Unlike some other Caribbean islands, St. Lucia has never been solely about the beach. Its dramatic pair of coastal peaks, the Pitons, ensures that the island is more renowned for its lush volcanic vistas. You can climb these spires, at least the less challenging Gros Piton; swim from the beach that lies between them; or, as most people do, just gaze at them from one of the premier properties located within this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (The outline of Petit Piton is said to look like a sleeping King Kong—once someone pointed it out to me, I couldn’t not see him.)
The resorts Ladera, Jade Mountain and Anse Chasanet boast rooms, suites, and—in the case of Jade Mountain—“sanctuaries” that are missing their fourth walls, a uniquely St. Lucian design that delivers breathtaking panoramic Piton views. Such open-style accommodations make A/C impossible (though the private plunge pools certainly help!), so you may want to opt for the newly renovated and reflagged Viceroy Sugar Beach, with a cove between the Pitons.
Meanwhile, chocolate lovers should check out Rabot Estate, which contains a hotel with a lovely infinity pool, the chocolate-themed restaurant Boucan, and a tree-to-bar experience where guests can learn about the chocolate-making process from seedling to eating. It just so happens that October is St. Lucia’s Chocolate Heritage Month, so look for cocoa plantation tours and cooking classes as well as the hotel specials on offer before the winter high season kicks into gear.