entire hotel is intent on making your moment uniquely yours, extremely romantic, and very memorable. That is the “essence of Anse Chastanet”.

Weddings are coordinated completely by the hotel. The aim is simple—no fuss and worry for the bride and groom. A telephone call to make the reservations and select a wedding package begins the process. A brief meeting upon arrival, where ideas and options are discussed and appropriate documentation gathered, ends the couple’s obligation to planning.

While the paperwork is processed and flowers and cakes ordered, they then enjoy the resort amenities for three to four days, indulging in such activities as diving and snorkelling with Scuba St Lucia, one of the top centres in the Caribbean, a plunge away from fantastic reefs; mountain biking at your own pace with Jungle Biking Adventure; kayaking beneath spectacular cliff faces; or a healthful yoga class at the serene beach side yoga hut. Or, they may opt for total cosseting at the Kai Belte (House of Beauty) Spa where hot stone massages, reflexology, aromatherapy and an assortment of Ayurveda treatments are administered by professionally-trained therapists. A simultaneous massage at the Kai Mer (Sea House), a secluded, hillcrest roost, is the ultimate in romance, as is a couple’s course exchanging the basics of Swedish massage.

After a few carefree days, all that remains is to show up for the perfect wedding. Most likely the only difficult task in the whole process is deciding where on the 600-acre property to have the ceremony. Popular choices are the Treehouse with its lofty perch and thick foliage; the tranquillity of the beach; a quaint shore side hut; the gorgeous guest rooms; or the intriguing plantation ruins located around the bay on the resort’s second beach. Other options include a sailboat setting or even an extreme wedding, such as one underwater. The most important thing is that the hotel provides a total non-stress situation for the couple within a setting of unsurpassed romance. Also, as in accordance with the “essence of Anse Chastanet”, the couple is free to linger, savouring the moment as there will be no other couple waiting in the wings to scurry them away from the creation of their most precious memories.M

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