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Life is sweet on St Lucia's Sugar Beach by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

I recently wrote about a rather unusual spa treatment I had at Sugar Beach in St Lucia. What I didn’t mention was that I was at the resort for a site inspection of what will eventually be the Glenconner Beach Residences, a collection of super-luxurious private villas named after Lord Glenconner who founded the resort, then called Jalousie, in the early Eighties.Colin Tennant, or Lord Glenconner, as he preferred to be known, was the man who famously transformed the mosquito-infested island of Mustique into a holiday paradise for the aristocracy, and he was hoping to do the same with this former sugar plantation wedged between the pitons. But he never quite pulled it off and after a couple of years Hilton took over. Tennant kept a portion of the estate where he lived in a hilltop villa styled after an Indian palace. I went to drinks there once and I’d never seen anything quite like it: beautiful, but totally mad. Roger Myers, founder of Café Rouge and Punch Taverns, bought Jalousie in 2005, and spent seven years and a reputed £100m transforming it into Sugar Beach. Tennant, who died in 2010, didn’t live long enough to see the end result though I’m sure he would have approved as the resort now oozes style and barefoot glamour in a way it never did when he or Hilton were running the show. The beach bar, beach restaurant and pool area are glorious; the food is excellent; the Rainforest Spa is gorgeous; and my Superior Luxury Villa, perched on a hillside above the powder-white beach, came with the services of a butler. Give me Sugar Beach over Mustique any day.

But there is one sad postscript. When Tennant died he left almost everything to his manservant of many years, Kent Adonai. From what I can gather, after much wrangling and a court case, a deal was eventually done and the estate has been returned to the Glenconner family. However, the Indian villa stands abandoned and folorn, at the mercy of the harsh Caribbean climate. If only Roger Myers could get his clever hands on it – it would be a genuine Glenconner villa to add to his collection.

Further information, Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St Lucia

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