Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.
As if dramatic volcanic peaks, clear Caribbean waters, and waterfall-dotted rainforests weren't enough of a draw to the sun-soaked island of Saint Lucia, the small island's luscious south-western coast, Soufrière is also chocolate country.
The sweet treat's history so engrained in the culture, you find it in food, drink, and beauty treatments. This isn’t your everyday store-bought chocolate, though—it's pure, straight from the bean stuff.
Related: Your Own Private Caribbean Islands
Among the islands 140-plus cacao estates, many offer bean-to-bar plantation tours, chocolate-making classes, and chocolate-infused restaurant menus (Boucan by Hotel Chocolat incorporate cacao into every meal, from cacao gazpacho to ravioli and dessert, of course) allowing you to immerse yourself into the history of Saint Lucia’s cacao production.
The most luxurious way to get a feel for the small Caribbean island’s cacao heritage though is by spa. From facials to wraps, body polishes to massages—the bean is packed with antioxidants and vital minerals, making for a myriad of uses.
Kick off your visit with a cacao-infused cocktail or hot cocoa tea (made from freshly grated cocoa sticks), and then once you’ve had a taste of the island’s chocolate-y past, real chocoholics can indulge in some cacao decadence at these spas.
Sugar Beach's multi-level tree house spa forces you to reconnect with nature. To enter you walk through a calming, covered walkway with no sound but your footsteps (the hotel's associate director of marketing, Armin Asceric said this was to feel like you’re "walking into mother nature’s womb”.) Each treatment room is its own tree house that connects to the spa’s relaxation lounges by way of wooden walkways. Listen to the birdsong and the breeze while you're getting the "Chocolate Scrub". It harnesses the nourishing properties of nearby cocoa plantations, and polishes, massages, and hydrates skin.
Built around the island's oldest cocoa plantation, Rabot Estate, eco-conscious Boucan by Hotel Chocolat infuses every element of the hotel with chocolate touches (you'll get a pick from the chocolate-infused cocktail menu on arrival). Catch tropical breezes and views of the Pitons at Hotel Chocolat’s all-cocoa focused Cocoa Juvenate spa. Treatments include cocoa massages, cacao body exfoliate and moisturize, detox body wraps, and cocoa facials.
American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property Jade Mountain Resort (one of the world's best hotels for jaw-dropping views) has your chocolatey needs covered. Chocolate facials, Mocha Massages, and perhaps sweetest of all—the "Chocolate Delight" are just some of the treatments available, the latter includes "decadently warm then cooling chocolate applied in layers, stimulating endorphins and adding minerals to the skin to awaken your senses and bringing them into pure harmony".
Ask for the "Sweet Surrender Chocolate Wrap" at adult-only Ti Kaye's Kai Koko Spa. It's a 90-minute treatment made up of full body scrub and mask sweetened by the scent of local cacao, paired with a therapeutic head massage and moisture-rich full body hydration.
If you'd rather imbibe chocolate than bathe in it, then try the "Romance Ritual" at Jade Mountain Resort's sister property. This couples spa treatment begins with "loving" aromatherapy foot soaks followed by a dry body brushing to remove dead skin cells and stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation. The couple is then treated to candlelit duet aromatherapy massages. The ritual ends with an enticing chocolate platter presentation.