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By Mike Espindle | Photo: Courtesy of Marigot Bay Resort & Marina by Capella | February 14, 2018
With its picture-perfect “hurricane hole” bay, St. Lucia’s Marigot Bay Resort & Marina by Capella has been an in-the-know choice for some land-side relaxation for Caribbean sailors for decades. But the hotel and marina’s unparalleled water access offers elite landlubbers the opportunity to experience a touch of the luxury yachting lifestyle as well.
Marigot Bay Resort & Marina by Capella should not be confused with a typical secluded Caribbean jungle and beach luxury resort—and that is by no means a negative. While the property offers a handy water taxi to a tidy local beach across the bay, and the small but potent Auriga Spa offers some of that tucked-away vibe, a retreat here delivers all the touch points of tropical relaxation amid a bustling, high-end, deep-water marina operation.
Marigot Bay’s designation as a protected hurricane hole, with dramatic mountain slopes on three sides and a narrow outlet to the sea, has brought the upper end of private superyachters here for years. During my stay, I spotted notable builds from Sunseeker, Broward and Perini Navi at the resort’s well-serviced docks. Along with its collection of provisioners and boutiques (swimwear design firm Heidi Klein is a popular stop), the full-service marina village can accommodate yachts up to 280 feet with a 20-foot draw on 42 berths and 20 moorings. Making the marina even more of a nexus, the new Hurricane Hole restaurant, helmed by resort executive chef Billy Boyle, recently opened, offering locally inspired cuisine and inventive drinks in consummate laid-back dockside ease.
Bottom line: You really need to get out on the water to fully experience the property’s appeal. The hotel can arrange a sightseeing cruise aboard one of outfitter Saltwater Services’ fleet of immaculately maintained Bertram vessels. Cruise to the bustling town of Soufrière and take in the majestic Pitons that the island is so famous for. For anglers, St. Lucia’s waters are building up a reputation as a marlin hot spot, but wahoo, snapper and dorado are also abundant. Water-themed hiking, diving and nature excursions are all on offer as well as the hotel’s menu of land-based adventures.
Time ashore offers impeccable accommodations in 124 guest rooms and 57 particularly commodious suites (some with private balcony hot tubs), all offering terrific bay or resort foliage views. Room interiors are all cleanly modern, with an appealing Caribbean vibe that doesn’t go over the top. A signature 3,200-square-foot three-bedroom penthouse suite is top digs, with a fully equipped kitchen and all the comforts of a well-appointed home. Staff and service levels are top-notch as well; St. Lucia’s overall nature is welcoming and warm, and the well-trained staff all exhibit that spot-on blend of personal and professional. Both Dennis and Ron, for example, who manage the resort’s charming Rum Cave bar, are world-class mixologists and rum savants but also greet customers with local charm, insider info and a warm “sa ka fete” (the local French-Creole greeting).
Above the rare spirits-equipped Rum Cave location, the superb Grill at 14°61° maximizes relationships with local farmers and fishermen to offer up a splendid menu of Caribbean-inflected modern cuisine as well as purely Carib-favorite local dishes for breakfast and dinner. Think braised short rib with cocoa or fresh grilled snapper for dinner, and if it’s on offer, don’t miss the local salt fish and bake (Caribbean johnnycakes) for breakfast. Private dining options include a romantic outdoor patio adjacent to the restaurant and a unique “treehouse” deck tucked back in the spa area for some more arboreal privacy if so desired.
For relaxation off the water, Marigot Bay Resort & Marina by Capella’s two infinity pools with poolside bars (a larger one the floor above the dock level and a smaller adults-only retreat just above dock level alongside the Rum Cave) offer private cabanas and full bar and lunch menus, specializing in delicious local sushi. The pool areas host impromptu events during the day as well. During my stay, staff came around with fresh coconuts, machete-trimmed right in front of you, for a delicious quencher midday.
The resort hosted an international mai tai challenge event while I was there, sponsored by the local distillery. Top bartenders were flown in from around the world—the U.S., Portugal, Sweden and elsewhere—to concoct a perfect modern interpretation of the mai tai with local spirits and ingredients. The rum and fun flowed well into the night, but beyond that, the event showcased the property’s elegant flexibility, making it a perfect destination for a wedding or other private event or gathering.
While you can certainly zone out and catch up on reading and rays, the real heart of the property’s appeal beats pure salt water. And with so many options to experience St. Lucia’s culture and stunning topography, getting your feet wet at this French-Creole outpost is strictly de rigueur. Bay-view rooms from $839 per night, bay-view suites from $1,039 per night, three-bedroom penthouse suite from $3,600 per night