Inspired Interviews: Meet the Amazing Owners of the Tropical Rainforest Resort at Crystals, St Lucia
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Welcome to the inspired interview series! In this series we'll interview incredible people with compelling and inspiring stories from across the globe to help you start living your inspired life.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRED LIFE?
The Inspired Life will feature stories that range from survivors of incredible hardships to those who chose to do something extra-ordinary with their time on this planet. We'll learn what it means to live an inspired life; one filled with sense of fulfillment and appreciation for all that it means to be alive.
One important characteristic I expect we'll find with our guests in this new series - none of them appear to be in it for the money. I think most of us realize that money is not the path to happiness. Yes, we need money to live and survive. To buy fun toys and to visit amazing places, but it should be a means to other goals, never the goal in itself.
Of course it's no simple answer to just pick up and leave our jobs, we all have responsibilities, obligations and debts to pay. But my hope with this interview series is that readers are able to find their own way, a path for themselves that leads towards one's own sense of fulfillment.
I think it's clear that there are no short cuts to make your inspired life a reality, but changing your life for the better can all start with a single spark. In fact, it can start with the next decision you make.
The Inspired Interview: Meet Monica and Martin of Crystals St Lucia
Today we interview Monica and Martin, owners of Crystals St Lucia. A resort like no other, located in the jungle mountains of the Caribbean. But before we go right into the interview, lets start with some backstory.
First, what is Crystals St Lucia?
If Monica were answering I'm sure she'd say in her wonderful British accent, "Well it's definitely not a hotel darling!"
And if you've been lucky enough to visit it's mountain jungle location you'd agree Crystals is much more...
"Crystals is a one of a kind Tree House property with a cluster of unique cottages and Villas built into the trees. It is nestled away in the hillside with most spectacular views of the piton mountains, ocean and the picturesque town of Soufriere."
Crystals St Lucia, brimming with Caribbean mystery and island magic, is indeed a one of a kind travel destination. With views where jungle mountains take centre stage, its landscape will fuel your imagination and re-energize any soul.
The piton mountains, set next to the clear turquoise ocean waters off the town of Soufriere, are two alluring jagged tooth mountain peaks that seem lost in a prehistoric time. These mountain peaks are visible in nearly every tree house villa on the grounds.
Wondering what jungle tree house styled villas look like up close?
Well, watch the video below...
The visual beauty was the initial reason we wanted to visit. But then we read the reviews. It was clear the owners took a special pride in welcoming you into their world and I knew we had to experience it for ourselves. But first, we had to figure out how to get there.
It was October of 2017 when we visited. Arriving late in St Lucia's industrial port and capital city of Castries (photo above), we spent the night at a local Inn. We had taken the advice not to attempt the drive to Soufriere by night, but we didn't exactly understand why, after-all, it was only 1.2 hours drive to our destination.
At sunrise we picked up our car rental and made our way towards Soufriere on a highway that began deceptively easy. But it wouldn't take long before we realized we were in for a unique driving experience. See map squiggles below. Yes thats the highway.
As we began our ascent into the jungle the wide highway road narrowed into a two way lane with endless turns.
We drove slowly, carefully, and took each turn as if it was our last, while a few less patient and potentially crazy locals raced by as if part of an episode of Top Gear. But just drive slow and you'll be fine, or catch a ferry to Soufriere for the easiest way there.
With the road happily behind us, we found ourselves at the front entrance of Crystals resort. Greeted by the warm and amazing smile of Monica, the co-owner standing at its entrance.
Monica pointing out the many breathtaking views and incredible craftsmanship Crystals was built on, somewhere between imagination and reality, where the jungle and villas merge as one. The pictures did not do it justice.
We then strolled back to the main building, a massive treetop villa of its own, with a winding stone and concrete path that led to a second level open aired lounge and restaurant where rum punch was served nightly.
Decorated with influences from the Caribbean, Africa, India and Asia, the open aired lounge also included a fully stocked bar, and above it, an internet cafe patio that looked out towards the pitons. But the most spectacular features for me were the villas.
After the tour, Monica explained that they host a complimentary rum punch social every night in the open aired lounge for guests of the villa. "Come by at 6pm and we'll have a chat and a rum. Martin, my husband, should be free by then and I'm sure share some stories, and maybe play some music for you."
Monica it would turn out, was very modest in her introduction of Martin.
With his keyboard busted due to spilt rum or a champagne mishap, Martin found his guitar and sat with us in the jungle treetop lounge.
That night we quickly dispensed with formalities and took turns sharing personal stories from our lives like old friends would. Maybe it was the wind howling through the jungle, maybe it was the rum punch, but something opened us up to fully embracing the experience. There was something deeply humbling about the stories shared. Something that Alan Watts and I'm sure Martin would say links us all together as a people. As family. And we can't forget about the music.
Martin, one of the best story tellers I have ever encountered on this planet, filled our minds with stories of life, love, loss, and island magic. He asked us to consider new ways to see the world and each other.
He reminded us of all the mystery that exists in this world. A magic that is often difficult to see inside the walls of our concrete cities. A place 20th century Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov predicted humanity would eventually lock themselves in, losing touch with nature and reality itself.
Months later and the stories and perspectives from that trip left a lasting impression on us. The ideas remained like a blueprint, a guide towards the future.
After we left St Lucia, I found it difficult to explain it all to friends and family back in Canada. And naturally, a growing list of questions entered my mind:
How did Monica and Martin do it? How did they create a place as wonderful as this?
What makes Crystals a success? Why did we love it so much?
What advice can they give to those of us looking to make a change in our lives?
I had an idea on some of the answers, but I asked if they'd agree to the interview, which they humbling and thankfully did.
Here are their replies to my questions, written by Monica, with some inserted ideas of my own for added context.
1. Monica - When did you first decide to go out on your own and build Crystals St Lucia? What was the moment or catalyst?
Monica: "I had been working on island as the general manager for many prestigious hotels for over a decade. The time came for change. I wanted to share my own vision and create something unique to St Lucia. 13 years ago Martin and I decided to take the plunge and that is when Crystals was born."