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Sun, sand and romance
St. Lucia is for made for l-o-v-e
By TRACY McLAUGHLIN, QMI Agency
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View from a room at Cap Maison, a luxe resort on St. Lucia. (TRACY McLAUGHLIN/QMI Agency)

    SOUFRIERE, St. Lucia -- We can always dream, can't we?

    Luxurious resort hideaways, sunsets on a glittering blue sea, tall frosty cocktails almost too pretty to drink, beach sand you can warm your toes in and -- of course -- TV stars. The gorgeous little tropical island of St. Lucia has all of this.

    Considered one of the world's most romantic destinations, this is the setting ABC chose this spring for The Bachelor's Jake Pavelka to pick his final three potential mates and eventually propose to one, Vienna Giradi.

    With prices ranging from $750 to $3,000 per night, a tour through some of the island's exclusive resorts may be all we can dream of, although if you keep your eyes open for special packages, your just might come true.

    Rising majestically above the 243-hectare beachfront resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain is truly spectacular.


    And although the TV couple split after the show's finale, when I walked past the spot where Jake proposed popped the question I imagined myself sitting on the private patio with the world's most handsome man -- my husband, of course -- with tropical breezes blowing through my hair.

    Rooms at the resort are open to the sea and provide unbelievable ocean views from the balcony bedroom. Although there is no exterior wall, because the resort is built into the side of Jade mountain, it's completely private.

    Each room has its own infinity swimming pool, which looks like the edge drops right over into the never-ending sea.

    General manager Peter Vin Paul is convinced this is where true love should begin.

    "If you plan your own wedding, you don't sleep the night before... If you let us plan your wedding here, you don't sleep the night after," he quipped.

    Just days before, Bachelor Jake presented roses to his final three ladies at another fairytale-like resort -- Cap Maison, set atop a private oceanfront bluff with magical sunset views.

    General manager Ross Stevenson was on hand for the TV shoot.

    "It was amazing to watch," Stevenson said as we sipped cocktails on the seaside while waiting for our waiter to bring our meal (a delectable stuffed sea bass and grilled shrimp typical of St. Lucia's French-Caribbean cuisine).

    Another charming resort is the more earthy East Winds Inn, which averages about $650 per day for a quaint little cabin nestled in lush gardens. There are pathways to the sea and guests can snorkel around a small coral reef right off the beach.

    I'm told St. Lucia is known for its coral reefs, and the diving and snorkelling is some of the best in the Caribbean. I spent hours swimming with the somewhat surreal pink, blue and yellow fish.

    Even tree frogs put on a show, singing their shrill love songs all night long -- you might even need earplugs.

    Ah, yes we can dream. But dreams can become reality even for those of us on more realistic budgets.

    There are affordable places to stay on the island such as Rodney Bay, where rooms go for as little as $125 per night.

    And St. Lucia is alive with romance, which anyone can discover for free as they explore this little jewel in the sun.

    This story was posted on Thu, December 16, 2010

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