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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 »


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 »


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.



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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Even during adventurous getaways, we love a chance for some R&R so we almost always book a spa service to treat ourselves. While we could probably enjoy a massage or facial just about anywhere, there’s something to be said for a hotel spa that is truly luxurious and jaw-dropping. Some of the most gorgeous we’ve seen are particularly inspiring because they boast beautiful views of their natural surroundings. So before you close your eyes and drift off to pure relaxation during your treatment, take in these 11 stunning views…from these 11 stunning hotel spas.

1. Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay

On a beautiful stretch of beach on the tiny island of Lanai, this Four Seasons is one of the most luxe properties in Hawaii. Considering the remote location, its no surprise that the hotel attracts couples, and the upscale spa is a major draw for romance as well. The spa features red cedar dry heat saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, and rainforest showers, but its most stunning amenity is its outdoor massage cabana with views of the Pacific Ocean.

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Owning a private vacation home sure sounds nice, but people fantasizing about their own beachside property often forget that owning also means cleaning, maintaining, fixing, the list goes on… and it can end up being less of a vacation and more of a job! That’s why we love vacation villas; gorgeous homes nestled within resort communities, hotel villas are the perfect way of getting the best of both worlds — visitors find the privacy and massive size they seek, without having to worry about dealing with any issues that may arise, as hotel staff is willing and waiting to assist! So without further adieu, check out nine drool-worthy (and hassle-free) hotel villas in the Caribbean.

Villa 25 at Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Jamaica

Round Hill is phenomenal. Sincere, intimate hospitality; private child care; breathtaking grounds; and large, beautifully designed rooms by Ralph Lauren all add up to make it is easily among the best resorts in Jamaica. The property includes numerous standalone villas of varying size; many have private pools and spacious, open verandas.

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We have seen some beautiful sites during our travels around the world. But don’t take our word for it (although you should; we are experts) — many of our favorite places are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which means they are “places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.” And there you have it — spots that make this list are absolutely stunning. To date, there are 911 sites on the list and we have seen a ton of them. But to make things a tad more manageable, we’ve parred it down to 9 sites that you’ve just got to see. And if you can make it to all 911, then by all means go for it!

1. Statue of Liberty, New York City

statue of liberty

We’re starting local — for us, at least. A beacon of hope for travelers to New York City since it was dedicated in 1886, the Statue of the Liberty is one of the most-recognized and beloved National Monuments in the United States. Visitors can walk to the top for sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline from the statue’s crown, and many visit Ellis Island at the same time to round out their historical and cultural trip.

Where to Stay: The Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park

As expected of the luxury brand, this Ritz property boasts gorgeous rooms, top-notch service, and a long list of amenities. Some rooms feature views of the Statue of Liberty.

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For those seeking a truly decadent escape, the Caribbean is certainly not short on options. The islands boast everything from intimate boutiques in hidden, tranquil locales to expansive resorts that wow not only in breadth, but style. These super-luxe properties cater to celebrities and socialites — and you can enjoy them too (for a price, of course — or at least just in pictures). Spoil yourself with these 13 uber-fancy spots!

1. Hotel Le Toiny, St. Barts 


One of the most prestigious hotels in St. Barts, this exclusive 15-villa resort sits amid 28 lush acres of natural hills and beachfront. The private villas are spacious and airy, and each boasts its own infinity-edge pool. Plus, the views here are jaw-dropping. The French restaurant is one of the island’s most renowned, and you can often spot a celebrity dining during high season. Rates are nothing to sneeze at, but you’ll definitely receive all-star treatment. Read More »


The perks of the megaresort experience are obvious: free-flowing drinks, lots of chances to socialize with your fellow guests, and a sweeping breadth of amenities. But with these advantages comes an obvious lack of peace and quiet. When all you want to do is escape the crowds, the best bet is to seek out the small, hidden properties dotting the Caribbean shores. From eco-centric boutiques to romantic enclaves, these laid-back properties promise the glorious sound of silence. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these crowdless Caribbean locales.

Anacaona Boutique Hotel, Anguilla 


Anguilla, a small British territory in the Caribbean, spans fewer than 40 square miles. Less built up than other isles, it manages to exude both an upscale and happy-go-lucky vibe with its gorgeous white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. There are few attractions, so days will mostly be spent sipping on drinks beach-side and dining at one the island’s exclusive hotels. The 27-room Anacaona, for example, offers access to a stunning stretch of sand, rounds of golf at the nearby Greg Norman-designed course, dinner at a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach. The hotel is a great choice for rest and relaxation–and it’s an excellent value to boot. Read More »