How to make friends and relax…the St Lucia way
Chalkmarks St Lucia

I’VE made good friends with this mango tree. I’ve also made friends with the sand, the sun and the Caribbean Sea.

I’m lying on a sun lounger at the Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa on the northern tip of St Lucia – 4,000 miles away from the rainy Britain I left behind not so long ago.

There’s bright sunshine, a cool breeze and a rum punch that’s just a hand stretch away as I look out to the sailboats on the horizon.

With the calm blue waters lapping on the shore, the yellow sandy beach and the green rainforest in the distance it’s as if God has gone mad with the colour palette.

Life here is “no pressure, no problem” say the islanders and this starts to rub off on me as the tropical heat works its magic, letting me not just ditch the jumper, jeans and boots I was wearing on the plane a few hours ago, but also feel the hassles of work and home slip away.

Life here is “no pressure, no problem”

The resort is a mix of chalets, beach huts, restaurants, bars, a pub, seven swimming pools, a gym, and a spa all set in a secluded bay with a private beach.

I’m staying in a bright blue beachfront hut, which is just a few steps away from my mango tree and the Caribbean ocean.

The rooms are clean and painted white with a super king-sized bed dressed with towels expertly shaped into two kissing swans with petals then scattered on top. And if that wasn’t enough I can take a relaxing dip in the giant hot tub in the bathroom.

The day begins with breakfast where I’ve made yet another friend. The cook stands at her hot plate ready to prepare omelettes, fried eggs and French toast. But she’s so easy going you’d never guess she’d there for four hours at a time – and the most charming thing is that her smile never wavers.

The friendliness extends to the waiting staff who serve up your orders with a warm “hey sweetie” or even “hey baby”.

After my fill of eggs, ham and cheese, I take a cold drink down to the beach to my favourite spot under the shade of my favourite tree with the aim of doing nothing at all. I watch someone coax a friend to join them on a pedalo and within ten minutes they are just a dot on the skyline.

I tilt my hat over my eyes and soon I too drift away.

The sound of soca music combined with the smell of barbecue stirs me back to life. I roam over to lunch then retire for the afternoon with a book beside the pool with the bar. In the evening, I get dressed up for dinner and cocktails before watching the live entertainment.

Days like these don’t come around very often which is why a holiday in the West Indies is a lifetime must. I’ve heard a rumour though that there’s plenty on the island to explore.

Next morning, in the main lounge area, a sandwich board advertises the day’s activities that include nature walks, yoga, dance classes and archery.

I opt for a boat trip to the south of the island and spend the morning lying on a catamaran watching St Lucia reveal its most famous landmarks the Pitons, two volcanic mountains that rise from the seafloor.

We get the chance to snorkel but I’m too impatient to queue for flippers and a mask – instead I just leap off the side of the boat into the warm water for a swim.

Back on board, I make another new friend. She works on the boat and calls me “girlfriend” the whole time. She gets us all up dancing to soca as we sail back along the coastline as the sun starts to set.

Having tasted life as a St Lucian, dancing on deck to the Caribbean tunes, I want to do it all again.

And I have the chance as my visit coincides with the Jazz Festival, the island’s big crowd puller at the beginning of May. It’s the second biggest event in the Caribbean after Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago.

The two-week outdoor event isn’t solely for jazz lovers as it attracts A-list pop stars, with this year’s (2012) headlining act being Diana Ross.

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Grill seeker

There is a definite nostalgia in the crowd with Ross’s trademark big hair and big sparkling gowns. She’s still got it.

Surrounded by people laughing and dancing, we sing along to Baby Love, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Endless love.

I also got to see Toni Braxton, the Gypsy Kings, Ziggy Marley and South Africa’s Hugh Masekela. In previous years the performers have included Amy Winehouse, UB40 and Rihanna.

I don’t get to bed till dawn because I went on to the nearby Fire Grill bar where musicians from the festival were jamming into the early hours for the hardcore fans.

When I finally surface, late in the morning, I take my place under my mango tree for a snooze.

I close my eyes and dream about dancing on a yacht while a legendary singer performs her greatest hits…Supreme.

Book it

Four star Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa on St Lucia with Virgin Holidays.
To book visit www.virginholidays.co.uk/smugglers or call 0844 557 3859.
For further information on Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa please visit www.smugglersresort.com.
For more information on St Lucia visit www.saintlucianow.co.uk.
For information on St Lucia Jazz visit www.stluciajazz.org.

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