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Pleasure island: After years of searching, I've found paradise on St Lucia

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Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

 Jade Mountain

Jade Mountain

Food Jat ade Mountain, St Lucia

Food Jat ade Mountain, St Lucia

Caribbean      St. Lucia      Anse Chastanet DeLuxe Room (15b)

Caribbean St. Lucia Anse Chastanet DeLuxe Room (15b)

Chocolate making- Anse Chastenant St Lucia

Chocolate making- Anse Chastenant St Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Soufriere, St. Lucia; snorkelers enjoying the Caribbean with Pitons in the background

Soufriere, St. Lucia; snorkelers enjoying the Caribbean with Pitons in the background

Turner Forte Photography

Caribbean      St. Lucia     Anse Chastanet Beach tented dinner, sunset

Caribbean St. Lucia Anse Chastanet Beach tented dinner, sunset

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

When we arrived in Jade Mountain high above the hills of St Lucia, we were warmly welcomed with the words "Welcome to paradise".

Paradise is a word that is often overused but in this case it was 100% correct. It was the best place on this planet I have ever stayed and I doubt I will ever top that.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the staff member who uttered that welcome shared my surname and Teddy Breen assured me he had Irish roots and that we could be distant cousins.

I spent two nights at Jade Mountain and three at its adjoining Anse Chastanet resort, both of which share a 600-acre site.

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 Jade Mountain

Jade Mountain

Jade Mountain

As Jade Mountain is one of the most amazing resorts in not only the Caribbean but the world - which is why it is regarded as one of the best honeymoon destinations - it is priced as such so many guests split their stay between the two properties.

An adults-only hotel, it is an architectural wonder which sits 600ft above the beach on a picturesque mountainside with mesmerising views of the Caribbean Sea and the Piton mountains - a Unesco world heritage site.

The resort on St Lucia's south-western Caribbean coastline was designed by architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy and it truly is a work of art. His belief is that everything should be integrated as much as possible with the stunning, natural surroundings and he definitely achieves this with both of the resorts.

Each of the 29 rooms at Jade Mountain, known as sanctuaries, have individual bridges. Inside the room itself is truly breathtaking with an infinity pool which, due to the tiling, is a dazzling kaleidoscope of colours surrounded by rugged stoned-faced columns. As it is such an exclusive resort and a favourite of celebrities, privacy is paramount and this is reflected in its construction.

The bedroom, with its covered four-poster bed, includes a living area, bathroom with hot tub and the extravagant private infinity pool. The outside wall is completely absent so you truly feel at one with nature.

Don't worry if you don't like to be woken too early by morning sunlight, as the rooms are stocked with eyemasks and the beds have netting around them. Do expect some small birds to fly into the sanctuary during the day but they simply fly back out again. You're provided with a water pistol to keep visiting birds at bay but the only time you might need to use it is when you are dining in the room.

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Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

You can and quite probably will never leave your sanctuary during your stay as everything is at your beck and call. You have round-the-clock access to a set of butlers who will see to your every need and when you check in, you're provided with a mobile phone to call them at any time.

You are given various menus so you can choose food and drinks throughout your stay, including midnight snacks as well as your main meals.

A stay in the sanctuary is pure bliss as you can spend your days lounging by your pool and swimming, taking in the view of the Pitons, ideally with a bottle of the local Piton beer, or one of their amazing cocktails, in hand.

The historic Pitons are two mountainous volcanic spires. There are treks available to both - Gros Piton is higher at 2,618ft but is an easier climb, while Petit Piton is 2,438ft.

They were central to the religious beliefs of the native Carib people and they provided refuge for slaves who escaped during the days of slavery.

These magnificent mountains are so beautiful you could, and will, stare at them for hours on end.

If you do leave your room, which I did in the interests of this review, the resort restaurant is excellent.

You can enjoy an array of fantastic fresh fish dishes, including Mahi Mahi and jerk shrimp as well as excellent meat, chicken and vegetarian dishes.

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Food Jat ade Mountain, St Lucia

Food Jat ade Mountain, St Lucia

Food Jat ade Mountain, St Lucia

Dishes I enjoyed included all spice grilled shrimp with wakame seaweed and garlic ailo and Caribbean seafood curry which included diver scallops, red snapper and coconut-poached octopus.

Before or after dinner head up to the rooftop Celestial Terrace which is perfect for sunset cocktails or star-gazing. You can also dine at any of Anse Chastanet's restaurants which we did when we were staying in that part of the complex for three nights. The Treehouse Restaurant, just off the lobby, serves breakfast and dinner - again, expect lots of sensational fresh seafood on the menu.

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Food at Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Food at Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Food at Jade Mountain, St Lucia

At the beach, Trou au Diable is a casual restaurant serving lunch and snacks during the day and at night it becomes Apsara, which serves a blend of East Indian and Caribbean cuisines in a romantic candlelit atmosphere. My highlights there were a butter chicken masala and a goat vindaloo.

Emeralds restaurant was a vegetarian eatery but now has gone further and become vegan, so there really is something for everyone.

The carefully-crafted menu has been created by Anse Chastanet's James Beard Award-winning consulting chef Allen Susser, in collaboration with the resort's vegan chef de cuisine, Frank Faucher.

Gourmet delights include crispy cauliflower accress with lime, scallion and St Lucian mango chutney; and bread fruit gnocchi with tomato, lemon thyme and chadon beni pesto.

On Anse Mamin beach, which is a few minutes walk away, enjoy a burger and beer at Jungle Grill, an open-air beach bar with picnic tables. It has a brilliant selection of beef, fish and chicken burgers.

I can honestly say all the food I tasted throughout my stay was first class and showcased Caribbean cooking at its finest.

There are plenty of activities on site, including snorkelling, scuba diving, mountain biking in the jungle, daily yoga (on the rooftop terrace at Jade Mountain and on the beach) and chocolate making.

Starting just 10 yards beyond the water's edge, the reef is home to more than 150 different species of fish with turtles, sea horses, octopus, lobster, parrot fish and more regularly spotted there.

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Soufriere, St. Lucia; snorkelers enjoying the Caribbean with Pitons in the background

Soufriere, St. Lucia; snorkelers enjoying the Caribbean with Pitons in the background

Turner Forte Photography

Soufriere, St. Lucia; snorkelers enjoying the Caribbean with Pitons in the background

We also went mountain biking through the resort's jungle, which offers 12 miles of biking, walking and hiking trails. The trails cater for people of all abilities, including myself who hadn't been on a bike for years.

Your journey will take you past the 18th century ruins of a historic sugar plantation, as well as myriad exotic foliage and wildlife present on the land.

The resident hiking concierge at the resort can arrange your hike around the grounds, the Pitons or elsewhere in the area.

However, not all activities are as strenuous. We took part in some chocolate making in a little chocolate laboratory up at Jade Mountain.

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Chocolate making- Anse Chastenant St Lucia

Chocolate making- Anse Chastenant St Lucia

Chocolate making- Anse Chastenant St Lucia

There are over 2,000 cocoa trees on the resort estates, including the organic farm Emerald's in the Soufrière Hills. The resorts' hand-crafted Emerald Estate Chocolate is also sold in its boutiques but you get lots of free samples when taking part in a chocolate-making session.

And there are nods to the chocolate made on site right across the estate with a special chocolate cocktail list in Jade Mountain.

A wide range of spa services can be enjoyed in the privacy of the Jade Mountain sanctuaries or at Kai en Ciel, the resort's boutique spa and fitness studio.

While we were in Anse Chastanet, which is directly below Jade Mountain, we enjoyed wonderful massages at its Kai Belté Spa on the beach. It all adds to the feeling of complete relaxation at the resort.

It also boasts a beautiful sandy beach with sunloungers shaded by thatched umbrellas. There is no communal swimming pool on site, so if you want to swim, you can do so in the sea, and why wouldn't you?

Our room while there was also fantastic with its sea view, luxury four-poster king-size bed, hand-crafted wooden furniture and wooden louvre walls which opened to a spacious open-walled patio-living room area. Each of Anse Chastanet's 49 rooms come in different styles but common to all (as is the case in Jade Mountain) is the absence of a TV or radio, though there is free wi-fi.

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Caribbean      St. Lucia     Anse Chastanet Beach tented dinner, sunset

Caribbean St. Lucia Anse Chastanet Beach tented dinner, sunset

Caribbean St. Lucia Anse Chastanet Beach tented dinner, sunset

We didn't feel the need to leave the resort but the lovely little town of Soufrière is a short drive or water taxi away. For us we were happy to chill out on the beach, the bar or in the infinity pool taking in the views.

Oprah Winfrey described the Pitons as "one of the top five places to see before you leave this great place called Earth" and it's easy to see why, especially if staying at Jade Mountain or Anse Chastanet.

It is no surprise that the island and these resorts are on so many travellers' bucket-lists. Farewell to paradise for now.

Travel factfile

Nightly rates at Jade Mountain start from $1,110 (£853) per sanctuary based on double occupancy. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 10% VAT. For more information or to book, visit www.jademountain.com

Nightly rates at Anse Chastanet start from $375 (£287) per room based on double occupancy. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 10% VAT. www.ansechastanet.com

Virgin Atlantic and BA fly from London Gatwick to St Lucia. Direct dlights are also available from Manchester.

Belfast Telegraph