Although the resorts offer a slew of on-property activities, the island is the hub for some of the finest adventures in the region with yachts, sailboats and skippers easily chartered at the marinas in Marigot Bay and Rodney Bay. Between the Gros and Petit Piton peaks, Jalousie Beach is the top pick for waves as clear as high-octane rum, and locals who teach tourists the fine-art of conch shell blowing.
“Our valued travel agent and agency partners are a precious resource in selling St. Lucia,” said Nerdin St. Rose, vice president, marketing and sales, St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB). “Our goal is to ensure that agents have the tools they need to be successful, as well as giving them the opportunity to experience first-hand all that St. Lucia has to offer.” The “Preferred Agent Saint Lucia Specialist” (PASS) program rewards agents with incentives from hotels and monthly cash prizes to the top booking travel agent and agency.
Big Game, Big Beach & Big Boys
Wooing sports fans and their mates, Smugglers Cove (www.smug glersresort.com) welcomes the “Big Game” from January 31 to February 4. Hosted by former NY Giants player Billy Taylor, the weekend is all about football with strategy chats with NFL players and a blow-out party to watch Superbowl 2013 on super-sized screens. Not just for the guys, the all-inclusive resort offers a relaxing massage menu in the Spa, four restaurants and yoga classes on the beach.
Morgan Bay Beach Resort has been re-branded as St. James’s Club, Morgan Bay (www.StJames ClubStLucia.com) but will remain part of the Elite Island Resorts group. A sister resort to St. James’s Club in Antigua, upgrades to the St. Lucia property include an expanded beach and new Spa with eight treatment rooms.
Rooms, Rum & Resorts
Fresh from a pricey facelift, The Jalousie Plantation is now Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort (www.sugarbeachaviceroyre sort.com) and comes with fifty-nine swanky villas, eight beachfront bungalows and the Rainforest Spa with tree house cabanas and an earthen steam room. Several restaurants are open for fine dining as well as The Cane Bar for potent rum cocktails.
Described by novelist James Michener as “the most beautiful in the Caribbean,” views of Marigot Bay are to-die-for from the rooms and suites at the Discovery Hotel (www.dis coverystlucia.com). Paying homage to Dr. Dolittle fans that come to see where the Oscar-winning movie was made more than four decades ago, the hotel’s The Pink Snail champagne bar is crowned by pink glass chandeliers and outfitted with translucent Philippe Starck Ghost chairs.
In Rodney Bay, blu St. Lucia (www.harlequinblu.com) has joined Harlequin Hotels & Resorts which also includes properties in the DR and the Grenadines. Nearly a year old, the pretty resort with a Little Harlequins Kids Club, ice-cream shop and all-inclusive meal plan is ideal for families. For the grown-ups, tennis courts, Alaia Spa and plenty of nearby shopping aim to please.
Built in the cocoa groves of the historic Rabot Estate, Boucan by Hotel Chocolat (www.thehotelchocolat.com), is a delicious collection of fourteen uber-luxe rooms called Cocoa Pods, and the acclaimed Boucan restaurant where culinary wizards serve a chocolate-inspired smorgasbord from duck confit with white chocolate mash, to divinely decadent meringue peaks drenched in chocolate. For a sweet getaway with your sweetie, “Romance and Rest” is a six-night winter windfall that includes gourmet dinners, airport transfers, cocoa massages and a bottle of chilled bubbly.
One of the most visually spectacular hotels in the world, Jade Mountain (www.jademountainstlucia.com) was built by Russian-Canadian architect Nick Troubetzkoy who designed the iconic property in honor of the Piton Mountains. With his signature ‘no fourth wall‘ in many of the awesome suites, the resort scales the heights of luxury with infinity pools that are illuminated at night, impeccable service and two-person whirlpool tubs mounted on a pedestal for mesmerizing views of the twin peaks.
Did You Know?
The twin peaks that rise out of the sea are the most visited tourist attraction in St. Lucia. Gros Piton measure 798 meters and Petit Piton comes in a tad shorter at 750 meters.
St. Lucia is the birthplace of two Nobel Laureates who by remarkable coincidence were both born on January 23. The late Sir W. Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1979 and poet Derek Walcott for Literature in 1992.
On the southern tip of St. Lucia, the Maria Islands are home to birds and butterflies believed to be extinct in other parts of the world.