Gay Globe Trekker

Rainforest Relaxation

Coming Up: Precarious driving conditions almost keep Jon Paul from Jalousie Plantation's tree house spa. Filmed on-location in St. Lucia.

Sometime after the seventh hairpin curve on the precarious road between St. Lucia’s “bustling” city Castries and the remote town of Soufriere, I pulled the car over and looked at Chef, exhausted.

“Honey, there’s no way I can do this again.  I just can’t come back in two days even if it is for a spa treatment.”

“The sad life of a travel writer,” he quipped.

Local beer to calm driving nerves

Indeed, it’s often hard for people to sympathize with the Green Globe Trekker.  But as much as I love the independence of renting a car and exploring Caribbean islands, St. Lucian driving conditions were getting to me.  Driving on the left side like the British, which had never given me fits in countries like New Zealand, was now wearing on me—evidently, I had a hard time judging proper distance on the passenger’s side.  Chef, already prone to overly dramatic gestures, seemed to be in a constant state of panic that I was about to hit something with his door.

“Don’t worry.  It’s just a Buchmeyer driving trait.  My Dad always looked like he was going to veer off the side of the road,” I said.

Sure, I plunged our rental car off a small cliff-like edge just outside our rented apartment—something it took the owner and his nephew over an hour of machinations to correct.  Was he going to hold that against me for the rest of the trip?

With my driving nerves shattered, it was looking highly unlikely that I would make the trip again, even if to check out Jalousie Plantation’s newly opened Rainforest Spa built in tree house treatment gazebos.

My worries dissolved in minutes, after leading my apologies to the resort’s topnotch PR director Molly.

“We’ll just arrange a boat transfer.  How’s that sound?” she announced.

Heavenly, I thought.  Doubly so since I always say you can’t truly experience a Caribbean island from land—you need to see it from the water.

Pulling up to Jalousie’s dock, on a beach nestled between St. Lucia’s iconic peaks Les Piton, made me feel like I was in another world.  Fantasy Island, perhaps?  Thankfully, there was no Tattoo to greet us, just some lovely cocktails and fresh fish for lunch in their newly renovated Bayside Restaurant.  Molly explained that last while last year’s Hurricane Tomas had left serious damage to the property—around 50 villas were declared inoperable after surviving a landslide—the owners took it as an opportunity to upgrade almost every aspect of the resort.  The renovated rooms I saw were elegantly cool, and the new Cane Bar looks like it’s been lifted directly from South Beach.  But the spot that took my breath away was the Rainforest Spa.

Admittedly, I was a little worried that the idea of a tree house spa might end up feeling like a theme park.  Boy was I wrong.

The interconnected series of treatment rooms and relaxation areas are built on stilts in the trees to protect the rainforest area.  Better yet, a stream flows beneath the rooms providing a natural soundtrack of relaxation.  My Detox Treatment wrap featured all organic products; many of them sourced locally like fresh ginger and black pepper.  The therapist was outstanding, noticing immediately that my right shoulder needed some extra tension release (driving problems, anyone?), and altered the treatment to allow for more time for a massage on that area.  When I started to look a little twitchy and nervous—sometimes wraps can make me feel claustrophobic—she knew it was time to wrap up.

Back at the beach, Chef was energized from his afternoon of snorkeling.  We grabbed a couple of the local beers, named Pitons, of course, and readied ourselves for the water commute back to civilization.

Chef on the commute home

To celebrate the opening of the Rainforest Spa, The Jalousie Plantation has a “Spa Break Away” package.  Stay for 3 nights in any room category and the 4th night is free.  The resort also includes a complimentary Rainforest Spa signature Bamboo massage, and manicure or pedicure per booking.  Plus, complimentary daily full breakfast for two adults.   Rates start at just $270 per night (excluding tax and service charges) for a newly renovated Luxury Sugar Mill Room with private walled garden and plunge pool.  These rooms looked stunning to me.  Valid through July 31, 2011.  Email

This entry was posted in Featured, Gay Globe Trekker and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.