It’s a Small Dog’s World at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort

Our Top Pick for a Posh and Pet-Friendly Hotel in Saint Lucia

By Si Si Penaloza

Craving to book some Caribbean eye candy now to have something to look forward to come winter? Smart thinking. When it comes to dog-friendly boutique hotels, Saint Lucia has a few options to spark up a flurry of tail wags. Check into the best of the lot at the whimsical Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, where small dogs and service animals are more than welcome. Best of all, they stay for free! This resort knows the sweetest things come in small packages. Guest canines receive a welcome letter and treats to settle them into the island vibe.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

Perched on the pristine shores of Saint Lucia,Sugar Beach offers the finest amenities for sunseekers and saltwater junkies. There are 96 sumptuous suites, including 28 standalone villas, cottages and residences. Many rooms have a private, ocean-gazing pool to lounge by. The Two- to Four-Bedroom Ocean View Residences offer extra space for dogs to feel at home, or families travelling together. Bedrooms open out onto a stylish terrace with a private infinity pool and designer sunloungers, from which you can gaze out over the shimmering sea and contemplate the big things in life. The cosy, secluded One-Bedroom Residences are ideal for couples and their Coton cuddle bug; each has a large, jungle-sheltered private pool. The hotel does provide dog beds, bowls and food on request.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

PADI divers glide through a spectacular coral kingdom by day, and feast on fresh seafood by night. You’ll appreciate how accommodating the kitchen is, they can alter their line up of Caribbean classics to most allergies and restrictions at the resort’s laid-back Bayside Restaurant. Be sure to save room for the decadent Creole sweets for you, and be sure to bring back a biscuit for Banjo.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

The hotel spoiled us silly, so we barely left the resort grounds. For more active travellers, hike Gros Piton mountain or follow a nature trail through the rainforest; be sure to wear swim gear under your active wear to take a bracing dip in the photo worthy Superman Falls at the end. For history buffs and confectionary hounds, a tour of an 18th-century chocolate-and-sugar plantation provides a signature Saint Lucia experience. Thrill-seekers can zip-line through the jungle canopy, sign up for whale watching, rev up ATVs along the coast, or ride horses through fragrant banana plantations.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

Celebrities have long flocked to this resort for the standout spa. What’s on your treatment wishlist? Anti-ageing facials, firming, inch loss? How about all three in one sun-kissed week? Tackle that middle-aged spread at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, located at the foot of St. Lucia’s UNESCO-listed Petit Piton. Just don’t let your pooch lick your face for at least 24 hours while the serums take full effect!

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

Spending an afternoon at its Rainforest Spa is a little like hiding away in a childhood tree house, but with lush terry-cloth robes and top-shelf facial serums. Other grown-up perks include a relaxation pavilion and a monolithic Mesoamerican steam dome, known as a temazcal, that is a nod to the island’s earliest settlers. The steam is said to cleanse the respiratory and digestive tracts, improve blood circulation and ease muscular concerns.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

With volcanic springs and cocoa plantations nearby, the venue is a natural fit for a more earthen approach. All-natural treatments leverage the bounty of the island. Who knew the humble banana could tighten and smooth slackened skin? The spa also uses aloe vera to soothe, coconut to exfoliate, and creamy cocoa butter to hydrate.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

The spa has two couples treatment rooms with private outdoor heated pools to unravel in. For the ultimate couple’s hedonism, try the Sulfur Seduction experience which includes a soothing treatment in nearby sulfuric springs, a trip to the hypnotic Piton waterfalls and a back massage. Explore the world’s only ‘drive-in’ volcano at the Sulphur Springs near Soufrière – filled with bubbling hot springs and shooting steam – with a refreshing and purifying mud bath to write home about. Talk about playful and profound bonding all at once!

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

To enhance your break, splurge on one of the beach villas, complete with hammock. The ivory sand is stunning and the water is impossibly translucent, with a long, meandering seabed full of coral and marine life. With not a swell in sight to contend with, which staff says is the norm, snorkelling at Sugar Beach is the meditative exercise it’s meant to be.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

The pool scene here is more serene than social; there’s a large, heated outdoor pool for all guests by the main hotel, which offers pretty smashing views of the Piton mountains. Be ready when the sun goes down; this is when the resort gets lively. Pack your best caftans and cocktail attire for the nightly Creole feasts at the restaurant. Think rum-flambéed crayfish, coconut shrimp, and Zarzuela, a Spanish-inflected fish stew to swoon over. A plantation-to-plate philosophy rules the roost here to great effect.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

For fine spirit aficionados, the hotel has three bars where you can order perfectly chilled cocktails. Palm Court Lounge is where you want to be in the early evening for a pre-dinner pinot noir. For a more designer setting, Cane Bar has all the answers when it comes to rum. Ask the ‘rummelier’ for his pick of the Caribbean’s finest.

 Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group

This is the kind of ultra chic haven that retains an easygoing islander stance, breezy days go by guests of all stripes – from four legged lounge chair lovers to the most discerning diners and divers. This inclusive attitude extends to its array of villas and residences, too; the pampered stays are a great fit for twosomes, families of four or even one man and his small Shiba Inu.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, at Sugar Beach, Val des Pitons, Soufriere, St. Lucia; 758-456-8000; viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/sugarbeach