Saint Lucia – With 2011 arrivals for April showing a 12.4% increase over April 2010, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board announces major on-island developments including multi-million dollar hotel openings and renovations, new visitor attractions, and increased airlift from American Eagle, providing added accessibility for a number of markets serviced by American Airlines. In addition, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board has further eased visitor convenience by adding a “build-your-own” itinerary feature on its website as well as a “Live Chat” feature.
Senator Allen Chastanet, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis, will be in attendance for Caribbean Week in New York in early June. “We are thrilled to share our islands impressive new developments with the Caribbean Week audience,” said Louis Lewis. “We are looking forward to showcasing our continued commitment to further enhance the destination by providing straightforward trip planning tools, increased airlift accessibility, as well as highlighting the destination’s unique new opportunities from visiting a chocolate factory to night snorkeling under the Pitons.”
“Both the public and private sector on Saint Lucia are dedicated to improving the island’s tourism infrastructure to support growing arrivals, as every Saint Lucian shares an appreciation for the power of tourism as a key economic driver for our economy,” continued Senator Chastanet.
Among the key hotel developments on-island is the opening of the new Hotel Chocolat in early 2011. This boutique hotel is set in The Rabot Estate, a working cocoa estate. The property features 14 luxury Cocoa Cottages, a Pool Clubhouse, Massage Pavilion and beach access among other amenities. The British-owned operator plans to break ground on a new Chocolate Factory to be located next door to Hotel Chocolat. By growing its own cocoa, Hotel Chocolat will be considered one of the world’s few origin chocolatiers. Currently with its Engaged Ethics Cocoa Programme, Hotel Chocolat is revitalizing the cocoa industry on Saint Lucia by offering high quality seedlings, technical assistance, advice and purchasing crops from local farmers.
The BodyHoliday will be closing from July through September 2011 for a US$20 million renovation. The renovation will encompass the total refit of public areas including Cariblue Restaurant, Piano Bar, the wellness center treatment rooms, TAO restaurant, new beach-front deck, new Clubhouse Pool, aerobics, scuba training and volleyball and more. The Standard Garden View rooms are being renovated while the Grand Luxury Ocean Front room and Junior Suites will receive enhancements. Additionally The BodyHoliday will be opening “The Penthouse of LeSPORT,” a room that will encompass its own Hammans Spa.
The Jalousie Plantation is undergoing a US$100 million enhancement and will be re-branded and re-launched as The Tides, Sugar Beach in 2012. So far, the physical transformation includes the construction of new luxury villas and a brand-new destination-spa, and the gut renovation of its Luxury Sugar Mill Rooms.
The Jalousie Plantation is the only resort on the island to offer the incredible experience of night snorkeling with an up close and personal look at all of the nocturnal underwater wonders of Anse des Pitons and Jalousie Plantation’s National Marine Reserve.
On April 1, 2011, Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa opened a new Samsarati Spa, named after the Sanskrit word meaning “flow of energy.” World renowned O Spa London runs the spa, which has been designed to provide a journey of rejuvenation and relaxation, using ingredients sourced from organic, sustainably harvested crops.
Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa recently added two new restaurants and upgraded its spa. Calabash is the resort’s new Caribbean specialty restaurant and Capri offers an array of Italian and seafood menu items. The newly renovated waterfront Kai Mer Spa has been refurbished with three new beachfront spa cabanas and a relaxation patio.
Saint Lucia’s newest zip line experience Soufriere Hotwire Rides is located at the Morne Coubaril Estate and combines the adrenaline rush of zipping under the sheer Petit Piton, with elevated views of the historic town of Soufriere and the Caribbean Sea.
A new state-of-the-art visitor attraction at La Place Carenage in the Castries harbor, Our Planet Centre, will tap into visitors’ environmental conservation interest in a fun, educational and interactive way. Opened June 2011, the multi-million dollar Our Planet Centre exhibits on-island conservation programs. Utilizing cutting edge technology, Our Planet features the largest mirror-sphere in the world, producing a giant kaleidoscopic display for video screening; a hologram recorded specifically for Saint Lucia by Prince Charles; multiple touch screen displays; a simulation hurricane room; as well as a “NASA Room” designed specifically by the NASA team to stream weather information. It’s the first center of its kind in the Caribbean and all proceeds from Our Planet will go to local environmental projects on island.
The new 30,000 square foot Treasure Bay Casino opened in December at the new Bay Walk Mall in Rodney Bay Village in Gros Islet, approximately 10 miles north of Castries, Saint Lucia’s capital. The casino, the first on the island, features 250 slot machines and 22 game tables.
On April 4, 2011, American Eagle commenced a second daily service between San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) and Saint Lucia’s George F.L. Charles Airport (SLU) further enhancing Saint Lucia’s convenience for travelers flying from the US on American Airlines.
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board recently launched a new feature to its website (www.saintlucianow.com) whereby visitors to the site can create their own itinerary and print it out in preparation for their trip to the island. The Tourist Board also opened its first call center to enhance communication with the traveling public as well as a new “Live Chat” feature on saintlucianow.com.
In response to market demand for vacation experiences that promote healthy lifestyles, the town of Soufriere will launch a health and wellness retreat this fall. Eden of the Caribbean will take place November 17-20, 2011 and will feature wellness workshops by world experts in yoga, feng shui, art and cuisine.
Saint Lucia continues to enjoy the most awards as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination. Voted by travel professionals worldwide, the World Travel Awards has presented Saint Lucia with the “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” award eight times since 2002.