Review of Têt Rouge Resort, St Lucia
When is a resort not a resort? When it’s Têt Rouge, a wonderful little cluster of rooms on the island of St Lucia where you can live the Caribbean Good Life. Tucked away on the island’s peaceful west coast, in the very shadow of St Lucia’s iconic Gros Piton volcano, this peaceful spot is definitely a hidden gem – only a rainbow-bright sign points the way down a rough track to Têt Rouge, which is shaded from view by the green fronds of mango and cocoa trees. Once you’ve made your way here, you’ll find yourself warmly welcomed to a small but perfectly formed hotel with just six rooms, scattered around a very inviting saltwater infinity pool that looks out at lush palms and the far-off sea – the perfect picture frame view of the sunset, which graces this side of the island with hues of pink and orange.
Feeling stressed? Hole up here for a few days – the vibe is tremendously relaxed at Têt Rouge. The friendly owners call this ‘a haven of tranquillity’, and it’s hard to argue. This pint-sized resort is adults-only, and there’s only room for a dozen or so guests, so nothing feels busy or rushed. The pace of life here is wonderfully relaxed – wake up slow in one of the roomy, cream-coloured bedrooms, which are graced indoors with big four-poster beds hung with white netting and outdoors with brightly-tiled outdoor showers. Have a breakfast on the breezy terrace – your table will be laden with local eggs, fresh fruit and dollops of coconut jam that I’m still dreaming about now. Then the super-knowledgeable staff can recommend a string of tempting things to do with your day (or you can choose to do nothing at all). Come evening, the vibe is just as chilled – expect live jazz and delicious homestyle Creole cooking when the thatched terrace transforms into Ti Coco restaurant.
Fancy going exploring? Just down the hill from Têt Rouge is the hidden paradise of Anse L’Ivrogne beach. Here are practically deserted white sands (we saw just two other people there, plus a few inquisitive baby goats) fringed with palm trees, watched over by a volcano and lapped by the Caribbean sea – I’ve rarely spent the day anywhere more heavenly.
If you’ve had a few days of being a beach bum and you really want to work up a sweat, you can spend a day climbing that jungle-y volcano that dominates the view at Têt Rouge – Gros Piton. Gros Piton (and it’s slightly shorter neighbour, Petit Piton) stands guard over St Lucia at just shy of 800 metres high. While Petit Piton is best attempted by experienced climbers, anyone reasonably fit can tackle the painfully steep two-hour hike to the top of the bigger peak, where you’ll be rewarded with amazing, far-reaching views of the island’s coast, green cocoa plantations and brightly-roofed fishing villages. You have to hike with a local guide when trekking this lofty volcanic, but it’s well worth it – they’ll point out the indigenous flora (our guide spotted mongeese popping up from under rocks) and help you navigate the sometimes vertiginous steps up the mountainside.
Come on board – if you do nothing else at Têt Rouge, make sure you catch a ride on the good ship Gone Tropical, the hotel’s very own catamaran. This white beauty of a boat sails along the St Lucia coast of an afternoon, stopping at Sugar Beach, where you can snorkel your heart out with angelfish and moray eels, play at jumping off the side of the boat into the deep or just do as we did and read a book on the boat’s trampoline with a rum punch in hand, Petit Piton keeping guard over you from the shore.
Once you’re home again from your piratical adventures, you can toast yet another incredible sun setting over the far-off island of St Vincent from Têt Rouge’s pool, or from one of the hammocks strung up outside each room. It really was a wrench to leave this slice of paradise for the busy world beyond its tropical treetops.