Search: st. lucia

st-lucia-view-from-the-island-v1681702-1024Following in Colombia’s footsteps, St. Lucia has officially barred entry to visitors from West African countries affected by Ebola, including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Those traveling from Nigeria will only be granted entry after presenting a recent medical certificate. The tiny island nation’s prime minister cited the country’s inability “to manage any crisis that lands on our doorstep, any crisis of that kind” as the reasoning behind the ban.

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The Wedding Pavilion at Ladera overlooks St. Lucia's awe-inspiring landscapes.

This unique luxury resort in St. Lucia provides a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind setting for an exchanging of “I dos.” The Ladera is made up of 32 one- and two-bedroom villas, each carefully carved into the surrounding hillside overlooking the island’s iconic twin Pitons. These villas – which have missing fourth walls, and in most cases, private plunge pools — are a main draw, as are the spectacular views and lush grounds. The resort also features some fabulous amenities, such as an infinity lagoon pool, a gorgeous open-air restaurant and bar, an (albeit tiny) open-air fitness center, and a lovely spa with black water soaking baths, perfect for calming any nerves before the big day. All of this comes at a price, but the Ladera nonetheless offers significantly cheaper (by about half) rates than the ultra-glam Jade Mountain. Ladera is also within close range of several of the island’s top tourist attractions: Notable cocoa plantations are within walking distance, the pristine white sands of Jalousie beach are a short drive away, and popular spots like the volcano and Tet-Paul nature trails are nearby — so you and your guests won’t lack for things to do before and after the wedding.

The resort boasts that weddings at Ladera are “perfect in every way” — and it’s pretty hard to dispute that claim. The Wedding Pavilion, seen here, overlooks the world heritage Piton Mountains, St. Lucia’s lush rain forests, and the Caribbean Sea 1,000 feet below. Ceremonies are as memorable as the setting, and are  arranged quite easily thanks to an on-site wedding specialist. There are three wedding packages couples can choose from, the most basic of which includes the handling of legal documents, securing a wedding officiant, and reserving the pavilion. The next tier includes the floral wedding arch, champagne and canapes, and a wedding cake, while the most extravagant package also includes floral arrangements, music (steel drums or a guitarist), a Romantic Bliss Massage for two, a private candlelight dinner for two with one bottle of Ladera wine, and a sunset cruise. For intimate, extravagant weddings — or elopements (sometimes you just gotta do it your way!) — there is no place more unique or stunning. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of the Ladera Resort here »  Read More »

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Here at Oyster, we pride ourselves on intensively visiting, photographing, and reviewing every single hotel we feature on our site. Our photos are undoctored and honest, but on our travels, we’ve found that the hotel’s marketing photos can be heavily retouched or cropped mysteriously. Our Photo Fakeouts are legendary – just look at the Sexy Lady Phenomenon — and we felt it was only appropriate that as we expand our coverage, we expand our Fakeout repertoire, too. So today, check out our newest find: quite an impressive pool crop by the folks over at the Marigot Beach Club in St. Lucia. See for yourself »

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This week’s little slice of heaven comes courtesy of the twins Pitons — or at least with a killer view of ‘em. Seen from the two-bedroom villa with plunge pool, the Pitons are St. Lucia’s most spectacular natural wonder — and the Ladera Resort boasts endless beauty shots of them. But this hotel also features some fabulous amenities, such as an infinity lagoon pool, a gorgeous open-air restaurant and bar, a (tiny) open-air fitness center, and a lovely spa with black water soaking baths. Plus, prices are far more accessible than those at the nearby, ultra-glam Jade Mountain Resort. Not too shabby, right? So as we always say, take a deep breath, relax, and soak in the Monday Morning goodness that is the Ladera.

Just pretend that you woke up to this view. It's almost as good as actually being there.

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Pool and View from The Room at the Jade Mountain Resort

The pool and view from The Room at the Jade Mountain Resort; St. Lucia

If nothing else, the Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia boasts insanely gorgeous views. Braced against a mountain about 100 feet above the shore, and pointed at St. Lucia’s iconic Pitons (volcanic plugs), the boutique resort has just 29 rooms. Almost all of the enormous suites overlook the sea from chromatherapy-lit whirlpool tubs, canopied beds, and private infinity pools. And the service is pretty fabulous, too. Two “major domos” are assigned to each room –  staffers on-call from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. to cater to pretty much any need, no matter how obscure. It comes at a high price, but a stay at the Jade Mountain Resort – with its its organic cuisine, doting service, peaceful ambience (no TVs, radios, or children allowed), and amazing views — is worth the cost. Check out more amazing photos of the hotel after the jump or read the full review here >>

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Believe it or not, we took this shot from inside a guest room at the Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia (most rooms have a private infinity pool).

Believe it or not, we took this shot from inside a guest room at the Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia. (Most rooms have a private infinity pool.)

On March 1, the series finale of ABC’s The Bachelor will take place on the Celestial Terrace of the iconic Jade Mountain Resort on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Over the past few weeks, fans of the show — as well as anyone who’s watched anything on ABC without the help of Tivo — will have heard “St. Lucia really is the most romantic place on earth” or “There is no better place to fall in love than St. Lucia” about as many times as they’ve heard the expression “Take home the gold.”

Which begs the question: What’s so great about St. Lucia? A remote, lush, mountainous beachfront terrain is stunning, no doubt, but this can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean — Frenchman’s Cove in Port Antonio, Jamaica is just one example — as well as around the globe in places like the north shore of Kauai in Hawaii or Ko Chang in Thailand. So what about this particular locale makes all the staged romance feel so spectacular? The answer is simple: Jade Mountain.

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Aruba, Jamaica, Ooohh we wanna take ya…to the Caribbean for $125/night. Okay, we know those aren’t the exact lyrics, but it’s true: We did some research so we could give you the deets on the best budget picks in the Caribbean this time of year. The price: $125/night. The dates: November 1st through 8th. And we’re off!

Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort, Aruba: $139/night

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Renovated in 2010, the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort is bright and modern, if a bit plain. The lush garden setting sits alongside a nine-hole golf course and is across the street from the beach. There are three distinct dining options, free nightly entertainment at neighboring hotels, a kid’s club, and two large outdoor pools. We know it doesn’t quite make the $125/night budget, but it’s still a solid deal. And if you’re not sold, check out the Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino for $116/night — and we’re positive you’ll be fine with the $23/night upgrade.

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1. FACT or FAKEOUT? Hotel restaurants continue to be hot! The Michelin Guide 2015 was released earlier this week, and The Nomad Hotel‘s namesake restaurant was once again awarded a star, as was The Breslin at the Ace Hotel NY, just one block away.

2. FACT or FAKEOUT? Post-hurricane, the Cabo airport is slated to reopen on October 9, along with hotels such as the Esperanza Resort and Dreams Los Cabos.

3. FACT or FAKEOUT? Now that negotiations between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and hotelier Andres Balazs (who owns iconic properties such as Chateau Marmont and The Standard High Line) have fallen through, there are no plans to turn the TWA Flight Center at JFK into a hotel.

4. FACT or FAKEOUT? The Intercontinental The Barclay New York, a luxury property that has hosted the likes of Hemingway, has closed for an 18-month, $175 million renovation.

5. FACT or FAKEOUT? Based on users’ check-ins, Facebook has determined that the most popular honeymoon destinations are Hawaii, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Mexico, Las Vegas, and the Dominican Republic.

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For many of us, long days at the office, stress, and errands can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. So we often look at our vacations not as a chance for a calorie binge (well, not always), but as a chance to hit the reset button and get back to our exercise and fitness regimens. And those who do manage to stay fit year-round may not want to part with their healthy lifestyle choices when they go away for a week or two. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the mind-body connection — and considering that September is Yoga Month, it feels like there’s no better time for a calming, healthy getaway. From a rustic yoga retreat to a luxe private island escape, these are the 14 best spots for a health and wellness vacation.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Bahamas

Yoga Retreat

Those looking for a relaxed vacation with some yoga thrown in should look elsewhere. This is a serious ashram by an established group (there are nine Sivananda Yoga Ashrams throughout the world) and the 5:30 a.m. wake-up bell proves it. Guests focus on postures, breathing, positive thinking, and meditation, and have some free time to take advantage of the beautiful beach setting. Seemingly a world away from neighboring mega-resort Atlantis, this five-and-a-half acre oasis has a range of accommodations from tents to Beachfront Suites (most rooms have shared bathrooms, though). Two vegetarian meals are prepared daily right after each two-hour yoga class , while morning and evening satsangs (a mix of meditation, chanting, lectures, singing and dancing) help create a sense of community. Extra workshops and lectures are built into the daily schedule, and there’s a wellbeing center for massage treatments and Ayurvedic body treatments.

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This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel

The Caribbean oftentimes musters up images of massive beach resorts. Even some of the most luxurious options can be teeming with crowds that filter from the various restaurants to the packed beaches to the lively pool scene, frequented by both splashing kids and partying co-eds. But during our travels around the islands, we’ve also found plenty of quiet hidden gems. These beachfront boutiques have the look and vibe of a casual oceanside hut – but nonetheless deliver a hotel-like experience with on-site amenities and activities, and quaint, well-designed rooms. Explore our 10 favorite low-key properties on the Caribbean sands.

Coyaba Beach Resort, Jamaica

 Coyaba

For travelers who want to enjoy a resort experience but still prefer a more intimate hotel, the Coyaba Beach Resort is an attractive upper-middle-range option. The 50 plantation-style rooms are spacious, and guests won’t feel crowded or cramped at the private beach (even though it’s small). An all-inclusive option lets guests dine and drink on the property, and couples will likely appreciate the spa services, lush gardens providing shade and privacy, and the quiet pool.

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