Travel: Twin Peaks Rising
The mountainside dirt road leading to Anse Chastanet, a resort on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, is barely wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic. Vehicles approaching from opposing directions will pass within inches of each other; the driver on the road’s outer edge cannot yield too much, lest he tumble his car down a steep incline. The road, which begins one-and-a-half miles from the resort, near the town of Soufriere, offers the benefit of deterring most tourists from visiting the two public beaches within Anse Chastanet’s 600 acres, but it also can scare the bejesus out of guests bound for Anse Chastanet.
Nick Troubetzkoy, who has owned the resort since 1974, therefore recently installed a helipad, presumably figuring that his more trepid guests will find a helicopter flight less daunting than the car ride. In addition to providing access to Anse Chastanet, the helipad also serves Troubetzkoy’s adjacent property, Jade Mountain, which opened this past December. “Mr. Troubetzkoy thinks the guests who come here may not want to go by the road,” Peter Jean Paul, executive assistant manager at Anse Chastanet, said during a tour of Jade Mountain late last fall, when the property was still under construction.
Like those of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain’s accommodations lack televisions, Internet access, and telephones. These omissions are intended to further seclude, not inconvenience, guests. Each of the 24 rooms does have a 15-foot-high ceiling, a Jacuzzi tub, a large infinity pool, and an unimpeded view of the Pitons, a pair of mountains that are St. Lucia landmarks. The property also includes two 900-square-foot spa rooms, a large roof terrace with a telescope, and koi fish swimming in decorative pools placed throughout the property. The name of the resort alludes to the Pitons, as well as to Troubetzkoy’s collection of Chinese jade sculptures of mountains, some of which are displayed at the resort.
Jade Mountain is one of several luxury resorts that recently opened, or soon will open, on St. Lucia. Among these is Discovery at Marigot Bay, a 67-room, 57-suite property on the island’s west coast. Discovery operates a refurbished version of the Hurricane Hole, a bar that was popular with yachtsmen during the 1960s and 1970s. The resort also has six slips that can accommodate vessels as long as 150 feet. Plantation at Cotton Bay is under construction near the island’s capital, Castries, and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. intends to unveil a 275-room resort in 2009.
Trained as an architect, Troubetzkoy long had wanted to build a resort from the ground up; while he has made modifications to Anse Chastanet, it is not of his design. He broke ground on Jade Mountain more than three years ago and made constant revisions throughout its construction. “Putting 24 pools up in the sky is not easily done,” he says. “Structurally, we had to examine and reexamine it.” Troubetzkoy used stone bridges to connect the upper-floor rooms to the hillside after deciding that incorporating 24 sets of stairs into the skeleton of the building would not work. “At the end, some of the bridges were 100 feet long, because the hill was falling away from the building,” he says. “My building team thought I was totally wacko.”
Accusations of madness notwithstanding, Troubetzkoy has succeeded in building the resort on his own terms and after his own vision. “I had the luxury of being able to deliberate, but it made it difficult to plan ahead,” he says. “Jade Mountain has a sense of being a work of art or sculpture. It metamorphosed until it took the shape it now has.”
Discovery at Marigot Bay, 758.458.5300,
Jade Mountain at Anse Chastanet, 758.459.7000,