I leave in the morning for a solo walk along the beach.
My mother used to set out on her own during the early hours on family vacations to reflect with a view of the shoreline. She’d pick up seashells as she went, and we’d see her findings on the coffee table when we woke hours later. I thought her beautiful for this.
As I flick salt water and sand with my toes, I admit that my intention on this journey is not to ruminate the way I imagine she did. I know where I am really headed.
I spray the beach from my feet and pass infinity pools and lovely restaurants as they are waking up—workers hose down cabanas and set out tables and chairs. When I arrive at my destination, I pull the door toward me, stepping into a room much cooler than the humid Saint Lucia air.
“I’ll have three scoops of chocolate cherry on a cone, please,” I announce to the woman behind the counter.
“Yes, my love,” she nods.
Today is the second day in a row I’ve “accidentally” wandered into the café and ordered gelato for breakfast.
Typically, I would prefer a boutique hotel experience or an Airbnb rental rather than an all-inclusive resort. Something less manufactured, less gluttonous, less crowded. But at the Royalton Saint Lucia, minds change, with personal butlers who make up bubble baths for when you return to your room and, well, gelato for breakfast.
You’re probably wondering why else you have a personal butler. He or she will shine your shoes, iron your clothes, and provide a pillow of your preferred firmness from the pillow menu, of course.
The resort experience begins after a four-hour flight from South Florida to the southern Caribbean island and a two-hour transfer through mountains and rainforests from the airport to the hotel. Fatigued from travel, you’ll be greeted at the Royalton Saint Lucia’s Diamond Club with cocktails and finger foods.
With eight restaurants, five themed bars, an adult-only pool and a spa complete with a hydrotherapy circuit (book the Royal Lotus Wrap, an exfoliation and full-body mask finished with a massage), there’s much to do on the property. But a day excursion with Nexus Tours is also a must.
The trip begins with a cruise on a catamaran to the Gros Piton and Petit Piton mountains. After docking in the seaside town of Soufrière, a van will transport you to the Morne Coubaril Estate to learn about the island’s rich history harvesting cocoa beans.
After lunch prepared on the plantation comes a trip to Sulphur Springs for a bath locals say has the power to remove 10 years from a soaker’s skin. But beauty is pain, and in order to reap the inactive volcano’s benefits, you’ll also have to brave its rotten-egg smell. (Note: Do not precede the excursion with a night of heavy drinking, even if tempted by the all-inclusivity of the resort.)
After scrubbing off decades in the exfoliating mud and boarding the catamaran, it’s safe to sip a Piton beer while the mountains it’s eponymously named for become smaller in the distance as the boat cruises back to the Royalton.
The captain will play Caribbean music, and you’ll feel inclined to dance as the sky prepares a glowing sunset so indulgent you may even forget about gelato. That is, until morning.
Royalton Saint Lucia, Smugglers Cove Drive, Cap Estate, Saint Lucia / 758.457.4100 / royaltonresorts.com/royalton-saint-lucia