The year of adventure is in full swing throughout the Caribbean, bringing with it an array of experiences and new hotels that aim to please.
We had the privilege of dining with the St. Lucia team during this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace, sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA). Along with giving us a home-cooked meal to the bluesy tunes of a local performer, we got the scoop on what’s new and forthcoming and tips on how planners can woo attendees therein. What’s new in St. Lucia? There’s much to get excited about, as you will soon see.
The Royal Treatment
The Royalton Saint Lucia Resort & Spa just opened on a private cove in Cap Estate. Of the hotel’s 352 rooms, 104 are adults-only, featuring infinity pools and an exclusive seafood grill. Other resort-wide amenities include 24-hour concierge and room service and a full-service spa. Groups will also want to try the resort’s all-inclusive food trucks, a concept that is gaining momentum across the island (the boutique Cap Maison Luxury Resort & Spa sends out emails that contain clues to the whereabouts of its food truck). In this part of the island, groups can charter a yacht for a close-up of the World Heritage Pitons, get down with Gros Islet’s famous Friday Night Street Party or roll up their sleeves for home-style cooking at Spices Cooking Studio.
Butler Swim-Up Suites
Sandals is breaking ground on its fourth resort in St. Lucia with Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia, and with it a first to the chain: all-butler, swim-up Rondoval Suites. The hotel, which also has in its booty of spoils an infinity-edge sky pool bar with views of the island’s north coast, will sit on 19 lush acres alongside the existing Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Resort.
The Eco Zone
At the south end of the island, all eyes are on the $2.6 billion Pearl of the Caribbean, a mega complex that is set to sprawl across 700 acres with hotel rooms, waterfront villas and boathouses, a casino, horse racetrack, eco-tourism zone and mall (it doesn’t end there). Phase one of the new build will result in 200 hotel rooms and a spa by the end of the year.
A Season of Festivals
Beginning in May, groups can experience a season of festivals dubbed “Soleil” that will build on the successful 25-year run of the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts festival. St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee hopes Soleil will also elevate the island as a vibrant and diverse destination while “creating opportunities for local artists and businesses.” Appropriately, the Saint Lucia Jazz festival and its band of Caribbean and international jazz musicians will kick off the six-series season, which will also feature roots and soul, a festival heralding in Carnival, food and rum, country and blues and arts and heritage festivals through October.