Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia

[Photo: Courtesy of Jade Mountain]

The design is as stunning as the resort is sustainable, requiring nearly no HVAC, minimal electricity, drawing water almost completely by gravity, and feeding guests locally grown, organic foods.

“I wanted to create individualized spatial environments that would enable guests to forget the fact they’re in a hotel room—and in essence to forget every preconception and to experience the psychology of a dynamic and monumental space on an intuitive and primal emotional level,” says architect/owner Nick Troubetzkoy about Jade Mountain, a popular destination for St. Lucia honeymoons.

Set into 600 gorgeous tropical acres, the 90,000-square-foot resort has been meticulously designed into the mountainside, offering an exceptional view of the Pitons, two mountainous volcanic plugs rising 2,530 feet high. To emphasis the view, and offer the best air quality, “rooms” at Jade Mountain resort have no exterior wall.

“We aimed to give our guests the feeling of entering a private space fully integrated into the island’s ecology, where they could simply relax, breathe in the air while basking in the surroundings and enjoying a wonderful sense of calm and peace—versus being boxed into a traditional hotel room breathing recirculated, machine-processed air.” 

Architect Nick Troubetzkoy about Jade Mountain

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Stunning and Sustainable

The design is as stunning as the resort is sustainable, requiring nearly no HVAC, minimal electricity, drawing water almost completely by gravity, and feeding guests locally grown, organic foods.

Due to the open wall design, the majority of rooms require no heating or air-conditioning. The stunning view replaces the need for televisions (which are absent from the entire site as well as radios and telephones). And the use of outdoor bridges and pathways, versus hallways, require only natural lighting during the day. Wildlife-friendly yellow lighting is used at night.

Water is drawn from a 2.7 million–gallon aqueduct built in the 1700s by French plantation owners. The brilliantly designed reservoir harvests water only when the river overflows and is still completely functional. A single-stage primary lift pump is used at first and then gravity fed to the hotel.

Less than 20 minutes from the St. Lucia resort is Jade Mountain’s Emerald Farm, where they grow organic produce, vegetables, micro-greens, fruits, spices, nuts, and herbs for the resort kitchens. They also care for more than 2,000 cocoa trees and craft their own chocolate onsite.


The government of St. Lucia has committed to generating 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 (geothermal, wind, and solar). However, the island currently generates almost no renewable power and has not created a plan for independent commercial operations to do so feasibly. If Jade Mountain wanted to introduce solar power, they would need to completely move off the grid.

“We’re not allowed to mix electricity use with the utility company, which makes moving to renewable energy near impossible,” says Carl Hunter, the property manager at Jade Mountain. Not only would they need to move completely off-grid, they would need to have their own diesel-generated redundant system. According to Hunter, the government, which owns 37% of the utility company, is sitting on more energy than they can currently sell and reluctant to permit individual renewable energy systems.

Jade Mountain resort


Earning Gold

Regardless of energy obstacles, the properly was still able to reach LEED Gold, the first Caribbean hotel to do so. The resort operates a wastewater treatment plant on-site, uses low-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads, and has its own rainwater-fed water purification plant system that irrigates a nursery that in turn propagates thousands of tropical plants for landscaping. Additionally they were a partner in creating the Soufriere Marine Management Authority, which led to a beautiful marine reserve. Management continues to innovate and look for new solutions to operate sustainability.

The Green Building Council adjudicators that awarded the LEED Gold rating said, “This is a very impressive accomplishment for such a unique project, and we congratulate you and your team on implementing some pioneering, nontraditional approaches to the LEED prerequisites and credits.”

For more information, visit jademountain.com.

Galaxy Pool Sanctuary at Jade Mountain

The Galaxy Pool Sanctuary at Jade Mountain has beautiful mountain views. [Photo: Courtesy of Jade Mountain]

If you want to see more sustainable hotels, visit our roundup of the most cutting-edge green hotels.