Four-Star Resort Between a Beach and Yacht-Studded Marina
From just about every vantage point at Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, you can see St. Lucia’s glassy, blue-green water. The resort sits on a peninsula, and a secluded beach along Rodney Bay runs the length of the resort. You can go scuba diving among the lobsters and eel in the cove, take a boat tour along the St. Lucian coastline, or enjoy a beachside massage at La Mer Spa (French for “the sea”).
Fodor’s also calls Rodney Bay's Reduit Beach "the island's finest," and it's easy to see why. Palms line the flour-soft sands, and small islands dot the bay. After a full day of swimming and snorkeling, guests can walk to the local bars, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy dinner at Trios Caribbean Fusion Restaurant, which serves locally inspired dishes such as baked asian-jerk chicken in a banana leaf with greens and coconut rice. In its beachside setting, the more casual Hi Tide Restaurant also serves Caribbean fare, including grilled snapper with callaloo leaves. At night, retire to one-bedroom pool-view suites, which have full kitchens and private patios overlooking the lagoon-style pool.
The resort’s expansive suites are housed in buildings with Georgian-plantation-inspired columns. The resort is also noted for its easygoing yet meticulous staff. “The Bay Gardens properties are known for their friendly hospitality and exceptional service,” Fodor’s writes, noting that 75% of the hotel's guests are repeat customers.
St. Lucia: French-Inspired Cuisine and Spectacular Volcanoes
Located in between Martinique and St. Vincent in the eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia was coveted by the British and French, who quarreled over the island for more than a century. Although English is now St. Lucia's official language, the French seem to have left a more noticeable influence on its arts and cuisine. Along the coast, a string of marinas exhibits a cultural blend through restaurants ranging from fried-fish shacks to upscale French eateries. Grab a table to sample meaty pepperpot stew, spinach-like callaloo soup, or the country’s national dish of green fig—a Caribbean term for small, unripe bananas—and salt fish.
With several beaches, St. Lucia attracts those looking for snorkeling excursions, dolphin-watching tours, or deep-sea fishing trips in search of blue marlin, barracuda, and mako shark. Crowds descend on the popular Reduit Beach at Rodney Bay, not too far from the 18th-century British forts at Pigeon Island National Park. For a less hectic scene, head south down the coast to Anse Chastanet, a more secluded beach with giant palm trees and undulating green hills.
A vacation in St. Lucia is not complete without a visit to its volcano or one of it's volcanic plugs. Considered the country’s unofficial symbol, the Pitons are two vegetation-covered volcanic plugs rising more than 2,000 feet above the western coast. Nearby St. Lucia Volcano is considered "the world's only drive-in volcano," as you can drive your car close to the volcanic crater to see its steaming sulfur springs.
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