St. Lucia's busy year on the hotel front continues as we check out the hottest all-inclusive news, from new swim-up suites at a popular resort to a new, luxury property at Coconut Beach. We also take a look ahead at two luxury EP hotels that are expected to open two to four years down the road.

Sandals Halcyon Beach Launches Swim-up Suites

Sandals Halcyon Beach in St. Lucia recently announced the debut of its new Beachfront Crystal Lagoon suites, which are available to book now. These romantic suites are steps away from one of St. Lucia’s finest beaches, with convenient swim-up access from the Crystal Lagoon pool.

The new rooms offer views of the Caribbean Sea and the tropical landscape surrounding Sandals Halcyon Beach. Each patio has a tranquility soaking tub, around which couples and other guests can draw privacy curtains.

Inside the new Butler Elite escapes, guests will find an airy master bedroom with contemporary hardwood furnishings, a king-size bed and a large HD Smart TV. The lavish spa-style bathrooms include a soaking tub, oversized walk-in showers, dual backlit mirrors, his-and-hers sinks and mosaic tile accents.

This isn’t Sandals’ only big development in St. Lucia this year.

In May, the company officially unveiled nine new Over-the-Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalows at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. These new over-the-water bungalows offer glass floor panels, a private outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub for two, a king-size bed and over-water hammocks.

The bathrooms are equipped with his and hers sinks, a large backlit mirror adorned with mosaic tile, and a walk-in rain shower. Outside, the private patio is also equipped with an extended sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers, and a bistro set for two. Twenty-four-hour room service and Butler Elite service, which unobtrusively handles every detail of the guests’ vacation, are included.

Meet Serenity by Coconut Bay

One of Travel Agent’s favorite four-star all-inclusives in St. Lucia now has a five-star sister resort. All suites at Serenity at Coconut Bay, the new neighbor of Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, have plunge pools, custom-made mahogany king beds, soaking tubs and separate rain showers in en suite bathrooms.

In addition to butler service, amenities include in-suite gourmet dining and 24-hour room service, fully stocked and personalized wet bars, private in-suite check-in and check-out, Bose entertainment centers, Molton Brown toiletries and complimentary Wi-Fi.

We were told the best overall suites here are the Grande Plunge Pool Butler Suites, 1,900-square-foot corner units featuring a patio deck, a plunge pool with a waterfall, an outdoor shower, a gazebo and a lounge area with a fully stocked, wrap-around wet bar. The large, furnished living area includes a 55-inch flat-screen TV while the four-poster mahogany bed houses a rise-up 42-inch TV for bedtime viewing.

Premium Plunge Pool Butler Suites are comparable, if slightly smaller (1,500-plus square feet) and similar amenities are provided in the 1,250-square-foot Plunge Pool Butler Suites.

Although each of Serenity’s 36 butler suites has its own plunge pool, advise clients to take a plunge in the resort’s 3,000-square-foot main pool, with a 1,000-square-foot lap pool at its center.

The two-tier design offers 24 in-water loungers framing the lap pool while private Pool Cabanas and aqua circle beds are great relaxation spots. In the distance, guests can see St. Lucia’s Maria Islands Nature Reserve. Agents should note that the pool and the entire 36-suite resort can be taken over for private events.

For spa lovers, most Serenity guests prefer to choose from a selection of in-suite treatments. However, should guests prefer to experience an actual spa facility, the oceanfront Kai Mer Spa at sister resort Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa administers therapies in six air-conditioned treatment rooms with private showers or three private beachfront cabanas.

The 11,000-square-foot facility also houses two saunas, two steam rooms, a relaxation lounge, a changing room and lockers in addition to a full-service hair and beauty salon. Tip: Spa services can be booked upon arrival by a Serenity butler for clients staying in an appropriate suite.

For guests of both the Serenity and Coconut Bay resorts, Executive Chef Dennis Boitnott is redefining the farm-to-table fine dining experience at The Greathouse with pan-Caribbean menus and ingredients; a nominal surcharge applies. For meat lovers, the kurobuta pork chop is topped with smoked pork belly, while a tamarind Worcestershire glaze adds zing to the char-grilled, bone-in cowboy steak, and a mango mignonette dresses a smoked marlin, conch and shrimp seafood cocktail.

We were told that the 10-seat Chef’s Table at The Greathouse is a must. It celebrates the cuisine of St. Lucia prepared by local chef Aunty Debbie.

Served in a private dining room, this tasty meal highlights the bounty of the island, with the diner’s choice of chicken, fish or beef served with dishes made with breadfruit, pumpkin, okra, eggplant and sweet potato. Serenity guests can also dine at any of the restaurants at Coconut Bay Resort.

Coconut Bay Beach Resort Triples Its F&B Options

The all-inclusive Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa has increased its dining options from three to nine, added free Wi-Fi in all rooms and included top-shelf liquor in the room rate. The restaurants provide a variety of culinary experiences, including the aforementioned Greathouse at Serenity, unlimited à la carte dining at three other specialty eateries, late-night snacks served from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Beach Grill & Pizzeria, and a 24-hour Coffee and Tea Corner.

The new poolside Jerk Treehouse at Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa has been constructed around a large sea grape tree.

New restaurants include the poolside Jerk Treehouse, constructed around a large sea grape tree. Chefs in the top-floor kitchen grill pork and chicken, and gently prepare the day’s catch in foil, all rubbed with a secret jerk marinade and topped with a choice of sweet and spicy sauces to be mixed and matched.

Veranda is an intimate, alfresco dining venue for adults only. Guests dine by candlelight on Creole-inspired selections, from dasheen and pumpkin to conch and crab. The signature dish, Fresh Catch of the Day, is just that: seafood caught along St. Lucia’s sea by local fishermen.

Fairmont Targets 2019 For New Luxury Hotel

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts recently announced plans for a new luxury hotel, the Fairmont Saint Lucia at Sunset Bay. Expected to open in late 2019, the 120-room property will have 40 private residential villas and occupy 25 acres, including 1,870 feet of beach front, on the island’s southwest coast.

The new Fairmont resort will be 20 minutes from Hewanorra International Airport — which has seen increased airlift catering to luxury travelers in recent years — and will be the island’s southernmost luxury resort, offering access to the destination’s natural landscapes, beaches, waterfalls, rainforest and the famous twin volcanoes known as the Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

WATG and Wimberly Interiors will spearhead the architecture and design of the project, which will aim for a contemporary look with a focus on preserving and enhancing the natural environment, particularly conserving
micro-ecosystems of small mango groves and protecting the beach from tidal erosion.

Built into a natural amphitheater, each of the property’s 120 guestrooms and suites and 40 residential villas will have unobstructed views across the bay. The resort will also have four restaurants and bars; a 9,000-square-foot Fairmont spa; pool facilities, including a main resort pool and one each for children and adults, with cabanas; a private marina with moorings for yachts; and approximately 10,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and function space.

Nearby adventure activities will include paddle surfing, mountain biking and hiking. Guests will also be able to take in the pool or spa, or connect with local culture in the nearby fishing village, the source of many local foods and ingredients on resort menus.

Fairmont Saint Lucia at Sunset Bay will join Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic sister properties Fairmont Royal Pavilion in Barbados, and Bermuda’s Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

Ritz-Carlton Coming in 2021

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC, part of Marriott International, has announced that it has signed a management agreement with Range Developments to open a property on the southern tip of the island in 2021. Like the Fairmont, the 180-room Ritz-Carlton, St. Lucia will be within easy reach of the airport, and will also be in fairly close proximity to the Pitons.

Among the hotel’s many amenities will be ample meeting and group space both indoors and out; multiple dining facilities, all with outdoor seating; a spa that includes an outdoor treatment area; and several swimming pools, including one that will be designated as a quiet relaxation area exclusively for adults.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Lucia is the anchor of a larger development project led by Range Developments, a multi-phase project currently titled the “Black Bay Master Development,” set on a total of 180 acres. The project will be developed under the country’s Citizenship-by-Investment program.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Lucia will be designed and built to the highest standards. The project is estimated to create about 500 jobs on the island during construction, with a similar number once the hotel is operational.

Premium Plunge Pool Butler Suites at the new Serenity at Coconut Bay measure more than 1,500 square feet.

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