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St. Lucia On a RollJanuary 24, 2011 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
|The “fourth wall” in each of Jade Mountain’s rooms is the view of the Pitons and the sea.|
St. Lucia has been quick to recover from the trail of destruction left behind recently by Hurricane Tomas. Despite a 30 percent drop in November arrivals, Travel Agent learned from Sen. Allen Chastanet, the minister of tourism and civil aviation, that the island nation is working toward ensuring a bright future.
Besides upgrading the island’s infrastructure so that it can withstand another such storm in the future, according to Chastanet, in the next few years, a seven-Jetway terminal will be unveiled at Hewanorra Airport. Groundbreaking for that project has been scheduled for this month, and its completion for 2013. With the new terminal, St. Lucia seeks to position itself as a hub for nearby islands such as St. Vincent, Grenada, Martinique and Dominica, said Chastanet.
In addition, the island just opened its first casino. The Treasure Bay Casino has 257 slot machines (90 percent of which are penny slots), nine blackjack tables, one craps table, one roulette table, 31 TVs in the bar and three poker tables in a private area. The casino is in the Bay Walk mall in the heart of Rodney Bay, the area of the island with the most vibrant nightlife.
So while the future looks bright, there’s plenty for your clients to discover in St. Lucia right now, beginning with these beautiful resort properties:
Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa at Rodney Bay
The 32-room Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa has become a favorite among visitors because of its classic elegance and superb location in the Rodney Bay area.
I stayed in room #610, a one-bedroom suite. It had a full, separate kitchen and living room as well as an ocean-view balcony—and a bathroom almost as large as the bedroom. Book this resort for families since it has some spacious rooms that can also be connected with more than one room.
Agents should contact Cheryl Gustave (011-758-457-8511, [email protected]), executive assistant manager/front office manager at the property.
Catch the Sun Indoors at Jade Mountain
At the ultra-luxe Jade Mountain resort, each room has only three walls. Without the fourth wall, your clients can catch the sun even as they relax in the lawn chairs of the living room. A private infinity pool extends from the bed, which is mosquito-netted, to the front of the living room. From the edge of the pool, guests can see the pride of St. Lucia, the Pitons—the gigantic, twin green mountains—and to the right is the sea.
The 29-room resort is owned by Karolin and Nick Troubetzkoy, who also own the Anse Chastanet, built in the 1970s. Unlike its older sister resort, every room at the next-door Jade Mountain comes with a private pool and a butler. Rooms even in the lowest category have a Jacuzzi. Rates range from $1,200 to about $2,300 a night.
Agents should contact Karolin Troubetzkoy (011-758-459-7000, [email protected]), executive director of marketing and operations at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain.
Stonefield Estate to Get Agent-Friendlier
An up-and-coming property to have on your radar is the 17-villa Stonefield Estate Villa Resort & Spa. A former lime and coconut plantation, it was turned into a hotel about five years ago. Only 13 percent of all bookings last year were made through an agent, but the resort has started to heavily market in the U.S., so that is expected to change.
This is one of those “disconnect” luxury resorts where no TVs or landlines can be found in the rooms, although cell phones can be requested upon check-in. It will be a little more connected by June, when all the rooms get iPod docking stations, said Ernie George, the property’s general manager.
There is no beach on the property, but Stonefield uses the nearby beach at the Jalousie Plantation resort and plans to add a path from the resort to the beach sometime in the near future, said George. Also planned are an additional 13 villas within the next two years.
We saw the Hillside Ocean View room, which was impressive with views of one of the two Piton mountains. The views from the three-bedroom villa’s outdoor plunge pool and hammock are what make the room worth booking. There are four of these rooms at the resort and they start at around $650 a night.
Recommend this resort to affluent honeymooners or couples in general. Commission ranges from 15 to 20 percent based on the volume of the booking, said George. Agents can contact him at 011-758-459-5648 or [email protected].
One of St. Lucia’s best luxury resorts, Ladera, sprung back into action on December 15, only weeks after Hurricane Tomas hit the island. With a name like Ladera, which means “hillside” in Spanish, you can probably guess how amazing the views of the nearby landscape are.
Like Jade Mountain, none of the rooms have a fourth wall, allowing for some fantastic views of the Pitons. Also, as at Jade Mountain and Stonefield, there are no TVs or telephones in the rooms.
We saw one of eight Hilltop Dream Suites, room #A-1. (All of the rooms have plunge pools, with some larger than others.) The main selling point of this room is the location of the bed, the pool and the views. The bed sits close to the “fourth wall,” so you wake up looking directly at the Pitons.
Book this resort for affluent honeymooners looking to disconnect for a while. Agents should get in touch with Ermin Joseph (011-758-459-6614 or 866-290-0978, [email protected]), front office manager.
|Ladera’s rooms boast a view of the Pitons from the bed and a plunge pool.|