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St. Lucia offers mountains of Caribbean appeal

John Bordsen
John Bordsen is the Travel Editor for The Charlotte Observer.

Karolin and Nick Troubetzkoy own two resorts on St. Lucia: Anse Chastanet ( www.ansechastanet.com) and Jade Mountain ( www.jademountain.com). Karolin is originally from Germany. She is in her early 50s and has lived on the Caribbean island since the 1980s.

Q: What is St. Lucia like in spring?.

Spring is great, but the Caribbean in general can be enjoyed year-round: It’s a big misconception that it can only be enjoyed in winter or spring. Q: How is it that you own two places on the island?

We’re a dying breed – a last bastion of private-owned, unaffiliated resorts in the Caribbean that, on top of that, do really well. We’re troopers who came here with our own ideas. In 1974, my husband, Nick, bought Anse Chastanet. He’s an architect by profession and wanted a unique property where every room tells a different story. In early 2000 he wanted to add to the property. That project took on a life of its own on the property, so we decided to present Jade Mountain as a separate resort. I describe it as a resort within a resort – sort of a glorious club-level exclusive oasis. You can’t go to Jade Mountain unless you stay there, but you have full access to Anse’s restaurants and the two beaches below. We also have 12 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Q: What’s distinct about St. Lucia?

It’s called “The Bali Ha’i of the Caribbean” because of its magnificent landscape. The Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – make St. Lucia a must-see island.

The culture is also unique: It changed hands between the French and British 14 times. Everybody speaks English, but because it was French for a period of time, the inhabitants also speak Creole and have a French flair. Most guests would say the French-ness of St. Lucia is legendary.

Q: Does this extend to the food?

The traditional food – Creole – is unique. The flavors are much what you’d find in Martinique and other French islands.

After slavery was abolished, there was an East Indian element coming in; we have a bit of that in the traditional cooking. What’s exciting in the Caribbean now is that we have an entire generation of Caribbean-born chefs in the hotels; they do their own interpretations of Caribbean cuisine with artistic flair.

We make our own chocolate at our properties.

Q: Is the island urban or rural?

St. Lucia is about 264 square miles with about 170,000 inhabitants. The majority live in the commercialized area – the northern part of the island, around and above the capita, Castries. Otherwise, it has more of a rural feel because of the mountainous terrain.

There’s one road around the island and a few inland. The core of the island is lush and green. It always looks very unspoiled.

Here in the mountains, it will always appear unspoiled.

Q: From higher elevations, can you see the next island?

From our resorts, you can see St. Vincent looming on the south; on a clear day, driving north from us, you can see Martinique.

Q: What kind of wildlife is there?

Deep-sea fishing is as wild as it gets. There’s an incredible coral reef that starts right off our beach. So there’s excellent scuba and snorkeling.

There’s great bird watching on our plantation, and we offer trips all over the island.

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