St. Lucia

St. Lucia has made major strides in the past few years to earn a slot among the top Caribbean tourist destinations. There were no signs of that momentum slowing down this past year as news of ongoing and future developments, as well as new airlift, surfaced in bulk.

If you haven’t been able to digest it all, or you simply prefer a cheat sheet of announcements, Travel Agent compiled some of the most newsworthy items to come out of St. Lucia in 2008.

cap maison st. lucia

Oceanview Villa Suite roof terrace at Cap Maison in St. Lucia

St. Lucia to Get First Tides

In early summer 2009, Kor Hotel Group will transform Jalousie Plantation into the island’s first Tides resort with an extensive $100 million renovation.

Cap Maison Opens

Cap Maison recently completed its three-phase project and fully opened to the public in December. Cap Maison is set on a four-acre, cliff-top parcel of land and is just minutes north of popular Rodney Bay, known for its restaurants, shopping and nightlife. There are 50 air-conditioned suites and guest rooms. The Villa Suites have living and dining areas, outdoor showers and private pools, which are located either on the ground floor or on a private rooftop terrace. Earlier in 2008, Cap Maison was accepted as a member of Preferred Boutique, one of the five brands of the Preferred Hotel Group—a collection of independent hotels.

Calabash Cove Debuts

Situated on four acres across Bonaire Bay, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa opened last month. The new boutique hotel is composed of Water’s Edge Cottages and Manor House Suites with ocean views, and features a 100-foot freshwater pool, full-service spa, gym, restaurant, bar and resort shop.

Le Paradis to Open This Winter

On Praslin Bay, the Le Paradis Beach, Golf & Marina Resort is a multi-phased luxury residential resort that will feature the Westin Le Paradis St. Lucia Residences, a Greg Norman signature golf course, an internationally branded spa and various other luxury amenities. Phase one of the project is slated to open this winter.

Villa Beach Cottages Expand

In August, Villa Beach Cottages, in the Castries area of St. Lucia, completed a nearly one-year renovation and expansion program. The additions consist of 10 new villa suites, including six deluxe one-bedroom suites and four deluxe two-bedroom suites. The villa suites feature living and dining rooms and large furnished balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The deluxe one-bedroom suites include bathrooms and in-room Jacuzzi tubs with an ocean view.

St. Lucia’s First Paintball Facility

Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa has recently opened the Caribbean’s first paintball facility, The Zone. Additionally, the resort has just announced the completion of renovations to its fourth-floor guest rooms and a new pool bar.

Ti Kaye Village Resort Opens New Spa

Ti Kaye Village Resort opened the Kai Koko Spa in November. Built at the cliff’s edge with views of Anse Cochon and the azure sea below, the spa includes three treatment rooms made from coconut and local bamboo trees and a relaxation/meditation room with a private Jacuzzi tub. Treatments will feature indigenous, organic ingredients from around the island.

New Flights

American Airlines’ nonstop flight between JFK and St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport returned on November 20. Starting January 31, American will begin an additional flight from Miami.

Chastanet Challenges ACTS

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Chairman (and St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation) Sen. Allen Chastanet delivered a powerful opening address at the Annual Caribbean Tourism Summit (ACTS) in June, calling on delegates to stop living in a “fantasy world” where everything would work itself out and start taking regional marketing seriously.

Starting Year on Right Note

With just a few weeks until Caribbean Marketplace 2009, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) was already reporting that registration for buyer and supplier delegates has increased at least 6 percent over the same time last year, with nearly 1,000 delegates registered. Caribbean Marketplace 2009, hosted by CHTA along with the St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association and the St. Lucia Tourist Board, will be held January 18-20, in Gros Islet, St. Lucia.